Season 12, Season 12 finals

Idol Top 9 recap: Who should stay and who should go

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Put whatever Nicki Minaj said that got bleeped out right here.

Because I sure didn’t agree with the American Idol judges much on Wednesday night.

At least not when the guys were performing.

Kree Harrison performs Wednesday night on American Idol. (FOX Photo)Just tweet: #Idolwrong. Or was it #IdolDisagree.

Then add a few exclamation marks.

Holy, long and winding road.

And I’m still recommending: “Thou shalt not ballad” as an upcoming theme. Very soon.

Do it, Nigel. Do it, judges. Before we fall asleep.

Tonight’s recap:

Best of the night: I was wondering why Kree Harrison got the chore of kicking off the show when it rightly should have gone to Amber Holcomb, who closed things out a week ago. Two hours later, it became clear. Kree was one of the few contestants who was going upbeat. Kree was one of the few contestants who could be counted on to kick off the show with a brilliant performance. And that was very, very good, with just enough soulfulness squeezed in to make it her own. Over the course of the long Idol season, I still think Kree is going to be the talent to beat.

Runner-up: And thank you Candice Glover for flashing your versatility by singing a rocked-out, soulful version of “Come Together” after a long string of big ballads. You are going to have to do that occasionally — I’d suggest every other week — in order to contend. The vocal probably wasn’t on a par with week one’s “I Who Have Nothing,” but you certainly found a way to sneak a few Candice flourishes into the performance.

Worst of the night: Lazaro Arbos is one of the most popular Idol contestants, and he’s going to need his many fans to rally around him after that performance of “In My Life.” It was easily the night’s shakiest vocal. I thought this would be the week Lazaro bounced back. I thought there were several Beatles songs he could pull off. “In My Life” was not among the songs I would have selected. I’m just worried that Lazaro’s confidence will be so shaken after those critiques that he won’t be able to bounce back, even though I think he’ll get another shot.

Paul Jolley performs Wednesday night on American Idol. (FOX Photo)Please save him: For some reason, the Idol producers and judges put a big red “X” on Paul Jolley’s back this week. It was undeserved. I was pleasantly surprised by his spot-on performance of “Eleanor Rigby.” And I was holding him up to some pretty high standards (Season 7′s performance of the same song by David Cook). Bottom line: Paul was the best of the Idol guys. To hear the judges, you’d think he was one of the worst on Wednesday.

Baffled by the judges: Meanwhile, the judges continue to rave over Burnell Taylor and Devin Velez, both of whom could go home tomorrow and I’m pretty sure most viewers wouldn’t miss their weekly middling take on another ballad. Middling is exactly what both were Wednesday night. It certainly would not be a travesty to see either depart, as Randy suggested after Devin performed.

Also deserving of mention: Janelle Arthur’s show-closing performance of “I Will” was subtle, but very nicely done. I’d rank the vocals from her and Paul as the third and fourth best of the night with Angie Miller close behind. Angie’s a front-runner, and she’s going nowhere but to the Top 8. Yet her version of “Yesterday,” while it ended brilliantly, seemed just a tad disjointed.

What should happen on Thursday: Lazaro should go home. That’s two straight clunkers. And Wednesday’s was the clunkiest of all the performances by a pretty wide margin.

What will happen on Thursday: Paul will pay the price for the unfair critiques and face elimination. And won’t get the save. I’m hoping Burnell departs instead.

Check back tomorrow for live blogging during the results show.

And head here for the blog containing the song by song grades.

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