Get ready for some classic rock on American Idol this week.
And Idol means rock, not some tame rock ballad.
In fact, as I wrote Friday, Idol is specifically making this a “no ballads” week.
That ban alone could help separate the contenders from the pretenders as the show attempts to cut the number of finalists to six.
And, be assured, if a guy lands in the bottom, there will only be six singers next week.
Nicki Minaj has already issued her “None of U get saved” declaration to the remaining Idol guys.
I’m looking forward to Wednesday’s show because this type of song has produced some great Idol performances over the years.
Remember Haley Reinhart’s “What Is and Never Should Be?” from Season 10? Elise Testone’s “Whole Lotta Love” from last year?
On with the Idol Top 7 rankings.
1. Kree Harrison (1): Given the sass and soul she’s already demonstrated during the finals, classic rock should be a snap for Kree, even if she is a country singer. If Kree has a problem, it’s that she’s been very good so consistently, she has trouble surprising us with how good she is. This theme might offer Kree a chance to do just that if she can go “Whole Lotta Love” wild on the stage. (High heels not recommended). Since the finals began, I’ve ranked every one of her performances among the top three on its given week.
2. Angie Miller (2): Why is she still number two after last week’s disjointed “Shop Around” performance? Because she’s got four times the number of Facebook fans as Candice and twice as many Twitter followers, an indication that she’s connecting with viewers like no other contestants from Season 12. Besides, I expect Angie to bounce back strong on Wednesday, even if she probably won’t get to sit behind her piano that way Mariah Carey would like.
3. Candice Glover (3): I’ve written a lot about Kree’s versatility, but Candice has flashed a good deal of her own and did it again when she opened last week’s show with a pretty rocking version of “Heard It Through the Grapevine.” If she has any downfall at this point, it’s that she isn’t quite as personable as some of the other contestants, hence the need for “flirting advice” last week. From a performance standpoint, she has matched Kree note for note, perhaps with some better notes.
4. Janelle Arthur (4): I gained a ton of respect for Janelle last week. After a group number, she’s told she sounds like an amateur performing beside a pro (Kree). Then she comes back onstage with the single most creative performance we’ve seen so far in the finals and delivers her best vocal yet on “You Keep Me Hanging on.” Given her experience, I’d be willing to bet there’s a southern rock tune or two in her repertoire.
5. Amber Holcomb (6): Congrats to Idol for nudging Amber out of her comfort zone. Because if she’s going to advance much deeper in the competition, it won’t be by standing behind a mic stand and out-belting Candice Glover on big ballads. I’m pretty sure her forte from this point on won’t be classic rock, but it’s a step in the right direction for someone who hasn’t gone up-tempo yet and hasn’t impressed me quite as much as she’s impressed the judges as a result.
6. Burnell Taylor (7): Speaking of standing behind his mic, that’s all Burnell has done since the competition started, sculpting each performance with his hands and apparently mesmerizing the judges in the process. I’m predicting this theme will be tricky for Burnell, who deserves to be the last guy standing, but might not be. Heck, he didn’t know The Beatles’ “Let It Be.” Does he know classic rock?
7. Lazaro Arbos (5): You have to feel for Lazaro. Confidence seemingly in tatters, he returned last week to deliver a much better solo performance only to become the key culprit in a guys’ group number gone horribly awry. And, yeah, I think it was pretty apparent that Lazaro was the primary problem. Classic rock and Lazaro Arbos doesn’t sound like a match made in Jimmy Iovine’s version of heaven. Look for Lazaro to make his last performance in the Idol finals this week. It’s time.