Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Top 10 Perform: Music of The American Idols

Welcome back. Well we are finally here, the Top 10 is finally put together and the guys and girls will finally face off against one another. It's a relatively strong Top 10, a lot of good with a mix of mildly decent, so we will see how it all shakes out. Tonight the Top 10 are singing songs that former American Idol Winners have either sung on the show or sung after they left the show. It's a very in-house theme this week. Should be something to see, so let's get going:

Weekly Rankings
This is a new segment we are adding to the Top 10 this season. Each week before the contestants peform we will post our rankings of the contestants. The criteria is their success on the show, personality, judges & audience response and belief that they could win. Each week we will do a new weekly ranking and let you know if they have risen, fallen or stayed flat in the rankings. So with that:
 1.. Kree Harrison               2. Candice Glover       3. Devin Velez     4. Angie Miller       5.. Amber Holcombe         

6.. Burnell Taylor               7. Janelle Arthur          8.. Lazaro Abros   9. Paul Jolley      10..Curtis Finch Jr

Curtis Finch Jr 
(I Believe-Fantasia(American Idol Winner Season 3) )
Jimmy Iovine is back as a mentor this season and his advice to Curtis was to not be so retro. So with that the beginning of this performance was as shaky as an earthquake in California. Once the chorus and second verse hit with the 8(!) background singers he sounded a little more comfortable. I didn't feel anything close to what Fantasia pulled off during her season. I feel like it should have gone to a level that made us go nuts but it was flat. His vocals were good at points and then messy in others. I don't know. C 
Keith=Picked the right song. Sings a little over the top of the song in the beginning.
Nicki=Nothing she was stuck in traffic and missed this performance.
Randy=Likes his new style. Couple things were great but cautions him to try things a little differently. Knows there is something more than just the inspirational songs.
Mariah=Happy that he had the choir feeling tonight. Wants to hear more of the gospel tinge.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. They are more about his past performances than tonight because tonight they weren't as enthused.

Janelle Arthur
(Gone-Scotty McCreery(American Idol Winner Season 10) )
Jimmy's advice to Janelle is pick great songs and push herself. This song was originally sung by Montgomery Gentry. The beginning of this performance was solid when she started moving around she lost some of her breath and sounded a little off key but she regained it back pretty quickly. Then she kind of loses it at other points. I like how she moves around the stage and looks very comfortable with what she is doing. B-
Keith=Loves that a female sang this song. Loves that she put herself into it.
Nicki=Thinks last week's song suited her better. Loves that her confidence is shining but wants her to pick songs that really showcase her beauty.
Randy=Song choice didn't lead anywhere. Looks great and that she worked the song.
Mariah=The aura was giving off star quality. Great performance but would love a ballad.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Kinda. They didn't think it was her best because the song didn't suit her, I didn't think she sounded good and the song choice was alright.

Devin Velez
                                                                (Temporary Home-Carrie Underwood(American Idol Season 4 Winner))
Jimmy's advice to Devin is to not lock into adult contemporary so that he can keep himself flexible. Devin taking a country song and taking it out out of that genre is a good idea. There were some shaky points but he hits some really nice tender moments as well. I don't think this song choice allowed himself a lot places to go. Some of the higher notes were very nice but some was flat, I don't know. This was my least favorite performance of his. C+
Keith=Not one of his better performances. Wrong song choice. Thinks he tried too hard to get out of his comfort zone.
Nicki=Disagree with everything Keith said. Thinks that this was his comfort zone and loved his voice with the song.
Randy=Way too safe, felt he underplayed himself. Way safe.
Mariah=Knows he has the ability to do so much and expectations are high so tonight was a letdown.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. Except for Nicki they all thought tonight was a let down. By far Devin's worst performance on the show.

Angie Miller
(I Surrender-Kelly Clarkson(American Idol Season 1 Winner)
Jimmy's advice to Angie is that sometimes it turns into a beauty pageant during her performance. This song was originally a Celine Dion song and then Kelly Clarkson sang it on the show so that's some big voices to compete with. Smartly Angie decided to not go as booming, she kept it within her wheelhouse. She did go for those big notes but still kept restrained when she needed to. That huge note in the middle-end of the song was fantastic and she hit almost easily. Best performance of the night thus far by a long shot. A-
Keith=Seems to take a song from any era and makes it current. Her vocal range is so beautiful. Knocked it out of the park tonight.
Nicki=Obsessed with the dress. Looked really comfortable. Is perfection on every level. The voice is flawless and just is a superstar.
Randy= The competition started right now. Thinks she can sing anything. Loved every part of it.
Mariah=Stellar. The word says it all
Do The Judges & I Agree? Definitely, Angie really finally started the show, it just took 45 minutes to get it going.

Paul Jolley
(Amazed-Scotty McCreery(American Idol Season 10 Winner) )
Jimmy tells Paul that he perpetually over-sings and although it's great for Broadway but not for recording. This song was originally sung by Lonestar. Paul begins his performance very mellow obviously trying to heed Jimmy Iovine's advice. Even when the big booming parts of the song seem like they are going to happen Paul keeps it pretty restrained. Definitely no over-singing tonight. I liked his vocal tonight more than I have before, definitely a step in the right direction, he still has to work on a few vocal things but really quite good. B
Keith=Thinks it was one of his better performances. Stay on the track. 
Nicki=First time that he stimulated her sexual appetite. Styled quite well. Thinks he has the ability to pick likeable songs. Seemed very comfortable on stage.
Randy=Great song choice.  Feel it go for it if you don't then don't.
Mariah=Loved that he is restrained but doesn't want him to stop himself from being himself. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. Paul's best performance thus far.

Candice Glover
I Have Nothing-Jordin Sparks(American Idol Winner Season 6))
Jimmy tells Candice that she has a fantastic voice and wants her to stay in the moment. Ben E. King originally sang this song. Candice loved Jordin's version and it's still one of my favorites as well. The intro to the song just gets you going when you hear the big boom of the drums then to pair Candice's voice with it is pretty perfect. This song did everything it should and more for Candice. Those big notes were so crazy, the best performance of anyone from this season. She rivaled Jordin Sparks who basically won the competition with that performance. Keith, Nicki and Randy give her a standing ovation. Mariah didn't give her a standing ovation because her skirt was too tight. A+
Keith=Was so completely in the zone. Incredible and amazing.
Nicki=It would be in everyone's best interest to never perform this song again because she just destroyed and annihilated that song and it can never be rivaled. Best performance of Candice's thus far.
Randy= Really worked that song. One of the greatest performance of the season by anyone. Perfect song choice.
Mariah= It's mesmerizing to see her. A singer of her caliber can do whatever and wherever she wants. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yes. If I didn't have a computer on my lap I would have given Candice a standing ovation. Wow that was good. If you don't watch Idol and only read recaps(including mine, and thanks for that) I would implore you to go on Youtube as soon as you can and watch it because that was really beyond superlatives.

Lazaro Abros
(Breakaway-Kelly Clarkson(American Idol Season 1 Winner))
Jimmy tells Lazaro that he just needs to learn the song and can't practice too much. I think this was a nice and pleasant song choice. I think the background singers were either intentionally or unintentionally loud at points and overshadowed Lazaro's voice at times. When he was without the background singers his voice was  solid.  A couple times I felt like he didn't finish the note, like he just stopped abruptly to move to the next lyric. It was ok, definitely worse than last week. C
Keith=Didn't think that this song was in his wheelhouse.
Nicki=Least favorite performance of Lazaro. Today he seemed very nervous. 
Randy=The pitch was all over the place. The song was way too big for him. Wrong song choice.
Mariah=People love his vulnerability. There are better song choices for him.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. They disliked this performance even more than I did.

Kree Harrison 
(Cry-Carrie Underwood(American Idol Season 4 Winner))
Jimmy tells Kree that she has a great shot on this show due to her tone, range and confidence, just tells her not to over sing it and give off emotion with restraint. This song was originally sung by Roy Orbison. I think this was a beautiful song choice, very appropriate. We have heard Kree really go for the big notes and this song allowed us to her subtlety and vulnerability. She still does little runs that make it her own, but it was just as Jimmy said, emotional but restrained. It won't get people as pumped as Candice but vocally it was almost on par. Really well done. A
Keith=Can sing the phone book. Is already there, can put out a record right now.
Nicki=It was smooth, it was delicious, it's like waffles with butter and syrup.
Randy=Loves the voice from note one. Makes him feel good all over. Infectious voice.
Mariah=Obvious that she has an enormous range. Can't help but emote and perform emotionally. Can't wait to hear her again.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Definetly. She knocks it out the park.

Burnell Taylor
(Flying Without Wings-Ruben Studdard(American Idol Winner Season 2))
Jimmy tells Burnell that he can't just do R&B ballads every week because he could be gone in a snap. This song was originally performed by Westlife. So Jimmy tells Burnell not to do a R&B ballad every week and then goes and sings a R&B ballad because he doesn't want to not be honest to himself. Burnell looks 100% better than he did last week when he looked like he was a background dancer in a Minilli Vanilli music video. Even better than his style is Burnell's voice. This is by far my favorite Burnell performance. He does some deep notes and comes back to hit some higher notes in the next breath. Wow there actually is a guy that can sing tonight. B+
Keith= Has a unique timber in his voice. Has a lot of natural ability and a pureness and is magnetic.
Nicki=Loves him and thinks he is well on his way, but a good job, not his best though.
Randy=Loves that he puts his own twist on the song. Loves that he believes, best of the guys.
Mariah=Thinks that his choices melodically were just beautiful. Was very drawn into his performance tonight. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yup. By far the best of the guys tonight.

Amber Holcomb
(A Moment Like This-Kelly Clarkson(American Idol Season 1 Winner))
Jimmy's advice to Amber is that she sings great up-tempo and to do that more often. It's crazy that when Kelly Clarkson performed this song when she won the show that Amber was only 6. That makes me feel old. I don't know if I liked the song tempo change, she slowed it down a little and it took a way some of the drama of the song. I would never expect Amber to get to the emotion that Kelly was at when she sang that song, but I would have loved a little more passion. Amber's voice was very controlled and she got into it finally towards the end but I think this wasn't the best way to go with the tempo of the song. Gotta say thought that last note was amazing. Keith, Nicki and Randy give her a standing ovation, Mariah would have again but the skirt is still too tight.  B+
Keith=Great song choice. Sang so effortlessly. It all is so easy.
Nicki=Best performance of the night. Voice and aura was like Whitney Houston's first album.
Randy=Blew the song out of the box. So beautiful and perfect.
Mariah="Hashtag Pow". Sounded magnificent. Has a natural gift that almost can't be explained. Almost can't be critiqued.  
Do The Judges & I Agree? Not really. I think Amber did a beautiful job, but I didn't think it was her best. Still head and shoulders better than a ton of the guys tonight, but I feel she could have put some more into her performance.

Best of The Night?
Candice Glover. Kree Harrison did a beautiful job, but Candice made me want to throw out my relatively expensive laptop off my lap to stand up and cheer for her. So that's something.

Bottom 3/Going Home Predictions
Bottom 3
1. Lazaro Abros
2. Curtis Finch Jr
3. Janelle Arthur 

Going Home
Curtis Finch Jr . He sang poorly and sang first. The judges still love him and didn't destroy him like they did Lazaro, but I still think Curtis is the one to go.

Final Thoughts

*Ladies, ladies, ladies. The worst lady(Janelle) was still better than 4 of the guys tonight. Can it be Top 6 week already because there are gonna be some rough times ahead if the guys continue to perform like they did when they go against the females. This is the first time the guys were up against the girls this season and they killed them. Sure Curtis and Paul and Devin can beat out some guys like Charlie Askew and Cortez Shaw but when they have to go up against Candice, Kree, Amber and Angie it's just incredibly jarring.  It's not even close.

*Taylor Hicks, Kris Allen, Phillip Phillips, Lee DeWyze and David Cook songs were not featured on this episode. Just a note, doesn't mean a ton, just making mention. Most featured was Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, no surprise there.

That's it. This was a pretty mixed night with some unbelievable performances and then some clunkers, so typical Idol. C'mon back here tomorrow to find out which of the Top 10 will be going home. So until then, see ya!

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