Is it a girls’ year on American Idol?
Oh, yeah. That fact was confirmed again Wednesday night. With a Motown Week exclamation point.
Candice Glover and Kree Harrison fairly sizzled. Janelle Arthur sizzled in a totally different way.
Take the guys’ performance out of the evening’s agenda, and we would have had an excellent little show.
Oh, and then there were the group numbers, the last of which made Nicki Minaj go berserk.
She actually ordered Lazaro Arbos, Devin Velez and Burnell Taylor off the stage. I’m pretty sure that was an Idol first.
Of course, their bungling of the mind-boggling complex (I jest) “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” ranks among Idol’s worst.
Truth be told, Candice Glover, Amber Holcomb and Angie Miller — three of the judges’ favorites — didn’t exactly burn up the stage as a trio.
Amber mumbled. Candice sang big and bold. Angie flirted with the camera. They looked and sounded like anything but a ready-for-prime-time threesome.
The Supremes? Not in their dreams. At least not yet.
Just a little suggestion Idol: You might want to can the group numbers on performance night. Let the Idols concentrate on their solo songs.
After all, that’s what we’re supposed to be judging them on.
Best of the night: She sang first, so it’s easy to forget how good Candice Glover was on her show-opening “Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Hey, given this theme and Candice’s vocal abilities, you knew it would be good. But she added sass and a rock edge to that song that made it extra special. It was my favorite Candice performance to date.
Runners-up: Kree Harrison got to close the show and didn’t disappoint, adding a touch of twang and a touch of sass to “Don’t Play That Song.” Confession: I wasn’t all that familiar with the song. But I loved the way Kree performed it. The award for risk-taker of the night goes to Janelle Arthur, who played guitar and sang a passionate version of “You Keep Me Hanging On.” That was also her best performance in the finals. So much for Motown Week proving troublesome for Idol’s country gals.
Worst of the night: Aside from the guys’ group number, I’d have to pick Burnell Taylor’s performance of “My Cherie Amour.” On a night when the girls were stellar, it sounded very much like something you’d hear in a karaoke bar and politely applaud. There were no moments. It was nothing special. The judges love Burnell. I still don’t hear what they’re hearing, apparently. I know this: While the girls are at least trying to show their versatility (OK, except for Amber Holcomb), Burnell is serving up the same sleepy performance week after week.
Please save her: I probably don’t even have to type this, because she’s the most popular contestant on Facebook and Twitter by a very wide margin. But Angie Miller didn’t have a very good solo performance Wednesday night. On top of the occasional pitch problems Randy alluded to, there was simply too much happening on stage when Angie performed “Shop Around.” You could barely hear her over the guitars and the background singers.
Comeback award: Last week, Lazaro Arbos’ confidence seemed shattered. He left the stage in tears after some pretty harsh criticism from the judges. I really didn’t think he’d be able to bounce back. But he turned in his best vocal in at least three weeks on “For Once in My Life.” It wasn’t as good as most of the ladies, but it will earn him another week on the show.
Baffled by the judges: Call this baffled by Nicki, who seemed to have it out for her “little marshmallow” Wednesday night. For those who don’t remember, that’s her nickname for Janelle. She took Janelle to task after her duet with Kree, then criticized a performance of “You Keep Me Hanging On” that most of the judges praised. How about giving Janelle credit for originality, Ms. Minaj? That’s something that’s sorely lacking from the guys in this competition.
What should happen Thursday: The bottom three should consist of the three guys — Lazaro, Devin and Burnell. Burnell should go home.
What will happen Thursday: Lazaro’s strong fan base will keep him out of the bottom three. I won’t be shocked to see Amber land there again. And Devin, having barely skirted elimnation two straight weeks, will have to sing for his life at the end of the show.