'American Idol' Recap: The Girls Dominate Again On Beatles Night
March 21st, 2013 12:52pm EDT
There’s a lot to be excited about based on last night’s ‘American Idol’ and it doesn’t have anything to do with the members of the final nine.
Why would we care about them when we get to see a brand new song by Carly Rae Jepsen in just a short two months time? We even get to help her write the lyrics. And if her entire album (yes, there is one) is any indication of the types of songs this Canadian pixie likes to record, then aspiring lyricists should mention the previous evening and their desire to either kiss or hold hands with a potential lover. It’s all set.
Sadly, that news couldn’t be topped with Charlie Askew’s being voted into the tour as he lost out to Aubrey because she has this pesky little thing called singing ability. Alas, no more Askew to kick around again.
Luckily, we still have the top nine. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Kree Harrison Sang “With a Little Help From My Friends”
Keith Said: I don’t think you’ll have any trouble getting by easily tonight.
Nicki Said: You always bring your own Kreedom to whatever you sing.
Randy Said: I thought it was the bomb too.
Mariah Said: I thought it was fan-freaking-tastic.
Kree’s voice is pretty solid here, but in the words of Jeffrey Ross, it might be nice if somebody told her face. Apparently her idea of song delivery involves looking up to the heavens like some weird creature emerging out of a tub in a Japanese horror movie. Look for that shot to inspire a poster before the end of next year.
But yes, this is a singing competition and Kree was as good as can be on this song, putting a cool country spin on the Joe Cocker version of this classic, modernizing it while making it seem like it’d been around forever at the same time.
Next time, she just needs to exude some level of passion about what she’s singing.
Prediction: Lead off is never easy, but she was good enough to get by that handicap.
Burnell Taylor Sang “Let It Be”
Keith Said: You’re so soulful and come from such a spiritual place.
Nicki Said: You didn’t even sing the song. You caressed it.
Randy Said: This is the mark of a true artist.
Mariah Said: You’re always consistent and there’s just a realness about you that never goes away for me.
This might not exist, but somewhere it seems like there must be some album where Broadway casts sing pop songs in a dramatic manner. That has to be around right? Seems like a good/bad enough idea that it’s essential.
This would be the lead track on one such album. A singer acting his way through a watery gospel version of the song with nothing beyond coaching to have emotion carry him through the performance. The vocals aren’t particularly interesting – they’re just good. Boring old good while Burnell does his best to turn this into the show stopper in a high school musical.
Too theatrical and too self-indulgent to make a real impact. Plus, he loses a whole letter grade for saying he only “knows of” the Beatles!?
Prediction: The judges loved him enough that he should be safe.
Amber Holcomb Sang “She’s Leaving Home”
Keith Said: You came out and made it sound as fresh as if it was just written this week.
Nicki Said: I don’t want you to ever look defeated up there, because your vocal is amazing!
Randy Said: It’s started a little slow, but by the end, I was like, “There’s my Amber there!”
Mariah Said: (Mariah said she’d never heard this song before. It may be time to stop recording what she says.)
Wow. And suddenly Amber has made this a three diva race.
A beautiful Beatles song and it was like nobody’d ever sung it before. She turned into such a poised and spare soul ballad that it could have been an original for Donna Summer when she slowed it down in the 70s.
There’s an amazing effortlessness here. Amber just lets the song flow from her as she hits every note like she’s yawning. When the control over the voice is this strong it allows for such an organic performance of the song – like it’s born from inside her as she manages to (almost) make a Beatles song her own.
Prediction: She didn’t get much love from the judges and this performance could get lost. She’s borderline.
Lazaro Arbos Sang “In My Life”
Keith Said: The key change brought out the tone in your voice.
Nicki Said: I still feel like you are not back to the Lazaro that I remember.
Randy Said: I think that was your worst performance ever.
Mariah Said: I feel like a song this intimate and special is better with just an acoustic guitar. It was a little low for you.
This is an absolute joke. A theme park performance from a sixties sitcom. They turned this beautiful song into a weird calypso tune that Lazaro delivered like a singing waiter at a restaurant. And he didn’t do anything to bely that with his outfit or hairdo.
Lazaro just doesn’t have the ability to perform at this level.
Prediction: There’s a potential he has a big fan base lurking, but the judges’ killing him like that almost certainly spells doom.
Candice Glover Sang “Come Together”
Keith Said: I thought that was absolutely killer.
Nicki Said: Your vocal is out-of-this-world insane, but I want you to always have the attitude in your face.
Randy Said: The voice is CUH-RAZY!
Mariah Said: It was like a prize fighter when you chose this song.
This was just like when a seasoned rock chick or blues chick vet does a tribute to the Beatles and absolutely kills one of their songs in a way that nobody ever thought to do it before.
In other words, Candice looked and sounded like an absolute pro ready for a tribute concert for a round-of-nine ‘American Idol’ performance.
Prediction: Completely and utterly safe.
Paul Jolley Sang “Eleanor Rigby”
Keith Said: I hope you can explore some more angst in your voice.
Nicki Said: I did not like your performance. Very safe. Very bland. Forgettable.
Randy Said: You never just quite got into the song.
Mariah Said: I don’t understand the country thing with you.
It’s hard to tell what was scarier about this performance, the dry ice engulfing the stage, the way Paul stood there like an angry vampire, or his scream-shout destruction of most listeners’ eardrums.
Oh wait, it was actually really easy. His voice was the scariest part. By miles.
Prediction: He was bottom three last week and now got obliterated. Looks like Paul is gone.
Angie Miller Sang “Yesterday”
Keith Said: It drifted in and out, but you’re there the whole time.
Nicki Said: Unbelievably amazing. (Expletive then deleted)
Randy Said: You’re one of my favorites in this whole competition.
Mariah Said: It’s pow.
It’s clear this girl can sing the world out of just about any song, but here she sings just a little too much.
“Yesterday” is a wonderfully simple melody that demands a simple and lovely performance from the singer. Angela tries to turn it into a power-rock-pop ballad with a dozen too many runs and vocal flourishes that she didn’t need to add to make this work. Her voice is good enough and she sells songs so well that she doesn’t need to scat around like Christina Aguilera having a conniption fit to make her point.
And why the hell wasn’t she at the piano for this song? It’s the perfect choice for her to do that. It just wasn’t her normal greatness.
Prediction: The judges loved her more than anybody else. She’s definitely safe.
Devin Velez Sang “The Long and Winding Road”
Keith Said: The only thing I’m missing from you is a emotional connection.
Nicki Said: I feel like it’s very truthful.
Randy Said: I’m glad you brought the swagger back.
Mariah Said: I don’t have words for this. You never cease to amaze me.
Devin takes a step out of the theatrical and into Adult Contemporary soul and just finds a way to flourish. A beautiful rendition of a lovely song as he connects from the first note and doesn’t let go the entire time.
This, like Candice, is what you’d expect from a pro covering the Beatles. Except unlike Candice’s concert performance, this was more like a tribute album performance from a seasoned recording artist who just reinvented the song with a soul vibe to fit his repertoire.
Total pro level performance from somebody who previously looked doomed to be an amateur high school singer for this whole competition.
Prediction: Killing it like that in a late slot is a surefire way to stick around.
Janelle Arthur Sang “I Will”
Keith Said: That was pure. It was true. Beautiful.
Nicki Said: That performance made me fall so much more deeply obsessed with you. You are great.
Randy Said: I think Janelle’s back tonight, you guys.
Mariah Said: That was a beautiful and elegant performance. Thank you for that.
She made a Beatles song sound like a worse version of this atrocity:
So, yeah. That sucked.
Prediction: The judges and the audience loved her, so Janelle B. Hawkins is safe.
The producers are ready to get their wish as one of the easiest predictions in the history of this show will send another guy home.
Later, Paul. And no thank you for the nightmares.
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Photo Credits: Frank Micelotta/ FOX