Amber Holcomb! Angie Miller! Candice Glover! Kree Harrison! Talk about your Final Four! The remaining ladies of American Idol are quite the talented bunch and all of them are likely destined for success beyond Idol.
Tonight they'll each sing two songs plus a duet. Let's get to it!
Round One: Contestant's Choice
Amber Holcomb is starting off the night with Celine Dion's "The Power of Love." She starts the song of A Capella, which is really nice because we can hear the warm tones in her voice. I'm trying to really pay attention to her performances to figure out what it is that doesn't always work. It's not her voice, that's for sure. She's got talent for days. Her body is always very stiff when she performs. Maybe that's it. Oh well, her voice was great. Keith loved the song choice and thought she performed effortlessly. Nicki thinks Amber doesn't feel like a contestant anymore and has made it. Randy says she's the contestant with the most growth throughout the competition. Mariah said she took a classic song and gave it flavor and gave her a #Pow. 4.5/5
Up next, Candice Glover is taking on Drake. She's chosen "Find Your Lovin'." I'm unfamiliar with the original to make a comparison between her version and Drake's, but I like what she's giving me. It's sultry and feels like classic R&B, but it's kind of sleepy. It's a solid performance, but not my favorite of hers. Nicki wishes she'd stuck to the melody of the original number and felt that her arrangement made her sound old-fashioned. (I agree with Nicki!) Randy said her vocals were crazy, but thinks she could pull back from the runs and riffs and being "church-y." Mariah thought that too much was done with the musical arrangement but loves that she took a risky chance with the vocals. Keith loved what she did with the song and loves that she's finding herself week after week. 4/5
The last remaining country girl in the competition, Kree Harrison, is singing "It Hurt So Bad." The little nuances in her voice when she pops up into her falsetto for just a tiny second and then jumps right back to belting out a big number is so fun to watch. Physically, she seems to lack energy, like she isn't present in the performance, but vocally it's there. She's such a unique presence in the competition. Randy doesn't think it's the best vocal he's heard from her and thought that parts of it were disconnected. Mariah felt her connection to the audience, but wishes she would lose herself to the moment. Keith thinks all the vocals are exceptional from all of the contestants, but believes she holds back her emotions when she sings. Nicki didn't think her performance was Top 4 worthy. 3/5
Angie Miller is returning to the piano with a Jessie J's "Who You Are." She's a contestant who has most consistently chosen songs that make her sound completely current. She doesn't go wrong when she plays the piano. There are a couple of moments where she the lyrics seem to get away from her as she gets lost in the song, but that was the best performance so far. Round One goes to Angie. Mariah says the caliber of her performance was "beyond" but wishes she'd sung another original song. Keith has confidence in her as an artist and quotes the song saying "It's okay not to be okay." Nicki feels that Angie is making smart choices by getting behind the piano more often. Randy felt that the song could have been Angie's instead of Jessie J's and gives her an "in it to win it." 5/5
The first duet of the night is made up of Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb singing Adele's "Rumour Has It." We're not even out of the first verse and I already dislike it. It feels like karaoke. And not good karaoke either. One thing Smash season 1 was infinitely better than its second endeavor and that's at least partly due to Katherine McPhee singing this song. This was just not great. Keith called it "really good" and I think his ears are broken. Nicki tells them to add personality on top of the voice.
Angie Miller and Candice Glover perform Rihanna's "Stay." It's an odd choice, I think, but it definitely suits their voices and styles better than the first one did. The arrangement is even slower than the song already is and it's like a weird rock track has been added. Actually, the further into this I get, the more I realze the arrangement sucks and does these two zero favors. That was bizarre. Randy called it brilliant and Mariah loved how the two of them are so versatile.
Round Two: One Hit Wonders
Kicking off this audience-driven theme, Amber Holcomb chose "MacArthur's Park." She dips into her lower register again, which isn't her strong place. And once again, if Angie over-enunciates, Amber under-enunciates. I can't understand half the words she's saying and can only hope it sounds differently in the arena. What an odd choice. I, personally, don't like it at all. Keith says it's "like summer has set in for you and it's here to stay." Nicki says she's a "blooming flower" and then calls her Angie. Randy gives her an "in it to win it." Mariah praises her "star quality" and says the show is helping her to develop that. 3.5/5
Candice Glover is singing "Emotion," as done by The Bee Gees. Now this is an example of a good song choice given the theme. There's enough room in this song for her to play with her vocals and it's not a song about a recipe for cake. Even though it was an older song, it still felt newer. Nicki gives her props for making an old song feel new, then goes off to rebut Jimmy's criticism of Amber's performance, and then flips it back to Candice. Randy felt like she settled back in after a rocky first performance. Mariah says the way Candice has been singing so consistently from the beginning is amazing. Keith wishes she'd picked a song from the last decade. 4/5
Kree Harrison decided to sing "A Whiter Shade of Pale." She's trying to lose herself in the emotions like the judges urged her after her first performance. I'm not sure she really manages to do it completely, but there are definitely moments where she just lets go. I love her voice. Randy says singing will never be her problem and believes she redeemed herself. Mariah plans to go and download her performance. Keith didn't believe that she made the right song choice. Nicki loved the performance but doesn't think she did enough to keep herself out of the Bottom 2 because the artist inside her seems to be dimming. 3/5
Closing the night, Angie Miller picked Julie London's version of "Cry Me A River." It's old. And theatrical. And old. And sleepy. However, it gives her an outlet to overperform and over-enunciate. Vocally, it's great. The best of Round Two. But wow, it's a confusing choice. Mariah calls it elegant. Twice. She loved Angie's high notes and felt that Angie had been holding out. Keith called it "mystical and celestially powerful." Nicki said she "came out to snatch wigs" and said tonight was her night. Randy gave her another "in it to win it." 5/5
Tonight was strange. A couple of the girls made bizarre choices in Round One. And they ALL made odd choices for Round Two. It's almost as if the producers said "Cool. One Hit Wonders. Let's only give them a song book that's 40 or more years old!" I can't begin to understand the song choices they made for that round.
The rankings fall like this:
- Amber Holcomb-- 8/10
- Candice Glover-- 8/10
- Kree Harrison-- 6/10
- Angie Miller-- 10/10
Angie Miller won the night for me, hands down. Kree Harrison, coming off a stint in the Bottom 2 last week, could find herself back there again tomorrow night, as much as that pains me to say. She just seems like her heart isn't in it the way it was early on. Ryan promises a shocking twist tomorrow night, so we'll all tune in to find out what surprise the Idol producers have in store for us.
Until then, who had the best performance of the night?