American Idol Live 2013 – Boston Concert Review and VIDEOS

I’ve been recapping the American Idol Live tour beginning with Season 5, and for the first time I have video of EVERY SINGLE PERFORMANCE and have posted them here with mini-reviews.

Monday night’s concert took place at the Agganis Arena in Boston on the Boston University campus. The So You Think You Can Dance tour books there. The only other year Idol Live played in Boston proper, was The Garden in season 8, which is a much larger venue. That home girl Angie Miller was from the Boston area probably had something to do with bringing the show into the city again. I wasn’t complaining. For once, I had a 5 minute ride rather than hauling out to Manchester, Worcester or New Hampshire.

Still, at 7:30 when the show was ready to start, the upper sections were half empty. I remember past tours when the place would be PACKED. Radio stations would have their vans parked out front. The sponsors set up fun displays that featured cut-outs for photos and karaoke stands. A giant pop tart would be running around handing out treats. This year, the crowds were subdued, even more than last year. The most enthusiastic of the attendees were the tweens. The soccer moms sitting in my section were there for their children and talked through many of the performances. Back in the day, a mom would have been just as excited–if not stanning THEIR favorite Idol even harder than the kiddos.

It was all rather odd. Did I mention that I had a front row seat that I bought for less than face value from a broker? Yeah.

Home girl Angie had lots of support. I seemed to be surrounded by Angie fans in my section, which was perfectly alright with me.

As far as the performances, I’ve written blurbs for all of them, but here’s my overall assessment. The singers with the most musicality were Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Janelle Arthur and Burnell Taylor.  All four have cultivated their own artistry and specific style that enables them to elevate a cover out of karaoke territory. ETAAngie Miller gets an honorable mention for her piano playing and songwriting chops. Candice and Kree are just magnificent. Janelle knows how to work the stage. I enjoyed Curtis more than I expected. The second half was better than the first half. The group numbers relied too much on backing tracks for the harmonies. The music sounded canned at times. But I like that the tour producers brought back what they did last year–allowing the Idols to sing backup harmonies for each other.

So, without further ado. The entire American Idol Live 2013 concert.

1. “Wings” by Little Mix – Girls Group Number – Including Candice

A high energy opener. Candice makes an appearance! Usually, the winner is saved for the last set. But selfishly, I was happy not to wait.

2. Sweet Dreams by Beyonce – Aubrey Cleland with Angie, Amber and Janelle

Honestly, Aubrey was so far out of my consciousness, since she got so little screen time on the show. She has a fine voice and is very pretty, but, meh. She didn’t bring anything new to the song.

3. Suit and Tie by Justin Timberlake. – Burnell Taylor, Devin Velez and Curtis Finch, Jr.

Burnell really shined in this song. I kinda wished he sang the lead. Nice harmonies, though.

4. Blown Away by Carrie Underwood – Paul Jolley

To be honest, I don’t think this was a great song choice for Paul. I know he loves Carrie, but he fell short of her, without putting his own spin on the song.

5. Summer Nights by Rascal Flatts – Paul Jolley, Janelle Arthur and Kree Harrison

This is more like it! The country trio put in a performance that was upbeat and fun. Loved the blend of their voices.

6. When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars – Curtis Finch Jr.

I was prepared for a total riff fest and oversinging. But I was surprised by Curtis’ restraint. Well. for Curtis! Sure, he showboated at the end there, but it worked. It was odd to have him right in my face there. Too bad for the folks sitting on the other side of the stage.

7. We Found Love by Rihanna – Amber Holcomb

This performance was oddly lacking in energy. Awkward dancing for the win. Maybe it’s raging hormones making Amber sleepy?

8. “The Way” by Arianna Grande – Aubrey Cleland, Amber Holcomb and Angie Miller

I would have preferred Angie or Aubrey on lead. The performance lacked the verve and sass the song requires. Amber looks like she’s going to fall asleep.

9. “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars – The Boys

I would have preferred the performance with Burnell, or maybe Curtis on lead and the boys backing him up. It just wasn’t an interesting without a voice out front.

10. “Impossible/Somos Novios” – Devin Velez

Beforehand, he told the story about how his mom suggested the song. A very pretty rendition. Devin held a long ass note in the last chorus.

11. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke – Amber Holcomb, Janelle Arthur, Aubrey Cleland and Angie Miller

This song choice is a total WTF. The pronouns are switched a little, and it still doesn’t make sense. None of the girls seem particularly comfortable singing it, either. A misstep.

12. Diamond by Rihanna – Burnell Taylor and Amber Holcomb

This duet picks up steam as it goes. Maybe Burnell pushes Amber to raise her game. They sound good together.

13. Everybody Knows by John Legend – Burnell Taylor with Devin and Curtis

Burnell loves him some John Legend. A wise song pick for the singer, who really got to show off his unique tone and phrasing.

14. We Are Young by .fun – The Top 11

Here we are at intermission! Candace Glover sounds amazing.

15. “Live While We’re Young” by One Direction

Continuation of the Intermission group number. Lots of fun. I live for big group numbers. Check out Amber’s baby bump!


16. “Mama Knows Best” by Jesse J. – Angie Miller

The hometown girl opens the second half. Angie vamping isn’t my favorite thing. It comes off a little try hard, but the crowd LOVE LOVE LOVED it, and Angie seemed to be having a ball. At one point, she ends up on top of the piano she plays in the next number.

17. “You Set Me Free” by Angie Miller

Before her song, she told the story of how her brother convinced her to try out. Angie pours her heart out on the song that put her on the American Idol map.

18. “Put it On Me” by Angie Miller

“Are you guys ready for another original song?” Angie shouted to the crowd. They were. In turn, Angie delivered a passionate performance. In the middle of this song, staff interrupted me to ask for my ticket. Ergh. At least they didn’t make me put down my camera.

19. “Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry – Janelle Arthur with Paul

Janelle knows how to work the stage. I love her musicality and how she works off the musicians. I don’t love this song, but she’s a story teller, and I appreciate that.

20. “Where The Blacktop Ends” by Keith Urban – Janelle Arthur with Paul and Kree

Janelle straps on her guitar for this number. Her joyful performance is a real treat. Alert: CUTE GUITARIST

21. “Feeling Good” – Lazaro Arbos

Guess what? This isn’t a terrible performance. My BFF, Lazaro, remembered the words and stayed in tune, but it wasn’t particularly memorable either.

22. – “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga – Lazaro Arbos with Aubrey, Janell and Amber

My ears weren’t bleeding, but I didn’t exactly want to get up and dance either–which the Gaga version does.

23. “Up to the Mountain” by Patty Griffin – Kree Harrison with Paul

Just Kree and her guitar. Do we need more? Simply lovely.

24. “Hold On” by Alabama Shakes – Kree Harrison

A totally cool and relevant song choice from Kree, and her bluesy delivery is everything. She shakes a tambourine and jams with the guitarist.

25. “All Cried Out” by Kree Harrison

I don’t love this song, but Kree’s delivery is emotional and poignant. She’s the real deal.

26. “End of Time” by Beyonce – Candice Glover and the girls!

ALL HAIL QUEEN CANDICE. The girls rock. That is all.

27. “I Am Beautiful” by Candice Glover

Candice elevates this song with her grace, musicality and deeply felt performance.

28. “In The Middle” by Candice Glover with Aubrey and Amber

Candice’s new song has a very summery groove. Nice.

29. “Lovesong” by The Cure – Candace Glover

Just as she did on the show, Candice displays her talent for gorgeous phrasing and interpretation. Absolutely mesmerizing.

30. A medley of Gone songs, including: Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson, “You’re Going to Miss Me When I’m Gone (Cups)” from Pitch Perfect, “Gone Gone Gone” by Phillip Phillips. The American Idol Top 11 wrap it up for another summer.

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mj santilli

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Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted.I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!
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  • apezpril

    thank you for this MJ. too bad the attendance wasn’t good. But I’m just glad Angie will have to put another check on her list of dreams… even if this was a not so anticipated event. so happy for the contestants. I really love this group and love Angie the most. the contestants need to just savor the moment

  • jake

    I like Janelle but she is over the top with her performances to a point where her vocals suffer. she is clearly not in the class of some of the others vocally but she tries to put on a good show. I think her future may be acting rather than musically. I am not solely relying on this video, I did see her live.

  • CanadianLady

    Thanks! Been waiting ages to see some of these. :)

  • Anny_nanny

    Thanks, it was entertaining.

  • lkingcorn

    Great review. We have heard so little about the tour this year I felt sad for the contestants. Not sure how this lackluster tour season will help anyone’s career.

  • Miles (Grumpy) (VI)

    Nice review. Surprised you put Burnell and Janelle on your “most musicality” list and left Angie off. Yes, I’m totally biased for the top 3, but I guess in the end it is all about personal preference.

    Really happy you took the time to do this. Love having the videos all in one spot.

  • AM

    Great review. Thanks for all of the videos. I went to the Fairfax VA show a couple weeks ago. Kree & Candice were definitely the highlights for me. As a huge Kree fan, I especially loved her set. What a voice!! I met both Kree & Candice at the after party & they were both so sweet.

  • Larc

    I had hoped Angie would really get a crowd for her hometown show. The S8 tour show at The Garden was Sold Out.

  • Daniel

    I went to the Rhode Island one last night, and I had a blast. My favorite performances were Janelle and Angie’s. They seemed to have the best energy, and seemed the most excited to be there. The only performances I thought were complete duds, were Amber’s (sorry) and I did not like Blurred Lines, and Laz.

    Angie really impressed me last night as well with her dedication to her fans. She wasn’t feeling well yesterday, but she made sure she did the meet and greet before, she did the show, and she went out to the meet and greet after, which I’ve heard not all the idols go to, but that Angie always attends unless management tells them they can’t.

  • Bernice

    Thanks MJ for all the vids!

    I hadn’t seen full performances of some of the boys yet. Some of them did well!
    Thought Angie was really cute in all her group and back-up performances, she’s always smiling, dancing, waving at the crowd. You can see she really wants to be there, lol, and is making the most of the opportunity! Janelle as well.

  • tati83

    I have to agree with your review. I went to the Chicago show last week and Kree and Candice are in a league of their own. Despite a lackluster season and questionable male talent, America did not mess this one up. Candice and Kree deserved to be final two ;)

  • AM

    I agree with you 100%. America got the final two right for sure!!!

  • LeahKittyS

    Thank you for posting all of these so I will always be able to remember this show. I went to the last two and a girl on YouTube recorded the whole thing when she went, so I relive them on her account. But she didn’t go this year, so I had to look elsewhere. Candice, Kree, Angie and Janelle were stunning. Thank again MJ!

  • gem2477

    Thanks for posting these MJ. :)

  • surpriseleft

    I don’t get all this criticism of Amber’s performances. Her vocals have been extremely strong in almost every video I’ve seen. She’s definitely a better singer than that girl with the dog collar around her neck.

  • Bernice

    I don’t think anyone has said that her vocals are bad. I thought they were good actually.
    It’s more criticism of her lack of energy, and she seems bored in some of the performances.

  • apezpril

    yeah Angie was sick. watching the videos since the Manchester show, I noticed she was losing her voice.. hope she gets well. Maybe because shes not used to singing almost every single day. and her set is very hard and she’s almost on EVERY single performance

  • apezpril

    well if you think about it Boston isn’t really her hometown perse. and this season, people weren’t just interested in the tour anyway.

  • apezpril

    it was Amber’s lack of energy maybe due to her pregnancy. I certainly enjoyed Amber on the show. she has one of the best recrding voices together with Kree. but there is no way that Amber is better than Angie vocally. just my opinion though

  • icebergslim

    I have been hearing the attendance this year is very sub par and the performances as a whole, just ok. Hardly any of the venues have been sold out and we are talking AI which used to tour large venues (i.e., the Staples Center) and pack them. I think AI need to let the touring go. We all know most will not get a recording contract and will have to stumble for name recognition going forward. And with the rumor of Randy Jackson being a mentor (he just can’t let go) on AI and Jimmy Iovine leaving AI, I really fear for Candice Glover’s album release. I think with all the hot artists at Interscope now, she will get lost in the crowd.

  • macfae

    The figures from the shows are not being released but even with low attendance, I bet they are still grossing a boat load of money. I doubt tours will end before the show does. .

    I am afraid you are likely right about Candice getting lost amid the other artists at the label. This possibility makes me sad.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “Guess what? This isn’t a terrible performance. My BFF, Lazaro, remembered the words and stayed in tune, but it wasn’t particularly memorable either.”

    lol Expectations for Laz are so low that if he stays in tune and remembers the words, it’s considered amazing.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “Just as she did on the show, Candice displays her talent for gorgeous phrasing and interpretation. Absolutely mesmerizing.”

    Agree. For me, by far, the best performance in the entire show.

  • sandrajane

    The song by Beyonce that Aubrey is singing is Sweet Dreams. She’s just doing a mashup of the ballad version Beyonce did on tour and uptempo regular album version.

  • surpriseleft

    Amber is better than Angie in every way. Better tone, range, technical skill, sense of pitch, etc. It’s not even close in all honesty.

  • Miles (Grumpy) (VI)

    In all honesty…. the voters thought otherwise but I love your support for her.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    So why doesn’t Candice have an artist page on the Interscope website?!/interscope

    The other 19R artists are shown, plus there’s a special area for them. Scotty, Lauren, P2 and Jessica all have individual pages here.!/19recordings

    Her official website looks like a regular blog and doesn’t have any 19 or Interscope insignia.

  • CanadianLady

    I agree. I really liked Amber’s voice on Idol. I think she has a ton of potential as a singer. However, she seemed very unaware of what the process is.

  • CanadianLady

    I agree Amber has the raw talent. But she seems very naive about how to use that talent, and how things work. I had her 2nd to Candice in potential.

  • Kariann Hart

    Thank you for the videos and analysis of the performances, MJ. Hopefully, Season 13 will bring more outstanding talent.

  • jazzontherocks

    Thx for sharing :) I have to say that Paul seemed to be in his element though and deserves to be a breakout star. He has mainly been getting positive reviews for being a surprise standout. That powerhouse voice of his is really impressive. A lot of my friends attended the tour and said they were “blown away” by him. Also, they met him & found him to be very genuine, funny & down-to-earth. He already said in an interview that we may hear a pop OR pop-rock record from him so he’s heading in the right direction.

  • Anny_nanny

    I’m so happy to see this:
    The guys are in search of, good luck them.
    Pleased photo Lee on 19R’s page. Looked Candice’s website. Hopefully, she will lose the white pants and all her photos in them. (Yeah, baby, I I’ll also love to look like a Big White Bear, when I need to scare anyone, but not everyone can appreciate my craving for beauty.)
    About Interscope and Candice: Maybe Jimmy grew a conscience, and he gave a contract to the winner of this year to someone, who knows how to sell this girl’s songs?

  • Anny_nanny

    He already said in an interview that we may hear a pop OR pop-rock record from him so he’s heading in the right direction

    That sounds good to me. My friends this year could not come to terms with the fact that Paul was eliminated so early after a very good performance (we are huge fans of The Beatles and get nervous every time when someone spoil our favorite songs, and we were pleasantly surprised at what Paul and Janelle had done) and we will be happy to hear that Paul found opportunity to continue to make music. I do not doubt that I love him more when he does not pretend to be country-boy.
    I heard that he writes songs and even met somewhere a link to his original music that he recorded before the show, I hope he will be able to get at least some momentum from his participation on the AI ??for a career.

  • crazicoolgirl

    Paul was amazing on tour and I couldn’t disagree more with the comment that Blown Away was not the right choice of song for him to sing. He totally commanded the stage and gave a wonderful vocal performance. Paul showed nothing but full commitment when he was on stage. He was the star of the Locked Out of Heaven group number. He truly took over the stage and made the performance come to life. I also got to meet Paul after the show as well and he was the most down-to-earth and sweetest guy in the world. His dedication to his fans was so heart touching. He truly loves all of his fans so much and he wanted to spend as much time as he could with each of them. I was lucky enough to get to spend 15 minutes chatting with him. Paul is completely ready and determined to take the music world by storm. I can totally see him go pop, pop/country or even pop rock. His voice is so versatile that it will be able to cross many genres. His personality was so amazing. We never got to see the fun side of Paul on the show because they did not want us to see that. He truly is a talented and gifted singer who is going to have an amazing career ahead of him. I for one can’t wait to buy his album and go and see him on his solo tour. I totally see him getting into acting and fashion as well. He is the complete package. He is going to do it all and I truly am excited to be a part of his journey to success. :)