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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 5 Performances: Binders Full of Women

Multiple times this evening the judges declared these five girls “the best top five ever”. First of all, only Randy is qualified to say that and even that’s questionable. But I’ve been here since day one, so I’ll be the judge of that. Our two themes tonight were “Songs From The Year You Were Born” (aka songs that are younger than me because the oldest contestant, Candice, is a year younger than me. Scary) and “Divas” (so basically songs by women… was this Top 5 preordained or what?). With Lazaro gone, I don’t really feel like there were any trainwrecks, but there were some clear wins for some of these ladies, so let’s see what those were.

(As a sidenote: Who the heck thought it would be a good idea to get Jimmy in on the action? I literally spent most of the first half of the telecast yelling at Jimmy to shut up. He really shouldn’t give on the spot critiques. Stick to reading my blog and then spouting it out on the results show).

Year You Were Born

Credit: Digital Spy

1. Candice Glover – “Straight Up” (by Paula Abdul) – This comment will come back several times during my recap, but I almost feel like the sound wasn’t mixed quite right before this performance. Candice’s voice was echoing like she was in an empty theatre, but the whole thing still sounded great. I loved the more mellow spin she put on the song and it felt like a good turn with Lovesong still fresh in our minds. I actually think the judges praise was even a little too subdued on it compared to the “I can’t wait for your concert!!!” critiques they gave the other four ladies after their performances.

Rating: 72%

2. Janelle Arthur – “When I Call Your Name” (by Vince Gill) – I thought Janelle’s story about how she ended up picking this song was sweet. It was definitely a more comfortable fit than her last few song choices have been, but I kind of agree with Keith that, as vocally flawless as it was, it’s almost like she sacrificed some of the emotion in the process. Like he said, there’s a reason this song stopped her from crying as I child and I don’t know if she harnessed that to it’s fullest extent. I will say that I was happy to see her bust out her guitar again, if only to show us that she hasn’t forgotten it.

Rating: 51%

Credit: Digital Spy

3. Kree Harrison – “She Talks To Angels” (by The Black Crowes) – This is my boyfriend’s favourite song, so I have to be careful not to critique the song choice too hard, but I will say that I was torn between whether I loved it or not. It felt like an awkward choice for Kree, given that she had a whole year’s worth of songs to choose from, but I did like that it was a little unpredictable for her, even if it made me doubt, for the first time, her uncanny ability to choose great songs for herself. I also liked to see Nicki and Mariah disagreeing because, heck, that’s what they’re paid for! But I found myself agreeing with Mariah underneath it all: ditch the heels Kree and focus on just singing the song. No one can fault you for that.

Rating: 65%

4. Angie Miller – “I’ll Stand By You” (by The Pretenders) – I’ll start by saying that I loved that Angie dedicated this perform to her home state of MA after the tragic events in Boston. It was touching and a surefire way to get a little boost in the votes. That being said, I felt like there was a little too much going on in this performance as it neared the end, like a train clunking to a stop into the station. This is a gorgeous song and one that almost benefits from it’s simplicity. For an example, see Pia Toscano’s rendition from Season 9. I loved that Angie was quick to jump back on the piano, but I wish that she had almost told the band to back off for a bit.

Rating: 62%

Credit: TVLine

5. Amber Holcomb – “Without You” (by Mariah Carey) – I give Amber props for taking on a big Mariah Carey song in front of her. Odd that she chose this song for Birth Year week and not something more interesting from her year of birth though. I will agree with whichever judge said it that she could have given it a bit more oomph, both vocally and emotionally. It was a bit predictable from her and I don’t know that she was spot on with pitch the way Candice was when she took on a Mariah song right after her.

Rating: 60%

Divas

1. Candice Glover – “When You Believe” (by Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston) – For me, this song is just a giant piece of cheddar cheese. It doesn’t get much cheesier and when you add in the fact that Mariah is on the panel and did a duet with Whitney, who’s name gets dropped in reverent respect every week on the show, it just gets worse. But let me tell you that when Candice busted out the vocal pyrotechnics, I was picturing her sandwiched between the two divas and flying just as high. Once again, she brought the strongest vocal of the night to the table and turned my cheddar into one high quality grilled cheese.

Rating: 82%

Credit: Celeb Dirty Laundry

2. Janelle Arthur – “Dumb Blonde” (by Dolly Parton) – I hear what the judges were saying about Janelle having a few pitch problems, but she always does on more uptempo songs. That being said, I was willing to overlook them because, praise be God, Janelle picked a Dolly Parton song! Sure, there are deeper Dolly songs that she could have sunk her teeth into but I think she picked one with a little personality and I’m not going to fault her on that. I will say that Nicki pointing out the obvious, that Janelle is the most likely contender for elimination on Thursday night, was a little unnecessary. As much as I love Nicki’s brash honesty sometimes, you don’t need to break the poor girl’s heart 24 hours in advance. Maybe though, if Janelle survives tomorrow night (either because they want a second week with five girls or because she somehow isn’t the lowest vote-getter), she’ll take those harsh words and turn in some great performances in response.

Rating: 48%

3. Kree Harrison – “Have You Ever Been In Love” (by Celine Dion) – I’ve always felt a bit of the Celine vibe from Kree, ever since her first duet with Janelle, so I was excited to see how she’d tackle one of her songs. This started a little low for her, but once she centred her pitch, she carried it home. Once again, it just felt so natural. Her runs are like little chocolate curls on top of a delicious, moist slice of cake. I just can’t get over how comforting her voice is and I think that, if anything, is what will lend some truth to the judges predictions that she may end up being the biggest star from this season, win or not.

Rating: 74%

Credit: Digital Spy

4. Angie Miller – “Halo” (by Beyonce) – Spot on. Angie’s goal for herself, to convey emotion without her “crutch” aka her piano, proved to be a major success and improvement on her first performance and other attempts this season at doing the same. It was convincing, it was modern, but most of all it sounded good.

Rating: 82%

5. Amber Holcomb – “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?” (by Barbara Streisand) – This is going to be controversial, but I didn’t love this nearly as much as the judges did. I’m a fan of Barbara and of her jazz-broadway style so I feel like I know the way this should be sung. Maybe it was that Amber was drowned under the weight of the band so it was hard to hear her, but I never really felt the words and the story from her. So maybe it wasn’t entirely her problem, but the sound mixer’s.

Rating: 67%

If I have to predict a Bottom 2, I’ll say:

  • Ideal Bottom 2: Janelle/Amber
  • Ideal Eliminee: Janelle
  • Likely Bottom 2: Janelle/Candice (Splitting the African-American Diva vote with Amber who went last and got higher praise)
  • Likely Eliminee: Janelle. Or nobody if they just decide they want two weeks of the women, which is the most likely scenario.

But we’ll see what happens tonight when we flashback to the early 2000s with Fantasia and Clay Aiken performing on the results show!

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3 Comments on “Idol Top 5 Performances: Binders Full of Women”

  1. Elizabeth Rosalyn April 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    It was a night of great performances from the girls! I loved Candice’s arrangement of “Straight Up” and thought Angie and “Halo” were a perfect match.

    • Andrew Rogers April 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      Agree on both accounts. I love Candice’s rendition of Straight Up. It was cool and jazzy and subdued which was perfect for her and Halo was great. I didn’t expect it to be, but Angie really proved she can be without her piano.

  2. Todd April 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

    You know, this was the first night I wasn’t so hot about Amber. Her second song was definitely better than the first, but it was boring to me. And then she was safe and didn’t make bottom 2 the night I didn’t like her. Go figure. I still gave her all 50 of my votes, lol.

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