American Idol Top 8 Recap and Analysis
It's Top 8 performance night and the theme is the music of Detroit. Hopefully we'll hear some Eminem. Smokey Robinson is in the audience, as he makes his annual appearance as a mentor. Normally this is Motown week, but I guess they are expanding to anyone who came from Detroit. Ryan announces there will also be group performances tonight but clarifies that it is a singles competition. Why have them then?
Candice Glover is up first. She is singing "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye. It looks like Ricky Williams grew his dreads back and is on saxophone. She tries to modernize her performance, which is impossible with this song. I think she loses some votes tonight. Keith loved it and said it was her best performance. Nicki is proud of her for keeping her eyes alive the whole performance. Randy thought it was amazing and crazy good. Mariah says she epitomizes what this competition is about. She wants more "churchy jazz" moments.
Kree Harrison and Janelle Arthur are signing the first duet of the night. They are doing a country twist on Madonna. They are singing Jennifer Nettle's version of "Like a Prayer." I doubt we'll see any burning crosses. They stood in the same spot all song and did not work the stage at all. Also, I didn't hear any country in this. There was a church choir and it sounded pretty close to the original. Even though this is a singles competition, we are going to hear comments from the judges. Nicki said Kree looked like she flew in to do a duet with an Idol contestant. She said Janelle was outshined. Randy said the pitch got away from Janelle. Mariah said it was a sisterhood moment. Kree tells Mariah "Happy Birthday" and she totally ignores it. (I believe it is her anniversary and not her birthday.) Keith said the song worked really well. He said they are not a duo and he is not going to say who was better than who. Amen. Ryan says that was just for fun. More like fun for the judges to rip Janelle apart and cost her some votes if she doesn't redeem herself in her solo performance later on.
Lazaro Arbos is up next and he is singing "For Once In My Life" by Stevie Wonder. This was definitely his best performance since the live shows started. However, his dancing is terrible. Randy says he didn't completely redeem himself, but it was far better than last week. He thought he was disconnected to the song a bit. Lazaro said "No problem, boo." For real. Mariah noticed most that his courage and guts were back. Keith said it was exponentially better than last week, but was not rhythmically in the right place for him. Nicki says he is definitely back and wants Smokey to be her sugar daddy. She says Lazaro did a great job because he stopped listening to Jimmy.
Janelle is back for her solo performance. Somehow, I'm sure Kree will still outshine her in this. She is singing "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by The Supremes. I guess there are no country artists from Detroit. She still is able to country-fy it. It actually was really good and could probably be on the radio right now. I think she earned her votes back that she lost in the duet. Mariah says it was Janelle at her finest. Keith said it was beautiful. Nicki says she always shines when she has her guitar, but she didn't think her voice was like it normally is. Randy thought it was incredible and Janelle is in it to win it.
Singing this year's performance of "The Tracks of My Tears" by The Miracles is Devin Velez. The arrangement was weird and the performance was boring. It's not looking good for Devin tonight. Keith says he has such great style and he needs to stop thinking so much and relax. Nicki said it was amazing and he looks like a ripe banana. Randy believes Devin is back tonight and one of his best performances. Mariah loved it. Either I am way off base or a genius because I think he is bottom 3 for sure.
Amber, Angie, and Candice are signing "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" by The Supremes. It looked like a performance straight off of Soul Train. Randy, Nicki, and Keith gave a standing ovation. Mariah said hashtag pow again.
Burnell Taylor is the next solo performer, and he is singing "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder. Smokey said Stevie was fourteen when he recorded that song. Wow. Whoever dressed Burnell gets the fault for this performance being so old fashioned. I thought it was terrible and boring, especially for someone who has had so many great performances. Keith gave him a standing ovation. Nicki said he looks like a priest and the performance was very good. I guess they are going to love everyone tonight. Randy loves his choices. Mariah loves the ensemble. She thinks he did a really good job with it.
Angie Miller is up next, and she is rocking out to "Shop Around" by The Miracles. I think this is her worst performance on the show. I still think she will win it, though. She is the whole package. Just a poor song choice. Randy says it was strange and the first time she had such a pitchy performance. Mariah says she had very sexy moments and was risque. She would have rather heard her at the piano singing "I'll Be There." Keith said the melody kept pulling her down and was the reason why she went sharp all the time. Nicki said she came out to try and show a different side of Angie that doesn't need to be seen and continued to rip her a new one. Angie said she just wanted to have fun.
Amber Holcomb is singing "Lately" by Stevie Wonder. This girl sounds like the next Whitney Houston. Even though I think Angie is going to win, I think Amber is going to be a superstar. She gets the full panel standing ovation. Mariah said it was f'ing incredible. Keith said she picked the right song and she felt it beautifully. Nicki says if she wears pink lipstick she'll get more votes. She said she is something that is very very special. Randy said it was the best vocal of the night.
The last group performance of the night is Burnell, Devin, and Lazaro singing "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" by The Four Tops. Horrible, just horrible. The dancing and signing both. Nicki said she didn't know what that was, but she was gonna act like she didn't see it or hear it. She felt like she was back in Hollywood week and told them to get off the stage. Then all three threw each other under the bus like it was group week. Strange segment.
Kree Harrison is up last and she is my last hope for Eminem, but she is signing "Don't Play That Song" by Aretha Franklin. She wants to bring more attitude to the stage. She sings so effortlessly. She will be the next big country star to come from American Idol. Randy said it was not the perfect performance, but was unbelievable. ??? Mariah commends her for doing the song. Keith loves that she keeps reminding people of the blues and soul roots in country music. Nicki said she is a queen.
Jeff's pick for Bottom 3: Devin, Burnell, and Candice.
Going Home: Devin