'American Idol' Recap: Candice And Angela Own The Top 10
March 14th, 2013 12:18pm EDT
Tonight should have been the ‘American Idol’ producers’ dream come true.
Was every performance spectacular? No. Did they manage to book a huge special guest? No way. Did Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell reveal they’d secretly been having an affair this entire time? Not even that.
No! Nicki Minaj was late! That means they had the opportunity do what this show does best: fill, Fill, FILL!
The possibilities were endless. Ryan could have recited a poem about each contestant, Randy could have seen how many women he could call “dude” consecutively, Keith and Mariah could have a competition to say something somewhat interesting. It was all in play. Traffic on the 101 made it all possible.
Instead the producers…started the show? That’s not ‘American Idol’. That’s not the show that stretches a three-contestant result show into one hour. That’s not the show has six contestants sing once over two hours when 12 performances would easily fit. That’s not the show that spends a lot of time watching Ryan Seacrest just walk to opposite sides of the stage.
What a wasted opportunity. Surely the producers won’t be able to live with themselves tonight. Let’s see which contestants will suffer a similar fate:
Curtis Finch, Jr. sang “I Believe” by Fantasia
Keith Said: You’ve got so much personality but watch your adrenaline.
Nicki Said: (She Missed this performance)
Randy Said: A couple things were great but I would caution you to try out new things.
Mariah Said: I was glad to see you with the choir.
Reviewing Curtis’ performance is clearly missing the point here because his tuxedo made out of a Baroque couch is clearly the star of this portion of the show. Who knew that Ethan Allen made clothing? And such formal evening wear at that. Too bad they stopped at the jacket and didn’t get to the tie, I feel like the ottoman would have made for a perfect bow to top of the ensemble. Yikes.
Oh, Curtis also sang. This was probably his worst performance so far. Just a mediocre vocal from a guy who’d been killing it every week. None of the cool Curtis runs or deep soul that had him looking ready to travel back to 1975 and make a killing selling records.
It’s not that it was bad, it just wasn’t the typical Curtis cool that’s separated him so far this season. Now he’s taken a moonwalk back towards those who he’d previously made look like they couldn’t carry his mic stand.
Prediction: At this point in the show, that wasn’t bad enough to put him in any real danger of leaving, but in the lead off spot, he could being in the bottom three.
Janelle Arthur Sang “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry
Keith Said: You were burning it up up there.
Nicki Said: I want to hear you sing songs that show the pretty part of your voice more.
Randy Said: I don’t know if it was the greatest song choice for you.
Mariah Said: I’d like to hear something that let your voice sing and do its thing.
This was like somebody doing an impression of a country singer. A ‘Saturday Night Live’ desk piece with Aidy Bryant as a drunk country diva talking about the new pope. (Hey, free pitch, fellas).
In other words, there was simply nothing original or unique about Janelle with this performance. The typical country twang, the typical vocal that doesn’t have to step an inch out of a specific lane. Just plain, boring country.
That’s not to say all country is boring, it can be quite interesting. But this certainly was not.
Prediction: Almost a universal slaughter from the judges, but I don’t think this country girl is in danger yet.
Devin Velez Sang “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood
Keith Said: That was not one of your better performances. The wrong song choice.
Nicki Said: To me this is you. You look like a professional and sound great.
Randy Said: I thought it was way too safe. You underplayed yourself.
Mariah Said: For the competition, this is the wrong song choice.
It’s unclear if it was Devin’s flat missed note to start the show that threw him off, or the weirdo lighting not working with his sunglasses, but the immortal Ray Chew Live hit a wrong note on the piano at the opening of this song. For that, and that alone, Devin should be seen as a weird curse on this show that must be eliminated.
A bit harsh, but if he did leave it would certainly make it easier to keep from nodding off after the third performance. Apparently there was just far too much charisma on the stage before Velez came out because he was clearly only there to be a charisma vacuum, there was no other real use for him on the stage.
Not as a singer. No, he undermined that with several more missed notes and a terrible finale that sounded like he’d stepped on hot coals while still trying to sing. Definitely not as an entertainer because the whole of his performance was a slow walk to the edge of the stage while he stared over his microphone with dead eyes.
Jimmy praised his restraint in the opening, while that’s fine vocally, restraint isn’t good when it’s applied to seeming like a living human being.
Prediction: Mega danger for Devin. Not only did he get obliterated, but this performance was totally forgettable. That’s almost certain doom on this show.
Angela Miller Sang “I Surrender” by Celine Dion
Keith Said: You’re such an artist. You can take a song from any era and make it feel now.
Nicki Said: You’re just to me perfection on every level. It is a thousand-billion percent on point.
Randy Said: America! The competition starts now! This girl is in it to win it!
Mariah Said: Stellar.
The cute girl with the piano steps out from behind the ivory and goes for 80s diva (complete with the hair and eye makeup) and hits it right on Aquanet Nozzle.
Yes, it was a total karaoke performance. She said in the intro that she was poised to put her own spin on some parts, but that never really happened: basically the record as the record was recorded (record for saying the word record properly? Thanks Guinness).
However, karaoke can work when you absolutely own the song. Angela made it her own not by covering the song, but simply by singing it flawlessly and staying totally connected to the song every note of the way. It’s like she wrote it, and it’s almost impossible to make it seem like that when you sing it just like a record that’s been played millions of times. Yet she did it so easily it almost felt like it was a reflex for her.
She remains the one to beat.
Prediction: Completely safe.
Paul Jolley Sang “Amazed” by Lonestar
Keith Said: You just need that voice. You don’t need all the other stuff.
Nicki Said: This is the first time you’ve stimulated my sexual appetite. I really thought you did the song justice.
Randy Said: I think it was a great song for you, man.
Mariah Said: I love that you’re aware you were oversinging, but now forget about them and let yourself go.
In the opening package, Jimmy correctly ripped Jolley for oversinging too much to this point in the competition and clearly he made an impact because Broadway left Jolley’s veins and in flowed a little bit of authentic Nashville.
It was adult contemporary country night on ‘Idol’ suddenly as Jolley gave the audience a rock solid vocal that sounded fresh off the vinyl. Completely connected to the song, he never got in his own way by trying any vocal theatrics or “look-at-me” nonsense. Just a steady-rolling performance that, while safe, was exactly what he needs to do on this show.
It wasn’t in the Angela Miller realm of singing basic karaoke (he did absolutely nothing with the song) and making it still feel like yours, it was more that he sounded like the lead singer of a really good Lonestar Tribute band that people would pay to see.
Okay, nobody would pay to see a Lonestar tribute band, but the point remains valid.
Prediction: The judges certainly dug it. He’s a safe bet to go through.
Candice Glover Sang “I (Who Have Nothing)” by Ben E. King
Keith Said: You never get pulled out of the zone.
Nicki Said: It would be in everybody’s best interest to never ever perform that song ever again.
Randy Said: This was one of the greatest performances on this show.
Mariah Said: Every time you are onstage it’s mesmerizing.
While Candice may look like she just slapped her butler for bringing her the wrong kind of champagne, she can just absolutely straight flat sing.
She’s got a huge soul diva voice. This was the type of voice that got you a record deal without hesitation back in the 80s when pop-R&B was so in vogue. It’s gone now, but she’s got the voice to bring it back. Just an absolutely flawless instrument that she uses to dominate this song. Just kill it. Get rid of it, bury it and forget about it.
There’s no sense in anybody else singing that song after her. It was that good. She owns it now. Sorry, Petula, sorry, Shirley – this one belongs to Candice.
Prediction: If America could vote for the overall winner this week, she’d probably take down the crown.
Lazaro Arbos Sang “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
Keith Said: I don’t think that one ended up being in your wheelhouse.
Nicki Said: This was probably my least favorite from you, babe.
Randy Said: The pitch was all over the place. That song was way too big for you.
Mariah Said: I wasn’t mad at this song choice, but I think there are other songs that get you to where you really excel.
It’s hard to tell if Lazaro is attempting to style himself like a retro singer or just auditioning for a waiter job at Johnny Rockets.
After this performance, he better hope he can carry a plate and remember whether or not the customer wanted chili on their fries, because singing did not come off as his forte. He started off horribly nervous as he barely made it through the first few bars with a heart attack very much in play for this young singer.
He recovered just enough to make it through the song without forgetting any lyrics, but he did forget to make a connection to what he was singing or sound like a competent singer at any point. Just bad karaoke from somebody singing off a broken machine where the words are constantly behind the track – he just felt like he was playing dawdling catch up the whole time.
Now he has a lot of catching up to do.
Prediction: He better hope his following is as loyal as it appears to be large, because the judges just savaged him.
Kree Harrison Sang “Crying” by Roy Orbison
Keith Said: You could sing the phone book. I love your voice so much.
Nicki Said: It was smooth. It was delicious. It was just fun.
Randy Said: I love your voice. From note one I am in.
Mariah Said: I can’t wait to hear you sing again.
If Janelle sounded like somebody doing an impression of a drunken country singer, than Kree was doing her best to mimic an animatronic country animal from some sort of kids’ jamboree.
Not only was the voice as cookie-cutter country as it gets, but the performance was about as lifelike as a block of wood. She was in serious danger of getting blown off the stage by the guy who was playing slide guitar with his head down. On second thought, that guy was amazing! So much charisma. Wait. That was just compared to the dud that was Kree.
You’d think on National TV you’d show a little bit of excitement to be singing in front of a live audience, but here we are...
Result: The judges’ raves were too strong for her not to stick around.
Burnell Taylor sang “Flying Without Wings” by Westlife
Keith Said: You have an eccentricity that’s really pure and I find it magnetic.
Nicki Said: I think you’re well on your way.
Randy Said: Very nice, Burnell. You vindicated the boys tonight.
Mariah Said: There’s something about you that makes me very emotional to hear you sing.
It doesn’t even seem like Burnell liked this song choice. He sang it like he was bored with it almost immediately. An instant moment of regret as he realized he had to trod through this old boy band tart.
He couldn’t have been more distant from the song. It was like the words were coming out of somebody standing four feet in front of him – that’s how far he was with getting in sync with this song on any level.
This lack of connection and lack of any sort of passion showed in his vocal as he was flat almost the entire time without creating any moments at all.
Okay, he did create one moment when he frowned at the end and shook his head. Very fitting for that dud.
Prediction: More weird judge love. He’s definitely safe.
Amber Holcomb Sang “A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson
Keith Said: I love that song for you. I love how effortless you sing.
Nicki Said: That was the best performance of the night. Your voice and aura remind me of Whitney Houston’s first album.
Randy Said: Guys? Where y’all at? The girls are killing you tonight!
Mariah Said: #pow.
The dreaded almost-good performance. Everything’s almost there. The voice – just doesn’t quite get to where it needs to be. The stage presence – charismatic but nothing magnetic. The connection with the song – present but not strong.
It’s a B- all the way, she just can’t get out of third gear and into overdrive where this performance needed to go. Speaking of which…
Prediction: Standing ovation from the judges in the pimp spot. What more do you need to know?
Operation: Let A Girl Win is falling perfectly into place for the producers on night one as a trio of boys is set to comprise the bottom three. In fact, they’d probably be the bottom five. Other than Paul (not even Curtis!), all the guys came up dreadfully short to the point of the contest almost being rigged. Wait? It is? Let’s move on.
It’s going to be three guys. The one girl who seemed in danger was Janelle, and she’s a country singer so that should save her.
Kree, Amber, Candice and Angela all got the best marks of the night – there’s no reason to think they’re in much danger so that leaves all the males.
Burnell is the only one without anything to fear as his praise from the judges came late enough in the show that it will carry him on to next week. Paul Jolley gets the most improved award and also is country enough to not be in much danger. He’s safe as well.
That leaves the unfortunate trio of Curtis, Devin and Lazaro. Lazaro seems like he’s actually put together a following and they should be enough to keep him around one more week. Curtis led off so that’s always dangerous, but he’s good enough and has enough of a couch jacket thing going (seriously, enough can’t be made of that fashion choice) that he’ll get through as well.
That leaves Devin. Poor forgettable Devin who probably got crushed the hardest by the judges. America is next, Devin. Adios.
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