Could Idol producers be making their desire for a girl winner any more obvious? For starters, they begin the show with a dramatic questions. IT HAS BEEN SIX YEARS SINCE A GIRL WON IDOL. CAN SEASON 12’s LADIES RECLAIM THE TITLE! Set to a backdrop of those long-ago winners and the girls the producers hope will break the 5 year sausage fest.
And to show, us, the viewers, that they mean business, the episode–featuring a last round of solos with the Idol band–kicks off with 3 girls who are obviously the producer’s top 3 contenders. And natch, they trio represent different genres. “At this point,” the producers seem to say, “we aren’t picky.”
Not to say they haven’t chosen 3 very talented girls to pimp. Angela has some really impressive songwriting chops and an expressive, throaty voice. Janelle Arthur and Candice Glover are returnees. The former, an old schoolish country singer and the latter a confident R&B singer. Idol does begin the show with a good question. Can they beat the boys. I’d like to think yes, but I’m not yet convinced they can.
But once the voting rounds begin, as Ellie Goulding would say, “Anything Can Happen.” We may not have even seen much of the contestant who will eventually rise to the top.
Was splitting up the boys and girls in Hollywood a successful twist? Hm. I bet they never do it again. Frankly, I was relieved to see the boys return at the end of the episode tonight. I mean, what is this…Catholic school? If the twist was designed to help the girls to shine–I don’t think it made a difference. This year’s Hollywood rounds were generally better than last year’s puke-fest, but I keep wondering what a few nights of mixed-gender groups could have yielded. And let the kids pick their own groups! Half of the drama comes the kids scrambling to find others to sing with.
Angela Miller is up first. She will risk it all and sing an original song. It’s about being set free from baggage, she explains. She sits at the piano to sing “You Set Me Free.” She’s only 18 years old and from Beverly MA. I can look forward to the local media shifting into overkill covering this girl. Yay. “Good Lord!” exclaims Keith. “We may have a show,” says Randy. And we have a contender. The girl definitely has songwriting talent and a great big voice, capable of expressing great emotion. Nicki says that up until that moment, she was not at the top of the judges minds. Now all of that has changed.
Candice Glover – Girl on Fire – Hell yea. CANDICE IS ON FIRE. Although, I am really really REALLY sick of this song, Candice makes it her own, as they say. “You did your own thing with it, in such a powerful way,” says Keith, “Well done.”
Janelle Arthur – This is her 3rd year at the rodeo. Is it finally her time? Her throaty, emotional performance of “I Told You So”–warm and full of emotion– suggests YES. She’s got an old school vibe, yet sounds really fresh. “I love that you always keep it subtle” says Nicki, “You are a country superstar.”
The producers are not being subtle. They just revealed to us who they consider to be the 3 top female contenders.
Zoanette Johnson is about to hit the stage with her DRUM SET. Erm. She plans to wing it. She blithely admits that she made the song up on stage the day before. Alrighty. This has got to be cheesing off the contestants who are working their asses off to prepare performances. She’s highly entertaining, bumbling comically on stage, making up rhymes about the judges. But she is a comedian, not a singer. The judges love it. “I am bowing down at your feet today,” says Nicki, calling it the Zoanette era. Even Mariah liked it. That looked like a hot mess to me. The judges have all gone Vote For The Worst, y’all.
Angela, Candice, Jenelle and Zoanette all advance to the next round. We don’t see her performance, but Jett Hermano moves on too. CAN YOU SAY FODDER.
Shubha Vedula sings the Mariah classic “When You Believe.” I’m not impressed with this old fashioned performance. Although, it is pretty ballsy to sing one of Mariah’s iconic songs. The good news–Mariah was pleased, calling it a nice moment.
Juliana Chahayed – “Landslide – Very pretty, but unremarkable.
Kez Ban – She performs a new original song, and it’s awful. I liked her the original song she sang for her audition song a lot. This not so much. It sounds like she took a tip from Zoanette and threw something together at the last minute. Only, the judges don’t like it so much. . Nicki says they appreciate and salute her artistry, but her journey ends today. Honestly–as it should. She’s not cut out for Idol. She explains to the camera that she tried out for the show because her mom is a fan, and she thought it would be fun (it was, she says). Now that she’s eliminated, she wants a staff job! Lowly PA or a boom dude is just fine with her. So odd. All in all, she was entertaining. But anytime a performer steps into that Idol cattle call to audition, they resign the right to act too cool for school. I’m just sayin’.
Ashlee Feliciano – “1000 years” – She’s not feeling well tonight. She needn’t worry, though, she sounded fine. Randy didn’t think it was a “bold” song choice, whatever that means. But in her defense, her delicate phrasing contained some beautiful vocal flourishes. I rather liked. that.
Melinda Ademi – “Price Tag” – Girl definitely has some swag, but underneath the stage moves, she’s really Celine Dion in disguise. Her voice lacks…playfulness? I can’t quite put my finger on it. Keith loves that she knows who she is.
Kree Harrison – “Stars” – She lost her dad in plane crash when she was 12. Seven years later her mom passed. Wow. Keith rubs his arms. GOOSIES. Her voice is one of his favorites in the entire competition. Mariah calls her genuine. Nicki is finally on board, “Today you became a star right in front of me.” When Mariah and Randy step on her critique, Nicki rolls her eyes. This performance wasn’t perfect, but there is something raw in her vocal that makes her special. I get why some Nashville types are already buzzing about her.
Melinda and Kree advance. Ashlee is sent home.
The remaining twenty-four girls are called back to the stage and told there will be more cuts. Randy asks Lauren Minks, Holly Marie Miller and Ariel Sprague to step forward. He cuts them immediately.
Randy continues to be the bearer of bad news, informing the girls that the last spot in the Top 20 will be determined by a SING OFF between Stephanie Schimel and Rachel Hale.
Stephanie is up first. She sings a countrified version of Phillip Phillips’ “Home.” Let’s just say…it’s interesting.
Next, it’s Rachel Hale. who flopped her solo performance earlier in the day. She pretty much nails her second chance, with Haley Reinhart’s “Undone”. Stephanie is toast. And the judges agree. Stephanie is sent home. The girls have been whittled down to 20.
Now, it’s time to reveal the Top 20 guys. Twenty eight guys take the stage. Which 20 will move on? We won’t find out until after Adam Sanders and Josh Holiday sing off.
Adam Sanders performs Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances” and he tanks it. Sooo off key. OUCH. The poor guy is choking. Sad.
Josh Holiday is next. He performs “Georgia On My Mind” Adam looks devastated, because Josh is NAILING IT. Like totally, to the wall. Big, on key glory notes included. So big–he splits his pants! Oops.
Nicki Minaj has some bad news to deliver. Adam Sanders is cut, along with 7 other contestants: Peter Garret, Marvin Calderone, Devin Jones, Kenny Harrison, Will White, Tony Foster and David Leathers Jr.
The Top 20 girls join the Top 20 guys on stage. A celebration ensues! Ryan announces that the Top 40 will move on to compete in Las Vegas!
And now people. YOU ARE FREE TO DISCUSS THE TOP 40
Top 20 Females
1. Adriana Latonio
2. Amber Holcomb
3. Angela Miller
4. Aubrey Cleland
5. Brandy Hotard
6. Breanna Steer
7. Candice Glover
8. Cristabel Clack
9. Isabel Pasqualone
10. Janelle Arthur
11. Jenny Beth Willis
12. Jett Hermano
13. Juliana Chahayed
14. Kamaria Ousley
15. Kree Harrison
16. Melinda Ademi
17. Rachel Hale
18. Shubha Vedula
19. Tenna Torres
20. Zoanette Johnson
Top 20 Males
1. Bryant Tadeo
2. Burnell Taylor
3. Charlie Askew
4. Chris Watson
5. Cortez Shaw
6. Curtis Finch, Jr.
7. David Willis
8. Devin Velez
9. Elijah Liu
10. Gurpreet Singh Sarin
11. Jimmy Smith
12. Johnny Keyser
13. Joshua “Josh” Holiday
14. Joshua “Josh” Jada Davila
15. Kevin Harris
16. Lazaro Arbos
17. Mathenee Treco
18. Nick Boddington
19. Paul Jolley
20. Vincent “Vince” Powell