I’m going to open with this disclaimer: I don’t have any strong feelings about the Beatles. What I mean is, I don’t worship them as God’s gift to music, like some people, but I don’t hate them either. I recognize that they knew how to write a good song with solid lyrics and a great melody, but that’s about it. That being said, I generally love when the Idols are forced to pick from the Lennon/McCartney catalog because it yields some pretty good performances and tonight was no except. Most people improved from the previous week and the people that didn’t? Well… it might be their time to go.
Before we get to the performances, I should inform you that Aubrey was chosen over Charlie to join the summer tour and praise America for getting 2 votes right in a row so far this season. I don’t know if Charlie’s mental stability could handle that kind of gig all summer, or mine. So let’s have another pretty girl who can sing decently well join the tour, shall we?
I love that Kree picked a Beatles song that was a bit unexpected from her, especially after her subdued song choice last week. This really let her voice rip and showed Jimmy Iovine that there is nothing wrong with “ over-singing”. I still don’t think Jimmy gets what over-singing is, but Kree is not doing it. Kree knows exactly what to do with her voice when. Nicki said it all when she said that she makes smart vocal choices. They’re those moments that she does something different with the song that catches your attention and you just love it. I’m glad Keith is latching on to her and pointing to her as the true Country, Blue Eyed Soul singer of this competition.
- Overall Grade: 73%
2. Burnell Taylor – “Let It Be”
I don’t even want to talk about the fact that Burnell didn’t know this song. I know
he’s young, but… it’s this song? Anyway. As the judges said, for someone who didn’t know it, he sang it well. His tone is still delicious in that John Legend kind of way and this song suited that really well and let him dig right into it. I’m still dying to hear some of that cool, upbeat urban swag from him. Sure, Beatles isn’t exactly the theme from that, but it needs to happen soon if he hopes to hold on to that younger vote because some of the other contestants are singing just as well, but being a just a bit more modern than him.
- Overall Grade – 67%
3. Amber Holcomb – “She’s Leaving Home”
Okay, so the great thing about the Beatles theme is that there are so many songs to choose from, that being said, the same 10 songs just seem to get recycled over and over, so imagine my surprise when Amber, our little dark horse, picks the only Beatles song of the night that’s never been done on the Idol stage before. That being said, that’s about as interesting as this performance got for me. Did she sing it well? Sure, decently. There were parts that I wasn’t really feeling her take on it. Once again, I found myself agreeing with Nicki that you could tell she didn’t love the song and it affected the quality of the performance as a whole. Still, she has a great voice under there and it would be a shame if she went home for one mediocre, but not bad, performance.
- Overall Grade – 43%
4. Lazaro Arbos – “In My Life”
I have to say that Lazaro’s existence in this competition is like a lesson in the transparency of this show. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s adorable, but they’ve brought this kid this far based on his “courage” and the fact that he can sing, sort of, and now they’ve decided that that’s not enough. But, truth be told, he hasn’t been great since the live shows started. Feeling Good was a good performance from him a few weeks ago, but tonight, again, he chose a bland song and, like the judges said, it was pitched far too low for him. Keith mentioned that as soon as the key change hit, he reached that sweet spot and I couldn’t agree more. I hope he can pick a better song in the weeks to come, because his fan base will likely carry him through tonight anyway. But I think the judges have decided that they can’t have Lazaro sneaking in and ousting one of their girls. Remember, he was 4th in the votes last week with not-so-great performance. Tonight he was bad, but he cried on stage. We’ll see where the sympathy votes land him.
- Overall Grade – 28%
5. Candice Glover – “Come Together”
I was simultaneously excited and scared when Candice told Jimmy that she was taking on one of the Beatles more rock-leaning songs. Then again, if anyone can handle a big song like this, it’s Candice. And handle it she did. Once again, she sang the living daylights out it, and she had big boots to fill. The show had been done and done very well previously by Carly Smithson (Season 7), Kris Allen (Season 8) and Crystal Bowersox (Season 9), but I think Candice’s take was just different enough to make me forget about all those versions and take hers on it’s own. The one critique I would give her comes straight from the mouth of Nicki: don’t be afraid to perform. When she gets really into a song, she gives a bit of that stank face and I love that. I want more of that in the weeks to come, just that raw passion for music that she has and that could be just what she needs to dethrone the men of year’s past.
- Overall Grade – 82%
6. Paul Jolley – “Eleanor Rigby”
Okay, so the tough part about picking this song is that David Cook killed it during Season 7 and left his mark on it. That being said, it’s one of my favorite Beatles songs so I was hoping someone would do it. I was, however, hoping that it would be a girl to avoid the comparisons. Paul did, however, do the song justice. I wasn’t on the same page as the judges, who didn’t seem to think the song suited him for some reason. I will, however, say that I also don’t think Paul belongs in the country genre. His voice is so reminiscent of Clay Aiken from Season 2 that I want to see him do something more contemporary just to see what it would go. Drop the country act for a bit Paul and maybe you’ll find your comfort zone. Until then, I think you might be in danger after this.
- Overall Grade – 52%
7. Angie Miller – “Yesterday”
I love that Angie has been showing us different sides of herself in the last few weeks. Yes, she’s great on the piano, but she’s been proving that her voice can stand on it’s own and leave an impact. This song really lets her do that. Jimmy Iovine gave her great advice by telling her that sometimes “less is more” in the emotional department and she really stayed true to that. Her voice was crystal clear at all the right moments and I thought she breathed new life into what is generally a pretty sleepy song. She looked gorgeous too with the straight hair and sometimes comes across as very normal in her talks with Ryan and her intro package and that’s a great thing in terms of voters relating to her. I really think she did nothing wrong tonight and might, for that reason alone, hang on to her spot in the Top 3.
- Overall Grade – 79%
8. Devin Velez – “The Long & Winding Road”
Devin returned to form, if not fully, tonight with a great song choice that he, like Angie, kind of stripped it’s sleepy quality, so it was just about him and his voice. He sang it just as well as David Archuleta back in Season 7, which is a great compliment I think. I also thought it was interesting that Ryan gave him a bit of the “military school” edit before he went on, as if Middle America needed that to look past his Spanish roots. However, I am still worried that Devin didn’t do enough to dig himself out of the Bottom 3 completely, but I think he probably did enough to avoid being the one singing for that save come tomorrow night.
- Overall Grade: 64%
9. Janelle Arthur – “I Will”
Janelle, like Burnell and Devin, was much improved over last week tonight. She
picked a song that she was more comfortable with and that let her hit that sweet spot in her voice that made me take notice of her for the first time in weeks. Going last and getting the “good ol’ country girl” edit again will definitely help her this week, but it definitely seems like a battle between her and Kree to be that third girl in the Top 3. I think they’re splitting the votes and whichever one of them outlasts the other will get their fan bases votes and that will carry them to the Top 2, but we’ll see. Either way, it will be an interesting battle.
- Overall Grade: 70%
Ideal Top 3: Candice, Angie, Kree.
- As a side note I literally cannot wait to see these three girls battle it out for the 2 spots in the finale, but I really don’t want any of them to ever get eliminated. Maybe I’ll write a letter to Nigel requesting a Top 3 Finale this season for once…
Ideal Bottom 3: Amber, Lazaro, Paul
Ideal Eliminee: Amber Holcomb
Likely Top 3: Candice, Angie, Janelle.
Likely Bottom 3: Paul, Amber, Devin
Likely Eliminee: Paul Jolley
Results are tomorrow night. Same time, same place. Two Idol Alum: Jessica Sanchez from Season 11 & Casey Abrams from Season 10 perform. Maybe they finally heard our cry that we want more alum and less Ke$ha…