[REVIEW] ‘American Idol’ Season 12 x Top 7 Performances

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With this week, the judges decided to do something different – no ballads, no downtempos. As a first for the show, the contestants had a narrow margin of songs to choose from that would fit in with the assigned classic rock theme. Backed by respected vocalist/instrumentalist Orianthi , the contestants gave their best interpretations of uptempo guitar songs and did well overall. The week’s individual video montages were centered around each of the contestants, as they were asked to discuss what they like (or don’t like) about each competitor. However, Jimmy Iovine’s absence was duly noted, as a few of the performances were in desperate need of mentoring.


Angie Miller – Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life”
Grade: A

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Angie’s excitement is the talk of the contestants, who comically mock her #speedclapping. Kree and Amber give Angie credit for working the camera and say that she can always give an exciting performance even on mute. Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life” just may be one of the most successful rock songs of all time, which is why Angie started on the piano to prepare the audience for greatness. Orianthi compliments Angie’s lush vocals very well and she brings the most dramatics to the stage out of all the contestants of the night. She also takes the award for the best styling of the night, and looks even more beautiful that I remembered. Saving the best for last was a great move for the show producers, as Angie completely murders the stage – #beyoncefans and all.

Quote: “I’m happy that America sees you like this, because the world would love to see an album like Evanescence from you.” (Randy Jackson)


Kree Harrison – Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart”
Grade: A-

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The contestants agree that Kree is the #denmother of this season. Candice refers to her as a #guardianangel, and Angie praises how warm she is with the crew members. Lazaro and Burnell laughed at the fact that she’s the only contestant that knows everyone’s name on the entire set. Kree has an advantage with me this week because she’s singing my favorite Janis Joplin song of all-time. The beginning didn’t command the stage as much as usual, but she took it home when she got into her comfort zone (i.e: the #bignotes). Kree blames her slight lagging on a pinched nerve, but barely shows it throughout her vocal. Her styling is also commendable, rocking a sheer blouse with knee-high boots and leggings, proving that she can appear much younger than she sings.

Quote: “You have an innate ability to choose your song and it really shows that you’re an artist.” (Mariah Carey)


Candice Glover – The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
Grade: B+

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Candice reveals that her and Burnell’s April’s Fool’s trick on Burnell failed, leaving her with a broken toe. As the oldest contestant, the others are jealous that she has her own room. Burnell believes she has her own spot because she’s going home soon. Kree and Amber touch on Candice’s love-hate relationship with Burnell, which would “normally” be seen as flirting (but we know better). Orianthi rocks out the most during Candice’s performance, as she commands the “I can’t get no satisfaction” line like she’s the female reincarnation of James Brown. While I enjoyed the song, it’s the first time that she looked uncomfortable and nervous on the Idol stage. Most of her phrasings were inaudible, and her face read “pain” throughout the entire song. Maybe it was the broken toe, but you can definitely tell Candice struggled with this week’s theme.

Quote: “Your voice is so good and you always wail up with so much power, but I can feel your pain from here tonight.” (Keith Urban)


Janelle Arthur – Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right”
Grade: B

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Burnell has the nerve to call Janelle #horsewaitingoutsidecountry – a funny, but true comparison. Candice and Amber bring up Janelle’s constant caring for Burnell, whom she believes doesn’t eat (which is probably true). Lazaro oddly brings up the corn fields and believes she was born there. Janelle took a risk singing Billy Joel’s classic, but seems to get better each week. You can tell she had a lot of fun singing a country rock uptempo, but her vocals came off flat at points during the performance. While she gave the song a large amount of #countryswag, she didn’t pull off the big chorus as well as she normally could have. And let’s just try to excuse her fringe bolero and tacky bedazzled cowboy boots, which further proves that the contestants shouldn’t be dressing themselves.

Quote: “Randy would definitely wear that vest.” (Nicki Minaj)


Amber Holcomb – Heart’s “What About Love”
Grade: B

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Apparently, Amber talks to herself regularly and each of the contestants notice it all the time. Janelle, Lazaro, and Candice point out that Amber is very photogenic and can always be seen taking shots of herself. Burnell declares that he has a crush on Amber which makes her blush beyond belief. A smoky stage attempts to set the mood for rock for Amber’s performance, but it feels more like R&B is her theme for the week. I knew she would also struggle with choosing the perfect song to fit her voice, and unfortunately Heart’s “What About Love” didn’t do it for her. She oversang the song like oversinging was this week’s theme, and struggled to get through the chorus. There’s no denying her vocal ability, but contestants have to be able to sing anything, and this performance just only proved that she can hit big notes.

Quote: “I like that you came out and gave the audience them legs tonight.” (Randy Jackson)


Lazaro Arbos – Queen’s “We Are The Champions”
Grade: B-

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Best highlight of the night – the contestants attempting to make sense of Lazaro’s odd fashion choices, particularly his love for pink. Angie says his colors are so bright that they blind the audience. Candice says that she’s “never met a guy that wears colors like this” – and we all know what that means. Amber, Kree, and Janelle poke fun at his performance #endposes, which they compare to Elvis. Lazaro also challenged himself by taking on the most recognizable and successful song of the week, and his profuse sweating just at the first verse shows his nerves. When he hits the chorus, Lazaro goes #broadwayflat but strangely it sounds good – for him. I thought this theme wouldn’t work for him, but he tries to make his efforts better by carefully placing in his high notes.

Quote: “I have to say that I was concerned, but you did a good job with a song that’s known as an anthem.” (Mariah Carey)


Burnell Taylor – Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name”
Grade: C+

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Janelle and Amber gave great impressions of Burnell, while Kree, Candice, and Lazaro pointed out his #choirdirection which is very common throughout his singing. Candice also pointed out his laugh, which she refers to as “sounding like someone is dying”. With the #noballad rule strictly enforced, it’s clear that Burnell would struggle the most, as his vocals are always centered around ballads. His interpretation of Bon Jovi’s classic came off very cheesy and unoriginal. The dance moves were beyond forced and didn’t work in any way. Burnell didn’t even take time to command the stage, relying heavily on Orianthi’s guitar and the background vocalists to carry his performance.

Quote: “I’ve never seen you look more uncomfortable with a song.” (Keith Urban)


BONUSES

Janelle Arthur, Kree Harrison, and Amber Holcomb – Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me”
Grade: A

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The all-girl trios have proved to be impressive this season, but these three delivered a real treat. Surprisingly, Janelle delivered the best vocal of the three, but Kree and Amber also held their own. The song seems like it could’ve been made for a trio a la the Supremes, giving the girls a chance to showcase their harmony skills. But the worst part was definitely Amber’s styling, which was downright ghastly and made Kree and Janelle look like high fashion models. Not only did she have my favorite plaid H&M shirt tied around her waist, but her jeans looked like two children ripped out of each leg.

Quote: “America’s really gonna have a tough time choosing between the three of you.” (Mariah Carey)


Candice Glover and Burnell Taylor – The Box Tops’ “The Letter”
Grade: A-

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It would be strange if I didn’t mention that “The Letter” is a very hard rock song to sing. The two soul crooners of the season took the challenge and were able to deliver a strong vocal. They were in sync in terms of outfits, #churchbounces, and even harmonies. While Candice delivered the more powerful, moving performance, Burnell’s high note at the end is commendable and I think it’s the highest he’s gone on the Idol stage. After this duet, there’s no denying that they should work together after their stint on the show’s twelfth season.

Quote: “Candice, when I hear your voice, it pierces through every single thing on this planet.” (Nicki Minaj)


Lazaro Arbos and Angie Miller – Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
Grade: B

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This performance is like a pairing made in hell – literally. Angie’s so ridiculously good and Lazaro’s so horrifically bad, one would never think a duet like this would ever work. Angie takes the lead and outsings Lazaro at every point possible. It’s clear again Lazaro didn’t prepare enough for the performance, as he misses notes and verses left and right. The producers should’ve paired Angie with Burnell because the contrast in their voices would’ve meshed much better, but this unexpected pair proved to be the worst of the night.

Quote: “You seemed to be comfortable enough until the point you forgot the lyrics, Lazaro.” (Nicki Minaj)


Who Should Go Home: Burnell Taylor

Who Will Go Home: No one (#judgessave)

Bottom Three (My Vote): Lazaro Arbos, Amber Holcomb, Burnell Taylor

TUA’s Top Three: Angie Miller (1st), Kree Harrison (2nd), Candice Glover (3rd)

Keith Urban’s Top Three: Kree Harrison (1st), Angie Miller (2nd), Amber Holcomb (3rd)

Nicki Minaj’s Top Three: Angie Miller (1st), Amber Holcomb (2nd), Kree Harrison (3rd)

Randy Jackson’s Top Three: Amber Holcomb (1st), Kree Harrison (2nd), Angie Miller (3rd)

Mariah Carey’s Top Three: Kree Harrison (1st), Amber Holcomb (2nd), Candice Glover (3rd)

America’s Top Three: Lazaro Arbos (1st), Angie Miller (2nd), Kree Harrison (3rd)

Safe: Candice Glover (4th)

Bottom Three (By Votes): Amber Holcomb (5th), Janelle Arthur (6th), Burnell Taylor (7th)

Eliminated: Burnell Taylor

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