After a promising Top 10 results show featuring statistics and a detailed breakdown of the votes, that promise was revoked this week and Nigel withheld the details of which contestants landed in the Top 3. I’m guessing because it wasn’t the three he was hoping for, so he led us to believe that everything was under control. Hark! A women will win, I tell you! All is not lost! But I digress, let’s get to the results.
First, we found out that Paul Jolley and Devin Velez were both in the Bottom 3 again this week. No big surprised there. Both of them weren’t terrible the night before, but they were definitely overshadowed by bigger performances and personalities. Then, Ryan went to Lazaro who delivered, without a doubt, the worst performance of the night on Wednesday. He also cried though after some harsh feedback from the judges and I peg him as the most likely candidate for foiling Nigel’s plans for an all-female Top 5. That said, Ryan declared him the first safe contestant of the night and left us wondering which of our precious women + Burnell was the last member of the Bottom 3.
We got four performances the night, all of which were decent, but one of which stood out from the rest.
Season 10’s Casey Abrams: “I Saw Here Standing There” (By The Beatles)
Ironically, both Season 10 & Season 11’s recipients of the judges save performed tonight on the show. What I love about Casey is that he’s pretty uncompromising and he knows that contemporary jazz is his niche. He brought his stand-up bass and “chilled”, as he put it, up there on stage. There were some real sweet notes in his voice, but that last scream of a note was a little too much for me. He also got the “Phillip Phillips” makeover no shaving, makeup or a haircut. I see right through your plan, Nigel Lythgoe. Just make the guys unattractive so the tween girl voters will start voting for the women again. Brilliant…
The Top 4 Men: “Got To Get You Into My Life” (By The Beatles)
I knew as soon as the boys came out, singing one of the cheesiest, Motowniest Beatles songs of them all, that the girls would deliver the better performance. That being said, this performance would have received a passing grade in previous seasons, but the Idol audience is a little more educated now and we know that when you put four talented guys together, they can deliver something a little less “slathered in Velveeta” than this.
The Top 5 Women: “Here, There And Everywhere” (By The Beatles)
As if we needed more proof that Season 12 is the Season of the Girl, Nigel had the five ladies sitting on a stool with minimal lighting, just crooning one of the Beatles simplier tunes. It was a great rendition, and one that any of them could have picked as their song the previous night and done well (and one of them probably should have…). Still, I’m not convinced that they will be the Top 5, but I did really enjoy hearing them all at once to compare them and decide who I want to outlast the rest. To be the Katniss of this Estrogen Games, so to speak.
Season 11’s Jessica Sanchez: “Tonight” (Feat. Ne-Yo)
Jessica has a catchy ditty on her hands. It’s clear she has the support of the Philippines, but we’ll have to wait and see if she has the support of America. I didn’t love this performance of the song. It felt a little phony on Jessica’s part, compared to the cool R&B vibe of the track and the inclusion of Ne-Yo. I get that they’re trying to steer her in a certain direction, but I always saw her as more of a soulful Beyonce type than a “featuring another artist to make this song sell more” type. Either way, we’ll see what happens. At least she’s got the voice to do songs like this live and not make us want to turn down the volume.
Now back to the results. Devin and Paul are sitting in the Bottom 3 already, so Ryan fast forwards through the next set of results and let’s the jumbotron do the talking. Also safe tonight, in no particular order, are: Kree Harrison, Candice Glover, Janelle Arthur, Angie Miller and… Burnell Taylor. Which means Nigel’s world is slowly crumbling around him as the first woman of the season lands in the Bottom 3: Amber Holcomb. I saw this coming, but the judges still give the voting public a tongue lashing after Jimmy Iovine declared her in his Top 3 of the night, which I still don’t understand because her performance was lacking that spark, in my opinion.
The other thing this proved to me is that I was right in my “odds on winning” rankings to say that Amber has to perform well every week, or she’s going to find herself in danger. And here she is.
But enough about Amber. It’s time to find out who’s really going home. And it’s Paul Jolley. He sings along, like he did when he made it into the Top 10, but it’s not good enough for the judges to save him. I spent some time speculating whether they would have saved Amber if she went home tonight and it’s hard to say. They might have wanted to wait and use it on one of the more likely ladies to take the crown, or they’d make a hasty decision and save her simply because she’s a girl. Hard to say. Anyway, it’s all speculation.
I can’t say Paul was the wrong decision as this week’s eliminee, but he was growing on me and I might have chosen to keep him just a little longer to see if he could break out of his country shell and start picking the right songs for his voice. Alas, what I think doesn’t truly matter. I still say America’s been pretty good with voting thus far.
And now, a re-ranking of the Top 8 to discuss their odds of winning and possible song choices for next week’s “Music of Motor City” Theme (i.e. music made in Detroit, so basically Motown with a mix of Eminem, The White Stripes and Kid Rock? Weird…)
8. Devin Velez – No Change. He’s been in the Bottom 3 two weeks running after two different shades of mediocre performances. He has the voice, but he really needs to latch on to something interest in the coming weeks to even hope to make it into the next week. Bust out the Spanish to get that vote, but not too much to avoid polarizing the fans he might be gaining via his “Military School” edit. I think the producers just don’t know what to do with this guy, or don’t care enough because they want a girl to win.
Possible Song Choice: “Higher Ground” (by Stevie Wonder) – Devin promised he was getting a little edgy this week on twitter, but played it safe yet again. This song has funk, it’s one of Stevie’s more modern sounding tracks and would let Devin show that he isn’t just a ballad singing crooner. Will he do it? Probably not. Do I want him to? Oh yeah.
7. Amber Holcomb – No Change. She’s still low on the list because, like I said, she’s hanging on for dear life and needs to perform with all she’s got to stay alive. However, the judges are clearly on her side and, for now, she might have the save to catch her, should she fall. But if she’s going to Syesha Mercado her way into the second half of the finals, she needs to continue to be relate, continue to sing well, but pick songs that do her more favours than she is now.
Possible Song Choice: “Please Mr. Postman” (by The Marvelettes) – While it’s not an up-tempo song, it’s definitely a different spin for her. It’s sexy, it’s cool and it’s retro and she could really pull out all the stops in the personality department and make this work for her.
6. Burnell Taylor – No Change. Our little John Lennon clone has yet to be in the Bottom 3, despite a first week misstep with a lukewarm version of Ruben’s coronation song and a good, albeit sleepy, version of Let It Be this week. I think he’s got a great instrument on his side, but once the judges are done tearing Lazaro down, they’re going to move on to him, so he needs to give the voters reasons to ignore them and vote anyway in true Haley Reinhart fashion.
Possible Song Choice: “Cooler Than Me” (by Mike Posner) – I almost gave this guy a Stevie Wonder song, but when I saw that this was an option, I couldn’t resist. It has that R&B swag he says he wants to emulate and it’s cool, contemporary and uptempo. C’mon Burnell, don’t let me down!
5. Janelle Arthur – No change. She got the infamous pimp spot this week and performed well, so there’s some evidence that the producers want her to make a comeback after an anti-climatic start to the season. Can she Carrie Underwood her way into the finale? I’m not entirely convinced yet, especially with more formidable talent on the Idol stage, including a better country female that’s still to come on this list and that didn’t place 5th last week…
Possible Song Choice: “My Hometown” (by Uncle Cracker) – While this song is lesser known, that didn’t seem to hurt her this week and didn’t hurt fellow country girl, Skylar Laine, last season on Idol. The country fanbase likes when a country singer shows the knowledge of the genre, especially when that song choice pays tribute to her “small town girl roots”. Win-win.
4. Lazaro Arbos – No change. Well, the Fall of Lazaro has begun. The judges were willing to ignore his bum notes in the first few weeks of the competition, but no more! Jimmy will dispel his lies and the judges will continually remind us to look past Lazaro’s pity party and to the fact that this is a singing competition, first and foremost. I, personally, find it all a little humourous because I think he’s a sweet kid and his fan-base clearly isn’t backing down from the fight, especially when he’s willing to squeeze out a few tears to make the judges feel guilty. Here’s hoping he takes his own advice and “picks a song he loves” next week.
Possible song choice: “Tracks of My Tears” (by Smokey Robinson). Adam Lambert killed this during his season and Lazaro has already shown a penchant for eccentric singers (see: Lady Gaga), so if he’s really trying to pick songs he loves, this might be where he ends up. It probably won’t be nearly as good, but at least it’ll give him the opportunity to get a little intimate with the audience.
3. Kree Harrison – No change. I think my aunt’s worried that she’s going to have to invest in a new TV because every time Jimmy tells Kree to stop oversinging, I threaten to throw something (a shoe, the remote, my wine glass) at the TV. This girl has the kind of voice to take on anything she wants and I’m worried that kind of feedback is going to make her doubt herself. That being said, if what Jimmy is trying to say is that she should do something a little more restrained and vulnerable next week, maybe I could buy into that. We’ll have to wait and see, but for now, she remains stable.
Possible song choice: This might be ridiculous but… “Summertime” (by Ella Fitzgerald). As I’ve said, Fantasia slayed this song back in Season 3 and so it was on the song list a few weeks ago, but I really think Kree could sing it, show that restrain Jimmy asked for and differentiate herself from Fantasia.
2. Candice Glover – No change. How? How, you ask, can Candice still be #2? She’s slayed performance after performance, week after week. Well, I’ll tell you how. The audience doesn’t like consistency, they like growth. They like seeing someone overcome their flaws and become a great performer, singer, someone with style. Candice has all that and more. From an audience standpoint, it’s super entertaining to watch every week, but it may become harder to root for in the later weeks and I think that’s what the producers are banking on. I don’t think they want Candice to win, because if they did, they’d be doing what they’re doing with this next contestant.
Possible song choice: “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” (by the Temptations) It’s been done before on the show, but it lets her dig her heels into some of that soul and grit that Nicki wanted her to do.
1. Angie Miller – No change. Jimmy’s advice for Angie this week was that she’s too “high school drama production” when she sings, and I agree, but I think that will just aggravate her fans more and make them vote harder for fear that she’ll be the next one singing for that save. Angie has flaws, but not big ones, she can overcome them with a little bit of work and she can take the judges advice and sing more contemporary power-pop songs, like Paramore. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nigel is clearing songs for just such an occasion. Angie’s still the most interesting, relatable contestant and the easiest one to root for as this season progresses.
Possible song choice: I’m going to regret making this prediction but… “Lose Yourself” (by Eminem). If she wants to shake that High School Drama image and prove that women can make a song their own, this is how to do it. Take a fairly hardcore rap song and make it a piano ballad. Do it. Do it. Do it, Angela!