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American Idol Season 12 - Top 6 Recap: Can-dice be the end of Lazaro?
I think the judges must be reading my recaps based on the things they mentioned to the contestants. Ok, probably not...but they do seem to be 'keeping it real' for a change. At least a bit more then they have lately.
This week we get two songs from each of the remaining singers (see? they are listening to me!) - and we have to bear two from the remaining guy who should never be considered a singer.
For Round 1, Idol targets the senior-viewer generation (who they may lose to sleep by the time the second hour rolls around) with the Burt Bacharach/Hal David songbook, aka mostly Dionne Warwick songs.
The taped reel includes interviews with each contestant where we get to learn things that most people don't know about them. And once again...no Jimmy Iovine! Good on you, Idol.
Angie Miller - "Anyone Who Had A Heart" (Dionne Warwick)
Something people don't know about is Angie is that she makes embarrassing videos with her friend Lydia and posts them on YouTube (well...they do now). Also, she loves hardcore music. Horns up! \m/
Keith - "All I ask is that you don't rely on your voice alone. Give me an impassioned performance. I'm missing the humanity in there."
Nicki - "This one to me felt overall old-fashioned."
Randy - "Find the passion in the lyric and understand what that lyric is saying."
Mariah - "Immerse yourself in the song."
I didn't know this song at all. She sang it well but it was a little blah for me for most of the performance. I agree with the judges here. She didn't connect with the lyrics and needs to feel and display more passion - like Mariah correctly pointed out about the way she sang her original song. That aside, the girl sings very well with consistency. B
Amber Holcomb - "I Say A Little Prayer" (Dionne Warwick)
Amber eats frozen shrimp out of the bag. Don't worry...it's cooked. It's like a shrimp-sicle.
Keith - "You never over-sing [even though] you can."
Nicki - "You are un-be-leivable. You have just become my favorite girl in this competition."
Randy - "Amber has arrived!"
Mariah - "I loved the transition that you made [in the bridge]. This was A-plus, [a]mazing, Top of the world."
Am I the only one hearing her pitch issues? Some of the notes she hits sound gorgeous, but she is definitely flat a lot. She sounds uncertain quite often...like she's trying to find the note but not quite getting there. Mariah again has a point that in the studio you can retake a line if it isn't good enough, but this is a live singing show where we're looking for a star who can rise to the occasion anytime and every time they sing live. She's had pitch issues just about every week and it's blowing my mind that nobody is pointing this out. Perhaps the judges are waiting to get rid of the next singer before they "keep it real" with this one. C+
Lazaro Arbos - "Close to You" (The Carpenters)
Lazaro loves to hunt and ride 4-wheelers.
Keith - "I recognize that we're all honoring what your doing. You're singing in a key that's too low for you. You have to have an ear for that."
Nicki - "Let's just pretend I already gave my comment 'cause honey child we gonna be here till tomorrow."
Randy - "I'm actually kind of speechless. All I can say is no no no. That was horrible."
Mariah - "I've been accused of being too nice. You can't go into another key and you stay in the old key. If you're not aware of that, this is kind of a big deal."
This was indeed awful. It goes without saying that the original sung by the incredible, late Karen Carpenter is untouchable. The judges were rough on him....justifiably. I've been beating him up since the Top 10 week too, but I'm gonna get all Mariah (dahhhling) and point out that this guy does have a sh*tload of courage.
Lazaro is a gay, immigrant male with a very difficult affliction to live with, and whether he deserves it or not, has made it to the Top 6 of the highest rated singing show on television. There is enormous amount of pressure simply dealing with the way society, in part at least, looks down on gays. And immigrants. And stutterers. This dude is standing tall in front of millions of people, knowing that he's clearly outmatched by the five ladies. That takes a lotta balls. So, I give him credit, but I still think this performance was terrible. F
Kree Harrison - "What the World Needs Now" (Dionne Warwick)
Kree loves rodeos and sang at one for the first time when she was 6 or 7. She tells us that her brother got a rare day off of work and is in the audience for the first time and is very grateful to have him there.
Keith - "You have real genuine compassion for people. It's the humanity that comes through [with your voice].
Nicki - "Your voice is so sweet and humble - at the same time it's hellacocky."
Randy - "I love that you came after that last performer (Lazaro). This is a singing competition."
Mariah - "You know who you are and you sing as Kree. I felt it was perfect for your voice. I look at you and I see someone who's not trying to produce an emotional response."
Kree is a really good singer. I like her better when I just listen without watching. Keith feels that she is a person that he can trust. I don't. I disagree that she doesn't need to try to produce an emotional response. The whole reason that music itself is so popular and loved is because people have an emotional connection and response to a song or artist that moves them. If you are the one delivering the music, then you absolutely need to convey emotion. You can't be successful in the long run without moving people and being moved by what you are singing. I really do like Kree and I really want to love her. There's just something intangible that's missing - like she's hiding something. We do know that she has lost both of her parents and there is likely some deep pain there that she's not allowing to be set free. I'm sure it's difficult, but music is the healthiest avenue to channel that pain, She's clearly in a place where she receives more love and support than she ever has in her life. Honesty in music will always find loyal and dedicated fans. C'mon Kree. It's time to let go. B+
Janelle Arthur - "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" (Dionne Warwick)
When Janelle was in the 8th grade she played a boy in a play.
Keith - "There's another side of you that we haven't seen with that song."
Nicki - "I feel like there's no doubt that you can be a huge success, but I thought that was really boring."
Randy - "I don't think it was your best. It was definitely a little lackluster."
Mariah - "I always love your effervescence [but] I don't think you needed to push that second chorus."
I really like this girl. Each week she seems more relaxed, comfortable and confident. Contrary to what Nicki said, I didn't think it was boring at all. I thought it was sweet and engaging. She had some pitch issues too, but for some reason it didn't bother me as much as with Amber. Unlike Kree, who the judges are touting as the best remaining Country singer, Janelle has an endearing honesty about her that seems better suited to the genre. I'm concerned that she'll be in the bottom two again, although it's possible that she'll be rescued by the judge's save if she gets the least amount of votes.. B+
Candice Glover - "Don't Make Me Over" (Dionne Warwick)
Candice speaks a dialect called "geechee" which she says sounds like Jamaican.
Keith - "With that performance you're now in my Top 3."
Nicki - "The fact that didn't sound old-fashioned...when you can do that, that means that is what you were born to do."
Randy - "This is the best vocal of the night. This was one of your best performances ever."
Mariah - "You took a classic [yet] you kept it current. You kept it you."
This girl is the real deal. This is why I love this show and any other show like it. Here is a humble, unknown talent that would have no other venue to showcase her incredible skills if it weren't for reality TV. It's just no contest at this point. Yes, Angie is a great singer, but her true strength is in her songwriting - and she will make a record no matter what happens on this show. Janelle should have a career too, and maybe she and Kree will both find a place in Nashville. But Candice is clearly the most gifted singer and should win this whole competition. There isn't any doubt that she can sing anything she wants to and make it her own. A
For Round 2, the contestants get to choose a song that they wish they wrote themselves, and give us a brief explanation as to why this particular song is special.
Angie Miller - "Love Came Down" (Kari Jobe)
Angie admits that most people won't be familiar with the song that she wishes she had written, but feels inspired by the meaning behind the lyrics, and believes it will make her safe this week.
Keith - "When you get out on tour, you're gonna get out front and sing with same passion [as you do behind the piano], but it's gonna come so naturally."
Nicki - "This is what people began to vote for when we were in Vegas. Don't stray from that."
Randy - "I love that for so many reasons. You tapped into your emotion. That was amazing."
Mariah - "That piano and you...you never lose. You sounded so...perfect."
I liked this performance a lot better than the other one. This unknown tune felt right up her alley - mostly because it resembled the vibe of her original song (which she has yet to top - and that's a good thing). I think all four judges gave her smart advice and are pointing her in the right direction.
I have to again plead that she stops staring into and following the camera with those huge eyes of hers. It's uncomfortable. I even tweeted her, begging her to just get lost in the song. (I hope she listens 'cause I know what I'm talking about dern'it!) I want to just enjoy watching her play piano and sing, without her constantly staring back at me. It's like being in a nightclub and trying to get an eyeful of a pretty girl, and as soon as you look at her, she looks right back at you. Every time. You don't get the chance to just soak in the beauty of the individual and watch them be themselves. Angie is young and has been thrust into this insane spotlight, so it is forgivable, and I feel confident that she'll eventually stop trying so hard. In the meantime, yo....girl can sing. A
Amber Holcomb - "Love On Top" (Beyonce')
She loves this song because the lyrics describe a relationship where the man made his girl top priority. Amber can relate to the song because she was in a relationship where the guy put her first. She says she's gonna have fun dancing because she's never done it before.
Keith - "It was such a great song choice for you. We were all dancing up here."
Nicki - "Baby Girl (x3)...yes ma'am you have arrived."
Randy - "All I can say...yes yes yes. This girl is in it to win it."
Mariah - "I felt like you were just happy singing the song. Not my favorite vocal of yours - only because you are so good always."
Ugh. Again there are pitch issues and an uncertainty in too many parts of the song. When she got into the chorus and hit the falsetto notes, she sounded fantastic. She has potential, but she needs to practice more. There are too many pitch issues. Why are these judges not pointing this out at all? Someone has to. C+
Lazaro Arbos "Angels" (Robbie Williams)
He likes this song because it talks about love and compassion. He realized that he really liked it when he felt a connection with the lyrics and how they relate to missing familiar surroundings.
Keith - "The way the girls are singing - it's so crazy good. I think we're getting to point now where we're finding the difference between the one's who seem like they're in some sort of talent quest, and the one's who are really artists."
Nicki - "o.k....uh yeah. what he (Keith) said"
Randy - "It's a girl's race right now to me."
Mariah - "This was a better range for you. I felt that you did redeem yourself from your last performance."
I just feel bad for the guy at this point. There was a rare discomfort during the judges brutal feedback where even the audience didn't back up the contestant with the usual chorus of boos. Nobody in that room thought he was worth defending. Cringe-worthy and sad. This can't possibly be fun for him anymore. F
Kree Harrison - "Help Me Make It Through the Night" (Kris Kristofferson)
Kree feels that this is a simply beautiful song that you don't really have to think about, but to do the song justice, she'll have to make the audience believe every word.
Keith - "That was a buckle polisher. I predict that you will become a member of the Grand Ole Opry in the future."
Nicki - "You could do a song I've never heard of and make me fall in love with it. I think that you are something very, very special to this competition."
Randy - "You sell the story, you sing the song. I love the ease with which you sing that."
Mariah - "To hear you sing it, that's how the song should be sung."
I don't have much more to say about her than I've already said. This was a good vocal and I enjoyed listening to it. B+
Janelle Arthur - "The Dance" (Garth Brooks)
When Janelle was 11 years old, this song blew her mind. She realized the true meaning of the metaphoric lyrics and knew that she would want to sing it someday.
Keith - "That would have been a great song for you to do with just [playing] guitar. Don't forget the power of that kind of honesty."
Nicki - "I think that this performance was a lot better than your first performance. I still don't think that was enough to get a leg up over the other girls tonight."
Randy - "I don't think this was your best performance ever, but I believed your story, and I loved that it meant so much to you."
Mariah - "I really, really appreciated when you sat there and just sang that first verse and chorus. I felt it was true. I felt you when you were just singing from your heart."
This was a good choice as she got to showcase a softer, heartfelt song in contrast to her slightly more lively selection in the first round. I think Janelle represents the perfect blend of Carrie Underwood's poise and Kellie Pickler's sassiness, but is unfortunately saddled with vocals that are sub-par to Kree in the Country department, and that may send her packing soon. B-
Candice Glover - "Love Song" (The Cure)
Singing about love is Candice's absolute favorite thing to do and if she were to record an album she would definitely want to touch on that.
Randy - "Let me just say on behalf of all of the judges...one of the greatest performances in the history - 12 years of American Idol!"
Mariah got up from the judges table and threw sparkles over Candice (which I guess she carries around in her pocket?), Keith rose up from his chair, fell to his knees and bowed, the ovation from the crowd just kept going on and on for so long there was only time left for one judge to provide feedback, and Candice teared up as she reveled in the moment. That was indeed a magnificent vocal performance. That's how you do it, folks. Brilliant. A+