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American Idol Top 10 - Season 12 - 2013

Updated on April 15, 2013
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This......is American Idol!

Here we go. The real meat and potatoes of the competition. I'm going to give a brief recap and my own thoughts for each singer every week until the finale in May. I think there is some seriously good talent this year, and I'm psyched to take the ride with them...and you.

This week, the contestants get to choose from songs performed by previous American Idol winners - whether it be a song they sang on the show or a post-Idol original.

Curtis Finch, Jr. - "I Believe" by Fantasia Barrino (Season 3)

Curtis brings his Gospel/Soul presence to the stage and sings Fantasia's song flanked by six female backup singers.

Keith - "You always pick the right songs. You know who you are. The one thing I would say is it's easy to sing above where you're supposed to be because there's so much adrenaline."

Nicki - (Is late for work..)

Randy - "A couple things were great. I would caution you to try something different."

Mariah - "I want to hear more of the Gospel tinge and take chances."

Me - I can see why he's in the top 10, but I can also see why he'll be gone within 3 weeks. Song selection is key for this show, and so is singing ability. Dude can sing, and probably will make you fall to your knees in church, but he's not a marketable pop star. He over-sings, chooses odd notes and over enunciates. Fantasia made that song her own with deep emotion and gratitude and no one else could or should even attempt it.

Grade: C-

Janelle Arthur - "Gone" - Scotty McCreery

This song was originally sung by Montgomery Gentry, but performed by the Season 10 champ.

Keith - "I've never heard a female singing that song, but I thought it was great."

Nicki - "I want to hear you sing songs that show the pretty side of your voice."

Randy - "I don't know if it was the greatest song choice for you."

Mariah - "My favorite thing about you is the raw quality that you have. Tonight was a great performance."

Me -This girl did better than the judges gave her credit for. She's got all of the makings of a successful country star. Good looks, twangy voice and a bubbly personality. I thought she did very well and could easily see her making a record right now.

Grade: B+

Devin Velez - "Temporary Home" - Carrie Underwood

The first of two songs performed that were originally sung by the Season 4 champ.

Keith - "That was not one of your better performances."

Nicki - "You look like a professional and you sound great."

Randy - "I thought it was way too safe."

Mariah - "You have the ability to do so much. Keep that confidence."

Me - Devin will be around for a little while. He's got a very pleasing voice and seems like a nice guy. This wasn't a good song for him on this night. It felt sleepy - and at a time when you want to get people excited to vote for you, this wasn't a good song choice.

Grade: C+

Angie Miller - "I Surrender" - Kelly Clarkson

This song was originally performed by Celine Dion, but sung in Season One by Kelly. Angie has been a front-runner ever since her epic performance of her original during Hollywood week.

Keith - "You're such an artist. I thought you knocked it out of the park tonight."

Nicki - "You're just perfection to me on every level."

Randy - "This girl is in it to win it!"

Mariah - "Stellar."

Me - This girl can do no wrong for me. I like her better behind the piano, but regardless, her voice is sublime. The talent that she has with songwriting, and the whole package she presents, blows away anyone else on this show.

If I have any critique, it's to not play to the camera, but rather, play to the crowd and get lost in the song. She has a deer in headlights thing going on and I think she will come off better and enjoy herself more if she forgets that she's on TV and just sings from a deep place.

Grade: A-

Paul Jolley - "Amazed" - Scotty McCreery

Another song performed by the Season 10 winner (among many others) and originally recorded by Lone Star.

Keith - "I feel like the advice has taken hold. Just stay on that track."

Nicki - "This is the first time that you've stimulated my sexual appetite."

Randy - "I think it was a great song choice for you."

Mariah - "I love that you're aware of some of the things (advice) but forget about them and just go from here."

Me - Paul clearly is Jolley, and this was a good song choice. If you heard that performance on the radio, you wouldn't even immediately realize that it wasn't the original artist. Paul has a really nice voice, he's a good looking guy and he seems comfortable on stage. I think he'll be one of the last 2 guys standing.

Grade: A


Candice Glover - "I Have Nothing" - Jordan Sparks

Originally recorded by Ben E. King, this song was performed to rave reviews by the Season 6 winner.

Keith - "I love you so much. You have such an effortless command. You're incredible."

Nicki - "It would be in everybody's best interest to never, ever perform that song again. You just destroyed it."

Randy - "This was one of the greatest performances of this season."

Mariah - "Every time you are on stage it's mesmerizing."

Me - This was the stand-out performance of the night for me. That vocal can stand up to any of the best R&B singers in the business. This girl is going places.

Grade: A+

Lazzaro Arbos - "Breakaway" - Kelly Clarkson

The current most famous stutterer in the world takes on Season 1 winner's chart-topping inspirational hit.

Keith - "I don't feel like that song was in your wheelhouse."

Nicki - "This was my least favorite from you, but don't let anybody break your confidence."

Randy - "This was not really the right choice."

Mariah - "I think a lot people are falling in love with your courage."

Me - Poor Lazzaro. This was not a good song for him to sing, and things got worse when Keith started the judging by asking a question that required an extended response. As sympathetic as people are to his affliction, it's very uncomfortable to watch and listen to him try to get out the simplest words. Throw in a mediocre performance and the whole situation may have signaled his swan song.

Grade: C-

Kree Harrison - "Cryin" - Carrie Underwood

This song was originally written and performed by the late Roy Orbison.

Keith - "If you made a record tomorrow, I would go and buy that record."

Nicki - She goes on a long rant about waffles that lead to a Paula-like analogy. "It was smooth, it was delicious, it was fun."

Randy - "You have one of those infectious voices. I love that you put feeling into everything that you do."

Mariah - "You can't help but emote, you can't help but be real."

Me - Kree may be the dark horse in this competition. She gave a really nice performance and has been consistent so far. I can't help but feel that there is something a little phony about her, but I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt...and I still like her a lot.

Grade: B

Burnell Taylor - "Fly Without Wings" - Ruben Studdard

This was the Season 2 winner's victory song.

Keith - "What I love about you is you have a unique timbre about your voice." (ed. note - it's pronounced tam-ber, Keith.)

Nicki - "I think that you're well on your way."

Randy - "Very, very nice. You're vindicated for the boys tonight."

Mariah - "I love the choice you made tonight."

Me - Clearly the best male singer this season. This guy really does have a unique quality about his voice and mannerisms. I feel no matter what happens on this show, that Burnell is truly gifted and will be singing for a long, long time.

Grade: A-

Amber Holcomb - "A Moment Like This" - Kelly Clarkson

Another Idol winner victory song performed, this time from the Season 1 champ.

Keith - "You have an effortlessness about performing. I thought that was really, really beautiful."

Nicki - "That was the best performance of the night."

Randy - "You blew it out of the box tonight."

Mariah - "You really sounded magnificent."

Me - It's hard to watch a performance like this without comparing it to the original. There was a genuine emotion and excitement when Kelly won the first season. That being said, Amber is still a fantastic singer and should go far this year. She just needs to show what kind of artist she would be by picking the right songs.

Grade: B+

So there ya have it. The horse race has begun and will culminate in crowning the 12th American Idol. The votes have now been counted, and we'll lose one Thursday night.

Best of the night - Candice

Going home - Lazzaro

Tune in Thursday night to see who gets sent packing.

Who do you think is going home? What was your favorite performance?

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