Now that Lazaro Arbos has gone home (finally) to set his sights on Glee (please, no!) it's Ladies' Night every night on American Idol. If there's one way to ensure that this year's winner isn't another white guy with a guitar, having no guys left in the competition is certainly it.
Tonight the ladies will sing a song from their year of birth and then sing a song by a Diva, with a head nod from Ryan to Mariah. Will anyone be brave enough to pick a song by Mimi? We'll see...
Round One: Songs From the Year They Were Born (aka, the round that makes me feel old)
Candice Glover was born in 1989. She's chosen a song by former Idol judge, Paula Abdul: "Straight Up Now Tell Me." This is a really interesting take on the song. It's a little Bluesy with an infusion of something I can't quite put my finger on. Santana? Jamaican? I'm not sure, but I love it. Candice is so ridiculously talented that I almost feel like this is her competition to lose. Keith said he never realized that the song was such a great song and called her vocal runs a "slow wink" that someone gives from across a bar. Nicki liked that Candice put her own spin on the song. Randy felt she made the song more current and loves that Candice is in the zone and relaxed on the stage. Mariah called her song choice "genius." 5/5
Also born in 1989, Janelle Arthur is singing Vince Gill's "When I Called Your Name." She's picked up her guitar again like Keith suggested she should last week. She does a great job with songs like these and shows the little nuances in her voice. While I wish the song had been more up-tempo, it was kind of haunting and nice, but there was something off about it. Nicki said Janelle seems more comfortable with her guitar in front of her. It grounds her in her performances. Randy loved that she chose a throwback country song because it made her seem authentic. Mariah felt like Janelle was singing with her whole heart and loved her renewed sense of confidence. Keith, the lone country man on the panel, didn't feel the emotion typically conveyed by the song. 3.5/5
Kree Harrison was born in 1990. To continue to show her versatility, she's chosen "She Talks to Angels" by The Black Crowes. She, like Candice, continually makes excellent song choices. This feels like we're at a Kree concert. The staging is excellent, the song is a perfect vehicle to keep her current. I'm not sure she topped Candice as there were moments when she seemed distracted, but it was solid. Randy says she has a natural soulful quality to her voice and while the performance wasn't flawless, he felt her emotion. Mariah loves to hear Kree sing and feels like Kree is her best when she loses herself in her songs and didn't feel like she did that tonight. Keith agrees with Mariah and feels that without the cameras and distractions her performance would've been completely different. Nicki thought, after arguing with Mariah, that this performance was perfection. 4.5/5
From the year 1994, Angie Miller chose "I'll Stand By You" by The Pretenders. Also taking notes from the judges, she's back behind the piano. It's not her best performance, but that could be because she's dealing with the emotion of the events in Boston, her hometown. She tries too hard to enunciate all of the "t" sounds on the ends of her words and all I can think is that Glee did this better. Mariah was glad that Angie made such an "eclectic" choice. Keith loves her at the piano and says that there's a tone quality to her voice that makes him want to cry. Nicki congratulates her on a great performance. Randy, like all the judges, thanks her for dedicating the song to Boston and then says the five girls are all great. 4/5
Also born in 1994, Amber Holcomb is going for it and singing Mariah's cover of "Without You." I think the nerves of performing in front of Mariah are getting to her because this is not her best performance. She doesn't have a strong lower register and she spends too much of the song in the low notes, which makes it so that no one can really understand what she's saying. The song perks up a bit when she opens up on the notes at the end, but it's not her best work. Keith thought it was beautiful. Nicki said Amber seemed like she felt scared and that she struggled in the lower registers before saying, finally, that she didn't like it. Randy said it wasn't perfect, but he gives her "mad props" for singing this song in front of Mariah. Mariah said "vote for Amber!" 3/5
Round Two: Divas
Taking on another Mariah number, Candice Glover is singing "When You Believe," a duet Mariah sang with the late Whitney Houston. I can't even critique it because all I want to do is fangirl about how amazing Candice is. When she hit that big note at the bridge chillbumps popped up on my arms. This competition is hers to lose. Nicki kicked off the commentary with "that is how you do a Mariah Carey-Whitney Houston song." And then I got chills from Nicki's comments. Randy called it the best vocal of the night and says she has one of the best vocals in the known world. Mariah tells Candice she's proud of her. Keith said that Candice's voice always stops him in his tracks. 5/5
Janelle Arthur chooses a country Diva and sings Dolly Parton's "Dumb Blonde." There's something strange about the sound mixing, like it's all vocals and no accompaniment which makes it seem like she's shouting half the time. The tempo is also strange, like she's rushing but the music is dragging, so there are tears in the number. It's not great. Randy thought it was a fun performance but vocally it wasn't anything new. Mariah thought it was cute and firey. Keith thought she should've picked another Dolly Parton song. Nicki thinks Janelle is in jeopardy of going home but loves Janelle's light and doesn't think this competition is indicative of how far she can go in the real world. 3/5
Kree Harrison is singing Celine Dion's "Have You Ever Been In Love." She definitely did her thing to it and looked amazing. There's something about her voice that sounds so fresh, and the arrangement is really nicely done. Excellent performance for Kree! Mariah calls it a "very smart choice" and thought the key was nice and loved that Kree showed her versatility with the number. Keith called it a beautiful song choice. Nicki said "you're not country. You're worldly. You're iconic." Randy added that she can do whatever she wants to do. 5/5
In what she thinks might prove to be risky, Angie Miller is singing Beyonce's "Halo." I think this is one of the smartest choices of the night because the song is current, but not so current as to be receiving heavy airplay. Instead of trying to make an old song new again, she's picking a current song and putting her own stamp on it. Whatever sound mixing plagued Janelle's performance is also plaguing hers a little, but Angie sings the pants off of that song. Keith says "definitely top 3." Nicki says Angie's back in the competition. Randy gave her an "in it to win it." Mariah loved the clarity in Angie's voice. 4.5/5
Closing out the night, Amber Holcomb is singing Barbara Streisand's "What Are You Doing With The Rest Of Your Life." She looks amazing. It's an interesting choice, though, particularly when she's following Angie. This performance ages her and does nothing to say who she'd be as an artist, no matter how well she sings the song. It's a beautiful performance, but I'm not sure how much it did to garner her any votes. Nicki called it perfection and called her a classy diva. Randy said that was the most difficult song to sing of the entire season and said she sang the "I don't know what" out of it. Mariah gave her "classic" and "beautiful" and called her potentially a massive star. Keith thought it was elegant and beautiful. 4.5/5
So, the scores for tonight are as follows:
- Candice Glover--10/10
- Janelle Arthur--6.5/10
- Kree Harrison--9.5/10
- Angie Miller--8.5/10
- Amber Holcomb--7.5/10
I think this could be the week that Amber Holcomb's time in the bottom 2 result in her getting cut. Her final performance, while beautiful, was old. I think the judges will use their save if anyone but Janelle Arthur is sent home tomorrow night, so if Amber's time is up, she'll get an extra week.
What did you think of tonight's performances? Which of the Top 5 had the strongest performances of the night?