I apologize for the late results show recap this week. I went home for the holidays and didn’t really have a spare second to breath, let alone write a comprehensive article on what went down on Thursday night, but I’m here now to give you my insight on the constant grinding of the gears in the Idol Machine.
Thursday night’s results show was jam-packed with some great guest performances, but the most interesting part of the night was, for once, the results themselves. It seems Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe’s master plan, at least for this week, is working. Eight contestants: 5 girls and 3 guys, and the Bottom 3 consists of all three men – Burnell, Devin and Lazaro. Going into this season, I knew not to get too attached to any of the male contestants, but I have to admit that it was a little heartbreaking to see Devin and Burnell there after they sang well in their solo performances. Still, 4 of the 5 ladies outdid them and their group routine (and the stank attitude that went along with it) was enough to justify the testosterone clustering at the bottom of the leaderboard, at least for that night.
Now, let’s get to the guest performances. I’ll psychoanalyze our contestants later when I rerank their odds on snagging the title at this stage in the game.
1. The Top 8 – “Old Time Rock & Roll” – This was an interesting performance and one that I’m surprised they didn’t save for next week, where the theme is “Classic Rock, Uptempo” (finally!). Still, it was a definite improvement for the guy’s group performance on Wednesday but didn’t exactly match the calibre of the three ladies who tackled the Supremes. Nothing to write home about but I didn’t mute the TV. Just spent the whole performance mentally calculating their odds of going home.
2. Colton Dixon – “Love Has Come For Me” – Previously, I reviewed Colton’s record here at the Hudsucker, so it’s pretty clear that I love this guy and his music. I think he sounds a whole lot better doing his own stuff because his emotion really comes through. I thought this performance was good but I’m still only half-sold that this is the best song to choose for his next single. I think ‘Noise’ would have been a great, surprising song to come out with and make people take notice. Either way, it was good to see him and back and to see, for once, alum other than the winner/runner-up/Daughtry/Jennifer Hudson.
3. OneRepublic feat. Katharine McPhee – “If I Lose Myself” – I’m slightly biased, again. I love OneRepublic and I love Katharine McPhee and I thought this was a great way to bring more alum on to the show. Better still, Katharine’s voice sounded great with Ryan Tedder’s voice on the track. If you haven’t heard OneRepublic’s new album “Native”, which this song comes from, go check it out, it’s gorgeous. Also watch “Smash” on NBC because Katharine is amazing and some of the original songs from it are just incredible.
4. Keith Urban – “Long Hot Summer” – This was a weird song for Keith to sing while there’s still snow on the ground in most of the Northern states, but I have to admit that it’s one of his catchier, more infectious songs. It’s hard to judge this guy independent of how much I like him as a judge, but he’s a great performer and has a very unique voice for the country industry, so he’s definitely one of the bright spots in a genre that can sound a lot alike at times.
Okay, back to the results. As I already said, our three remaining men found themselves at the bottom of the pack. I think only Lazaro was a shock for me. I thought his fanbase would carry him through unscathed for another week, but it seems even they are getting frustrated with his weak vocals and attitude as of late. That said, Lazaro was not the one sent packing tonight. Devin, unfortunately, found himself at the bottom of the pack. I do wish I could have had another week or two from him. I thought, technically, he was vocally on point every week. He just needed to learn to emote and perform a little better, which is likely what did him in, combined with the guys tragic group routine the night before. I think Devin was punished unnecessarily for that though. I though he did his part and more and sang well but Nicki, who delivered the critique for them, failed to give him credit for that at the very least. Devin sang for the save but, once again, the judges didn’t use it. I still maintain that the judges are saving it for a select few contestants (Angie, Kree, Candice and, perhaps now, Janelle).
And now, for the odds that the remaining contestants have to take the title, along with possible song choices for them for next week, when they tackle up-tempo Classic Rock songs (no ballads allowed!)
7. Lazaro Arbos (Down by 3) – Lazaro takes a tragic dip this week after a terrible attitude, forgetting his words and delivering another unimpressive performance. I thought he was untouchable for a few weeks to come but his bottom 3 appearance has me reconsidering that and I think the audience is start to ignore his “courage” (as Mariah calls it) in search of a more valuable trait: talent. But I think classic rock week gives him a chance to step back into his element…
Possible song choice: “Hound Dog” (by Elvis Presley) – I’m having a hard time deciding which Elvis Presley song Lazaro should do, but it has to be one of them. He has that cool, old-school swagger that he showed when he sang feeling good to secure himself a spot in the Top 10, but can he do it again and maybe redeem himself? (or Crazy Little Thing Called Love By Queen)
6. Burnell Taylor (Down by 1) – Burnell also takes a bit of a dip after showing a bit of his attitude on Wednesday’s show. I don’t think that did him any favours and I think the audience’s voting reflected that. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to dig himself out of the Bottom 3 or 2 now, but if he delivers a real showstopper, he might buy himself a little more time and sneak past Amber… but we’ll see. He needs to prove that his tone is more of a strength than a limitation.
Possible song choice: “Midnight Hour” (by Wilson Picket) – This song has soul, it’s got that husky raspy thing that would let Burnell dig a little more into a song and hopefully keep his hands from “sculpting the air” while he sings. I think I’m most interested to see if his tone can handle an uptempo song.
5. Amber Holcomb (Up by 1) – Amber sneaks up after being safe yet again this week. She sang beautifully on Wednesday, but I’m glad we’re getting an uptempo rock week because it will finally force her to grab ahold of a song that is a little less predictable. She’s got some work to do if she wants to differentiate herself from the 4 other talented, unique ladies in this competition.
Possible song choice: “Proud Mary” (by Creedence Clearwater Revival) – Okay, it’s super predictable and has been done to death on the show, but it’s the easiest thing for her to go in hard on and own and lock herself a place in the Top 7. I have no doubt she’d be able to tackle uptempo with this song, but maybe she’ll pick something a little more expected and prove me wrong.
4. Janelle Arthur (Up by 1) – While I still think Janelle is the lesser of the two country girls, I think she’s definitely showing promise. Her rendition of “You Keep Me Hanging On” showed that she’s capable of much better and that she’s more than just a karaoke singer. There’s artistry deep down in there and hopefully the positive reception she got this week will encourage her to do a little more of that in the weeks to come. If she does, we could see her sneak even further up this list.
Possible song choice: “Sweet Home Alabama” (by Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Sure, this isn’t the most creative song choice of them all, but it would let her return to her country roots and have a little fun and I think that’s what she needs to do after two weeks of serious performances.
3. Kree Harrison (No Change) – Still one of the most effortless singers in the competition, but like Amber, I worry that her performances are beginning to blend into one another. Hopefully classic rock week will give her a chance to deliver a performance that will make people standup and take notice. I have no doubt that she’ll be good no matter what she sings, but she has to got out on a limb and take a risk if she hopes to win over new fans and get to the big finale at the Nokia Theatre.
Possible song choice: “Love Me Like A Man” (by Bonnie Raitt) – Kree showed a sassy side that we haven’t seen since during her victory performance of “Evidence”. I need to see that again. She’s got a great personality underneath it all and I think her take on this song could be really interesting and different from the original and Bonnie Raitt is something that resonates with everyone, not just country fans.
2. Candice Glover (No Change) – Even going first and delivering a performance that was devoid of her usual mojo, she still sounded amazing and was one of the best of the night. I think rock night should give her a chance to be a little gritty like the judges said she should a couple weeks ago. I’m looking forward to it. But she needs to show her personality a little more, or I’d worry about whether the voters are relating to her enough to give her that crown and sash come the middle of may.
Possible song choice: “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” (by the Temptations) – I know this song journeys a little too far into motown-land, but it’s still a great song and has that classic rock vibe without sacrificing the soul that Candice needs to really sink her teeth into it.
1. Angie Miller (No Change) – Well, she slipped a little this week, but I think the fact that no one was worried about whether she’d be safe proved that she’s still a force to be reckoned with. That being said, she needs to make a comeback and fast, or risk losing her spot in the Top 3 to Janelle. I think it’s about time she delivered a performance worthy of the final spot of the night. She, unlike Candice, still has that relatable factor going for her, and is still the person I get most excited about thanks to some previous unpredictable song choices.
Possible song choice: “Love Is A Battlefield” by Pat Benatar – What could be better than a chance to redeem herself from her half-baked rock version of Shop Around? Take on one of the fiercest ladies in rock and make her angsty anthem more current? Come on Angie, you can do it.
That’s it for now! See you next week where we’ll hopefully get some great, uptempo performances for the first time all season.