American Idol Top 9 Performance Recap: Such an Easy Game to Play [Updated]

amber-holcomb-american-idolAt first, I didn’t understand why American Idol needed to get Jimmy Iovine to endorse the John Lennon-Paul McCartney songbook at the top of tonight’s Top 9 performance telecast.

Then, as several contestants approached their ditties the way I might open an AP Calculus textbook — which is to say with bewildered ignorance and/or total indifference — I remembered: I’m an old man. Come to think of it, you’re probably old, too. And those Beatles songs? They’re history, like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

But who among us hasn’t scraped a little mold off an excellent cheddar or pricey Camembert from the back of the fridge, taken a taste and let out an expletive like an overexcited Nicki Minaj? “#@*% that’s good!” Every song on tonight’s set list may have been about three times older than Burnell Taylor, but the bulk of the Top 9 contestants proved at the very least enjoyable, if not utterly delightful, while tackling the Fab Four’s undeniable melodies.

So yeah, while it might’ve been nice to hear one or two or even eight more uptempo choices, I’m gonna put a lid on my kvetching and jump to assigning letter grades. Without further ado…

Kree Harrison: “With a Little Help From My Friends” | “What would you do if I sang out of tune?” asked Kree, delivering the night’s first lyric and making me chuckle a little bit. I mean, that’d be like me asking, “What would you do if I stopped production on Idology and forced Melinda Doolittle to do an entire YouTube series based around ABC’s celebrity diving competition Splash?” It’s simply not gonna happen. Still, while Kree looked gorgeous and her voice was as supple and pleasing as ever, there was something a little, er, low-impact about her performance (for me, for you). The notes were all there, but the energy was slightly muffled — to the point where, when the six-person chorus crashed the party on the opening refrain, I found myself sighing and thinking, “Isn’t it a little early in the season for dramatic choir reveals? And how come Kree’s not giving me 100 percent of the emotional abandon I need in my life right now?” Don’t get me wrong, Kree deserves to go directly to the Top 8 without passing go and without collecting $200, but it won’t exactly land her on Boardwalk or Park Place. Grade: B+

Burnell Taylor: “Let It Be” | Has everyone recovered from Burnell admitting he’d never before heard “Let It Be”? I mean, I’d have been less horrified if the kid had thought the tune was a Kris Allen original on account of our Pocket Idol’s Season 9 results-show cover. Nevertheless, you can’t judge a vocal based on its pre-performance package, and if I’m being honest, I kind of liked how Burnell’s gruffly soulful instrument sounded up against one of the Beatles’ church-ier anthems. What bugged me, though, was the blank grin that kept cropping up on Burnell’s face during the performance, an expression that left me wondering, “Does he have any idea what he’s singing about? Why am I getting the same vibe I got from “Flying Without Wings”? Where’s the electricity?” To keep the metaphor going, at this point in the competition, Burnell is a little like geothermal energy: A really good idea that hasn’t quite come to fruition yet. I’m interested in at least a few more weeks of research, though! Grade: B

Amber Holcomb: “She’s Leaving Home” | To my ears, Amber’s performance was so mesmerizing that I didn’t even notice her utterly random “industrial scenes” backdrop — not until she hit her last note and my husband asked, “What’s with those pictures of smokestacks?” (Maybe they were the source of all that white smoke that swirled around Amber and her chamber-music accompanists?) Far more vexing to me was the judges’ mixed feedback — Randy claiming the number started “slow and unsure,” Nicki demanding a change in lipstick color, Mariah admitting she’d never even heard “She’s Leaving Home” (!) — but no one giving Amber credit for a sophisticated arrangement that highlighted the soaring quality of her vocals, and gorgeous phrasing that brought to life the somberness of the lyrics. I wish Ryan Seacrest could’ve thrown a flag on the play and demanded the judges watch an instant replay (apologies for that possibly botched sports reference): Maybe a second listen would’ve opened their ears to the awesomeness they just weren’t appreciating. Or maybe they were just following instructions from Uncle Nigel in the first place? Grade: A-

Lazaro Arbos: “In My Life” | I appreciated Keith and Mariah offering some constructive criticism about Lazaro needing to start his songs in the right key, but the latter judge’s assessment that his merely “making it through the song” was “a big deal” would be as patronizing as telling Ms. Carey that she really earned that Golden Raspberry for remembering her lines and staying on set right through the very last scene of Glitter. Alas, Lazaro is so far behind the other eight runners in the field, it’s almost like he’s in his own race: Once his rivals pass the bleachers and cross the finish line, the likeable kid comes staggering down the straightaway all by himself and everyone feels the urge to cheer “Run, Lazaro, run!” And then he’s collapsing in tears and getting wrapped in a foil poncho (dyed canary yellow or hot pink) and you’re hoping Ryan will repeat his 866 number so you can throw some sympathy votes his way. The problem is that said sympathy votes will only serve to put Lazaro back on the track for another humiliating effort next week — which isn’t really very sympathetic, if you think about it. Grade: D-

Candice Glover: “Come Together” | Here come Miss Candice/ She come groovin’ up slowly/ She will throw you shank eye/ She will play with tempo/ Her voice makes you shake down to your knees/ “Muddy Water” low note/ Gives a case of the “squees!”

What bad production/ There be too much jump cut/ She works the stage but/ Where are the closeups?/ I say close your eyes, hear carefully/ A final jazzy run/ Has just been hit perfectly/ Come together, right now/ Girl can sing Grade: A-

Paul Jolley: “Eleanor Rigby” | If you can forgive the hinky falsetto notes that started and ended his performance, Paul achieved his personal best tonight. And if I sound a little like Paula Abdul trying to spin an Amtrak ticket out of a trainwreck — “Sweetheart, you have never sounded better on a song starting with the letter ‘E’!” — that’s not the case. I’ve consistently called out Paul for his lack of connection to the lyrics he’s sung in Season 12, but to me, he sounded vastly more at home as the narrator of “Eleanor Rigby” — painting pictures of fictional characters rather than baring his own heart and soul on stage. That comfort level and ease allowed us to hear Paul’s pretty natural tone rather than the strained, overdramatized version that made “Alone” and “Amazed” so unappealing. Alas, though, dude might find himself at risk mainly because he hasn’t met a Ryan Seacrest softball question he couldn’t fumble with an eagerness-to-please that always verges on desperation: Hint, even a scowl plays better on TV than a painfully forced smile. Grade: B+ B (upon second and third listen, methinks I was a tad too generous)

Angie Miller: “Yesterday” | Look, if Angie had been auditioning for a Broadway revival of Cats, then “Yesterday” was a rip-roaring success. But to my ears, her overwrought (albeit pitch-perfect) delivery was a triumph of staged, play-to-the-rafters acting over genuine gut feeling. And while the judges praised Angie as much as any contestant tonight, I felt like their comments were peppered with hidden caveats — Nicki mentioning how Angie could eventually sing “soundtracks for Disney movies,” Mariah daydreaming about hearing more “rock edge” from Ms. Miller, and Keith straight-up saying he could hear Angie’s focus drift in and out of the performance. Girlfriend has all the horsepower and accuracy an Idol contestant could want, but she needs to ugly-up some of the edges, worry less about celery-crisp enunciation and more about the meaning of the words coming out of her mouth. A shift back to the piano and a choice of uptempo — or heck, I’d even accept midtempo — number wouldn’t hurt girlfriend’s competitive trajectory, either. Grade: B-

Devin Velez: “The Long and Winding Road” | If you’ll allow a moment of Top Chef ridiculousness, it’s not enough for a chef to julienne veggies with machine-like precision, he’s also got to be a master of spice and flavor and the right temperature. And that’s why Devin — who continues to cut through every note with Ginsu-like accuracy — has yet to fully capture my imagination. Oh sure, I’m impressed by his technical merit, but where’s the artistic interpretation? Where’s the heat? Like Burnell, Devin’s facial expression is an issue: He often looks like he’s buffing the floors of his military high school rather than trying to become a pop star on America’s most venerable singing competition. Keith noted the disconnect tonight — asking for more heart and a little less “laid-backness” — while Randy actually asked for fewer runs. (Was that an Idol first?) Mariah’s get-out-the-vote campaign will probably keep Devin out of harm’s way, but I’ve got to be honest: While intellectually, it’ll confound me if Devin gets booted before Lazaro, emotionally I suspect such an offense won’t muster anything past a 2 or 3 on my Outrage-o-Meter. Grade: B-

Janelle Arthur: “I Will” | Janelle’s backdrop — a swirling heart-shaped Christmas-ornament projection — was tackier than Nicki’s attempts to get censored, but everything else about the night’s closing performance was sweetly subtle — and served to restore the Tennessee gal’s rep after several weeks of substandard vocals. It didn’t hurt that Janelle chose what was probably the night’s least-known track, allowing her to add some country instrumentation without conjuring up the vision of her pulling a flannel hood over the song’s head and throwing it into the back of an unmarked van. And Janelle’s lilting delivery — along with her avoidance of unnecessary glory notes — unearthed the hummingbird-delicate aspects of her tone. As Randy said, it wasn’t quite a yodel, but I don’t think I’d have called “foul!” if she’d taken it that far. Plus, that sensational white goddess gown with beaded top made her look like a seasoned star — and played right into Nicki’s ridiculous “be my bride” feedback arc. Now let’s get a second consecutive week of excellence and keep the Season 12 race exciting. Yeehaw! Grade: A-

Should Be Bottom 3: Angie (a scare would do her good), Devin, Lazaro (with Lazaro going home)
Will Be Bottom 3: Amber, Lazaro, Paul (with Paul going home)

Winner of “Idol Tour Fan Save”: Aubrey Cleland over Charlie Askew

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Season 12 Top 9 performance night? What did you think of the judges’ comments? Who was your favorite? Who’s going to be in trouble come Thursday? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Mel31602 says:

    I too disagree with your rankings, as Angie and Devin gave two of my top performances of the night (along w Candice and Janelle). I thought Amber and Paul were kind of dull but the former way out sang the latter. Kree and Burnell were solid as usual. I thought judges were too hard on Lazaro but he was still the worst of the bunch. I agree w your b3 predictions tho and won’t be too broken up if Paul leaves. As the judges said tho, he sounded great towards the middle/latter end of the song.

    • Joe Strummer says:

      Devin is terrible. He thinks vocal runs substitutes for emotion in the song. One of the worst of the night. No connecton to the song.

  2. you’re outta your everlasting mind to think Devin should be in bottom 3!!!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Wait… Kree didn’t get an A? Whaaaaaaaa?????

  4. Trevor says:

    Angie doesn’t have a great voice? B-? Are Slezak and some of you other people crazy? She crushed that song. Crushed it.

  5. JD says:

    No really outstanding performances for me.
    Kree: B
    Devin: B
    Lazaro: D
    All the others C/C+ (Better than your average karaoke singer)

  6. Seriously??? Amber with an A-??? I don’t think we watched the same show…

  7. darcy's evil twin says:

    Thank you, Mr. Slezak for reminding me how old I am. I knew every word to every one of those songs. Crap, where did I leave my glass of Diet Coke?
    My favorites were Candice, Kree, and Amber. I liked Amber better than Angie (even with Angie’s flat-ironed hair, thankyouverymuch Ryan!) because I love, love, love “She’s Leaving Home”. The melody is beautiful and riveting and I loved the performance – even if I had a few problems with the phrasing. Kree deserves a higher rating, Mr. Slezak, and Candice was AWESOME!

  8. Daniel says:

    Angie = A
    Candice = A-
    Devin = A-
    Burnell = B+
    Janelle = B+
    Kree = B
    Amber = B
    Paul = B
    Lazaro = C+

  9. PeaceMaker says:

    Lazaro was not good. Off pitch the entire time. If he can’t learn a song in a day, he will never make it as a professional singer. Angie is obviously talented, but that performance was like an attempt to take every technique she could muster and throw it at us. Candice was great. I’m surprised no one mentioned the difficulty of the melody in Amber’s song. I agree that she was underrated. Burnell did a good job with that song. Devin has a beautiful voice and great pitch and is singing exactly the sort of songs he wants to sing, which won’t win him this competition. Janell was…nice. it was a fine job and she has a lovely, natural air, but just not outstanding overall. Paul has some really good qualities to his voice, but he just doesn’t have the IT factor, and i don’t think he can overcome that. I’m not a country fan, but Kree is my favorite so I might be biased there. Her voice is just so beautiful and her manner so inviting.

  10. jane says:

    . I must need to get my ears cleaned because I thought Burnell was terrible!! His tone is grating and he hit several bum notes and never strayed much from about 5 notes. I don’t know what happened with Kree. Is it possible she could have given a more LAZY performance? “A little help from my friends” is a classic growler tune made famous by Joe Cocker. Where was the passion is Kree’s rendition? The judges are doing her no favors for not offering her some constructive criticism. I’m shocked at how many admitted to not knowing the song they chose to sing. Amber and Candice were the best tonight and everyone else way below them. Candice wasn’t familiar with her song either but she didn’t use it as an excuse to not understand the meaning of her song. She sang one of the most esoteric Lennon songs and I believed every word she sang. She is a true artist. Angie is fast becoming a little Avril Lagvine. Her Yesterday was solid. I don’t think Lazaro was that terrible. He was better than Paul and Burnell.
    Candice: A
    Amber : A-
    Angie: B
    Kree: B-
    Jenelle: B-
    Devin: B-
    Lazaro: C
    Paul: C-
    Burnell: D-

    • JoMarch says:

      Totally agree with your Paul score Could not believe Michael gave him a B-. Bravo to Nicki for calling him out.

    • Ali says:

      Yes, I have never been so blindsided by a critique as with Burnell. I thought for sure Slezak would be calling him out but it doesn’t appear so…… So confused. Not to be a hater, I was liking him a couple of weeks ago.

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you! I’m glad someone called Burnell out because I was beginning to think it was jus me. Each week he sounds the same to me with the grating and off key notes. Devin seems to be the only guy up to the challenge this year.

    • Joe Strummer says:

      Plus, anyone that has never heard “Let It Be” should AUTOMATICALLY be disqualified. I mean wwhhaaattt??!! You have never heard of one of the most popular song by arguably the most influential band in music history??!! You never even heard the song in passing??

      This is the problem with this crop of singers. No knowledge of the history of music.

  11. karen says:

    Paul just needs to sing and not talk. Cringe.

    • Owen says:

      And why is that, Karen?

      • karen says:

        All the Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift references Paul makes about himself are cringeworthy. How many times has he said that? Sell me with your voice, Paul. Viewers don’t need a sales pitch if you’ve got the talent to back it up.

  12. Blinged Up says:

    I agree with all of your grades, Michael, except I would have given Burnell a higher grade and Paul a bit lower. But, yeah…..

  13. J. Carr says:

    The Shakespear’s Sister reference was brilliant, Mr. Slezak. Brilliant.

  14. sdexta says:

    Candice: A
    Kree: A-
    Angela: A-
    Amber: B+
    Burnell: B
    Janelle: B
    Devin: B
    Paul: B-
    Lazaro: C+

  15. Tammy says:

    I would put all five females first and then the males. I would send lazaro home

  16. forwarddad says:

    Paul continues to claim He wants to be a male Carrie Underwood/Taylor Swift. Not helping him at all.

    • MC says:

      Paul’s reply to the judges might land him in the bottom three more than his actual performance. I also don’t understand how he loves the Beatles, but is so dedicated to making himself into a country artist. I think the audience will be equally confused and he could be going home this week.

      • twnkltoze says:

        What? Just because you want to be a country artist means you can’t like another genre of music? That was an ignorant statement.

        • Mary says:

          I think MC meant he keeps wanting to be a country artist but all the judges have said they don’t see it, which frankly I agree. I actually thought this was one of his better performances, not great, and he didn’t sound country at all. Paul doesn’t know really what he wants and to keep saying I want to be a male Carrie/Taylor is not helping him.

    • twnkltoze says:

      After this is all over Paul can be anybody he wants. You go Paul. Fly those colors high!!

  17. Callum says:

    9. Lazaro
    8. Janelle
    7. Burnell
    6. Amber
    5. Kree
    4. Candice
    3. Devin
    2. Paul
    1. Angie

    Rankings based on just tonight.

  18. MB says:

    I think Paul will go home though it really should be Lazaro. He will get the sympathy vote. It was heartbreaking to watch his reaction after the judges critique.

  19. Callum says:

    Kree Harrison: “With a Little Help From My Friends” | Grade: B-
    Burnell Taylor: “Let It Be” | Grade: C+
    Amber Holcomb: “She’s Leaving Home” | Grade: B-
    Lazaro Arbos: “In My Life” | Grade: F-
    Candice Glover: “Come Together” | Grade: B+
    Paul Jolley: “Eleanor Rigby” | Grade: A
    Angie Miller: “Yesterday” | Grade: A
    Devin Velez: “The Long and Winding Road” | Grade: B+
    Janelle Arthur: “I Will” | Grade: C

  20. LeahKittyS says:

    Dude. You need coffee or something. Kree was at least an A-, not to mention how you underscored Angie. And only A- for Candice? That girl was on fire! Again! Amber and Janelle you got right. I can’t believe Burnell didn’t know “Let It Be.” I thought that was the one Beatles song everybody on Earth knew. And thank you for hesitating to fail anyone this season. I remember last time you gave an F was to Tim Urban during Season 9 Rolling Stones week, I laughed out loud.

  21. Guitar Blue says:

    Paul and Devin were on the low end in terms of voter popularity coming into this week, finishing 8 & 9 last week. —————–

    Janelle could gain just a little ground this week, and Amber is going to be safe. They both had a good “looks/stage appeal” about them that will preserve them against the lower end of the competition this week,—————————————

    That leaves Paul & Devin still in the danger zone, With Lazaro likely slipping a little, Burnell may be the one sliding to the edge of the danger zone — as long as Lazaro’s base is ignited by the Judges bashing and bring-on the vote-all-nite fight.

  22. Nedsdag says:

    Instead of giving Angie the AI crown, someone should give her a tiara, a sash, and a scepter and proclaim her Miss America because she’s becoming more and more pageantry each week. I am waiting for her to say, “I want world peace.”

  23. Deedee says:

    I’ve watched Angie repeatedly to really understand what all this hype is about. Yeah, she’s got the voice, that lovely husky tone she has sometimes, and she can sing, even write songs. Basically, she’s amazing.
    On paper, unfortunately.
    Her problem is trying to force out emotions and so she’s never moved me, which is saying something. I’ve had goosebumps with a majority of this pack – felt virtually nothing when listening to Angie. Nothing. She tries too hard and over sings half the time. A little too green behind the ears at the moment, maybe. But sure, if she got eliminated with say, Paul still safe, that’d be a travesty.
    As for the hearing loss, it’s really sad, yeah and kudos to her. Really. I care about Lazaro’s stuttering too. Doesn’t mean I want him to win. Or go far in the competition at the expense of someone far more talented.

    • deedee says:

      Thought I was sliding into dementia reading this post and not understanding why I couldn’t remember writing it! Took me juuust a bit too long to realize it was a different deedee. Yikes! *hold me*

  24. brandon69 says:

    on a side note, I just wanted to say I’m glad Aubrey won the sing off. She will be great to look at come tour time!!!!!

  25. andy j says:

    Worth it to hear “M-M-My Li-Li-Life” sung by La-La-Lazaro.

  26. Angie and Janelle were sublime. (Both A)
    Kree and Candace rocked it. (A-)

  27. dj says:

    I don’t know if I’m having an off night, or what, but I normally hate Beatles on Idol, and this time I loved it.

    My favorite was Amber. I am not familiar with that song, but I thought she sounded great on it. I noticed some people tweeting about pitch issues. Maybe I didn’t hear those problems because I don’t know the song.

    My second favorite was Angie. I do know “Yesterday,” and I loved the liberties she took with it. I thought her vocal was exquisite.

    My third favorite was Burnell. I loved the way he sang “Let it Be.” I agreed with Nicki; he caressed the song.

    Most of the rest of the singers were all awesome, too. Candace, Devin, Kree, Janelle. I even liked Paul and thought he got kind of a harsh critique. Lazaro did not sound good to me tonight. I felt bad for him when he cried and said they changed the song at the last minute. I feel like he will probably stay, but I think it’s time for him to go home. He gets to go on tour. It’s not that bad for anyone who goes home at this point.

    I am so glad nobody did “Imagine.” That’s been done enough, IMO.

    • ChrissieK says:

      Imagine is a John Lennon song not Lennon/McCartney and that could be 1 reason why it wasn’t performed last night?

  28. teatime says:

    Will I remember any of these performances a week from now? No. Well, maybe I will remember Candice’s since this might be the performance that wins her the season. She stepped out of her box and did a good job.
    Was this week better than last week? Absolutely. So at least there is that.

    • Guitar Blue says:

      Will I remember any of these performances a week from now? ^^^^^^

      The whole night was what Simon used to call “forgetable”.

  29. brian lee says:

    I really think that most of the performances were bad especially the guy who sang the long and winding road — it made me sick.

  30. Joe says:

    Was it Broadway week? Angie was clearly auditioning for the lead in the soon to be made Broadway show “Love Me Do” featuring the Beatles greatest known hits strung together with a paper thin story that will leave tourists dancing in the aisles. I haven’t seen a dramatic interpretation of a Beatles song so dramatical since Shatner sang “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”. The only thing that would’ve made her performance more Broadway was Nathan Lane, Neil Patrick Harris & Patti Lupone singing backup. In other words, she may have sang well but she performed the song like a Melissa Manchester impersonating a Melissa Manchester impersonator. She is Debbie Boone.
    Devin spontaneously became a new shade of wallpaper tonight. It’s a muted tone somewhere between taupe and blech.
    Jolley just wants to be country and be a cowboy, but everyone else wants him to be George Michael and be a different kind of cowboy.
    Watching Kree & Janelle is starting to feel like watching Elphaba and Glinda in Wicked if Glinda was a rube and couldn’t hit a high E.
    I’m convinced Candice is on a completely different show than everyone else and when we edit all her performances together this will all make sense.
    Amber owns me. I’m in love with her. Seriously. I get goosies in the J. Lo sense of the world when that girl smiles and sings. She needs a sitcom, a commercial, a CD, a Disney princess role and a workout video stat.
    Burnell is trying to hypnotize us all with his arm movements. It’s working. I can’t think of anything bad to say about him.
    As for Lazaro…sweet Lazaro. The less said the better.
    And thank baby Jesus no one sang Imagine.

    • lemon says:

      Very witty–nicely done!

    • deedee says:

      “The only thing that would’ve made her performance more Broadway was Nathan Lane, Neil Patrick Harris & Patti Lupone singing backup.”


    • grateful by the bay says:

      Once again beyond well-observed & -crafted “Joe”! Reminds me that I watch & visit season after season as much for Mr. Slezak as for you, “darcy’s…”, “deedee”, “Marie”, & your like. Grateful am I (along with “lemon” & “teatime” & many many more I suspect)!

      • marie says:

        I kinda like it here too :-) – and thank you (maybe I’m assuming too much, but I think you may have been referring to me; I like all those other folks, too).

        • grateful by the bay says:

          Yes indeed-y, referring to you, “marie”! :) Cheers to you & the many other wonderful aspects of AI…to the many goodies that exist amidst the good & bad of this life’s journey.

          • marie says:

            grateful, this may be somewhat off-topie re AI, but that’s a great attitude towards life in general, one that I increasingly find myself adopting as I get older (one of the truly GREAT aspects of getting older – there really ARE many such things!). Have a terrific day!

      • Joe says:

        Thanks grateful. Angie’s melisma inspired me last night to pontificate.

  31. MA says:

    Angie only gets a B-??? She was my favorite of the night! Holy smokes. That was great.

    • CAS says:

      Yeah…who wants someone to “ugly up the edges” of “Yesterday”, for crying out loud! And, given the popular tendency to mumble lyrics, I LOVE her “celery crisp enunciation”. That’s a STRENGTH, not a weakness. The purpose of a vocal song is to deliver some sort of message. If no one can understand what you’re saying, it may as well not exist.

  32. Iamvin says:

    wow.. I really thought Angie was great tonight. She, for me is in the top 4 performers of the night. B- is just too low. her performance was B+ if not A- for me. For the rest of the contestants, let’s just say I’m glad that Janelle finally showed massive improvement vocally, Kree and Candice are beasts, and burnel’s voice, God I wish I have that tone! :)

  33. Wendy says:

    I went into this season thinking I would support Candice 100 percent. But Amber’s sound is so special to me, I just adore her and end up giving her all my votes because I’m so concerned she will get lost in the first weeks. I still love Candice but Amber has crazy potential to bloom the way Haley did. I was pumping the air after She’s Leaving Home because she nailed it. What a unique tone she has! You go, girl!

  34. karen says:

    Kree’s vocals on her iTunes recording are insane, but that damn Jimmy Iovine overproduced the gospel choir. I want the hear HER voice, not a damn choir throughout the entire track. Disappointed, not in Kree, but in the production that distracts from her amazing voice.

    • GG says:

      Yes I’ve been complaining through out the night that Candice’s voice also gets drowned out by band and production

  35. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Is it just the clothes or does Lazaro have childbearing hips?

    I spent the whole evening waiting for Keith to take off his clothes.

  36. Tiff says:

    Honestly, I feel like I’m playing a game of “Which of these things is not like the other?” and the answer is ALWAYS Lazaro. That key change was a painful moment. I really, really hope he goes home soon.

    My top three are Candice, Burnell, and Paul. I think Paul should stick to pop-rock – he sounds terrible doing country and I really liked him doing rock.

    • marie says:

      Yeah, the key change was weird, especially – as Keith said – because he should have just started the song in that key to begin with.

  37. Ty says:

    @Michael Slezak, in what twisted universe should DEVIN be in the bottom 3?

  38. abc123 says:

    my ranking for tonight’s performance.
    1. Janelle – subtle, soulful, major improvement.
    2. Angie – unpredictable song, great choice of chords, clear tone.
    3. Kree – breathtaking. I don’t have a word of how good she is.
    4. Candice – great to see her rocking that stage! but her last three performance were just too good. this was okay.
    5. Burnel – his song choice is not exciting, but the tone was crazy good!
    6. Amber – never really liked her, so this may be unfair. she can be a little disconnected.
    7. Paul – great pitch, but too choreographed.
    8. Lazaro – err.. awkward.

    didn’t get to watch devin’s performance so he’s not in the list. haha.

  39. Wendy says:

    Wow, I think Angie over sang that tonight – especially the second half of the song. That’s what you call listening to yourself instead of being true to the song.

  40. Hmr says:

    Lazaro was being sabotaged by Jimmy. He should go, but he will be safe.
    Tired of Paul “sharing his gift”.
    Loved Devin, but he will be in danger because of his lack of fanbase. Hope he stays, B+. Amber was great too.
    Angie lacks soul.

  41. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Devin is such a boring performer. Such dead eyes. He has no soul.

  42. Timmah says:

    I thought Angie’s attempt to act out the emotion of the song was awful. It was like watching a porn actress trying to fake an orgasm.

  43. Brandon says:

    I thought Angie was incredible tonight. Played it back several times.

  44. Linda says:

    What is wrong with these contestants? Why do they keep picking so many ballads? Lennon/McCartney wrote a lot of great uptempo songs. Why didn’t more people sing them? These kids are putting me to sleep.

  45. Evan says:

    Slezak, it’s okay to give someone an F. I promise!

  46. blah says:

    -Kree: was probably the only person (other than Candice) that I truly believed with her intro package that her family meant everything to her. With her story, just made her song that much more meaningful. Definitely thought she started the show off great tonight
    -Burnell: Everyone talks about how they like his voice. I just can’t get on that train, so I’m not going to knock him for his voice. Stage presence is apart of it though, and he just doesn’t have any. Is it just me or does he pronounce certain words strangely? (Plus I can’t believe he’s never heard of Let it Be).
    -Amber: Definitely has an amazing voice. Had to go back and watch her again to get an opinion on her. Still all I can come up with is that she had a great vocal. Though I do want her to cover her legs and see if Nikki has anything other than her legs to talk about.
    -Lazaro:Nothing I can say that people here haven’t. (Fell in love with her dad too).
    -Candice. Flippin. Glover. Has taken 2 songs in a row now that I never wanted to hear on idol again because they were done so well. Yet I haven’t minded yet.
    -Paul: I think vocally he was okay this time around. Though he was trying to belt during Eleanor Rigby and that’s not really a song to belt on. He either needed to tone it down a bit or do an arrangement like (though I didn’t like him) Michael Lynche did a few seasons back. I also agree with the judges, I don’t buy him as a country artist.
    -Angie: Did some things tonight that I could never even dream of coming up with. I don’t think that it was her best performance tonight, But since Jimmy mentioned the beauty pageant thing, it seems like the “act” that she puts on comes up more and more often which I can’t understand. Also, I seem to be the only one that doesn’t care whether she’s playing piano or not. At the end of the day, it’s a singing competition, and she’s focusing on that rather than just being ‘that girl that plays piano.’
    -Devin: I’m sure his vocals were good. I just can never seem to get myself to pay attention while he’s on my screen.
    -Janelle: Better than the last couple of weeks. I was still bored though.
    Lazaro has to be going home though. They keep putting him and Candice performing back to back I think to show the difference between them. America just has to get the message eventually.

  47. JenD says:

    I’m with Nicki on Devin. I love that kid and his Michael Buble/Josh Groban voice. And his scarves too. I’m with you MS on Amber and the judges’ reaction. Janelle reminded me of visiting Grandma and having to watch the Lawrence Welk show in 1978. Candice for the Win!

    • marie says:

      (Gosh, was Lawrence Welk still on the air in 1978? I had to watch him with my Grandma…well, a whole lot earlier than that! Good for Lawrence Welk, then! Yeah, I knew every word to every song last night….)

  48. twnkltoze says:

    Kree: For me? Better than last week. She’s growin’ on me.
    Burnell: I agree with Slezak. Great voice but appears disconnected.
    Amber: Ditto with Burnell. And not because they’ve never heard these songs. They’re disconnected every week. Give us something!!!
    Lazaro: Again I agree with Slezak. Is it really sympathetic to keep him there? NO. It’s cruel. This can no longer be fun for him. Let him go and have a good cry with Charlie.
    Candice: WINNING!!
    Paul: Great vocal as always but….I don’t know.
    Angie: Great vocal. I didn’t dislike it.
    Devin: Beautiful voice but something about his mannerisms reminded me of Obama which immediately put me off.
    Janelle: I think I got a cavity.

    Overall I liked all of the song picks with Amber’s being my favorite. Just wish she’d sold it more.

  49. LA says:

    I thought the violin accompaniment for Janelle was horrible, sometimes off-key, never complementary to her melody and almost torpedoed her at the start of the song. She sang it well despite no help from whoever arranged her accompaniment.

  50. Timmah says:

    I’m trying to think of a season that had a duller, more uninspired bunch of finalists. I’m drawing a blank.

    • Joe Strummer says:

      Thank you. I’m glad I’m not the only one that thinks so!!! This is the most boring bland year of contestants I’ve seen since the show began. Whoever wins will not make it as an artist in the real world. No attitude or originality.

      Plus, how can you be a singer and never even heard “Let It Be”!!?? Talk about someone living in a cave!!