Last week, we said a fond farewell to Burnell, after sharing the Bottom Two space with Janelle. We also learned that last week, Lazaro had place in the Top 3, next to Kree and Angie, with Candice and Amber floating in the middle 'safe' ground. This of course set a mild fire of indignation, many thinking it was Lazaro who should go home. I shall save my indignation for the producers and judges, who save thousands of singers, and couldn't come up with ten who are capable of winning the title. You can't blame America for voting for a kid you introduced to them, can you? Well, enough about last week, we can now move on this this week, with the theme 'Songs Your Grandparents Love', which could really describe much of the season to date. Okay, so the theme is really 'The Music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David', who had a tight control on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1960s and 1970s. Each contestant is also getting a second performance, with 'Songs They Wish They'd Written'. Now, have we established the remaining contestants are singer/songwriters? Honestly, I don't see a couple of them as songwriters, and that changes the complexion of the theme. But I digress. On with the show, this is it!
The episode begins with the dismissal of Burnell, getting hugs from all the ladies, from contestants to judges. And Randy utters the comical phrase "This is just the beginning". If history has shown us one thing, it is that once the tour is over, the vast majority of the kids disappear. But that is a line no one at Idol wants to repeat. Soon it was the judges being introduced, followed by a perky Crusty. He chats a bit, and introduces the Top 6. We also see Nigel Lythgoe, who never seems to mind promoting himself. But we quickly move on to the contestants. Angie is up first, and she talks about some silly videos she has on YouTube, dancing with her bestie and being silly. She sings "Anyone Who Had A Heart", originally sung by the great Dionne Warwick.
While this is the best vocal performance she has given, there is nothing new she brings to the table. It sounds very much like a karaoke performance. This is a song of heartbreak, and she delivers none of it. I don't think she as ever delivered on an emotional level. I am surprised, for not only does Keith agree with me, so does Nicki, Randy, and Mariah. They all liked her, but wished she would connect more with the lyrics. After what seems like an endless string of commercials, it is time for Amber to take her turn on the stage, singing a sweet song, another made famous by Dionne Warwick. She tackles "Say a Little Prayer". Before she sings, we learn she likes to eat frozen shrimp, sort a "shrimpcicle". Oh well. She looks pretty, and comes out to deliver our second karaoke performance of the night. On a couple of the runs, she has a tough time reaching for the high end. And once again, it lacks urgency or passion. It was really not sounding fresh. Nicki is the first up, and she falls all over herself to say how great Amber was. Randy agreed, and thought she was setting the bar for the competition. Mariah called her genius. Keith loves how effortless she was, and didn't oversing. I guess once again I was listening to a different performance. Crusty tells us that it will be Lazaro up next, so we have yet another week, and no male has been given the celebrated 'pimp spot', singing last. In fact, he is placed in the middle, where a performance could be easily forgotten. Lazaro admits on his video that he likes to ride ATVs and go hunting, and refers to himself as the Spanish redneck. He will be singing "(They Long To Be) Close To You" a huge hit for the Carpenters. He starts off nicely, although a bit restrained. In the middle, he hits a tough spot, and there are some rough notes. Once the song is over, and Randy begins the drive to get him out of the competition, talking about it being his worst performance of the competition. Now, I admitted it wasn't that good, but I have heard him sing worse than that, and be praised by these same judges. Mariah continues the beat down, followed by Keith. Nicki smiles, tells him hello, and tells Crusty to move on. I just think some people need to be reminded they put the boy on the show, and featured his touching story, and that wasn't me who did that. When you point a finger, there are usually three fingers pointing back to you. That brings us to Kree, who is thrilled her brother managed to get off work and attend the show tonight. She will be singing one of my favorites, "What The World Needs Now", originally made popular by Jackie DeShannon.
Hey, that was my favorite so far. She changed it up, gave a stronger emotional base, and less pop confection. She started off acapella, highlighting the wonderful warmth of her voice. Starting with Mariah, the judges fall all over themselves about that performance. In fact, Randy also uses it as an opportunity to bash Lazaro, which caused Mariah to giggle, and takes the focus away from Kree, who was wonderful tonight. The next one up is Janelle, who is tackling another hit from Dionne Warwick, singing “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”. She starts off with a sweet simplicity, but the performance doesn't really go anywhere, and sounds a bit bland and lifeless. I am surprised to hear the judges kind of agreeing with me, talking about there were some moments, but for the most part, it was forgettable. Finally, the last to sing her entry in the 'Songs of Your Grandparents sweepstakes' is Candice, taking on another Dionne Warwick ballad. She will be singing “Don’t Make Me Over”. She does a lovely job, changing it up a bit, and taking it a little in the Gospel direction. This is good, although a bit forced to me. I would say this is behind only Kree's performance tonight. However, the judges give it a standing ovation, which I find surprising. They are all taking about her being best, and we can decode to understand what the show wants to see in the future. They desperately want Lazaro gone tonight, and Janelle and Angie gone soon thereafter. They see a battle between Kree, Amber and Candice, and they'll do their best to get it!
Now the second round begins, and it is time for the contestants to sing the songs they wish they wrote. I am still apprehensive about this, as I don't think a couple of them would be writing their own songs, anyway. And first up will once again be Angie, who will be taking on a relatively new Christian Pop worship song. She will be singing "Love Came Down" by Kari Jobe. She is excited, for she will be back at the piano.
The song starts out quietly, and there are some slight pitch issues. In fact, there are a few more problems at the end of the chorus, with her voice giving out a bit. She brings it back together at the end, but that was a bit sloppy. It sounded to me like she lost her way on it. However, Randy and Keith gave it a standing ovation, which makes me roll my eyes. Randy thought it was a winning moment, and Mariah loved it. And Nicki pointed out without the piano, she was not on top - despite being in the Top 3 last week. After the break, Amber comes out, and is immediately grilled about the relationship with Burnell, which is just silly. She will be singing "Love on Top" written by Beyoncé Knowles, Terius Nash, and Shea Taylor and made famous by Beyonce. It starts off weak, and her voice is sounding thin and drowned by the band. She catches up a bit, but not completely. She was lagging a bit, and falling shrill during the runs. This was not a great performance. Mariah loved it, but thought there were issues. Keith ignored the issues, and thought it great. Nicki loved it, and thinks Beyonce should be scared. Randy shouted something foolish, and we can move on. Next up, and sure to be tossed under the bus is Lazaro, who will be singing "Angels" by Robbie Williams. I have to admit I am a bit frightened at this prospect, but surprisingly, Lazaro isn't bad at all. He is pretty much on key, and feeling something as we go along. He softens the ending a little bit, rather than taking it out with power. Pretty much, the judges are rude and dismiss him, giving him little to no respect. They talk about how all the girls are on another level, and imply he isn't. Again, I don't know who those judges think they are correcting, for it was them who put the boys on that stage, not me... Next up is the wonderful Kree, who will be singing a classic song by Kris Kristofferson.
Wow, she is amazing on the opening bars, and this is just beautiful. There is such treasure in the simplicity of her version, just touching and so damn connected. She just nailed both performances tonight. Nicki loved her (but tossed Janelle under the bus while praising Kree), and Randy thinks she is a natural. Mariah thought that is how the song should be sung, and Keith thinks she will be a star. But they also are soft pedaling a bit, as if shoving the knife in Lazaro tired them out. But after another break, it is time for Janelle to sing “The Dance”, performed by Garth Brooks. However, since this is about the songwriter, I must point out the song was written by Tony Arata. This song has been a favorite since she was eleven. She starts off the song sitting on some steps, and sounds pretty good. She does try to change the song up a bit, but I feel like some of her choices get in her way, rather than enhance the song. And the final note was problematic. Randy credited Garth with being a great songwriter. Mariah never heard the song before. Keith corrected Randy, giving Arata the credit he is due. And Nicki thought it was better than her first, although not to get ahead of the other girls. Guess we will have to wait to see what America thinks. The final performance of the night belongs to Candice, who will be taking on a great song written by Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson, Roger O'Donnell, Boris Williams, and Lol Tolhurst, better known as the members of The Cure. I suspect, however, that Candice will be making reference to the stunning version by Adele, off her album '21'.
Candice begins the song with a smokey, Jazz feel, and she is in great voice. The directors keep cutting back to Randy and Mariah, enthralled by her. Honestly, I am loving it until she starts to oversing it. It is a beautiful and simple song, as you can tell by Adele's version, as well as the original. There was some anger there I didn't know belonged there. Honestly, this was tough for me. However, the crowd and the judges go nuts, with Keith bowing to her, Mariah sprinkling her with glitter, and Randy calling it the best performance ever in 12 years of the competition. Wow, that is surprising hyperbole, even for the Dawg. So the recaps happen, and once again, we are reminded the girls are way better than the boy. For me, Kree wins the night, and Lazaro was the weakest of the night. However, it is hard to say who will be going home, if anyone. After all, there is still a save for the judges to use. I suspect they might have come after Lazaro too hard, but you never know. But if I were a betting man, I have to think Janelle should be a bit worried. I would hope both Kree and Candice are safe, but one never knows, do one? Guess we will have to wait until the results are announced tomorrow night at 8PM on your local Fox channel!