It took my wife and I halfway through the show to realize that the theme was "Songs that the former Idol winners have sung" (either on the show or recorded). We were very perplexed by the song choices up until then! Anyway, that being said, the big winner of the night was Kelly Clarkson as it should be! That also being said, it's tough for me to judge fairly because I was comparing every performance to 1 of the most famous and successful 2 Idol winners. Anyway, recap is after the jump!
- Curtis Finch Jr: Fantasia's (penned by Season 1's Tamyra Gray) "I Believe" - Outfit was horrendous. Performance made me miss Fantasia, which is saying something considering I think she's one of the worst winners of the show (and absolutely one of the worst role models. Has she learned to read yet?) The guys are just weak overall last night, but this forgettable performance on top of going first might spell trouble for ol' Finchy boy.
- Janelle Arthur: Montgomery Gentry's "Gone" (previously performed by Scotty McCreery) - I haven't been a big fan of Janelle's and thought that there were other girls that should have gotten in ahead of her. But, this was my favorite performance of hers. That's not really saying much because she's still one of the weakest girls in the competition. We'll see what happens.
- Devin Velez: Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home" - This is probably my least favorite Carrie Underwood song, so it figures that this Devin dude would sing it. As my wife said, the guy missed the entire message of the song. Sure, they discuss moving from home to home in this mortal life, but the last verse (which he didn't sing) is all about meeting our maker and realizing that EARTH is our temporary home. Anyway, when Carrie sings it at least it soothes the soul and makes us question life, the universe and everything. Devin did us no such favors. He's a good singer, but this song did not suit him. And it turned into a bland one note showstopper (not the good kind). Devin is one of 2 contestants that I feel has this sort of egotistical aura about them. It could be just the way their facial expressions are, but I can't help feeling that he thinks he's better than all of us and his contestants. Just my gut reaction these past few weeks! Anyway, I think he could be in danger.
- Angie Miller: Celine Dion's "I Surrender" (Previously performed by a vocal cord stressed Kelly Clarkson in season 1) - Even hoarse, Kelly put out one great performance with a lot of soul. I like Angie, and I know she's one of the favorites this year. But, the fact that I was forced to compare the performances made me vastly underwhelmed by Angie. Sure, the judges loved her and I'm sure most of America loved her. She'll be fine this week, but looking ahead I'm a little worried about her pageant-like delivery of a lot of these songs. That big powerhouse moment of this song was just not there. She hit the note, but I didn't feel the power in it. It was almost like she surrendered to both Celine and Kelly. But, hey what do I know?
- Paul Jolley: Lonestar's "Amazed"(Sang by basically all American Idol contestants, but I guess we go with Scotty here) - I believe that a majority of the south is behind ol Paul Jolley being a Tennessee native and all. He definitely has that broadway "flare" about him (was that nice and PC way of saying it?) so trying to tone that down I'm sure is difficult. And what it seemed to me is that he tried to hold back the whole performance. And of course, when the judges said they could tell he was in his head, when Ryan asked him about it he answered YES as if that's what he was supposed to be doing. No Paul, you're not supposed to be thinking about it. JUST SING your heart out!! Not sure about Paul this week. I think he'll be safe, but we'll see.
- Candice Glover: Shirley Bassey's "I (Who Have Nothing)" (Previously performed by the last female winner, Jordin Sparks in season 6) - Easily one of the top 3 performances of the night. Amazing. I'll say this about Candice. I like when she sings songs I know and not these R&B album cuts that no one knows. She has a powerful instrument and could be lethal in this competition if she chooses the right songs.
- Lazaro Arbos: Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" - Are we past the point now where we have to keep feeling sorry for Lazaro? I don't mean to be mean. I think it's amazing that he's able to sing with his condition, but I don't really think he's cut out for the finals here. We all knew that he'd get her, and he might still pull in a sympathy vote. But dude, don't sing Kelly. You are nowhere in her league! And then to change the chorus like that? Why??? And then, Keith, why on earth would you ask him an open ended question where you know he would struggle to answer!? Ouch. Either the producers made him do it to keep that sympathy vote rolling in, or he regretted it 5 seconds into the answer. I think he may be in trouble this week, but that extra vote coming his way may save him.
- Kree Harrison: Roy Orbison's "Crying" (Performed by Carrie Underwood in season 4) - Another one of the top 3 performances of the night. Outstanding. Kree is probably my favorite this year. While the Idol machine has been pushing Angie into everyone's hearts, Kree has slowly made us realize that she's the vocal powerhouse this year. She sings with emotion, conviction and awesomeness. I hope to see her power right through to the end, but we'll see what happens.
- Burnell Taylor: Ruben Studdard"Flying Without Wings" - This song should have never seen the light of day again. Who on earth would sing it? I guess we got our answer. Burnell's schtick is getting kind of old with me too. The whole standing still and mildly mumbling out a song with an almost chipmunk type voice. I don't get it. I can tell he's talented, but he really needs to bring it more than he did. This was awful for me.
- Amber Holcomb: Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" - Some people wait a lifetime to never hear this song again. Yet, Amber made the decision to take it on. And Idol made the decision to turn the lights down and the 15 spotlights up on her while she sang a very good rendition of it. Yes, she was the other one of the 3 top performances of the night, but something rubs me the wrong way about her too. Just like Devin, it seems like she's expecting the good feedback. Again, it could be just how she is and she was truly shocked to hear good things from the judges. But, she just seems to be a bit of a head case. Like she really thinks she's the next Whitney Houston. She's very talented, and I won't take that away from her. But, I'd like to keep tabs on this as the competition goes along!
Okay, I've already spent too much time on this recap, so let's cut to the chase!
Great: Amber, Candice, Kree
Better than Good: Angie
Worst of the Girls But still decent: Janelle
Maybe the best of the guys but worse than the girls: Paul
Toss-up for the boot: Curtis, Devin, Lazaro, Burnelle
Bottom 3: Curtis, Devin, Lazaro Wildcard Pick: Paul
Elimination Pick: Curtis Finch Jr. - Curtis, we hardly knew you, but because of your red paisley blazer, we'll never forget you!
Idol has smartly steered this competition to 5 decently talented girls and 5 mostly non-guitar playing guys. If a girl doesn't win this year, there is absolutely no hope for the show! The downside is, based on the talent level, it's going to be almost impossible for any guy to stay in the competition past the girls. Maybe one could stay in longer than Janelle. We'll see. Anyway, that's all I have for this week, we can discuss the results in the comments of this post if you like. And, of course, I'd love to hear your opinions on the show as well! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll most likely see you next week!