How do you take the task of announcing the names of American Idol‘s Season 12 finalists and stretch it out over a 90-minute telecast? Well, you can start with a super-awkward framework for the episode that requires Ryan Seacrest to dash back and forth from the stage to a tiny holding room, retrieving finalists one at a time and leaving the unfortunate castoffs to stew in their own anxiety and terror.
The good news, however, is that Nigel Lythgoe & Co. introduced the idea of a victory song for each singer before he or she decamped to the Idol Couches of Safety (TM). Okay, so more than half of the contestants didn’t exactly make the case that they’re ready to be the next
Kelly Clarkson, let alone Taylor Hicks Taylor Hicks, let alone Kelly Clarkson. But hey, it beats the living daylights out of a lip-synched group number, doesn’t it? And to be fair, the adrenaline and emotion of knowing that half of the 20 contestants who entered the week were about to walk the plank probably didn’t help the performances as a whole.
In fact, I’d argue that at least six members of the Season 12 Top 10 have at least some chance to inherit Phillip Phillips’ hitmaking throne. I’m a little crestfallen that contestants whose names rhyme with Rihanna Beer and Awe-Three Hell-Land didn’t score a pair of Wild Cards to add a little more vocal horsepower to the next three months of proceedings — and that a dude whose last name is a species of bird didn’t get swapped out for the guy whose last name is a homonym with the first name of a famous actor whose surname is Diamond Phillips — but like Gloria Gaynor, I will survive.
Let’s get to the results:
Voted Through by America (in Chronological Order) Along With “Victory Song” (and Letter Grades)
Paul Jolley: Heart’s “Alone” | Grade: C
Burnell Taylor: india.arie’s “Ready for Love” | Grade: B+
Curtis Finch Jr.: John Legend’s “So High” | Grade: C+
Devin Velez: Israel Houghton’s “The Power of One (Change the World)” | Grade: B+
Lazaro Arbos: Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” | Grade: C-
Janelle Arthur: Dierks Bentley’s “Home” | Grade: B
Candice Glover: Rose Royce’s “I’m Going Down” | Grade: A+
Angela Miller: Beyoncé’s “I Was Here” | Grade: B- (tears may have affected the vocal a bit)
Amber Holcomb: Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” | Grade: B-
Kree Harrison: Susan Tedeschi’s “Evidence” | Grade: A-
[Can I just say Keith Urban's ecstatic facial expression during Candice Glover's performance (see accompanying screengrab) kind of says everything that needs to be said?]
Sent to the Guillotine
Elijah Liu (awwww)
Aubrey Cleland (NO!!!!)
Breanna Steer (NOOOOOOO!!!!)
Next week, Idol will hold a singoff between the No. 6 vote-getter among the men and the women, for a spot on the Season 12 summer tour. Viewers will choose the winner. Ryan didn’t tell us who the mystery contestants will be. (I vote for Breanna and Elijah, but I suspect it’ll be Aubrey and either Charlie or Nick.)
And with that, let me turn things over to you. What do you think of Idol’s Season 12 finalists? Did the speed-dialing, powervoting nation get it right? Did anybody get robbed? If so, who? Take our poll to choose your favorite performances tonight, then sound off in the comments. And for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!