American Idol top ten – Idol celebrates Idol!

I got home late last night and then sat down with my wife to watch Idol. At almost the moment Amber finished the last song of the show, I dozed off. I’m not saying that was a metaphorical statement about the overall quality of last night’s performances, but…

One thing that is absolutely clear is that a woman should win this year’s competition. Last night was a case of the haves (the girls) and the have-nots (the boys). I’m just going to pretend  the producers didn’t set this up by intentionally inserting less-than-worthy male contestants into the competition. Either way, this season is about the women.

The theme for last night’s show was “Songs Performed by Previous Idol Winners”, which instantly forces me to compare each contestant to a previous Idol champions.  And, unless they have changed the rules this year, most of last nights contestants won’t be this year’s champion.  So there was a lot of, um, falling short.

Speaking of falling short, Nicki Minaj fell short of making it to the show on time and missed the first performance completely.  I’d rip into her lack of professionalism if it weren’t for the fact that she is the one judge I actually look forward to hearing from (not because I always agree with her, but because she says ridiculous stuff that rarely has anything to do with what we heard, yet I still somehow get what she is saying – it’s as troubling to me as it is to you).

Alright, here is my critique of last night’s performances from best to worst:

1.  CANDICE GLOVER, “I Who Have Nothing” by Ben E. King (performed by Jordin Sparks)

Wow.  I loved when Jordin Sparks sang this several season’s back, but this actually topped that performance.  And it was the performance that pushed it over for me.  Candice was all caught up inside of this song and gave me a solid Sharon Jones kind of vibe.  This was easily the stand-out performance of the night.  The judges gave her a standing ovation (except for Mariah, who apparently couldn’t stand because her dress was too tight.  Did the stage crew have to wheel her on to and off of the set?  Maybe they just roll her out there and then lifted her into the chair).  Nicki wanted to issue a decree forbidding anyone anywhere from ever performing “I Who Have Nothing” ever again.  I get that.

I didn’t have Candice ranked very high in yesterday’s Top Ten pre-ranking, but she just vaulted past the competition with this performance.

2.  KREE HARRISON, “Crying” by Roy Orbison (performed by Carrie Underwood)

Kree sings so effortlessly.  It’s almost too easy for her, which she needs to watch out for as the season progresses.  Sometimes effortless can be perceived as not really trying.  But she is just so good, it’s hard for me to imagine she won’t be participating in the finals this year.  Keith Urban and my wife would both by her record if it came out tomorrow.  Maybe even today.  Nicki went on a rant about how best to prepare and eat waffles, and compared that to listening to Kree sing.  That works for me.

I like Kree a lot.  And I like Roy Orbison.  This was a lovely performance that should be the first of many more from Kree.

3.  ANGIE MILLER, “I Surrender” by Celine Dion (performed by Kelly Clarkson)

While I felt this was the third best performance of the night, this was also a clear case of being out-shined by the original performer.  This was Kelly Clarkson’s breakout moment on season one.  And while Miller sang and performed this really well last night, my overriding takeaway, fair or not,  was that she’s no Kelly Clarkson.  Still, this was one of the evening’s highlights and I think Miller will find her sweet spot (behind the piano) as the season rolls forward.  Nicki, after taking in Angie’s performance, declared that her legs offered everything she needed last night, and that she liked the way Angie walked in heals.  Okay.  Jimmy Iovine (thank God he’s back) cautioned her about coming across as “pageanty”, which is absolutely true.  My wife believes she needs to lose her 80’s haircut.  Maybe.  But the most unusual development to happen around Angie took place after the performance, when Mariah leaned down into her microphone and seemed to channel the devil as she simply uttered “Stellar” in a lower range, guttural voice that sent an icy chill down the spine of everyone in the American Idol audience.

4.  BURNELL TAYLOR, “Flying Without Wings” by Ruben Studdard

Hmm.  “Flying Without Wings”, really?  Apparently Burnell had some kind of emotional connection to this song, because I can’t imagine why anyone would intentionally choose it otherwise.  Still, I actually thought Burnell elevated this above its original version.  I know I’m kind of alone on this, but I liked it!  And I enjoy Burnell’s “Burnellisms”, as Keith put it.  I like his Davie Byrne-esque hand movements.  And I just love the sound of his voice.  On a night where the guys laid a collective egg, Burnell struck me as the only one able show off his feathers and strut his stuff a little (okay, that was kind of a weird chicken and rooster metaphor.  Let’s move on).

5.  AMBER HOLCOMB, “A Moment Like This”, by Kelly Clarkson

Truthfully, this may have been worthy of fourth place.  I’m just trying to though the guys a bone.  BUT, this was NOT “the best performance of the night” as Nicki would have us believe.  Seriously.  It felt like the producers were trying to set up this big coming out party for Amber, blowing wind in her face and dramatically lighting the set behind her.  They seem to really want to push Amber on us, and what better way than to have her come out and take ownership of “A Moment Like This”?  Right?!  Wrong.

Let me clear here, I like Amber and I think she has the potential to rise to top three status as the season progresses.  But last night she was just pretty good.  She pushed her vocals too much.  A case could be made to slot her above Angie, but she didn’t touch Candice or Kree.  “Hashtag pow” Mariah uttered in her lower range, underworld-like voice.  I would counter that with #she’snokellyclarkson.

6.  JANELLE ARTHUR, “Gone”, by Montgomery Gentry (performed by Scotty McCreery)

Sixth isn’t too bad, right?  Well, it is if you consider that she is last among the girls.  And honestly, she wasn’t  really close to the top four.  I actually thought she started pretty strong, but then the song seemed to swallow her up.  She was getting winded by the end of the performance and my sense was that she kind of panicked and just wanted to get to the end of the song.  I didn’t connect to her or the song at all.  The judges didn’t offer much other than complimenting her on her look, which is never a good sign.  Mariah just hovered above the judges table, staring at Janelle with glowing red eyes.

7.  DEVIN VELEZ, “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood

Here we go – the bottom four performances were all by the guys, and they were all awful.  The best of the awful was this completely forgettable performance by Devin.  After being warned by Jimmy to steer clear of being too adult contemporary, Velez delivered one of the most text-book adult contemporary performances I’ve ever seen.  This song was so mellow-dramatically schmaltzy, and Devin failed to demonstrate any connection to the schmaltz.  BUT – his voice sounded good, which is the only thing that saved him for me.  I still like Devin, but he needs to go in a dramatically different direction next week to wash this taste out of my mouth.

8.  CURTIS FINCH, JR., “I Believe” by Fantasia

I believe that the reason Nicki was late to the live broadcast was because she had seen a rehearsal of this horrible show opener and decided to skip it.  Well played, Nicki.

I had high hopes for Curtis, but this completely off-key meltdown is forcing me to reconsider.  Jimmy wants to see CJ reveal his inner soulman.  CJ wants to be the next “Luther Vandross”.  After last night, I kind of want him to be the next “one voted off”.  Well, not quite yet.  There’s still some unfinished business below.

9.  PAUL JOLLEY, “Amazed” by Lonestar (performed by Scotty McCreery)

Yawn.  I’m so bored by this guy, I don’t even want to finish this paragraph.  For some reason, Nicki felt sexually stimulated by him (you could say she got her “Jolleys” while watching him.  Thank you, goodnight).  Mariah’s eyes turned suddenly black and she uttered something about wanting to eat his soul, I think.  It wasn’t totally clear.

10.  LAZARO ARBOS, “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson

Awful, awful, awful, awful, awful, awful, awful, awful, awful, awful, awful, awful…AWFUL!!!  He’s always been awful. And the judges don’t have the guts to say it.  Compelling story, mediocre singer.  He needs to go, but I fear he won’t.

SO, WHO SHOULD GET VOTED OUT?  La-za-ro has got-to-go.  But sadly, I don’t think he will.  He is cute and sympathetic, which means that teenage girls everywhere will vote for him (even though they wouldn’t pay attention to him if he was in their own high school).

SO, WHO WILL GET VOTED OUT?  It’s hard to say.  I think six through nine in my rankings are all vulnerable.  Though Janelle was better than most of the boys, being the weakest girl puts her at high risk tonight.  And while Paul has earned an early exit, he, like Lazaro, will benefit from being cute for a week or two.  Something in my gut says CJ may be leaving us tonight.  His performance last night really was bad and forgettable.  It will depend on how much fan base he has accumulated during the audition weeks.  But look for him and Janelle to be in the bottom three, hopefully with Lazaro.

What did you think?

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~ by themattmorrisshow on March 14, 2013.

One Response to “American Idol top ten – Idol celebrates Idol!”

  1. I am having a hard time watching the show this year at all.
    It’s sad that Lazaro continues to go forward
    When he isn’t in the same league as the others. I see absolutely no improvement in his performances and he brings the others down
    When they are performing duets.
    It is the battle of the girls this season but so far kree is on top of the pack

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