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American Idol Season 12 - Top 4 Recap (Round 2)
Shocker! At the end of the results show last week, Ryan announced that nobody would be going home - due to the fact that for the first time in the illustrious history of idol, the judges did not use the coveted "save." He did, however, reveal the top 2 (Angie, Kree) leaving our African-American divas as the bottom 2. But just as I predicted in last week's recap, the votes will be combined for the two weeks to determine who will get the star-treatment homecoming visit as a top 3 representative next week.
Returning mentor and self-proclaimed "big star" Harry Connick Jr. is on board to guide the remaining hopefuls along for what's sure to be an entertaining show.
Two songs again this week - and the first round will be songs from 2013 (I guess they listened to Keith).
Angie Miller - "Diamonds" (Rihanna)
Harry was worried at first about Angie's song choice, but once he heard her sing and found out that she'll be playing piano, his confidence was restored. The two made up a song by the piano since Harry doesn't have a new song this year.
Keith - "I love the percussive, muscular weight [of that song]."
Nicki - "This seemed different that your other piano performances. It was bland and lackluster."
Randy - "The song didn't go anywhere. I didn't love it"
Mariah - "I didn't expect you to change the arrangement. You were playing more to the camera [than usual]."
I thought that she sang the song well, but the judges are right, and I'm glad someone finally said something about her playing to the camera. I mean, she always locks her eyeballs onto the lens at some point when she performs - no matter which one has the red light illuminated, but this time she only let go of her gaze for a few seconds throughout the whole song. Someone needs to be completely honest with this girl and tell her to STOP looking at the camera. Completely. Play to the audience. Get lost in the song. Focus on the music. Shouldn't it just about the Voice? Oh, right. That's the other show. C+
Amber Holcomb - "Just Give Me A Reason" (Pink)
Harry thinks Amber is very charismatic even though she was "iffy" on the words. He thought she should just hum the whole song and find the pocket.
Keith - "It's not an easy song to do. It takes years of getting comfortable with yourself. I love the clarity and bell in your voice."
Nicki - "There's a big difference between the girl in the video package and the girl on stage."
Randy - "You look like you were thinking of 20 things at once. You have to let go - it has to be fun. That was not stellar."
Mariah - "We need to see that confident Amber that we've been seeing."
Amber kept talking about how hard it was to remember the lyrics. She seemed tentative throughout the whole performance - which led to her continued pitch issues and looking like a kid that's in over her head. If Simon were on the show, he would've pulled out the "karaoke" reference. C-
Candice Glover - "When I Was Your Man" (Bruno Mars)
Candice chose this song so she can be the storyteller from the man's point of view. Harry thinks she will be successful if she sticks to that idea.
Keith - "That's a winning performance right there."
Nicki - "That performance deserved a standing ovation."
Randy - "This is a singing competition." (At this point in the broadcast, my satellite TV was temporarily interrupted due to stormy weather outside...so I have no idea what Mariah said. Yay, Direct TV!)
At this point in the competition, it should be fairly obvious who is ready to win. Candice is the only one of the remaining girls that seems like she's already a seasoned artist. No matter what she sings, she sings it well - often very well. This was no exception. A-
Kree Harrison - "See You Again" (Carrie Underwood)
Kree realizes that she really needs to connect with the audience in order to more forward. Harry says that he wouldn't change a note of what she's singing. He even thinks she sings it better than the original.
Keith - "I feel there's a conflict going on with what I'm seeing and I'm hearing. But your voice is faultless."
Nicki - "I loved my Kreedom performance. You sang with your eyes. I felt that you believed what you were singing."
Randy - "You got an amazing voice and that was a great vocal."
Mariah - "I felt you were very connected in the beginning on the song especially. I enjoy you so much because of how authentic you are."
I've been Kree-bashing for several weeks now, and last week the judges finally caught up to me. Keith is still in my camp, but I do have to say that I liked this performance better than most of Kree's choices. I still don't think she is the best, but she did a good job with this song. B
Round 2 transforms the Idols from singing today's hits to the "standards" of yesteryear, which means any classic song is fair game.
Angie Miller - "Someone To Watch Over Me"
Harry and Angie continued to joke around in the taped reel. She thinks he's hilarious. Angie dedicated the song to her Mom.
Keith - "Does then have to be so then? You sang it so beautifully. The song choice didn't matter [even though it's old].
Nicki - "You always put me in the mind of a Disney princess. You have very Broadway type of [voice].
Randy - "I didn't like the arrangement [but] that was an amazing vocal."
Mariah - "I feel like your very comfortable with a theatrical, performance type situation."
It's hard for me not to compare anyone who sings this song with Jean Louisa Kelly's impeccable version in Mr. Holland's Opus (watch it here). Even though Angie's version didn't quite match the rendition in that movie, she still did it very well. And like Nicki, I liked this performance better than her first. B+
Amber Holcomb - "My Funny Valentine"
Harry tried to get Amber to understand what the song is about. He felt that he could see a difference once she started to grasp the meaning in the lyrics.
Keith - "There's no energy in this room, but when you hit that run in the middle, the place lit up."
Nicki - "That was so beautiful. You up there cryin' 'cause you thinking about votes. No matter what happens tomorrow, you have a lifetime ahead of you."
Randy - "I think you made a believer out of a lot of people tonight. You should be proud of yourself."
Mariah - "Tonight your spirit is there bigger and better than before."
I've been saying for several weeks that this song was her best performance back in Vegas week. The reprise was still sung beautifully - but now that we're only down to four singers and we're looking for someone who can win and become a successful contemporary artist, it may have been much too old fashioned to land her enough votes. B
Candice Glover - "You've Changed" (Billy Holiday)
Harry suggested that Candice just stick to the melody and sing the lyrics rather than make it something that it's not.
Keith - "Your power and your control was just beautiful."
Nicki - "I'm not going to add anything else."
Randy - "It's about feeling what you sing. That was stellar. Speak your truth girl that was amazing."
Mariah - "There is no critiquing. I'm going to download that asap."
Even though this is an "classic" song, Candice did not make it feel or sound old-fashioned. Her singing was truly and clearly heartfelt, and her voice is simply gorgeous. The fact that Candice can make any song she sings sound like her own, new, and fresh is the major difference between her and everybody else. A+
Kree Harrison - "Stormy Weather"
Harry isn't pulling any punches with the Idols since he feels some integrity with being a mentor. He wants Kree to use Lena Horne's version as the template to go by and to simply sing the song the way the melody was written.
Keith - "I would've chosen a different song."
Nicki - "I wish you guys would have paid more attention to the song choice."
Randy - "Knowing you, you probably would have chose the Etta version [over the Lena one].
Mariah - "I thought you might have done something more bluesy [instead].
Zzzz. Zzzz. Wha? Huh? Oh...sorry. I totally zoned out during that performance. That is, until she woke me up with that last powerful note that was sung three times as loud as any other note in the song. That performance was seriously boring. The blankness in her black eyes that matched her funeral dress didn't help either. C-
Hopefully someday, if this show still continues for a few more years, the producers will start to choose themes and songs that fall in line more with birthing a contemporary artist. It's nice to hear standards sometimes, but not when America is looking for the next Kelly, Carrie, or Fantasia...especially when it's down to only four singers. This show needs an injection of youth behind the scenes.
That said, it seems that the one that is going home is already written on the wall. Angie will be around for the hometown visit next week - largely based on consistent performances week-after-week, and still riding on the strength of her original song way back in Hollywood week. Candice is the best singer, so she'll be ok. And Kree will get the country vote. So....
Going home - Amber
What do you think? Who is your favorite singer of the four? And how cool was Harry Connick, Jr?