Tonight, the Top 6 sing TWO songs each! One, from the songbook of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The other is a song of the singer’s own choosing billed as “A Song I Wish I Had Written.”
I’ll be liveblogging all of the action right here! Will Lazaro remember his words tonight? Stay tuned to find out!
Halfway through tonight’s show I began to seriously wonder if there wasn’t somebody in the Idol production office trying to sabotage the show. The Bacharach/David theme was a ridiculous decision for this particular set of contestants. It was obvious most of them didn’t know or really feel connected to the songs they were singing.
Maybe Angie Miller could be forgiven for performing her “Anyone Who Had a Heart” as if she were reciting it from a recipe book. The 19 year old probably hasn’t suffered much heartbreak in her short life. But it was painfully obvious that she was just not feeling the song.
Ditto Janelle Arthur who looked silly as she flitted her way through “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.” I can’t WAIT to hear how she got stuck with that song. The bus is already backing up. At this point of the competition, there is only room for ONE country crooner, and that’s going to be Kree Harrison.
I would bet Kree had heard of “What the World Needs Now.” The arrangement was lovely, especially the a’cappella opening. But I was hoping for something a little livelier from her. Amber’s take on “I Say a Little Prayer” was solid, but based on the judges’ effusive praise, you would think she had just cured cancer or something. It was just a’ight for me. Candice had some brilliant moments as she put her spin on “Don’t Make Me Over,” but she’s had better performances. The theme was a total bust.
Lazaro Arbos’ “Close to You” exceeded expectations. But not in the way you would think. I fully expected him to tank on a song he likely never heard before. On top of the pressure to learn two songs, it seemed to be a disaster in the making. But who knew we’d get the Titanic, the Johnstown Flood and Chernobyl all rolled into one! Lazaro barely remembered the words. But he also: Sang out of tune. Missed a key change. Totally lost his timing. Enunciated words like he was speaking a foreign language. Somewhere, Sanjaya, Camile Velasco and Kristy Lee Cook are smiling. Their disastrous Idol performances have been trumped big time. “Close to You” is at least in the Top 10 of Worst Idol Performances Ever. You know what? It might be the worst. It really was that bad.
Here’s the thing. The judges can’t complain. They advanced him to the voting rounds on the back of a juicy backstory. Of course, by the Top 40, they had to know he was mediocre and couldn’t learn music quickly. He may be able to carry a tune. Sort of. But he totally lacks musicality and has no business pursuing music, other than a hobby. At this point, I have to admit, he’s kind of entertaining in a popcorn-worthy way. But really? He needs to go home. Now.
The second half of the show improved considerably and included two FINE performances. Kree Harrison sang “Help Me Make it Through the Night” from the heart, with exquisite tone and phrasing. She really is something special.
But it was Candice Glover who had her personal best of the season. Her rendition of “Love Song” by The Cure was inventive, powerful and astonishing. A world class vocalist, she supplied the water cooler moment Idol so desperately needs right now. If Candice and Kree aren’t the final two, I’m gonna throw a temper tantrum! I am.
Janelle, Amber and Angie all stepped it up in this round. Duh. They were singing songs squarely in their comfort zone. Angie was back behind the piano, where she belongs, and gave a heartfelt performance of a Christian contemporary hit, “Love Came Down.” Amber finally went upbeat, successfully navigating Beyonce’s “Love on Top.” Janelle sang a lovely version of Garth Brooks’ “The Dance.”
Lazaro sang “Angels” a tune he performed in Hollywood. It wasn’t a disaster. But it was far from good. Again. The kid is way way past his expiration date.
The marked difference between the first and second half illustrates perfectly how a decent theme can make a difference. I just don’t understand why the producers insist on foisting terrible themes on the contestants.
Lazaro should be heading home tomorrow. I thought he might have another week or two in him, but he’s hit a new personal low of terrible. Only his most die hard fans would vote for him at this point. But, it doesn’t matter. Either Laz is going home, or a girl will be saved. It’s all good either way.
The show opens with clips of Burnell’s elimination last week. It’s like, for the first time, they care about the person who has left.
Oh. Clips of the remaining contestants sharing how they feel about making the Top 6. Lazaro says that he’s confident that he’ll get to the Top 5! Sadly, I am too. THERE’S NIGEL! Nice to know he hasn’t been sh*tcanned.
The top 6 take the stage. The Bacharach/Hal David songs are first.
Angie Miller – “Anyone Who Had A Heart” – She makes embarrassing videos with her friend to hardcore music…which she loves. Alrighty. She’s Enunciating. Every. Word. I’m not feeling this. Where is the hurt? The heartbreak? This is so tame. You aren’t connecting Angie! Super cruise ship version. Like she was reading the phone book. Literally. Keith compliments her looks. Uh oh. He loves her voice, but she can’t rely on it alone. He was waiting for the passion (NOT JUST YOU). He wants an impassioned performance. It looked too easy. No humanity. BINGO. Nicki agrees with Keith. Amazing voice, she says. Maybe it’s a song she’s not passionate about? Nicki wonders. She says it felt old fashioned. Randy agrees. She’s got to digest the lyric like it’s one she wrote. Felt the second verse was better. Mariah notes her perfect enunciation. MIND MELD WITH MARIAH. Yes. She was clipping the words as if she was reading them off a teleprompter. I dunno, maybe she didn’t like the song? – 1-866-436-5701 – 1-866-436-5707
Angie Miller – Anyone Who Had A Heart… by IdolxMuzic
Idol was just inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Ryan brandishes the trophy
Amber Holcomb – “I Say A Little Prayer” – She eats frozen cooked shrimp out of the bag. It’s a shrimp-scicle! Eh. Zzzzzzz. Did the producers spike the kids throat coat with drugs tonight? This performance is also really dull. I’m not feeling Amber’s competent, but languid performance. Sorry. The last verse and chorus are tricky, and she makes some mistakes, but at least it’s livelier. Nicki says, “I AM BOWING DOWN FOR YOU LITTLE GIRL.” Really? “You are unbelievable. You are everything. You have just become my favorite girl in the competition.” And…that same person spiked Nicki’s drink with uppers. Randy says “The competition just started. Amber is trying to win. Amber has arrived.” Mariah calls it genius. “You decided to be Amber. You can do a lot of singers justice.” I WANT WHAT THEY’RE ON. At least Mariah admits she made some errors. Keith loves that she didn’t over perform. He compares her to a summer breeze and appreciates that her performances are always felt. – 1-866-436-5702 – 1-866-436-5708
Amber Holcomb – I Say A Little Prayer… by IdolxMuzic
Lazaro Arbos – Close to You – He loves hunting and riding 4 wheelers. Who knew. “Why do birds suddenly apeeeee.” His enunciation is TERRIBLE. This is so so pitchy. OMG. He’s COMPLETELY LOST HIS TIMING. AND he missed a key change. This is a disaster. Dear God. That might be the WORST performance on IDOL EVER. Lazaro has NO musicality and has no business being a singer. Sorry NOT SORRY. Randy is speechless. “NO NO NO NO. That was horrible. He calls it the worst performance he’s ever heard on the show. Mariah says, “There can’t be a key change and you stay in the old key.” She says she’s been reprimanded by TPTB (yes, she used the acronym!) about being too nice. She’d like to be nice, but she can’t, she says. Mariah is now blathering on about singing soft songs. Oh geez Mariah. Her credo: Why use 3 words when 50 will do! Will she ever stop talking. Keith thinks the key was too low to begin with. But managing a key change? “You’ve got to have an ear for that.” Lazaro obviously does not. Nicki rolls her eyes, declining to comment. “We’ll be here forever honey chile,” throwing a little shade to Mariah and her non-stop blathering. “We kind of changed keys a lot,” Lazaro whines helplessly. C’mon kid. Own it for once.– 1-866-436-5703 – 1-866-436-5709
Lazaro Arbos – Close to You – American Idol 12… by IdolxMuzic
Kree Harrison – ”What the World Needs Now” – Kree gets a little time before her performance to introduce her brother. Oh. And she LOVES RODEOS. Ah. And now my palette is cleansed. Kree begins the song a’capella, and it’s gorgeous. Her warm voice envelopes the song like a comfy blanket…but I kept waiting for the song to take off. She’s still holding back. Still, she mixed up the arrangement–a lovely rendition. Mariah loves that she knows who she is and notes that she probably had a hand in the arrangement. Mariah appreciates that Kree isn’t TRYING to produce an emotional response. OK MARIAH YOU MADE YOUR POINT SHUT UP NOW. Gah. She rambles! Keith feels her warmth and compassion when she sings. It’s the best she’s ever sung, he says. Nicki calls her voice sweet and humble but hella cocky at the same time. She’s ready to make a record, says Nicki. Randy agrees, but loves that she came after Lazaro BECAUSE SHE CAN SING THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. – 1-866-436-5704 – 1-866-436-5710
Kree Harrison – What the World Needs Now… by IdolxMuzic
Janelle Arthur– “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” – This is definitely NOT one of Janelle’s better vocals. She saunters over to flirt with Keith a little and doesn’t seem at all comfortable. Bacharach and David have songs that could have hit her sweet spot. I don’t understand why she’s forcing something that’s clearly not for her. Could this be producer shenanigans? Hm. Keith liked seeing another side of her. Nicki has no doubt that she could be a commercial success, but the performance was really boring. Randy calls it lackluster. Mariah liked the simplicity at the beginning, but feels she didn’t need to push the second verse. – 1-866-436-5705 – 1-866-436-5711
Janelle Arthur – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again… by IdolxMuzic
Candice Glover – “Don’t Make Me Over” – Candice sings a dialect of the Island she lives on and it’s kinda crazy! Like Kree, Candice changes up the arrangement. But at the end, she adds a fancy key change and shoots to a breathtaking high note. Candice takes it to church in the last chorus and it’s pretty great. Girlfriend ALWAYS attempts to change it up and make it current. Candice has had better performances. But that’s relatively speaking. She rarely misses. Nicki didn’t think it sounded old fashioned. It was so intense, she wanted to have a woman’s revival. She was BORN to do this. Exquisite. Randy says, “This is what this show is all about. She’s in it to win it. Best performance of the night.” He thinks it was one of her best performances ever. Hm. I don’t think so. Mariah says she kept a classic current. and “made it you.” Keith says she’s now in his top 3. Ironic that they are praising her and calling her the best AFTER leaving her out of their Top 3s last week. That performance was great, it was ambitious. But I wouldn’t call it her best ever. – 1-866-436-5706 – 1-866-436-5712
Candice Glover – Don’t Make Me Over – American… by IdolxMuzic
Angela Miller – “Love Came Down” by Kari Jobe – Angie is back to piano. Please stay there? I don’t like this song particularly, but it’s PERFECT for Angie. I’m so relieved that Angie has a pulse tonight. I was a little worried. But thankfully, she comes alive here. She fits squarely into the CCM genre. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t head there after the show. Randy loved it, because it’s exactly who she is. “Amazing” he says. Mariah “That piano and you. You never lose. Perfect.” Keith says once she tours, she’ll become more comfortable with performing out front. Nicki says performances like tonight, will be the only time she’s remembered at the top of the pack. She warns her not to stray from who she is. Nicki is very animated tonight. Candice Amber And Kree will take all of the trophies if she doesn’t step up every week.
Angie Miller – Love Came Down – American Idol… by IdolxMuzic
Amber Holcomb – “Love On Top” by Beyoncé – Before her performance, she talks a little bit about her new boo, Burnell. “We’re just getting to know each other,” she says. It’s such a welcome relief to finally get some upbeat from Amber in the finals! The song is tricky and she navigates the changes beautifully. Mariah felt her joy singing the song, but it wasn’t her favorite vocal. Keith loved the song choice. Nicki warns Beyonce to watch out. “Yes ma’am you have arrived. The stallion legs are popping.” Randy intones, “Yes yes yes. This girl is in it to win it.” Take a drink every time Randy says “In it to Win it” and you will be very very wasted.
Amber Holcomb – Love On Top – American Idol 12… by IdolxMuzic
Lazaro Arbos – “Angels” by Robbie Williams – It’s not the horror that “Close to You” was. Obviously, he’s been singing this song for awhile. But it’s still pitchy and boring. His enunciation is awful. Keith likes elements to his tone, citing it as a reason why the judges advanced him. But the girls are crazy good. Is that an attempt to justify why you PUT HIM THROUGH TO THE VOTING ROUNDS. WHILE PIMPING THE HELL OUT OF HIS BACK STORY. Tsk. Nicki says, “What he said.” Randy notes it’s slightly better. But it’s a girls year. Mariah says it’s a better range for him. It’s like the judges are SCARED to critique him at this point. No matter what they say…he keeps coming back.
Lazaro Arbos – Angels – American Idol 12 (Top 6) by IdolxMuzic
Back from commercial break. WELCOME BACK TO THE ORIGINAL SHOW THAT LAUNCHES SUPERSTARS says Ryan. Sigh.
Kree Harrison – ”Help Me Make it Through The Night” – Kree has much affection for this song, covered by many of her musical heros. There you are Kree! Now this is what I’m talking about. She turns this tune into an aching, lovely weeper. She’s completely connected to the heartbreak and longing in the song. No fancy stuff, just her warm, honeyed vocal, making me believe every single word. Nicki says she’s at the head of the class. She throws shade on Janelle. Kree can sing a song she’s never heard and make her believe it, while Janelle can’t Why you got to do that Nicki? Randy calls her a “natural singer.” He says, “You sell the story. You sing the song. I love the ease with which you sang that.” Mariah covered that song. “That’s how that song should be sung,” she says. Keith calls it a “buckle polisher.” He predicts that she will become a member of the Grand Ole Opry some day. “Real country music” he calls it.
Kree Harrison – Help Me Make it Through The… by IdolxMuzic
Janelle Arthur – “The Dance” – I kinda winced when I heard she was singing this corny song, but her vocal here is lovely. Such a huge difference from her first performance, albeit a few wobbles here and there. Very heartfelt. Randy believed her story, though didn’t think it was her best performance. Mariah never heard the song. She really appreciated it and felt it was true. LOL. That song was not written by Garth, says Keith after Randy gave Garth kudos as a songwriter. Keith felt the song could have been even more stripped back. Nicki felt she stepped it up. But, she still doesn’t think it was enough to get a leg up on the other girls. Has the bussing of Janelle begun? No more little marshmallow I guess…
Janelle Arthur – The Dance – American Idol 12… by IdolxMuzic
Candice Glover – “Love Song” – Candice LOVES to sing about love! Aw. But Candice doesn’t have a boyfriend. OK. What the hell? I CAN’T EVEN. This vocal is everything. Style, pizazz, TOTAL EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT. HOLY SH*T. This performance is a freaking vocal asterclass. Candice grabbed that song and KICKED ITS ASS. That note at the end? Was otherworldly. Unbelievable skill and prowress. Candice melds soul, blues and jazz seamlessly here. I didn’t think of Adele (who covered The Cure original) once. Mariah comes up on stage to throw her some glitter at her. Randy is literally losing his mind. Candice is crying. “One of the greatest performances in the history of Idol.” Oh Randy. Your hyperbole. But he’s not too far off the mark. “You show them how to do it baby,” he says. The judges spring to their feet. There’s not much time left. But is there really anything left to say? Keith says all the stars lined up tonight. Randy has to top himself, “It’s one of the greatest performances on ANY TALENT SHOW EVER.” BTW, Did anybody hear that sound glitch? It was like something from the exorcist took over my TV!
Candice Glover – Love Song – American Idol 12… by IdolxMuzic