Thursday, March 28, 2013

American Idol: Season 12 Top 8 Perform

Hello Idol watchers! Another year another Motown night....excuse me...."Music from Detroit" night!  Of course, the only reason to call it that was because a Madonna song was also performed.  Maybe I was in a foul or cynical mood last night, but I really didn't find any of the "competing performances" very good.  A lot of them were passable, but nothing stood out as phenomenal.  The girls had great group performances (one more than the other).  And, I have a feeling that something that happened during the group performances might have affected the voting last night.  It may be a risky move especially since I'm 2 for 2 right now, but risks must be taken when competing in the "no stakes Idol elimination picks" non-competition!  Anyway, let's go into our brief recap and see where we land.

The Competition Performances

  1. Candice Glover - Marvin Gaye's "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" - It was bluesy, it was on pitch, it was good.  In hindsight after seeing the rest of the performances, it was better than a lot of her fellow contestants, which isn't a surprise.  But, at the time I was watching I was kind of bored.  The bluesy rendition was exciting for the first 30 seconds, but then it just seemed to fall into a funk of boringness and my mind started wandering.  But, in no way do I think she'll be in danger tonight. 
  2. Lazaro Arbos - Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life" - I hate to beat a dead horse.  He is way out of his league.  The only thing keeping him alive now is "" and "Sympathy Votes R Us".  There is no room for improvement or growth.  He is what he is.  The honeymoon is over.  BUT, the factors at play here are still powerful.  There should be no excuse for him not to see the bottom 3, but I think he'll still stay alive in the competition.  One thing different tonight was that they didn't let him talk, so that may lessen the sympathy vote (seriously, I'm not trying to be mean, just real).  BUT, the group round performance may just have saved him for all the wrong reasons.  We'll get to that. 
  3. Janelle Arthur - The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hanging On" - I give her an "A" for artistic choices with the song.  I give her a "C" for "I can't stand her voice!"  Really, it's the Taylor Swift syndrome.  Love her songwriting skills, I just wish someone else was singing them.  Janelle is definitely a lot better than I originally thought she was, but there's something about that Jewel-like tone to her voice that drives me crazy and it drives HER into all sorts of off-pitch notes.  (pitchy, if you will.)  But, if the Twitter Hashtags have told us anything about the American Idol audience, it's that the majority loves their country music!  (count me in with that crew)  So, I think Janelle will be safe.  She may have even gained votes by the ousting of Tennessee Broadway Pop star Paul Jolley's ousting.  Granted, there is still the almighty powerhouse of Kree to deal with as well. 
  4. Devin Velez - The Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears" - It's a bold bold thing to sing a song that a previous Idol contestant nailed and cracked the Top 10 of Idol performances.  I'm not even a Glambert fan, but we all must pause and remember how good he was on this (Also, bonus remembrance of judge Kara DioGuardi. "I've got six words for you. 'One of the best performances of the night'" LOL If that doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will!) .  If you have that in mind when listening to Devin take it on, it's not even close.  If you put that aside, Devin was pretty darn good.  Now, if he could just change that egotistical expression on his face that annoys the hell out of me, I might be able to take him seriously!  This was definitely his best week that I've seen him.  But, put up against the girls, he still is a notch below. 
  5. Burnell Taylor - Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour" - Ahh, yet another voice I can't stand.  There's no denying Burnell can sing.  But, that's not going to put me in his camp of supporters.  The tone to his voice is just bizarre and puts me off any time he's singing.  He also is very expressionless when he performs.  And, come on, the dude was dressed like Cab Calloway.  If it was just this performance that he was REALLY judged on, he may or may not have been in danger.  But, if anyone was going to decide NOT to vote for him, it would have been based on the group round.  We'll get there. 
  6. Angie Miller - The Miracles' "Shop Around" -  So, the big question is when is Angie's grace period going to be over?  I really want to like her.  I really do.  I also really want to sound like a broken record today!  The girl doesn't really have much range.  You can tell that, when the judges just keep asking her to go back to the piano.  They want her to recreate the magic of Hollywood Week.  We've seen this many times before.  There are certain contestants that do really really well on ONE song in particular.  There was that dude a few years back with the great rendition of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" on the guitar, but couldn't sing a lick of anything else.  Remember Sundance in season 2?  (Was that season 2?)  He did a great great great audition with "Mustang Sally" but couldn't do anything else.  In this case, Angie did an original song.  She was proud of that song, she sang that song like she owned it (because she technically does, copyright pending).  I don't think we'll get another performance like that until she can sing something of her own.  Which, I'm guessing will be at the season finale and not as her victory song.   She still is one of the most popular contestants, so she'll be safe for awhile.   Anyway, I didn't really critique the performance.  But, it just was not her.  If she was anyone else, this would be a bottom 3 scare, but I'm guessing she'll be fine. 
  7. Amber Holcomb - Stevie Wonder's "Lately" -  Everyone sure loves to sing some Stevie on this show!  So, she was in the bottom 3 last week.  Was this enough to boost her back to the top?  You would think so.  She was really good.  But the Idol audience is pretty fickle!  I do like Amber, ego aside.  I don't think she's going to win, but I think she was better than a lot of the other performances tonight. 
  8. Kree Harrison - Ben E. King's "Don't Play that Song (You Lied)" -  I was really excited to see that Kree was going last this week.  But, as we know, that doesn't guarantee a great performance this season.  And this one certainly wasn't her best.  It didn't help that I was already comparing it to when Kelly sang it.  And Miss Clarkson OWNED it!  The Queen of Soul needed to just go to YouTube instead of watching Kree last night.  Kree was still very good and she's still my favorite in the competition.  SAFE! 

Group Performances
  1. Kree and Janelle: Madonna's "Like a Prayer" - Better than the boys, I'll say that.  Bonus points for picking something other than Motown music.  Yes, Nicki, Kree was better than Janelle but that's like telling a person with 20/20 non-color blind vision that the sky is blue.  Weird critique considering they weren't supposed to be judged on it.  Funny, that they took so long with this critique that each of the other group performances only got one judge's commentary.  I don't think this performance helped or hurt either one of them. 
  2. Candice, Angie, Amber: The Supremes' "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" - Easily my favorite performance of the night.  It was right in the middle of this performance that I was thinking, "Oh man, we have to hear the guys sing something too?" (Which I was eventually looking forward to just to enjoy the train wreck.)  Funny, Angie sounded so much better on this performance than her competition performance.  But it was Candice and Amber that brought their "A" game to the performance.  Great harmonies, great melodies, great performance.  Though, you could tell there was a choir singing with them, even if they were off stage.  Just saying! 
  3. Burnell, Devin and (maybe) Lazaro: The 4 Tops "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" - Any time I hear this song on Idol, I have PTSD thoughts of Scott Savol back in the day.  But, my violent nightmares may start to recall this disaster from now on.  Maybe, it was a bit unfair to group Lazaro with anyone, as he truly did mess up the other 2 guys in singing a relatively simple song.  We know it was him because the camera was right on him when he wasn't singing, and the other 2 guys were just looking at him.  After that moment, none of them were on their game and it was just bad.  Really Really bad.  But you know what's worse?  Selling out your fellow contestant in front of millions and millions of voters.  Maybe they thought it was all in good fun, but they were not thinking ahead of how bad that would look.  Burnell and Devin BOTH made comments that they learned their lines.  One of them even admitted to TRYING to save the performance.  But, I think Burnell will take the biggest beating for the remark since he said it first and he got the BIG SHOCKED EYES from Randy when he said it.  If anyone was on the fence about voting for Burnell, this must have turned them off.  Maybe Devin too.  And you know who they'll feel bad for?  Poor old Lazaro who is in over his head and totally oblivious to what's going on around him.  Yikes. 
So, tough week to make a pick.  I wouldn't be surprised if I get this week wrong, but I gotta go with my gut here. 

Definitely safe: Kree, Angie, Candice
Decent Performances: Janelle, Amber, Devin
Eh: Burnell
Ugh: Lazaro
Idiotic: Burnell, Devin

Bottom 3: Burnell, Devin, Lazaro Wildcard: Janelle

Elimination Pick: Burnell - For sheer stupidity.  America is watching your every move!  You don't sell out the guy who has the country's sympathy on national television!

That's the only thing I can come up with.  Obviously, Lazaro should be the one going home, but I still think it's too soon for that to happen.  The boys really are the worst contestants.  Those girls are forces to be reckoned with.  At some point in this competition, I could see Janelle gaining in popularity over Amber. It may have already happened, but I'm still not seeing it personally!  And one would think if Angie continues on her current trajectory, she should be sliding down soon as well. We'll see! 

That's all I have for today.  Get ready for some Keith Urban tonight! (seriously, the dude has mad skills.  Saw him in concert before)  And some great worship music from Mr. Colton Dixon!  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week! 


Leslie said...

I'm with you this week again. Nobody really wowed me. Overall, Kree is my favorite, and you know I'm not into country, but she just seems so comfortable up there. Candice probably comes next. I want to like Angie, too, but she just seemed awkward last night. I'd be happy if any of the guys went this week, but like you said, it should be Lazaro.

Mike V. said...

It's not like Kree was really being country last night anyway! lol

But yeah, sounds like we're definitely on the same page. We'll see what happens!

Leslie said...

Yeah, I know, I was referring to Kree as my top pick overall.

I was also wondering if they all really knew who Smokey Robinson was before this week. Most of them gushed over meeting him, but do you think they really knew?