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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 6 Performances – Which Girl’s Getting The Save?

I figured I’d just cut to the chase and put it right in the title: we all know that this show is just leading up to the big save that’s going to be used come Thursday night when, inevitably, one of these five talented ladies (channeling my inner Tyra Banks here…) gets the boot over Lazaro. The question is… who? I’ll give you my prediction by the end of the article, but first, it’s time to see what they all did to avoid being the one who needs savin’ and not in that gospel choir kind of way.

Honestly, the Top 6 basically chose exactly the Bacarach-David songs I was expecting them to. That being said, this theme wasn’t as terribly dry as I was expecting, but I think we can all agree that the second half of the show as far more interesting. But first, let’s analyse the songs that are older than all of our contestants (and even some of our judges)

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

1. Angie Miller – “Anyone Who Had A Heart” – In some senses, I agree with Keith on Angie’s dramatic take on this song. I think the arrangement was cool, in the sense that it made the song more interesting, but it’s pretty song on it’s own, so I’m not sure if it was entirely necessary. Keith mentioned that it lacked “humanity”. It’s sort of ironic that Angie goes from “over dramatic” to not emotional enough for these judges. I stil can’t tell if they’re building up to this big break out moment for Angie, but the clock is ticking if it’s going to happen. Anyway, I will say that, vocally, Angie sounded good on this, so I didn’t hate it by any means, but I just don’t think it was emotionally spot on.

Rating: 64%

2. Amber Holcomb – “Say A Little Prayer” – What a fantastic song choice. I will say, I was sort of hoping she get a little more 50’s vibe with it, if you know what I mean. I wanted her just standing at the mic with her backup singers and getting a little playful, whereas she kind of wandered into ballad territory with a song that’s cute and a little flirty. It was sort of the same problem Angie had: Sounded good, just not what I was expecting. I think with the five ladies left in the competition, talent just isn’t enough. I need a performance and a good vibe.

Rating: 64% (yes, the exact same rating as Angie)

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

3. Lazaro Arbos – “(They Long To Be) Close To You” – I’m actually upset with myself that I didn’t call Lazaro singing this. It was a decent song choice, but again, when you hear him back to back with the ladies, his flat notes stick out like a sore thumb. This would have been a decent semi-finals type performance in seasons past, but at the Top 6 and with so much talent left, it just gave those who are firmly on the anti-Lazaro train another reason to want him sent packing. I still don’t hate the kid, but I do agree it’s time for him to go home. Every performance feels painful for him now because he knows he’s just going to get the same complacent critiques from the judges and I don’t blame them or him. It’s a a serious dilemma that I’m interesting to see if the save can solve. As for his suit: As Nicki said a few weeks ago, “I’m gonna pretend I didn’t see or hear that… now get off the stage!”

Rating: 21%

4. Kree Harrison – “What The World Needs Now” – I love the dramatic acapella intro to this that she decided to do, it gave the song a bit of a fresh fix, because it feels like it’s been done to death, plus Kree has the vocal chops to go out on her own like that. I’m still getting that waffles with butter vibe that Nicki talked about a few weeks ago, and that’s a great thing for me. The fact that Kree’s voice still gives me that warm, comfortable feel might be a sign that she’s got a radio ready voice. I’m really started to believe that it’s between her and one other girl after tonight… (more to come on this)

Rating: 74%

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

5. Janelle Arthur – “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” – Safe is the only way I can describe this performance. All I’m saying is that if I was in the Bottom 2 last week and the writing was on the wall that this week a girl is probably going home and getting the save, I’d be stepping it up to avoid being the one to get it. Unless the plan is to use the save to boost Janelle’s votes and get her past Lazaro and possible Amber. But if Janelle keeps singing songs like this, that’s about as far as she’ll go. This just felt like bad country karaoke and I think the problem is we know she’s capable of more. After her cover of “You Keep Me Hanging On”, we know she’s capable of creativity. I just don’t know why she didn’t do that with this song. It has the same angsty message, just pick up you’re guitar and try it. I’m not saying it’s that easy, but she’s got a whole band at her disposal to help her. Make the song work for you or toss it. The only think I liked about this was that she played a little with the audience and still showed that she’s capable of a few unexpected notes in random places.

Rating: 35%

6. Candice Glover – “Don’t Make Me Over” – Girlfriend read my mind in picking this song. After Amber Riley sung it on Glee, it seemed like the most predictable choice for her. But predictable is not at all how I would describe this performance. Candice injected a little bit of fire to it, as if to remind the judges that she belongs in their Top 3 and America’s. I still can’t figure out only Mariah put her there, but this performance was plenty of reason to remind them not to do that again. Candice made the song feel modern and I think that was the best part about this performance. We all know these songs are old, but give us a fresh spin on it. Take note Amber & Janelle.

Rating: 77%

1. Angie Miller – “Love Came Down” – This was a genius song choice for Angie. It has the Contemporary Christian vibe to it that she does so well and it let her play the piano which the judges (and the audience, or at least me) have been begging her to do on a weekly basis. I know she’s trying to show variety, or the producers are making her, but honestly, if she’s going to win the show it will be like this. Just chain her to the piano for the next 5 weeks of the competition and I’ll be perfectly content. I also think she’ll benefit from picking an unknown song. Funny thing is, the audience tends to respond the same or better to songs they haven’t heard before. It doesn’t bore them, it catches their attention and this performance did that. I even had a few chills. I will say, I wish the song, or Angie, went just a step further with it and really gave us something to sing our teeth into. That would have taken it to a whole knew level.

Rating: 70%

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

2. Amber Holcomb – “Love On Top” – Well, I did say she’d sing an upbeat Beyonce song, so kudos to her for making a good decision. The weird thing about this performance however, was that Amber looked more uncomfortable than she’s been all season singing it, and was far less accurate with her notes. I’m not sure what it was. Whether she really can’t do uptempo or there was a bit of pressure, given that it’s Beyonce and she needed to perform a little with it. So, mixed reviews… while I’m glad she went uptempo, I wish it was executed better.

Rating: 55%

3. Lazaro Arbos – “Angels” – This was an improvement on pretty much… everything Lazaro has done in the past few weeks. I saw it before, but didn’t think much of it: he’s got a bit of that David Archuleta vibe to him, which might by why he’s getting so much votes, so if he hopes to stay in the competition and thwart Nigel’s grand master plans, maybe he should be picking songs that reflect that vibe. Either way, this performance had the usual rough patches, but when it got it’s momentum, it felt like Lazaro was enjoying himself for the first time in a long while up on that stage which is what I like to see.

Rating: 32%

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

4. Kree Harrison – “Help Me Make It Through The Night” – In the words of Nicki, Kree’s voice gives me everything I need in life. This performance was so understated and subdued and, once again, true to who she is that I almost think it might go overlooked. Kree knows exactly how to play the Idol game without compromising who she is, and that’s by picking these bluesy-country songs that really compliment her voice. I loved this, though it did leave me longing for another song where Kree just wails like her “Stronger” performance in the semi-finals. Maybe next week?

Rating: 80%

5. Janelle Arthur – “The Dance” – Janelle is gorgeous and in terms of look, she has it all to fit into the country music biz. But this was an odd pick for her. Her in a Garth Books song is like trying to fit an elastic around an elephant to me. The notes just felt weirdly low coming out of her mouth and, unlike Kree’s subdued song choice, it did strike the heart of who she is. Maybe Janelle does love Garth and that’s why she chose this song, but I almost wish should would have ventured into Dolly Parton’s catalogue, or maybe even Kellie Pickler’s to give herself a little youth. Like I said before, I didn’t see anything to convince me that she really wants to be here after her Bottom 2 scare, and that scares me. Is Janelle losing her fight?

Rating: 38%

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

6. Candice Glover – “Lovesong” – You know, usually when Randy or any of the judges use some ridiculous hyperbole like “best performance in all 12 seasons” or give someone a standing O, I’m a little skeptical. Not tonight. Candice may have just given a Top 10 Of All Time performance on this show, worthy of comparison to Fantasia’s Summertime, David Cook’s Billie Jean or Kelly Clarkson’s Stuff Like That There. When I saw she was doing this song, I expected just a straight up cover of Adele’s version. Candice proved me completely wrong. Her text had a jazz vibe that let her show off some of the most beautiful colors of her voice that I want to here again and again. It just felt like this performance was one of those spontaneous moments on the show that I won’t soon forget. Ladies & gents, she’s back in the race for that crown!

Rating: 93% (and even that feels too low… as a side note, what in God’s good grace was that demon voice midway through the song? Kudos to Candice for not losing a drop of her cool)

Ideal Bottom 2: Janelle, Lazaro

Ideal Eliminee: Lazaro

Likely Bottom 2: Janelle and maybe… Amber?

Likely Eliminee: Janelle (but she’ll get the save… not sure if she’d be the most dramatic recipient of the save, but she’s definitely the most likely… should be interesting tonight, folks)

Tonight, Season 11 winner Scotty McCreery and Idol’s first winner and queen of sales: Kelly Clarkson perform their new singles! See you there.

 

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