Grading the Top 4 on American Idol
Won’t it be interesting to hear what comes out of the judges’ mouths on American Idol this evening?
To say they got raked over the coals last week would be an understatement.
Turns out I was far from the only one outraged by the overly positive reviews of Amber Holcomb’s mediocre performances and the attempts to pull down Kree Harrison and Candice Glover so she could advance to the final three.
Over at EW.com, Annie Barrett called it the “most manipulative episode of the season.” At TVLine.com, longtime Idol watcher Michael Slezak was more blunt, saying he didn’t know the week’s theme would be “Lying Jacka–es.”
But the worst indictment of all came from Idol viewers, who clearly believed very little of what the judges were saying.
When the results were announced, Amber was standing where she belonged, in the bottom two. And Kree Harrison, a sure bottom-two finisher according to Nicki Minaj, was in the top two.
Tonight, along with news that Candice Glover might be getting personality training, we get the Then and Now theme. So prepare for more classic tunes. But, hey, at least the Idols will be yanked into the 21st century for half of the show.
Songs from Now
Angie Miller: Coming off a strong performance last week, Angie is going to sing Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” It’s a song she has covered on her YouTube channel, so I’m expecting another Top 3 worthy effort. Angie’s back on piano, and starts off brilliantly. Wow, what a glory note. And you just know as the end approached, Angie would kick it up a notch, like she always does. There wasn’t one little thing wrong with that. Except that it was the first performance of the night. Keith says he isn’t sure that was the song to change so dramatically because it felt like she wanted to soar, but wasn’t able to. Nicki says she didn’t seem as connected. She calls it bland and lackluster. Randy and Mariah weren’t huge fans of it either. Wow, had Amber done that they would have been giving her a standing ovation and kissing her feet. Grade: B
Amber Holcomb: Hmm, Amber’s going to sing Pink’s “Give Me a Reason.” Interesting choice. Actually, nice start by Amber. Like the way they arranged the first part of this song. Problem is, as soon as the music kicked in, when Pink’s voice would have soared, Amber’s didn’t because she just doesn’t have that big of a voice. Which is why a Pink song wasn’t a very good choice for her. So we have what we saw last week with MacArthur Park, Amber starts a song well, but the tempo picks up and she falls totally flat. Now let’s see what the judges have to say. Randy says Amber looked out-of-her-mind nervous. Grade: C
Candice Glover: She’s singing “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. This is a really interesting song choice for a gal who was accused of sometimes sounding too old-fashioned last week. Even more interesting that Candice hasn’t changed the words to fit a female singer. But it’s hard to argue with the execution. Candice started off pitch perfect, shifted into high gear midway through and performed all sorts of magic over the second half of that song. Think she might be looking for a little redemption after landing in the bottom two last week? That was much better than either of Candice’s performances last week. Grade: A–
Kree Harrison: The gal who got some tough reviews from the judges, but still finished in the top two last week is going to sing Carrie Underwood’s current single, “See You Again.” Harry Connick loved the fact that Kree skipped the oooh-oohs-oohs, but Idol added them back in. LOL. Kree does seem more connected on this song and is certainly delivering it with more feeling that some of her recent performances. That said, I’m not sure it’s quite the show stopper she needs at this point in the show. Solid vocally, of course. As always. Grade: B
Songs from Then
Angie Miller: Her classic song will be “Someone to Watch Over Me.” She says it’s a song her mother always sang as she was growing up. This is a stripped down version of the song, and it’s giving Angie an opportunity to remind folks that she has a very good voice, too. Dang. Pitch perfect from start to finish. Perhaps a tad boring. Until the last 30 seconds when Angie just soared as she’s so inclined to do. With an absolutely fabulous glory note at the end. Randy didn’t love the arrangement, but calls it an amazing vocal. Grade: B+
Amber Holcomb: Yep, Amber’s repeating a song she did in Vegas. That performance was OK, but at the time, I didn’t score it high enough to get her into the finals. Another very strong start for Amber. But she needs to be more precise with her phrasing. Sometimes I simply have trouble understanding what she’s singing. But Amber did a very nice job on the end of that song. And, predictably, the judges hop to their feet. Let’s see if anyone brings up the fact that she repeated a song from earlier in the season. That was Amber’s best performance from the last two weeks. Grade: B
Candice Glover: She’s singing “You’ve Changed.” Harry’s advice to Candice: Keep it simple, even if the 14-year-olds in the audience don’t get it. My, my. I’m just hoping viewers aren’t bored with this song choice by Candice. You have to think she could have selected a classic tune that would have been more of a crowd pleaser. But she sang the heck out of it and the Top 3 would seem awfully empty without Season 12′s best singer. Candice has shown the fire this week I expected to see from Kree last week. Grade: A–
Kree Harrison: Her classic song will be “Stormy Weather.” What? You were expecting to hear something other than a ballad tonight? Hey, Kree looks downright beautiful for this performance. Just saying. Another very strong vocal from Kree. But I wasn’t a big fan of the song choice. It seems like there would have been tons of classic songs more suited to her voice. And that was just a tad boring. Grade: B