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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 30 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 4 Performances – One-Hit or Wonder?

I didn’t know what to expect coming into this week. I had high expectations because this is, without a doubt, one of the most talented Top 4’s we’ve had in many seasons. What I didn’t expect was the frustrating telecast that we actually ended up getting. It seemed none of the judges were hearing what I (and the twitter-universe at large) were hearing and makes me wonder if we’re in for a complete 360 come results night or, given the fact that we’re getting two top four weeks, next week. For that reason, this recap is kind of anti-climatic because we pretty much know that none of these ladies are going home, but I’ll still give you my two cents and what I had hoped the judges would say after each performance.

1. Amber Holcomb – “The Power of Love” (by Celine Dion) – The praise Amber got for this performance was utterly ridiculous. Only Mariah thought to point out the fact that her higher register verged on painful at times and that the song just didn’t feel right for her. That, plus the fact that the song is not “young and hip” like the judges keep saying Amber is, made for a very confusing amount of feedback. I’m still not buying this whole “Amber is the complete package!” “Nicki Minaj really wants to be her friend!” thing. Like I said in my Top 5 results piece, they’re still trying too hard to make Amber happen and I’m just waiting for the potential backlash.

Rating: 48%

Credit: Celeb Dirty Laundry

2. Candice Glover – “Find Your Love” (by Drake) – In contrast to Amber, Candice got a good verbal spanking from the judges for trying to reimagine this hip-hop hit. Admittedly, Nicki is a bit impartial to her friend Drake’s version and I kind of agree with her that Candice could have easily sang it just the way it was and still sounded good but I definitely appreciated the creativity and, unlike Amber, I feel like Candice really chose a song she liked and tried to change it up, even if it didn’t land perfectly.

Rating: 56%

3. Kree Harrison – “It Hurts So Bad” (by Susan Tedeschi) – For the second time this season, Kree delved into Susan Tedeschi’s songbook to give us something a little different and I, frankly, loved it. I’m not sure what the judges were on about with “emotion”. Sure, Susan’s emotion comes from the guitar but I felt what Kree was singing and she sang it so damn well that I almost didn’t care – which Keith did point out is often a flaw of hers, but sometimes it’s not. I’m wondering if maybe the judges have decided to back the Kree bus up in hopes of sneaking Amber into the Top 3 or even the finale, but I personally hope that isn’t the case because I think Kree is a breath of fresh air on the country scene.

Rating: 63%

Credit: Time Inc.

4. Angie Miller – “Who You Are” (by Jessie J) – I, like the judges, had some major reservations about Angie redoing her audition song. I was worried it would be like reheating leftover pancakes… sounds like a great idea, but generally leads to mediocre results. That said, Angie proved me wrong. She took all the judge’s critiques to heart and delivered the best performance of the night. My grandmother, who’s never watched Idol and generally doesn’t enjoy it, immediately pointed at the screen and said she loved her voice in this and that she could be the winner. She also said that unlike the other three girls, she showed great restraint at times in this performance and that could, above all, be what draws people to her. I think this performance, combined with Mariah’s critiques, reminding the audience why we fell in love with Angie the second she did “You Set Me Free”. Hopefully they let her perform that again during the voting rounds as a finishing blow to her competition.

Rating: 80%


5. Amber & Kree – “Rumour Has It”  (by Adele) – Once again, I was left a little dumbfounded by the judges comments on this performance. For me, it was Kree, not Amber, who carried the vocals on this one and prevented it from slipping into the frequently trod “bad duet territory”. It lingered in the mediocre range for me, but I agree with the judges that given the faux-plot they decided to inject into the song, I would have liked to see a little more gusto from the two girls when they were exchanging lyrics.

Rating: 42%

6. Angie & Candice – “Stay” (by Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko) – In contrast to the first duet, I really enjoyed this one. I’m not sure if Stay was the perfect song choice for these two, but I did love their voices together. Angie proved she can hold her own against Candice and solo or together, they sounded great but, like I said, this isn’t a song that lends itself to a girl/girl duet. I almost would have rather seen one of them perform it solo. Agree?

Rating: 65%

Credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

7. Amber Holcomb – “MacArthur Park” (by Richard Harris) – Jimmy hit it on the head when he said that this song is just the biggest slab of cheese there is and no one, not even Donna Summer, could salvage it and make it anything more than that. Which makes me question why the young, hip, “complete package” that is Amber Holcomb decided to choose it out of all the possible one-hit wonders on the list. Admittedly, their song lists aren’t always as big as we think they are, but still. This was not the right choice for her and she didn’t sing it particularly well either. Again, her voice returned to that sharpness from her first performance and I found myself longing for better Amber days rather than soggy cake.

Rating: 24%

8. Candice Glover – “Emotion” (By Samantha Sang) – My favourite part about one-hit wonders night was that only Kree actually sang a one hit wonder, everyone else sang a “lesser known cover” of a song made famous by someone else. That said, I love the Bee Gees and I love this song, but I agree with the judges in the sense that it might be too bit sleepy to boost Candice into the Top 3 easily. However, I will say that Candice sang it well and held her own, so I really can’t fault her otherwise, I just wish that it was dramatically different from her first performance and it wasn’t. I do want point out, however, that I was so infuriated by the judges spending their time critique Candice by talking about and correcting what they had said about Amber. It wasn’t fair to Candice and it just felt like a desperate ploy to push Amber even further down the audience’s throats. Like I said, let the backlash begin.

Rating: 65%

Credit: Celeb Dirty Laundry

9. Kree Harrison – “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (by Procol Harum) – I’ll start by saying that I think Kree picked a good song for her. But I wish she had taken it up a notch. It has that gospel-like organ going on in the background that could have really let itself to a bit of a shakeup that might have overshadowed a few of the more mediocre performances tonight and put the judges in their place. That said, the judges did give her a bit of reserved praise for it and rightfully so, because she sounded good, but I think Keith hit it on the head when he saw that Kree’s two extremes: stripped down and bluesy verses huge, powerful borderline-rock ballads, are where she does best.

Rating: 65% 

10. Angie Miller – “Cry Me A River”  (by Julie London) – I actually love this song and I kind of had my sights set on it for Angie to sing it for a while, but I wish she would have done it a little differently. She sang it in a broadway, theatresque way that Jimmy warned her against a few weeks prior. I think she would have done far better if it was just her and her piano (see: Diana Krall’s version). I know Angie has this inclination to avoid lingering for too long on the piano, but I fully agree with Nicki that it’s what sets her apart from the other girls and gives her that edge in the competition. Still, she went last and got high praise all night. I don’t think she’s going anywhere.

Rating: 57%

If I wasn’t so sure that no one was going home tomorrow, then I’d find it harder to pick a bottom two, but as it stands…

  • Ideal Bottom 2: Amber Holcomb and… if I was basing it on the entirety season: Angie Miller. If I was basing it on just tonight: Candice Glover.
  • Ideal Eliminee: Amber Holcomb.
  • Likely Bottom 2: None.
  • Likely Eliminee: None.

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