Thursday, April 25, 2013

Top 4 Perform: Free Choice/1 Hit Wonders Week

Welcome back. We are down to the Final 4, and it's arguably the best Top 4 Idol has ever had. Before we get to tonight's recap there are a couple Behind The Scenes Idol things to mention. First, there was supposedly a plot to replace Mariah Carey and possibly Nicki Minaj with Jennifer Lopez this season, but it was thwarted once Mariah Carey's team threatened litigation. There is also a rumor that the entire judge's panel will be completely new next season and Jennifer Lopez might return anyways. This is all due to the declining ratings this season. Given the ratings were declining with Lopez last year not sure what good it'll do, but we'll keep you posted on the Judge's front.

Also, a lot has been said about the fact the Judge's Save has not been utilized and because of that fact Idol would end a week early. Well we have learned through several reports that the Judge's Save has expired for the season BUT there is some type of contingency plan. Although FOX and Idol have not officially said what it is many people believe that this week will just accumulate votes with no elimination on Thursday, and then next week's votes will be combined with this week's and thus a contestant will be eliminated next week and Idol will end at the correct date.That's the theory, it makes sense, but you never know.

But let's get back to these great contestants. As always we have our weekly rankings, so enjoy that and the recap and let's get started:

Weekly Rankings
1. Candice Glover-Same As Last Week
2. Kree Harrison-Same As Last Week (Officially Bottom 2)
3. Amber Holcomb-Up 1 From Last Week
4. Angie Miller-Down 1 From Last Week

Free Choice Performances

 Amber Holcomb
(Power Of Love-Celine Dion)
Last week I thought she had a tough couple performances but the judges loved it and she wasn't in the Bottom 2 so I guess the fans loved it too. This week she comes out swinging by singing a Celine Dion song. The first 15-20 seconds are acapella and she is right on point. There were a couple points that dipped but for the most part she sounded great. It was awkward staging though, she just kinda stood in the middle of the steps. But luckily her voice was better than the idea for her to stand up there. I wish she changed up the song a little, but it was still awfully good. Keith, Nicki and Randy give her a standing ovation. B+
Keith=Tailor made song choice. She handled it all beautifully. Her range was effortless. 
Nicki=That song was made for her. She is so current and ready. She's not a contestant anymore she is like at her concert.
Randy=Marveling at the fact that she was so shy and now she has grown to be so fierce and confident. She didn't miss a beat. Had no fear in her voice.
Mariah=She is current and just needs to keep it going.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yup. She started the night off right. It wasn't the best I have ever seen but it was quite good.
Jimmy Iovine's Take=Amber has picked some classic songs that could leave her voice exposed, but although the top of her voice strained, the performance will be tough to beat.

Candice Glover
(Find Your Love-Drake)
Candice took this song to a place that Drake probably didn't know it would go. This song is an R&B-Rap kinda mix and Candice flipped it upside down into a jazzy, soulful kind of song. This is something that I commented about Amber, she sang her song pretty much the same as how Celine Dion did, Candice just created a whole new song. I haven't seen a person switch up songs as much as she does since David Cook did in Season 7. A-
Nicki=Her voice is amazing. Wished she would have stuck with the melody. Could have kept it Candice but made it current. Doesn't want her to get lost in the old fashioned bracket.
Randy=She doesn't need to use her church voice, with runs all the time and leave the melody. Can't always sound like she is in church.
Mariah=She took her vocals to some crazy places. She can sing anything and shouldn't veer from taking musical chances.
Keith=Loved what she did with the song. She finds herself every week. Has power in the quiet moments. Keep letting her authenticity come.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Not really. For one of the first times this year I completely agree with Mariah and really only her. She told Candice that she shouldn't veer from taking musical chances and I agree so much. I think it's much more creative and shows how artistic you are to take a song that people know and flip it around to make it your own.
Jimmy Iovine's Take=At this point, that was the 2nd best performance of the night. [Given that it was the 2nd performance of the night, that's not a compliment at all.]

Kree Harrison
(It Hurts So Bad-Susan Tedeshi)
This song allowed Kree to show what kind of records she intends to have, which is country with a little rock and blues in it. I love that she put some extra emotion in there tonight and really seemed into the performance. I don't know if I loved the song choice but her vocals did everything and more. She hit a few crazy big notes and did it pretty flawlessly. Song choice wasn't great but I still enjoyed it a lot. B+

Randy=Right in her element. Tremendous vocal but maybe not her best. Some of it was a little disconnected. Was waiting for something else this week.
Mariah=Felt really connected to the audience. Keep giving herself.
Keith=She needs to leave nothing on the table.Her vocals can't just do it all alone. She needs to give more.
Nicki=That performance is not gonna give her what she needs for next week. She needs to reevaluate her choices because that wasn't Top 4 worthy.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. Nicki was a little harsh on her criticism. I didn't think it was her best, but it wasn't as bad as Nicki made it seem.
Jimmy Iovine's Take=Kree is gonna hurt herself with the song choices. This was the wrong song.

Angie Miller
(Who You Are-Jessie J)
Angie is singing and playing back at the piano. I don't really know this song but it seems very pretty. I think Angie hit some really great notes. She was really into this performance and got lost in it, which is great, there were a little bit of a flat note here and there, but she pretty much made up for it. Keith, Nicki, and Randy give her a standing ovation. A-
Mariah=Gives a standing ovation in spirit. It was stunning. Can't wait to hear her write and perform another of her original.
Keith=Mini short representation of her confidence as an artist. She starts off a little proper and then got looser as the performance kept going. 
Nicki=No one that compares to her when she is at the piano. Can feel that she believes in herself. Exceptional.
Randy=Forgot that it was a Jessie J song. It was 10 out of 10 out of 10. Best performance of the night.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Kinda. I liked it a whole bunch, but they went really extreme for this performance. Not saying there was anything wrong with it at all, I just feel it wasn't quite as amazing as they said.
Jimmy Iovine's Take=Thrilled to she that she has control over her big voice. She is neck in neck with Amber right now.

Duets Performances

Amber and Kree
(Rumour Has It-Adele)
There was so much good stuff about this performance. First off I love the arrangement of the song with the drums. It was very tribal. Then I love how Kree and Amber sounded and made the song their own. After being called old-fashioned I am sure Kree was happy to do such a current song.A-
Keith=They have a different way of being at the mic. Amber took a very commanding stance. Kree's voice is just outstanding. Wants them to cut loose.
Nicki=Wants Kree to get back to add personality to her voice, or that's where it's gonna end. Gotta back in this thing.

Candice and Angie
They sang this with a little more tempo than the original song. There voices are both so powerful and they both hit some big notes. I thought Angie was screaming notes a little more and Candice was almost a little too relaxed. But when they were good they were so very good.  This duet was much more fierce and epitomized a duet better than the previous one. A
Randy=Unbelievable. That's how you do a duet. This was incredible. Amazing.
Mariah=Loved how Candice does certain things depending on the song. They both did so great.

One Hit Wonder Performances

 Amber Holcomb
(MacArthur Park-Richard Harris/Donna Summer)
Given that Donna Summer had many hits and this song was most notably performed by her I don't quite understand the one-hit wonder aspect of it. But that's a technicality I guess. I don't think Amber's voice was as dynamic and clear as she was on her first performance. She was fierce and confident and seemed to have fun, but I think some of her lower notes were too low again, like last week. It's not to say this wasn't a very good performance but it didn't shine as much as I wanted it to. B-
Keith=She is dominating tonight. Incredible performance.
Nicki=She is like a blooming flower. She has come so far in this competition. In terms of marketing "she is the one to know".
Randy=She is "in it to win it". Hit some really high notes crystal clear. She is so in tune. Mad crazy vocals.
Mariah=She has an inner glow. Low notes were rich and beautiful and gorgeous. Is really showing her confidence. Has star quality.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Not really. Again, I think Amber was great, but I didn't think her notes were so great, and I didn't think it was standing ovation worthy. Doesn't mean it wasn't good or high quality but they are kind of over selling a little tonight.
Jimmy Iovine's Take=They missed the point, didn't buy Amber singing this song. That song was corny.

Candice Glover
(Emotion-Samantha Sang/Bee Gees)
Again, this song was most notably sung by The Bee Gees who were far from a one hit wonder. Although Samantha Sang was a one-hit wonder the song wasn't. I guess they are allowed to bend the rules of the theme. This song was sung pretty straight forward. She didn't change it up a lot. She still added some of her own style including the jazzy stuff, but it also stayed true to the Bee Gees version. There was a moment in that performance when she hit a note that sounded so good and moved left, right, up and down. Candice did a wonderful job. No standing ovation by any of the judges though. A-
Nicki=Grooving with that song. Stayed more current.
Randy=The song was great, she took her time with it. She had a nice run. Another great performance. Settling back in. 
Mariah=The way she has sung since Day 1 is incomprehensible. She was stellar even though that Candice has a cold. She is definitely no one hit wonder.
Keith=Voice is beautiful. Every song choice matters. It was breezy and nice, but she didn't have a stand out moment.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Not really. They didn't think she stood out enough. I think she did a lot of really good things and didn't get a ton of credit for it. Plus the fact that she has a cold is even more incredible.
Jimmy Iovine's Take=(Jimmy actually comes out on stage) Says that he defends the fact that Amber was singing a corny song and doesn't like that they don't acknowledge that Candice sang better than Amber this round.

Kree Harrison
Whiter Shade of Pale-Procul Harum
Now this actually was a one-hit wonder band, not Bee Gees or Donna Summer. I know the judge's gave her a hard time for not showing enough emotion but I think she did a great job before and an even better job with room to spare. I still feel she could go further, but she did a wonderful job. A-
Randy=She can flat out sing. She redeemed herself. Sang her face off. Brilliant. Loved it.
Mariah=There was no redeeming needed because she is a great song. No words.
Keith=So close to the end and every decision is important. The middle ground songs don't allow her to really come out or bring us in.
Nicki=Loved that performance. Put her heart and soul into it. Doesn't know if it kept her out of the Bottom 2. Everything is critical. Even if she left tomorrow she would have a multi-platinum record.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yup. They got back on the Kree train. I also agree that Kree might be in a little trouble.
Jimmy Iovine's Take=Did Not Give One.

Angie Miller
(Julie London-Cry Me A River)
If the judge's complained about current songs than they should say something to the fact that this song is from 1955. Now that's not to say that Angie didn't sing the crap out of the song, because she did, but it was just an old-timey song. But because she is smart she made it sound more current and also did so many different wonderful tricks with her voice. A
Mariah=It was so classic. It was elegant. America's gonna have a tough time with the talent tonight.
Keith=Mystical and Celestially Powerful
Nicki="Came out to snatch some wigs". Tonight was her night.
Randy=Best of the night. Angie wins the night hands down.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. Angie sounded really beautiful tonight.
Jimmy Iovine's Take=Did not give one.


Bottom 2

*Going Home

*Unlikely due to the "twist". Read about it in "Final Thoughts".

Final Thoughts

*Ryan states that a "Surprise twist"  in the competition will occur tomorrow. This is obviously the fact that no one will go home tomorrow. I would be as shocked about one of these ladies actually leaving the competition tomorrow as I was when Chris Daughtry was eliminated or when Jessica Sanchez was eliminated prematurely or so many other things. This Top 4 was so good and I wouldn't mind hearing them all again next week.

*Not saying that Angie didn't win the night, but the overhype of Amber was kinda crazy and the bigdrop off of Kree was so odd. I think Nicki has done a really good job this season. I know she gets a lot of backlash for being harsh, and I have always thought it was part of the deal, but tonight I kinda thought she was yelling at Kree, I know that she is only doing it to help, but her doing that might make viewers think twice about voting for her.We'll see what happens. We also have to take into account Janelle's votes. They would seem to go to Kree, but ya never do know.

*In Season 5 Taylor Hicks chose a Beatles Song, "Something", with the Theme as "Current #1 Songs" or something close to that. He got away with it because at that point on some really obscure #1 hit list it was at the top. Obviously most people in the universe know that "Something" is not a current #1 song but he got away with it. The same thing happened tonight with Amber and Candice's song choices. Although technically they sang songs that the original artist was a one hit wonder, the songs themselves were later and more famously sung by big artists. I feel it cheapens the theme a little. Idol asked the viewers to vote for a theme, they gave it and then the contestants kind of got aroudn it. That bothers me a little but maybe that's just me.

That's it. Come back tomorrow to see what the "Surprise Twist" will be. If it is what we all think it will be then no one will go home, but at least we will get to see this Top 4 again. So until then, see ya!

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