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. ETA: Angie 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.