[REVIEW] ‘American Idol’ Season 12 x Top 6 Performances

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This week’s theme was two-sided – songs from the Burt Bacharach and Hal David songbook and Songs They Wish They’d Written. Both themes gave the contestants a chance to show two sides of their vocal abilities, but some definitely had trouble. With Lazaro hanging on by the skin of his teeth, it looks like he might be around another week. For the first round, the contestants shared a fact that not many people know about them. The second round included their motivation behind the songs they wish they’d written.


ROUND ONE – BURT BACHARACH AND HAL DAVID
Kree Harrison – Jackie DeShannon’s “What The World Needs Know Is Love”
Grade: A

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Kree’s passion is for rodeo and she shares her years of performing in front of horses. Her performance starts off acappella and she murders it from the beginning. When the piano (and smoke) come in, Kree picks up the tempo even more and leaves the dramatics on 25. The arrangement is commendable also as Kree once again performs as if she’s on her own concert tour – as the main event.

Quote: “You’re always amazing to me because you know who you are, and you sing like – well, Kree.” (Mariah Carey)


Candice Glover – Dionne Warwick’s “Don’t Make Me Over”
Grade: A

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Candice apparently speaks another dialect – gichi. She takes on the most recognizable song of the night and looks damn near flawless in the process. During the first verse, she takes full command of the ‘Idol’ stage for the first time in a long time. The #lorettadevine stage theatrics are just amazing, and it’s the first time I’ve been truly impressed with her vocals. Not too much shouting and just enough high notes to hopefully propel her to next week’s show.

Quote: “Candi, I mean obviously, you just got a standing ovation.” (Nicki Minaj)


Angie Miller – Dionne Warwick’s “Anyone Who Had A Heart”
Grade: A-

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Angie and her best friend Lydia do Youtube videos regularly. She also loves hardcore music and wishes she could write an album solely dedicated to the genre. Singing the classic “Anyone Who Had A Heart” was a great move for Angie because of her dark nature. The dress wasn’t the best for the ‘Idol’ stage, but the vocals were definitely on point throughout. Broadway seems to be a strong point for Angie, and she takes the song to new heights about halfway through. The ending was very climatic and gave her a great opening to this week’s show.

Quote: “Your voice is unbelievable, and even though this isn’t your best, you’re still gonna be in this for the long run.” (Randy Jackson)


Amber Holcomb – Dionne Warwick’s “I Say A Little Prayer”
Grade: B+

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Amber has an infatuation with eating frozen shrimp right out of the bag, referring to them as #shrimpsicles. Taking on another Dionne Warwick cover, Amber comes out very strong and her styling is possibly the best from her all season. “I Say A Little Prayer” is a widely known ballad, but Amber sings like the passion wasn’t really there throughout her performance. She also looked uncomfortable throughout most of the performance but delivers a #pitchperfect run at the song’s conclusion, making up for somewhat of a sleepy performance.

Quote: “You are unbelievable. You are everything.” (Nicki Minaj)


Janelle Arthur – Bobbie Gentry’s “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”
Grade: C+

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Janelle played a boy in her high school play and her teacher was on the video clip to vouch for its comedic nature. Taking on another country song, she definitely struggled with leaving an impact with the audience. Keith seemed impressed, but the other judges looked bored. Janelle’s styling was way more demure than her previous weeks, but her signature #cowboyboots stayed with her. Towards the end, she made up for the sleepiness, but after being in the bottom two last week, the theme may be repeated again this week.

Quote: “I always feel like we see a different side of you each week.” (Keith Urban)


Lazaro Arbos – The Carpenters’ “(They Long To Be) Close To You”
Grade: D+

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Lazaro loves to ride four-wheelers and he also enjoys hunting. His song choice is another ballad (his main forte), but it came off very boring. Lazaro’s printed suit was very brave for him, as he strayed away from his normal bright colors. About halfway through the performance, it got so sleepy that I wanted to fast forward. Technically, Lazaro’s a great vocalist, but that’s about it. The performance factor just isn’t there for him and the judges agreed.

Quote: “No, no, no, that was horrible.” (Randy Jackson)


ROUND TWO – SONGS THEY WISH THEY’D WRITTEN
Candice Glover – The Cure’s “Lovesong”
Grade: A+

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Candice loves to sing love songs, and The Cure’s “Lovesong”, made famous by Adele, is one of her favorites. The dramatics are on ten from the performance start and Candice sings the hell out of the first two lines. The audience and judges are drawn in easily and quickly, allowing her to take their energy and devote it to her vocals. Candice’s notes have never given me chills like this before, and it puts her as a definite front-runner for the night.

Quote: “On behalf of all of the judges, one of the greatest performances in the history of ‘American Idol’ – all twelve years.” (Randy Jackson)


Angie Miller – Kari Jobe’s “Love Came Down”
Grade: A+

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When Angie was graduating high school, Kari Jobe’s song spoke to her heart and believes it’s one of the most motivational songs ever. Sitting at the piano, Angie takes Kari’s songwriting and makes it her own. The words are just very ethereal and makes for the first #idolmoment of the night. Angie’s high note at the end brought me to tears (like most of her performances) and earned her the second standing ovation of the night. The judges #tensacrosstheboard brought my favorite contestant to tears.

Quote: “It’s something about you at the piano – it just makes you really feel it more.” (Randy Jackson)


Kree Harrison – Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night”
Grade: A

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Kree loves the essence of songwriting, and Kris’ song for Martina McBride is dear to her heart. I always love when Kree goes into her country element because it’s such a strong arena for her. As she sings, the songwriting pierces through you like darts with a flame tip, and she continues to escalate her abilities throughout the second chorus. Unlike some of the other contestants, Kree opts for the #standstill performance factor, and works extremely well just on the strength of her vocal talents.

Quote: “I’m not even gonna be long-winded, you’re just at the head of the class.” (Nicki Minaj)


Janelle Arthur – Garth Brooks’ “The Dance”
Grade: B+

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Janelle obviously chose a #countrylegend, and Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” is a technically difficult song to sing. She starts off sitting down and belts out the verses with a confidence I’ve never seen from her before. I could really see Janelle doing a country-rock album, even though she’d be better singing pop/rock. No matter how good it was overall, this performance showed Janelle’s limits in terms of #vocalversatility.

Quote: “I don’t think this was your best performance ever, but I do believe your story.” (Randy Jackson)


Amber Holcomb – Beyonce’s “Love On Top”
Grade: B-

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Amber wishes she composed Beyonce’s “Love On Top” because it’s about a guy that puts his girl first. The uptempo nature of the song scared me for Amber because it’s a tad out of character. Towards the first chorus, Amber picks up the pace vocally, but a song as new as this seems nothing short of a Beyonce’ cabaret performance. After hearing both performances of hers, I’d be very surprised if she stayed around another week.

Quote: “Not my favorite vocal from you, but it seemed like you were having fun. That’s always good.” (Mariah Carey”


Lazaro Arbos – Robbie Williams’ “Angel”
Grade: C+

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Lazaro didn’t give a good explanation for why he likes “Angels”, but since it’s one of my favorite songs of all-time, I hoped he do it complete justice. The first verse is sung smoothly, but the performance factor is missing again. It’s definitely a better song choice than his first one, but I don’t think it’ll pull him through another week. As the last male on this season’s show, you’d think he would pull off a better vocal, but maybe he can’t.

Quote: “The way the girls are singing are so crazy good, and then there’s you.” (Keith Urban)


Who Should Go Home: Lazaro Arbos

Who Will Go Home: #judgessave

Bottom Three (My Vote): Lazaro Arbos, Amber Holcomb, Janelle Arthur

Group One (Middle Two): Angie Miller (3rd) and Janelle Arthur (4th)

Group Two (Bottom Two): Amber Holcomb (5th) and Lazaro Arbos (6th)

Group Three (Top Two): Candice Glover (1st) and Kree Harrison (2nd)

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

America’s Bottom Three (By Votes): Janelle Arthur (4th), Amber Holcomb (5th), Lazaro Arbos (6th)

Eliminated: Lazaro Arbos

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