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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 28 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

Idol Top 7 Results – Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

Yes, the title of this recap is a Meatloaf song. An artist that likely could have been  part of this past week’s theme but wasn’t for a variety of reasons, one of which is Nigel’s reluctance to clear songs that haven’t been sung to death on the show for anyone but his Chosen Few. Alas, let’s get to the results.

This recap is a little delayed because, in between studying for corporate law and evidence law, I was busy trying to figure out if the rumours about next week’s themes (yes, plural) are true. Unfortunately, they are and so, the themes for next week are: Bacharach-David Songbook (sigh) and Songs You Wish You Wrote (which could work if the Idol’s are actually allowed to pick from their own music taste). But before I make a few hopeful predictions on that front, let’s see how Thursday night played on.

Ryan milked the results for all their worth, so before he cut to the chase we got three performances, two of which actually worked for me:

1. The Top 7: “Somebody To Love” (by Queen) – I was kind of hoping someone would sing this during the performance show, but this was actually a really well put together group number. It was obvious that they had quite the backtrack to hide any mistakes they made, but it felt like they were having fun and they all sounded decent on the parts, especially Killer Queen Candice Glover, who belted that last note just to remind three of the four judges and Jimmy how stupid they were for not putting her in their Top 3.

Rating: 58%

2. Casey James: “The Good Life” – I never really connected with Casey back in Season 9.

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

Simon (oh how we miss ye) said to him that he often felt like the front man of a cheap cover band, and that is always how I felt about him. But, it’s working for him. He’s doing well on the country scene and I guess he fits that vibe, but I wasn’t feeling this song. I think, if you’ve got a platform like Idol, you come out and pick your very best song and you kill it so people will check out your other music. I just don’t think Casey did that. (As a sidenote, when are we going to get the two people who beat Casey: Lee DeWyze & Crystal Bowersox back on the Idol stage? Both of them are working on or have new music out and they’re still one of my favourite Top 2’s)

Rating: 32%

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

3. Carrie Underwood: “See You Again” – I have loved Carrie since the moment she auditioned back in Season 4. Sure, her run on the show wasn’t phenomenal like some other winners (see: Clarkson, Kelly. Cook, David) but her post Idol material speaks for itself and this song is no different. It gets me a little misty every time I hear it because, to me, it’s about losing a loved one. Carrie’s voice sounded a little weather-worn, but she looked gorgeous and in a season where the ratings seem to be declining, I think we all needed a reminder of the kind of success the show is capable of producing.

Rating: 67%

With all that out of the way, Ryan turned to Jimmy and the judges for a few predictions on their Top 3. They said:

Jimmy: Amber, Kree, Angie (then Candice, Janelle, with Burnell and Lazaro in the Bottom 2)

Keith, Randy and Nicki all agreed with Jimmy – giving Amber, Kree and Angie the top 3 spots, but Mariah was our lone dissenter and the only person who put Candice in her top 3 (albeit over Angie, which is a bit questionable in and of itself, but I digress). The whole debacle felt a little forced and gave me the vibe that we were in for a shocker on the real Top 3 and sure enough…

The first one Ryan declared safe & in the Top 3 was Kree, which was predictable after the praise the judges heaped on her during the performance night. I agree that she ought to be safe, but even I, as a big fan of hers, was questioning whether her performance was deserving of the Top 3. Still, I do want to see her in the finale, so it’s good to see that she’s getting the votes.

Then Angie received the second spot in the Top 3 which, given the fact that she gave the last and arguably one of the best performances of the night, didn’t come as a surprise either.

Then the cameras panned back to the couches and I looked at our three talented ladies and I knew, it my heart, that it wasn’t going to be any of them. I even mumbled to myself “watch it be Lazaro” and sure enough, Lazaro – who Jimmy declared to be the one going home for the second week in a row – was in the Top 3.

What’s more interesting about this development is that Nigel felt the needed to tell us, for the first time in weeks, who was in the Top 3 and it just so happened to be the week when the person who ought to be going home was in the Top 3. I’m going to guess that this has something to do with the infamous judge’s save, which has to be used soon. I think, if a girl goes home next week, any girl, we’re going to see it used just so Lazaro will end up in sixth place. The question is, which girl needs that boost most to get past Lazaro and which are the four girls who can get by without a little help from the judges? (See what I did there?). I will say that the most likely reason for this outcome is vote splitting:

The country vote is being split between Kree & Janelle. Kree’s getting more praise and has been more consistent, therefore she ends up in the Top 3, while Janelle finds herself in the Bottom 2.

Candice and Amber both have the African American Diva Balladeer thing going for them, therefore they’re splitting the vote based on the people who like that kind of thing and neither of them ended up in the Top 3 because they were both good on Wednesday night.

Angie and Lazaro both have certain corner of the fanbase to themselves. Angie is pop-rock, which no one else is doing on the show right now and Lazaro is, well, he’s a boy. There’s a certain fanbase who will just blindly vote for him just to spite the judges and the producers and that could be what’s going on. Either way, Uncle Nigel’s going to have to do something drastic to get all this to change before next week, or the week after if that save gets “activated”, as Ryan so dramatically put it.

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

In the end, it was Burnell who found himself at the bottom of the pack. What sucks is that I like Burnell. I thought his sense of humour came out a lot during the last show and his tone is still as rich as melted chocolate to me, but I can’t say this wasn’t unpredictable. He gave a beautiful reprise of his semi-finals performance “I Am Ready For Love” (by India Arie) but it wasn’t enough to get the judges to save him. In any other season, that kind of performance would have merited a double take on sending this kid home, but we all know the master plan this season. That said, his performance did remind me that Burnell had been far better in the semi-finals than he was once we reached the Top 10, with “Let It Be” being his only real standout performance since. Wonder why that is? Could be the pressure of it being a “girls season”, could be the restricting themes… guess we’ll never know.

Now, it’s time for that portion of my blog where I rerank the remaining contestant’s odds on winning and give each of them a song suggestion or two for next week’s themes.

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

6. Lazaro Arbos (No change) – Yes, despite his Top 3 finish in the votes this week, I still think he’s the odd man out (especially because he is literally the only guy left. Fun fact: This is the only time Idol has had 5 girls at this stage of them game). Nigel’s going to be using every windmachined, spotlighted, pimpspot to get all five of his precious ladies safely into the second half of the finals and that means more embarassing performance from Lazaro where he gets called out for lyric flubs, poor pitch and questionable Ricky Ricardo like fashion sense. I mostly intrigued to see if Nigel can rectify the mistake he made in the earlier rounds by giving Lazaro so much sympathetic airtime.

Possible Song Choices:

  • Bacharach-David Song: “What’s New Pussycat” (by Tom Jones) – I’m totally joking with this song choice, but at this point, I really don’t think it matters what he sings, the judges are just back that bus up and run him over again and again to remind the audience that they should be voting for the ladies and not him. Problem is, the more they do that, the more he cries and the more sympathy votes he gets. Y’all got yourselves into this mess.
  • Song He Wished He Wrote: “Hero” (by Enrique Iglesias) – Okay, this song choice is a bit more serious. It’s got that deep, rich tone that he can do well and the lyrics are simple, and he could even sing in Spanish and snatch up some of Devin’s old votes! I don’t know, I guess I just have false hope that at some point this kid will turn in a half-decent performance.

5. Amber Holcomb (No change) – She’s definitely a pretty little thing and she does have that young Whitney vibe going for her, with the talent to make the comparison not seem like a stretch. But if I had to pick the Most Likely Candidate to Need The Judges Save Come Next Week, it’d be her. She’s had a good enough run that it wouldn’t seem like the judges are saving her just for the sake of it and I think she’s capable of delivering more good performances. That said, maybe she’s too obvious for the part and, as a result, Nigel & Co. will want one of the bigger names to take the fall and need the save?

Possible Song Choices:

  • Bacharach-David Song“A House Is Not A Home” (by Dionne Warwick) – The most predictable song choice for her. It’s a ballad, it’s an emotional moment. If the producers really want to keep her safe and have a “shocker” for the save, this is the song she’ll sing. Count on it.
  • Song She Wished She Wrote: “Best Thing I Never Had” (by Beyonce) – I know it’s a long shot. It’s uptempo! It’s sassy! But Good Lord do I want Amber to do this and she that she’s got fire and personality and that she really wants to win this. This would be the perfect song to show that she’s more than just “young Whitney” and she can sing anything, so why not?

4. Janelle Arthur (No change) – Bottom 2 be damned! The country vote took Scotty AND Lauren to the finale in Season 11, it sure as hell can do the same for Janelle and Kree. They’re different enough that you can like one and not the other, but I like both. I think Janelle is entertaining from an artistry perspective. She’s less polished, but in a good way. Recall the video we saw of Carrie pre-Idol. That’s Janelle and that’s endearing. We’ll see if she can keep showing the diamond amidst her rough.

Possible Song Choices:

  • Bacharach-David Song: “Walk On By” (by Dionne Warwick) – It’s a subtle, flirty song and she could just stand at the mic and show off those pretty hitches in her voice that we’ve loved in the week’s past. It might not be a big “moment” type of performance, but she could do well with it.
  • Song She Wished She Wrote: “Jolene” (by Dolly Parton) – Well, Janelle, you put yourself out there during the Ford Photoshoot and said you idolize Dolly, so I’m calling you out this week. I want to see you inject a little darkness into your pristine, innocent Idol journey thus far. Make this country vote a competition again!

3. Candice Glover (-1) – Uh oh. Candice has taken a bit of a backstep this week and mostly because all the judges were so reluctant to give the praise they normally give her. I’m starting to think she could be the one who gets the save just because it would be dramatic, but not entirely unexpected. If that’s the case, she may find it hard to win after or maybe she’ll get a bit of extra firepower from it and sneak into the final two? Only time will tell, but I think the next two ladies on this list are definitely getting more praise right about now.

Possible Song Choices:

  • Bacharach-David Song: “What The World Needs Now Is Love”  (by Dionne Warwick) – This song is tender and soft, a side of Candice that we haven’t really seen since she did Ordinary People back in the semi-finals round. I think she really remind us and the judges that she’s got a great voice at any calibre.
  • Song She Wished She Wrote: I’m really not sure what Mariah keeps asking Candice to do. Something gospel is the only hint we’ve really gotten, so I’m guessing Candice is going to pick something with that kind of vibe to it, but it’s got to be a big song if her first song is going to be subtle like I said, so maybe “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (by Marvin Gaye) though I could of hope for something more young, modern and hip from her like Leona Lewis’s cover of “Run” (by Snow Patrol).

2. Kree Harrison (+1) – Pinched nerve be damn’d! This girl can saaaang. The judges are clearly flying their Kreedom flags and it’s keeping her high atop the voting ranks. The praise isn’t undeserved because she’s got a great voice and poise about her. Like Nicki said a few weeks ago, she seems like a star at times amongst amateurs. I do worry, however, that the praise may turn the viewers off unless Kree can put the pedal to the medal and make sure her performances match the hype.

Possible Song Choices:

  • Bacharach-David Song: “Anyone Who Had A Heart” (by Dionne Warwick) – She needs an emotional moment and Dusty Springfield’s cover has a bit of a country feel to it that should could latch onto and run with it. It’s true to who she is and that seems to be the type of songs she picks so, we’ll see.
  • Song She Wished She Wrote: “Your Cheatin’ Heart” (by Patsy Cline) – Kree talked about Patsy on Thursday in the Ford Photoshoot segment and I think that’s the perfect lane for her if she really wants to lock up that old-fashioned country vote and stay in the Top 3. Actually, any of Patsy’s catalogue could probably do the trick.

1. Angie Miller (No change) – Still number 1, but I will say that I have considered moving her during various times over the course of the season. But the judges are still giving her just enough praise to make it seem like they’re not shoving her down our throats. If the voters feel the same aggravation I do when she gets a “that was great” instead of a standing ovation and a 21 gun salute, then maybe their voting patterns will reflect this and they’ll vote for her like they’re worried she might go home. That kind of paranoid voting could be exactly what’s needed to take her all the way.

Possible Song Choices:

  • Bacharach-David Song: “Magic Moments” (by Perry Cuomo) – Okay, this is kind of a weird song choice for her, but I’d be interested to hear a girl sing it because it’s kind of cheeky and cute and she could bring in a few backup singers and make it really old school and cool, so I kind of hope she does that.
  • Song She Wished She Wrote: “Skyscraper” (by Demi Lovato) – It’s young, it’s current and she’s got a cover of it up on her youtube channel and, with just her and the piano, it could be gorgeous and just the kind of moment the judges keep asking for.

Duets/Trios I Want:

  • “I Say A Little Prayer” (by Aretha Franklin) – Angie, Amber and Janelle. The girls on Glee did this and it was cute with a side of sexy, and I think all three of these girls are capable of that, plus the chemistry and sisterhood that could come out of it would be great. Do it, Nigel.
  • “The Look Of Love” (by Dusty Springfield) – Candice, Kree and Lazaro. This is a song that requires a deep, soulful voice. Kree and Candice have that in spades, so I’m not worried and I think it’s just simple enough to work for Lazaro too. Just put them at three mics, three spot lights, and let them deliver it and we could get some good stuff.
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