[REVIEW] ‘American Idol’ Season 12 x Top 10 Performances


The theme for this week was ‘Songs From The Idols’ and each contestant sung either an original song from a winning Idol or a song performed by a winning Idol on the show. The diversity wasn’t as large as previous weeks, with half of the contestants singing country songs. This week did give America the chance to see all ten contestants in full, carefully making the right decision in terms of votes.


Candice Glover – Benny King’s “I Have Nothing” (as sung by Jordin Sparks)
Grade: A+

Out of all the Idols over the years, I find it very ironic that Candice finds herself closest to season 6 winner Jordin Sparks. Keeping the same dramatic arrangement as Jordin’s, Candice sings the song effortlessly and finds herself hitting high notes within the song’s opening verse. I can’t front and say that her #overglam was distracting, but her commanding, soulful vocals always reel you back in. The end note was simply perfection and just barely edged her over Angie, her biggest competition this season. It’s also notable that Keith Urban compares her to the great Shirley Bassey, adding that the energy from the audience never seems to distract her from reaching new heights.


Angie Miller – Celine Dion’s “I Surrender” (as sung by Kelly Clarkson)
Grade: A+

Standing as my favorite vocalist in season 12, Angie’s vocals are always #pitchperfect. By staying in the realm of power ballads, Angie took on Kelly Clarkson’s arrangement of Celine Dion’s Grammy-winning song “I Surrender” and delivered Beyonce-esque vocals and some of the best runs in the history of the show. Adding to the package is her extreme beauty and beautiful styling, her performances are always favorites amongst judges, bloggers, and critics alike. There’s no stopping Angie as the bar always begins with her performances. She’s so great that all four of the vocalists used the word #perfect to describe her performance, forcing Randy to scream his infamous #inittowinit phrase.


Kree Harrison – Roy Orbison’s “Crying” (as sung by Carrie Underwood)
Grade: A

Kree takes the award for #mostimproved in terms of styling, and her sultry vocals won me over on the ballad made famous by Carrie Underwood. The chorus was sung with such a grandeur level of confidence that it almost made me do exactly what the song title implies. Everything about Kree is marketable and this week’s performance was no different. Keith decided to take Randy’s second infamous quote (“you can sing the phone book”) to describe Kree’s effortless vocals, while Nicki makes a weird “waffle” comparison to describe her smoothness. The weird judges’ comments are sure to confuse ‘Idol’ voters, but I’m sure she’ll remain amongst the top performers this season.


Burnell Taylor – Westlife’s “Flying Without Wings” (as sung by Ruben Studdard)
Grade: A-

Burnell describes himself as a true R&B singer, but unfortunately the show’s format calls for a more #versatile performer. While I’m certain Burnell won’t have a problem with the position aspect, he may have a problem keeping the attention of ‘Idol’ voters if he doesn’t bring something new. But still, Burnell’s rendition of Ruben’s crowning moment was a safe choice filled with many stellar vocal moments. It’s also commendable to see Burnell take his glasses off, possibly in an effort to bring in an emotional connection with the public. Not only did he make the song his own, but he added his own #burnellisms to make him stand out even more. I’m still hoping that he’ll sing outside of his comfort zone, because he’ll be back in New Orleans before you know it.


Paul Jolley – Lonestar’s “Amazed” (as sung by Scotty McCreery)
Grade: B+

Jimmy iovine critiqued Paul for falling into the “oversinging” category, but sometimes I feel the exact opposite – until now. Taking a midtempo by country band Lonestar brought out a richness in his voice that I’d never heard before. The violin arrangement made the first half of the performance somewhat sleepy, but the second half of Paul’s performance raised the bar for the underwhelming male performers. Also standing as the only straight male on the show this season, it’s certain that his #loveydovey performance will woo the hearts of females nationwide.


Amber Holcomb – Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This”
Grade: B+

I’m not really a big fan of Amber, but to take on the first crowning Idol moment was definitel y risky. The performance started out slow and shaky, but the queued fan effect seemed to also brighten her vocals. Unlike any of the other performances, the background singers enhanced Amber’s vocals, but not necessarily in a good way. I’m all about voting for performances that are good, not necessarily because of their race. At the end of the performance, Amber hits a big note that somewhat salvaged her underwhelming abilities, but I think for her to succeed she has to sing something fresh that’s not as vintage as all of her previous performances.


Janelle Arthur – Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone” (as sung by Scotty McCreery)
Grade: B-

I wish someone would tell Janelle that uptempos aren’t her strongpoint. She came on the stage overly confident and stayed in her #countrysafezone, which unfortunately never really left too far off the ground. The beginning of her performance was stronger than any of her other outings to date, but fell apart towards the end. Jimmy Iovine praised her for being a “beautiful, blonde female country singer”, but with the competition as stiff as it is this season, she has to bring a bit more if she wants to take this season’s crown.


Devin Velez – Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home”
Grade: C+

In his pre-performance interview, Devin asserted that ballads were his strong point and also his way to America’s hearts. Taking on one of my favorite Carrie Underwood songs of recent years, he delivers a smooth, solid spin to a country (soon-to-be) classic. The problem here is that the vocals never really brought the #starquality that his English-Spanish performances do. His lower register is striking, but his upper register needs a bit more work before truly reaching the mainstreamers.


Lazaro Arbos – Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway”
Grade: C

Lazaro’s annoying pink shirt is back yet again, and made me wonder who is unsuccessfully styling him. His haircut was definitely a good look, but Kelly’s verses certainly won the race in terms of vocal ability. The “I’ll spread my winds and I’ll learn how to fly” stadium-like chorus was subdued from Lazaro, and makes me start believing that it’s not necessarily intentional. Songs with powerful vocals aren’t his strong point, and he should stick to smaller, less needy arrangements. I think Lazaro, who Nicki Minaj said looked like Ricky Ricardo, and his Spanish counterpart Devin should trade roles, because bilingual performing would be his biggest strongpoint.


Curtis Finch, Jr. – Fantasia’s “I Believe”
Grade: C

Is it me, or is Curtis getting gayer each week? His bright paisley blazer along with his constant lip licking was possibly done to make tops across America lust for him. Taking on Fantasia’s crowning Idol song, the first half of Curtis’ “I Believe” was downright painful. I’m glad Jimmy Iovine told him to tone down the #retroextraness, but I just didn’t think Fantasia’s winning moment suited him as well as other performances.

Who Should Go Home: Lazaro Arbos

Who Will Go Home: Curtis Lynch, Jr.

Bottom Three (My Vote): Curtis Lynch, Jr., Lazaro Arbos, Janelle Arthur

Bottom Three (By Votes): Paul Jolley (8th), Devin Velez (9th), Curtis Lynch, Jr. (10th)

Rest Of Ranking: Lazaro Arbos (4th), Amber Holcomb (5th), Janelle Arthur (6th), Burnell Taylor (7th)

Top Three (By Votes): Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Angie Miller

Eliminated: Curtis Lynch, Jr.

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