American Idol Recap: Kids in a Candice Shop

American-Idol-Candice-Glover-Dont-Make-Me-OverThis just in: Mariah Carey is currently in the American Idol naughty corner (located somewhere between Keith Urban’s fitted t-shirt room and Nicki Minaj’s false-eyelash trunk).

Yes indeed, the “We Belong Together” singer mentioned in one of many verbose critiques tonight that she’d been “reprimanded by the powers that be” for failing to perform her duties as a judge (and presumably for doing little else besides offering empty platitudes and avoiding eye contact with the crazy cartoon character two chairs to her left). Said talking-to resulted in the debut of Mariah 2.0, a malfunctioning robot who spat out wilted word salads like “that was more in a direction of a performance that would be preferable” and shot glitter from her fingertips. What the what now?

RELATED | American Idol: 15 Worst Performances Ever

In the end, though, the Reconfiguration of Mimi was a mere footnote to the emergence of Candice Glover not just as the true Season 12 front-runner, but as the kind of vocalist who — if there’s any justice in the world, and if there’s any common sense left in radio-station programmers — should be poised to have her name uttered in the same vaunted company as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson, the franchise’s three boldest-faced alumnae.

Candice’s one-two punch — a modern twist on Dionne Warwick’s “Don’t Make Me Over” that Mary J. Blige probably wishes she’d done herself, and a wicked rearrangement of The Cure’s “Love Song” that was far more complicated and daring than the Adele cover that inspired it — TKO’d Nicki, Keith, Randy and Jimmy’s stupid, lying assessment last week that Ms. Glover was not among the Top 3 contenders to inherit Phillip Phillips crown and sash.

Not only was Candice transcendent, though, but her rivals Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb delivered some pretty potent performances of their own — enough to ensure that no single contestant can afford to phone-in a single note over the next five weeks of competition. Heck, Angie Miller and Janelle Arthur were reasonably good, too. Who says Season 12 is a dud? (Okay, I might — if Lazaro Arbos survives another Thursday night cut at the expense of one of the ladies. And apologies for even putting that idea into the universe.)

Anyhow…on to tonight’s set list/letter grades!

“Bacharach/David” Theme
Angie Miller: “Anyone Who Had A Heart” | The judges came down on Angie for a lack of “humanity” (Keith), for coming off as old-fashioned (Nicki), and for overenunciating at the expense of emotion (Mariah), but (heaven help me for saying this) Randy came closest to nailing Angie’s failure, even if he didn’t articulate it very well: We’re at a point in the competition where World’s Brightest Teeth needs to do more than offer a clean and competent vocal. As someone who’s proven her songwriting chops, she should’ve played with the arrangement to better emphasize the song’s maudlin emotions — or at least copied Shelby Lynne’s mesmerizing take from a couple years back. In other words, girlfriend needs to get in touch with her inner David Cook, and shut down her inner Thia Megia. Grade: B

Amber Holcomb: “I Say A Little Prayer” | The judges were so wildly effusive about Amber’s opening performance that — had one tuned in just at the point where they started giving feedback — one might’ve thought she’d laid hands on the sickly and infirm down in the Space Formerly Known as the Swaybot Pit and cured several cases of leprosy and blindness — plus an instance of hantavirus. That said, her vocal was pretty spectacular — full of gorgeous little stylistic choices like that riff on “my darlin’ believe me” and her muscular runs toward the finish. To be fair, Amber occasionally looked a little lost up on the Idol stage — like if she moved around enough, she might eventually bump into Sonny & Cher or something — but the robin’s-egg zip-front pantsuit was fierce. Grade: A-

Lazaro Arbos: “(They Long to Be) Close to You” | Even before his spectacularly unsuccessful key change, Lazaro’s “Close to You” was going the way of yesterday’s newspaper (cue half the Idol contestants this year: “What’s a newspaper?”) in a driving rainstorm. The opening verse was pitched way too low, as Keith noted, causing him to go crazy sharp. The bridge was barely audible. The green and turquoise suit? Well, I’m pretty sure that got shipped in directly from the sales rack in the fourth circle of hell. But oh, when the band changed keys and Lazaro didn’t, it was the musical equivalent of a honeyed ham being thrown off a highway overpass and into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler. Mariah Dahling took a good 11 minutes to point out that in instance where the band changes keys and the singer does not, “that’s just the end of the song,” but I appreciated that she finally provided a Lazaro critique that wasn’t sponsored by the word “courage.” It’s really time for America to spare this kid any further indignity, but with an Unused Save that expires on Thursday night at 9pm, I’m bracing myself for Lazaro to last one more week. The universe, or Uncle Nigel, will demand that Save be activated for ratings’ sake. And that requires a lady sacrifice, doesn’t it? Grade: F

Kree Harrison: “What the World Needs Now Is Love” | Oh em gee, what a little slice of heaven it was when Kree delivered the opening few bars of the song without any musical accompaniment, her voice glowing like the embers of a fire on a cold and rainy day. I kinda wish the band had never kicked in — an a capella Kree might’ve split the water-cooler buzz with Candice — but the good news is for the first time in weeks, Kree seemed completely emotionally invested in what she was singing (while maintaining her standard pitch perfection). “What the World Needs Now Is Love” is a lot less angsty than last week’s “Piece of My Heart,” and yet Kree’s intensity was far more palpable this time around. The way she delivered the chorus almost felt like a demand, or at least a plea, whereas a lesser vocalist would’ve struggled to elevate the wide-eyed lyrics past being just empty platitudes. Mariah’s whole rant about how Kree doesn’t need to “ham it up” and make faces missed the point of what Kree’s critics have been saying: Hearing her get lost in the music tonight (and not worrying about teetering in silly heels) got me back to that early-season fantasy about a Candice-Kree finale. Wouldn’t that be maybe the best thing to happen on TV in 2013? Grade: A

Janelle Arthur: “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” | First things first: Most reality singing contestants who start their songs out in the audience wind up wandering to the intersection of Cheesy and Desperate, but not Janelle. This chick has enough stage presence and confidence in her own skills that her Idol performances often play out like snippets from her future concerts — and said concerts look like they’d be a lot of fun, too. Did Janelle hit a couple wonky notes on the bridge? Yeah. Did her big final note hit the water like an uncoordinated kid falling off a diving board? Sadly, yes. But for the most part, Janelle’s straightforward approach highlighted an upper register as light and sweet as a really good soufflé. Grade: B+

Candice Glover: “Don’t Make Me Over” | I’m not at all ashamed to admit that my personal trajectory during Candice’s performance began with my nose crinkling and my head shaking from side to side, continued with my throwing a Gospel hand and shouting various encouragements (“Gurrrrl!” “You bettah SING!”) that sounded like found audio from RuPaul’s Drag Race and ended with me violently punching the air (during the whole “Accept me for what I ay-am!” portion) with tears streaming down my face. Somehow, in the midst of my reverie, I managed to jot a few notes about the featheriness of the phrase “inside your arms,” the gorgeous low rumble of “by my side,” and the way the backup singers were grinning from ear to ear, happy to be part of a moment that was truly, madly magical. As for anyone who still doubts Candice’s commercial potential, I’ve got to ask: If girlfriend can take a 51-year-old song (with lyrics so retro, they’re borderline campy) and make it sound as fresh and inventive as anything that’s currently on the radio right now, imagine what she’ll do when she’s paired up with the hottest names in R&B, pop and jazz music? In other words, isn’t it time the United States exported our own answer to Adele back across the pond? Vote for Candice, people — it’s the patriotic thing to do, and it’s good for the economy! (Side note: Keith, you’re not entirely forgiven for leaving Candice out of your Top 3 last week, but your shout-out that “DMMO” vaulted her squarely into that position has been duly noted.) Grade: A+

“Song I Wish I’d Written” Theme
Angie Miller: Kari Jobe’s “Love Came Down” | Doesn’t it seem like it’s been a few months since Angie sat behind the piano? I know, I know, she was at the keys for part of her Evanescence song last week — but the interlude was all too brief. Tonight, though, she gave the judges and everybody elese what they wanted, while also proving daring and single-minded enough to choose a Christian-pop number that I’m guessing 97 percent of the audience had never ever heard. If I’m being brutally honest, this won’t be a track I download off iTunes, but I loved Angie’s conviction — and the joy she clearly felt while introducing it to the Idol audience. Yeah, there were a couple of shrill notes at the very top of her register, and the “white doves in flight” backdrop was too literal by half, but as Nicki noted, if Angie’s going to have a shot to take the Season 12 crown, this performance provided the necessary blueprint. Grade: A-

Amber Holcomb: Beyoncé’s “Love On Top” | I was so elated to hear Amber go simultaneously uptempo and current, that I initially gave her performance an A-. But upon a second listen, it’s clear that Mariah got it right: There were definitely a few notes Amber would probably want to take a second whack at if she’d had the help of a certain bowtie-clad, time-traveling Doctor. What can’t be knocked, however, is the air of youthful exuberance/nonchalance that’s been the hallmark of Amber’s Idol run. There she is in her denim shorts so tiny that the pockets have to wave the flag for modesty, tossing off Beyoncé’s series of higher and higher notes with what feels like the shrug of the shoulder. “Yeah, don’t worry, I’ve got this,” seems to be the kid’s life mantra, and 9 times out of 10, she does. Grade: A-B+

Lazaro Arbos: Robbie Williams’ “Angels” | It wasn’t all that bad. Well, except for the opening and closing notes, which were pretty rough. And the metalic bowtie. (How many of those can one boy own?) But what’s the point of constructive criticism for Lazaro when, ultimately, what he needs is four or five years of life experience and intense vocal training before he’s fit to even be an also-ran behind a Kree or a Candice or a Janelle. The problem is, the judges should have known and acted on that fact back in Hollywood Week, but their love of backstory (or Uncle Nigel’s desire to create Susan Boyle 2.0) got in the way. And that’s left Lazaro in the heinous position of being utterly outclassed, being totally aware that he’s outclassed, but being stuck in a vicious cycle where the people who profess to love him won’t allow him to get to the escape hatch. It really starts to get depressing when you think about it. Grade: C+

Kree Harrison: Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night” | Kree amped up the fashion with that little black dress this week, but it wasn’t a random act of hotness. Nope, this week Kree picked a song that carried the “adult language” and “sexual situations” warning labels, and the mood (as well as the dress) fit her flawlessly. I loved the abandon Kree displayed on the line “let the devil take tomorrow,” the cry in her voice that emerged on the bridge. At last, we rediscovered the focused, emotionally deep contestant who gave us “Evidence,” “Up to the Mountain,” and “Crying” — and we didn’t even have to hear Randy shout “Kree is BACK, America!” Keith is right: With material like this, Kree is likely to get a Grand Ole Opry membership card sooner or later — emphasis on sooner. Grade: A

Janelle Arthur: Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” | It probably didn’t help Janelle’s confidence that Nicki Minaj had already declared Kree’s superiority as a country artist before Janelle had even taken the stage. But this isn’t a game of excuses, and I’m sad to say there was a slightly deflated quality to Janelle’s finished product that reminded me of an air mattress that’s lost some of its firmness and purpose after being slept on for a couple nights. Keith’s point that Janelle might’ve fared better had she performed “The Dance” with nothing but an acoustic guitar was an interesting one, but more importantly, this is a woman who needs to realize her strengths — as a competitor and a post-Idol artist — lie in the soft, lilting parts of her instrument. As a flat-out belter, on the other hand, she’s playing a game she’s unlikely to win. Grade: B

Candice Glover: The Cure’s “Love Song” | Are we in The Sixth Sense? Is anyone else capable of actually reading these words? Because Candice killed me dead — in the best possible way — when she gave “Love Song” an exhillerating jazz rearrangement. I mean, I’m not even kidding: About a third of the way through the song, I’m pretty sure the Holy Ghost hopped by the studio and whispered some kind of unintelligible utterance into the Idol mics — or maybe it was just a boom mic getting dropped? — that, when played backwards, spells “Vote Candice, you idiots!” I would’ve appreciated it if the directors had quit cutting to Randy for his pattented “this is great, dawg!” faces as Candice delivered that powerhouse vocal, but yeah, I’m gonna need to revise my Best Idol Performance gallery after witnessing another combination of vocal mastery and emotional rawness.
Grade: A+

Okay, your turn: What did you think of Season 12 Top 6 performance night? What did you think of the judges’ comments? Who was your favorite? Who’s going to be in trouble come results night? Is Lazaro’s time finally up? 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. Alex says:

    Great review Michael. I also enjoy your Idology videos with Melinda quite a bit. I agree with everything you said here, apart from the part where you say that the judges made a “stupid, lying assessment” about Candice not being in the top 3. The judges are expressing their opinion as successful people in the music industry. They are looking for people with commercial appeal (as Nicki pointed out last week).

    Michael – did you ever think that Candice not being in most of the judge’s top 3 last week might have motivated Candice to bring it this time around? She definitely did bring it in a big way, but even then, I only saw a smile for a few moments from Candice. Yes, this is a singing competition, but I believe Candice needs to reflect a bit more personality when the time is right.

    Personally, I think Candice and Kree has sung better than everyone else prior to tonight, but it seemed like the other contestants have been enjoying themselves more – letting their personalities shine through. I can see how the judges had Angie, Amber and Kree in the top 3 prior to tonight’s amazing performance by Candice tonight! Angie, Amber and Janelle are the three most smily women when performing on stage, so that comes off a bit better to me (my opinion – so not lying). I do think that Angie’s performances have been inconsistent this season (when away from the Piano), whereas Janelle brings some good energy to the stage.

    As for the judges, I found Mariah’s attempt at stepping up her judging comments to be painful to listen to. I was a bit taken-a-back by Nicki electing to defer her opinions on Lazaro. I can understand the first time, because Lazaro’s 1st performance was pretty bad and Mariah droned on for what seemed like an eternity, but on Lazaro’s 2nd performance, Nicki just deferred to Keith. Perhaps the judges don’t want to go in on Lazaro in hopes that American will give up on voting for Lazaro?

    The way I rank them after tonight:

    1) Candice Glover (2 astounding performances);
    2) Amber Holcomb (1st performance was amazing);
    3) Kree Harrison (Good singing with little emotion);
    4) Angie Miller (1st performance was boring/2nd performance was excellent);
    5) Janelle Arthur (2 boring performances);

    (Yes, this space is intentional)

    6) Lazaro Arbos (As Nicki says – OK).

    • lame says:

      Thats because the diva is not used to being told what to say and who to support by the producers. They are not allowed to VOICE the real truth. CAN YOU SMELL PUPPETS.

    • lame says:

      Which did you prefer, the satanic overtures or the growling infuxes

    • Jackie says:

      I believe Michael is referring to the fact that week after week the judges have called Candice the best performance of the night, yet last week only one of them named her to their top 3…… (and #3 at that). It absolutely seemed like a pre-programmed ruse initiated by the producers which the singers, I mean, judges were told they had to go along with in order to attempt to manipulate some kind of outcome the following week voting wise.

  2. Enrique says:

    Okay one thing kept Candice’s “Love Song” from being absolutely perfect tonight and that was ….the double cut to Randy Jackson “grooving” to her performance next to Mariah. Seriously why? When an idol is having an “idol moment” nobody wants to see the judges let alone the “dawg”. And why was he the only one that got to talk (albeit I agree with him as it being one of the best idol performances ever)–even mumbly Mariah was more elegant showering her with gold stars. I haven’t been Candice’s biggest fan (not as a denial to her unquestionable talent but more to her long term post idol prospects–which true shouldn’t be a roadblock to her winning the title if she deserves it but I am saying it’s kind of meaningless for them to crown a girl winner if she can’t sale records like Philip Phillips or Scotty McCreery and she seems to be the iffiest prospect to me). That being said the song choice was brilliant and execution flawless in a way that I would be sad now to see Candice not make it to the end.

    • twnkltoze says:

      I don’t see how you think Candice is not marketable? Is it because of her weight? Remember, neither Kelly Clarkson or Jennifer Hudson were little, skinny girls and that didn’t seem to hold them back. They made it BIG because they can SING and DELIVER a song. Candice, so far, is the only one consistently doing that. Her musicality and instincts during her performances are perfection. So what if she doesn’t giggle, smile and make googly eyes at the camera. She’s delivering the songs as they are meant to be delivered. This isn’t the Lawrence Welk show or a Britney Spears concert. Candice is a young woman with talent and musical instincts beyond her years with real emotions that connect her to each song, no matter the genre.

      • Mary says:

        Actually, Kelly was skinny when she won AI. If was after a few years she gain the weight. I am not denying that it will hold her back or at least it shouldn’t.

    • lame says:

      Satan did harmony

  3. Esaul says:

    I smell a conspiracy. I’ve managed to endure two weeks of Idol. Cringe. The most since Simon left the show. If it wasn’t evident that they’re stacking the deck before, now it’s even clearer to me. Final six with Lazaro the only guy left? From what I saw tonight, he has a stutter problem which I can see why he made it this far. But really? He couldn’t sing that well at all. It’s the only time I found myself agreeing with all the judges. A lot of the singing was dull and dry. I wasn’t fond of it too much. If I had to pick anyone to win, I’d go with Kree or Candice. I could not stand the others for the life of me. Ugh. And Mariah is a terrible judge. Nicki is tolerable, but ugh. Randy was boring with his advice. Keith was mediocre at best.

    This is why I find myself enjoying X Factor. More often than not, Simon’s not afraid to be brutally honest when needed. These gals don’t have the critical and structure advice they need to last and make it like Kelly and Carrie did post-Idol. These current winners will release an album or two and fade away. I mean how man Idol winners do we hear from today?

  4. Meghan says:

    Janelle’s performance disappointed me a bit tonight. I loved her song choice of “The Dance” but I don’t really feel like she put the right amount of emotion in it and her voice didn’t sound as great as I’d hoped she would. That said, I still think she did a good job and I hope she is not in danger of going home tomorrow.

    • Alex says:

      @Meghan, I think that Janelle will be in the bottom 2 this week, because she was in the bottom 2 last week and the other ladies really brought it tonight. That being said, if Janelle does go home (gosh I hope not), I think Nicki is right about Janelle’s possible future – she has what it takes to become a commercial artist in the Country music.

  5. ToddBodd says:

    I want it recognized in a notarized statement that Mariah is an utter failure as a judge. Her clouded mind cannot produce a cogent thought and she spews empty words that cannot amount to an meaningful point.

    Its a disgrace that she is so highly paid for a job she is so unqualified for. I preferred Britney’s pill-cocktail hazed single-word responses to Mariah’s idiotic rambling.

    Mariah’s insipdness is insulting to the contestants, audience and entire production. And thats saying something because the production is garbage these days.

    • You’re taking it way far. Mariah is actually talking about technical stuff. She just needs to get to the point. She’s the only one besides Randy that got their hands dirty with Lazaro. And, she was really the first one to call Lazaro out weeks ago.

      • twnkltoze says:

        I agree Lauren. In her past critiques, I enjoy Mariah’s take on the technical aspects of the vocals, especially because she’s got the creds to back it up. I think her prolonged, incoherent critiques tonight were only a result of the Producer’s criticisms and trying to satisfy their idiotic requests. I hope she decides to return to her comfort zone going forward.

        • Alienate says:

          She should be limited to the word count and vocabulary of Britney on X-factor.

        • ToddBodd says:

          Nobody making 15 million dollars should have a comfort zone just for saying things.

          Its a travesty that judges do not have a similar audition process to prove that are capable of semi-spontaneous comment (Why is Mariah too busy to form a though during the rehearsal and write it down for help?)

          its amazing how Lauren Dennis and twnkltoze have had to find someone else to blame and continue to pretend that Mariah is making technical critiques when Ben Folds long ago laid the foundation for what an actual network TV technical critique consists of. Mariah can use technical terms, but she has never managed an actual critical evaluation DAAAAHLINGGGGGGG

          “Its the producers fault!”

          So glad I’m not a fan of hers. I’d never muster the required cognitive dissonance to pretend Mariah Carey has any gas left in the tank of credibility.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I agree as well. I’ve been saying for weeks I really liked Mariah – but she is verbose!

    • Lucy27Lucy says:

      I did prefer her the first two weeks of auditions versus Nikki…but she is now insufferable. Blabbering forever with a shred of intelligent commentary (Dahling, dahling, ugh….). It was brilliant how Nikki kept looking at her watch throughout her diatribe and whacked her with the “we have to get home at some point” comment. I will go back to the FF button on the DVR next time Mariah opens the useless pie hole.

    • Ramification says:

      I would rather get a rambling Mariah critique where she addresses the vocals (which she did tonight with Angie re enunciation and Lazaro re his pitch and the key change) than Nikki’s ‘honey child, you gave me everything’ comments. The only really long critique she gave was to Lazaro and I think that’s because she wanted to tell him what he did wrong, but also be nice or else the sympathy vote will be activated like it was a few weeks ago.

  6. LeahKittyS says:

    I normally don’t give two reviews on the same post, but this night just calls for it! They gave us everything we needed on this show. Amber went uptempo! Angie went back to her piano-playing faith roots! Candice closed the show like she deserved to with a number like that! Janelle did pure country! Kree got all her soul back! The judges brought it down hard on Lazaro! Now all we need are the right results tomorrow and we can all go like Brittany in the recent Glee promos: “Hallelujah, we’re saved!”

  7. Scott says:

    The thing I’m still liking about Janelle, more than the others? She works the stage. Would it kill the others to move around a little? (Apparently Amber did some tonight in her 2nd song, but I missed that one, going on the recap at the end).

    Lazaro really has gone downhill — who is choosing the keys that he sings in? Totally wrong key(s) for him on the first song (one of many things wrong in that song). I thought he had a pleasant enough voice when he started — is he just choosing dreck for songs, or has he cracked under the pressure? I don’t know.

    • Alex says:

      @Scott. Amber’s second performance was pretty good. She wore a lot of pink (pink lipstick, pink shirt, pink shoes) likely to please Nicki and did a good job working the stage. I agree Janelle is probably the best at working the stage though. Kree and Candice both seem rooted to the stage, whereas Angie just needs to stay at the piano (she tends to get too theatrical when away from it).

  8. Blake says:

    What was with the weird, demonic ‘Love You’ midway through Candice’s performance? It ruined an otherwise flawless performance!

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      Oh, God, you heard that, too? I thought I was having a tiny stroke.
      I think it was a technical malfunction. It certainly didn’t sound like it was intended to be part of the song.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      I know, right? They’re making a big deal about over at Rickey’s. I think somebody was holding a boom mic too close to an over-enthusiastic (or drunk) fan.

    • AlyB says:

      Yeah I heard it too. It was like a weird screech. Luckily it didn’t seem to throw her even one tiny beat.

    • Scott says:

      I was wondering what that was too! Freaky. I figured it came from my computer (I was skyping and grading at the same time as watching Idol)

    • kd says:

      Thank you! I can’t believe no one else even mentioned that little interruption by the devil himself.

    • Sarah says:

      I was also wondering about that. It sounded like someone was possessed!

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      Wow so that really was there? I had to step away for one instant and when I was putting my headphones back on I heard the freakiest thing like the Jersey Devil read a couple words backwards and was like WTH!?!! I was checking to see if some web browser or some other audio source somehow got randomly turned on but I couldn’t find anything.
      Haha so freaky. Just replayed the recording and it really is there! Yay we are not going crazy hah! This weird demonic, sorta femalish voice, ultra hoarse rasps out luuvv youuuu in the most demonic fashion at one point. Sounded like some crowd mic was making some weird clicks earlier on and like some audience member leaned over and yelled that into a failing crowd mic from like 1/2″ away??????? Soooo weird!!!

    • twnkltoze says:

      I’m wondering if the TV audience were the only ones who heard that? Didn’t seem to phase the studio audience.

      • candicegloverfan says:

        candice tweeted: “As for weird noise, I think something happened to the sound when they came from commercial break. I didn’t hear it until I watched later :/”

  9. jaime says:

    I think Janelle is in trouble… she, L and Angie will be bottom 3…

  10. Samantha says:

    I feel like Slezak is favoring Candice…I mean I don’t blame him, but still.

    • MyTake says:

      Ya know I think you might be right. I get the feeling he’s showing favouritism towards Candice also.. hmmm
      I wonder if it might be because she’s the most amazingly talented, awesome singer on the show this season and arguably in the top 3 or 4 of all seasons combined?
      Yah, that might be it

    • deedee says:

      Michael is not presiding over a court case. He’s allowed to have a favourite.

    • twnkltoze says:

      As he should. Nobody comes close except maybe Amber, vocally speaking.

    • Name That Tune says:

      One thing about Michael is his passion for a great singer . He has followed the show for 12 seasons. This show has been teetering on the edge of death. It has been a long time since it remembered what it’s purpose is. Find a great singer. They seem to have gotten it right this year. This is the most excited I’ve been in years and it is because of Candice. Knowing how passionate Michael is about the show, I understand his enthusiasm for Candice.
      And I can just hear Melinda on Idology.

  11. AlyB says:

    Candice is in a class by herself for sure. I’d pre order a CD of hers tomorrow. What a talent. She’s going to go down as one of the best Idol’s ever to grace the stage. Kree sounded fantastic tonight too. I’m not that into country but I love the sound of her voice and how she can just caress a song. I want a Candice/Kree finale for sure. Angie and Janelle were good. Angie probably edged out Janelle for me with that second song which was really good as opposed to Janelle’s two solid but forgettable performances.

    I think I must be the only one that thought Amber was singing off key on her 1st song, especially when she hit the “me” part . It made me wince. idk why I heard it that way but I did. No one else is mentioning it. I’m going to have to listen to that again when it’s online. She has a great voice. Not just good but great. But she lost control of it on that 1st song and her second was just ok for me.

  12. Connor says:

    I don’t think anyone is going home this week

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Why? Because a girl will have the lowest number of votes and get saved? (If so, my money’s on either Amber or Janelle; more likely the latter after not so raving reviews from the judges.)

  13. KimKamGo says:

    We know the girls are great, but the constant pimping by the judges are hurting them. Especially Amber. I feel she’s in trouble come tomorrow night :(

    • Tahoe Mike says:

      When a grown man says to a teen girl “You look very commercial…,” is that what you mean by pimping??

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Amber is 19. Technically she’s an adult, so I give it a “no”. She is by far the most marketable contestant in the pop music genre. In fact, I guess it’s safe to say she’s the only one!

    • HaleyFan says:

      Yes, Nigel would love the high drama of it all if Lazro made the top 3 again, and Amber was in the bottom 3

  14. Tarc says:

    Heh! While Candice was, is, and will be the winner this year, she would have won me over tonight alone for Love Song. So, I split my 50 votes between Candice (for last week’s snub, and well, she’s the winner this year) and lazaro – just for spite because he’s a good kid people are entirely out-of-proportion to. I’d like to see him be top 3 (if only to annoy the haters to distraction). It’s almost as fun as tweaking the Phillip Phillips haters out there (is smug over P2’s grand success).

    • AlyB says:

      You know, he’s got to be embarrassed to be out there. He knows he’s over his head. This has to be humiliating for him. As much as I think he’s awful, I don’t hate the kid. What all you Lazaro voters are doing at this point is simply cruel. He’s got no way out and you keep pushing him through.

      • Tarc says:

        The bottom line is that he wasn’t ready, and it was unfair of the judges to pick him. It’s entirely opossible he’ll be really good in a few years, but they’re slamming him instead of helping or coaching, or even advising. I’ll happily continue to make them squirm. In the end, it’s not like it will hurt Lazaro any more than they did on day one.

        • twnkltoze says:

          I disagree. Lazaro has received the same opportunities and coaching as the rest. But the further he goes on “spite” and sympathy votes the more smug he becomes and the there really isn’t anything more the judges can offer him except the truth. Something they should’ve done before they put him through and left him to the voters. The girls SHOULD be pimped. They outsing Spazaro by a mile.

        • Jackie says:

          True, you might make the producers squirm and the judges, but by voting for someone who shouldn’t be there, you’re also hurting Lazaro, subjecting him to more deserved criticism that he shouldn’t have to face on national TV. It’s not helpful. It’s just a hair away from trollish.

      • marie says:

        I agree with AlyB.

    • Jackie says:

      Rolls her eyes.

  15. jaime says:

    If Janelle goes home, I don’t think they’ll use the save… is this the last week to use it?

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Trust me; if a girl gets the lowest number of votes, they will save her. Anything to keep them on schedule and take the safety net out from under Lazaro.

    • marie says:

      Yes, it’s the last week, and yes, they WILL use it for any of the ladies if needed. They simply CAN’T allow Lazaro to outlast any of these women. I think they know that would be a travesty – especially since it is the last week they can use the save.

      • CJS says:

        But what happens if the save is used this week on a girl & next week, Lazaro surprises the hell out of us with a great week and/or (likely or) miraculously survives, thus outlasting one of the girls anyway?
        Also, what happens if Lazaro is sent home without the save being used?

        • marie says:

          LOL, Lazaro will not deliver a flawless vocal, next week or ever. But if he survives this week, and then survives near week too, then he survives; we’re stuck with him, and he’s stuck in his own private Idol hell unless he himself withdraws. They’ll make the weeks work somehow.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      they’d def use it on her, this is the last week

  16. brad says:

    When they spoke to Amber the first time tonight, she earned their comments. Her second song was NOT impressive. But after Candace’s BLOWING MUSIC NOTES OUT OF HER NOSE, EARS, EYES, MOUTH, that just shut everyone up, and Amber’s so so second song, Randy had to make some excuses.

    Remember the comment, “you don’t have to hit those big notes dawg, when you do use them it’s perfect timing…”

    Anyone think that sounds like an attempt to cover Amber’s Ass? Now, I think Amber is really really good. But it’s either, KREE or Candace, and THEN amber, THEN michelle, THEN janelle and THEN anyone but Lazaro. Great guy, but give us a break.

    The best male voice was sent home the first Week. He was screwed.

    I think if you watch the judges comments, you will see they gently try to steer it all towards amber.







    can be denied! They are the best two.

    Ty, I’ll shut up now.

  17. Kelly says:

    It’s too bad the letter grades don’t go any higher than A+ because that is really what Candice ought to get.

  18. HotMess4 says:

    I absolutely loved Kree tonight. Beautiful singing.

    • marie says:

      Yes indeed! On any other show WITHOUT Candice in the house, Kree would have undeniably won the night, I think.

      • The Beach says:

        I totally agree.

        • deedee says:

          Mmm-hmm. They’re both fantastic in their own way, and I’d be fine with either of them winning. Carrie Underwood tweeted each of them right after their performances – she wrote “wow, wow, wow” for Candice, and “officially” welcomed Kree to the country music world. Carrie’s so supportive!

          • LeahKittyS says:

            I loved that she did that. She’s a real sweetheart. I sent 500 votes for each of those ladies tonight, as well as Amber, Angie, and Janelle (see my strategy? But that’s what I’ve been doing since the finals started.)

  19. Lucy27Lucy says:

    I haven’t seen much mention, but I fell in love with Candice’s voice in last season’s Hollywood week (trio with Jessica and Deandre singing It Doesn’t Matter Anymore). I still YouTube it once a week, and would love to see her team with Sanchez again in the finals – which she MUST be in. Tonight was insane how great she was on both songs.

  20. marie says:

    One little note: as I’ve said before, Angie usually doesn’t do anything for me, and for the first song tonight, even that great Bacharach classic didn’t make me feel anything more than, Good job.
    I was both amazed and amused that totally unexpectedly, her sincerity, passion, and total conviction completely sold her second performance to me – ME! The consummate atheist – and with the Holy Spirit literally flying over the stage, yet, LOL! Well knock me over with a feather!
    (DISCLAIMER: I admit I COULD be wrong, though; I know the Catholic faith sometimes portrays the Holy Spirit as a white dove in visuals, but I don’t know whether other Christian religions also do so, so for all I know, it could have been intended merely as a pretty white bird.)

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I actually rather liked Angie’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart” but I loved Dusty Sprinfield singing that song. I thought the vocal was quite good. Honestly, I thought the judges were a big too critical of Angie’s peformance of “Anyone Who Had a Heart” while going a little overboard praising Amber on “I Say a Little Prayer”. Good grief, Nicki acted as though Amber had just cured cancer!
      I loved Angie’s performance of “Love Came Down” and honestly, even though I am a Christian I do not care for Christian music. I guess I spent too much time at Youth for Christ meetings. there, I said it! My hairdresser and my dentist listen to Christian music and that’s when I get to hear Jason Castro on the radio.

      The White Dove signifies the Holy Spirit to most Christians. A white dove landed on Jesus’ shoulder and that’s how John the Baptist knew he was the Messiah – that’s the backstory. ;-)

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        I was a bit surprised they got on Angie that much on the first song. I did get their points, although they seemed almost more fitting for her rock performances where the was too perfect with pronunciation and so on or even a couple of her other songs. Maybe they felt she was still safe at this point and just needed to get it across so from now on she’ll have a chance to let go properly and always bring it. Although it was a bit weird they told Kree right after that because of HER smooth tone she doesn’t ever even need to project any emotion from the lyrics ever??

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        But again it sort of seemed like they were carefully getting across what many of us said about her last week.

      • marie says:

        Yes, I thought Angie’s Bacharach sing was good, too, but not very much more than just that. Certainly not bad.
        Thanks, all, for clarification on the white dove. I don’t recall that derivation, DET, but then again, it’s been about 45 years since I’ve felt I’ve belonged to a religion, so maybe I’ve just forgotten.

    • twnkltoze says:

      The white dove is a common symbol for the Holy Spirit in most religions.

  21. marie says:

    Oh, and HOORAY, Slezak, on bestowing that “F” grade where it was truly deserved!

  22. marie says:

    Wasn’t too many weeks ago that I was asking, Do I REALLY have to pick add many as THREE of those crummy performances?
    Tonight, I’m lamenting, What, I can choose ONLY three???

  23. Daniel says:

    1st Performance:

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

    2nd Performance:

    Angie = A
    Janelle = B+
    Candice = B
    Amber = B
    Kree = B
    Lazaro = C

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Thank you for being merciful. It’s obvious the guy has resigned in his head. He even said in a recent interview that he thinks he’s going home this week, if only because he knew the guys were all dead in the water and he can’t compete with the girls.

    • Mafs95 says:

      Not sure what shocks me the most: you giving a B to Candice’s 2nd performance or giving a C- to Lazaro’s 1st performance o_O

    • marie says:

      C- for Lazaro’s first song? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m genuinely curious: what makes you give him that grade?

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Thank you for being gentle. It’s obvious he’s given up in his head. He even said in a recent interview that he thinks he’s going home this week, because as the last man standing he doesn’t stand a chance.

  24. marie says:

    Wow, here’s something else I hope I get to eat crow about: my (over?)confident assertion a few days back that the final 2 will be Angie and the lamentable Lazaro. I’m cautiously optimistic that maybe I was wrong…?
    But let me not get ahead of myself: let us see what the results show brings tomorrow…
    If Lazaro stays, it will be final and total proof that the VOTING majority of Idol viewers don’t give a damn about music. We’ll see.

    • Name That Tune says:

      HopefullyI Lazaro’s Idol journey ends and I we can get down to the business of finding the right winner of Season 12.

  25. Mafs95 says:

    Since I’m a positive person, I’ll just focus on what was amazing tonight… CANDICE!!!!!! H-Seriously, she was the best and I felt “goosies” all over my body. A+++++++++++
    PS: Yes, I made a J-Lo’s reference :p

  26. Raftrap says:

    And she wins, she won, Candice won, I mean, she won in life and in the universe, she is pure undiluted win.

  27. marie says:

    I think the results show tomorrow night MIGHT give us a clue add to whether or not Candice actually has a chance to win this thing. I hope they reveal the voters’ top 3 again, because if she is NOT in the top 3 after tonight, then we can safely assume she has no chance to win. I’m very, very curious to see if Lazaro’s deluded fanbase keeps him in the contest (the judges won’t use the save for him, so the only way he stays its if he is not the lowest vote-getter), because if they do, he actually still has a chance to win, although it’s far-fetched. Waiting for tomorrow’s show…

  28. Bob says:

    Kree is a very nice singer, but it should be obvious now to anyone with an ear or two that Candice is in a completely different league from anyone else on the show. I just went to youtube and listened to both Adele’s and The Cure’s versions of “Love Song,” and–although I love Adele– neither really did anything for me. Candice’s rendition was hauntingly beautiful– an absolute, exquisite masterpiece. For all the years I’ve watched this show I have been sickened by the over-reaction of Randy and the rest of the judges to songs that were over-wrought or over-sung, but well short of exceptional. Tonight they did not over-react

  29. LeahKittyS says:

    I just went back and read Michael’s reaction to Candice’s elimination in Las Vegas last year:
    But if he had done that, she might not have made it past the semifinals! Or she could have taken away a spot in the finals from one of the women who made it! Either way we would not have enjoyed this loveliness tonight! See? Everything happens for a reason.

  30. Alex says:

    The only thing worse than Lazaro’s performance was Mariah’s critique…

  31. joy says:

    I am sorry but amber is still so so so boring..she sings but she just has this dead look in her eyes..Candice never looks forced and was fantastic tonight..Angie on piano was amazing as well..Second half of songs really picked up

  32. Jake says:

    That weird…I’m gonna call it a growl in Candice’s song scared the crap out of me… Anyway. If Lazaro doesn’t go home tomorrow there is something seriously wrong with the world of Idol…Oh, and Candice’s last performance was probably one of, if not my favorite performances of this season of Idol.

  33. LeahKittyS says:

    So last year the theme gave us “Volcano,” “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” and “It’s a Man Man Man’s World.” This year it gave us “Love Came Down,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” and “Love Song.” Conclusion: Songs I Wish I’d Written is a theme that works!

  34. Daniel says:

    I voted for Angie and Amber!!

  35. dani n. says:

    My favorites tonight Say A Little Prayer-Amber (unfortunately Love On Top was a little too slowed down) Help Me Make It Through The Night-Kree beautifully father who never shows emotion clapped! He said it effected him. Unbelievable. Then when Candice tore up Love Song he declared she stole the show. Yes I know Angie excelled with her 2nd song and she’ll probably win but I do not dig the Christian thing.And even though I don’t I can see she’s hot confidence and exuberance up the wazoo. BUT I’m rooting for Amber Kree CANDICE.

  36. Jorge says:

    Lazaro IS the American Idol. The judges are obviously racist and cannot stand that a Hispanic might actually win it all. Candice cannot hold a candle to the brilliance and artistry that is Lazaro. I truly believe that the voting public will see through the judges and producers propaganda and thinly veiled attacks against my sweet Lazaro. I almost wonder if they are doing something to the sound to make Lazaro sound worse. Obviously his vocals have been manipulated in some way, disgusting. That poor innocent boy has already been through so much, I guess they just want to dig the knife in a little deeper. America will see through the lies and the technical glitches that always seem to happen when Lazaro is on the stage. He is not only THE American Idol, he is an inspiration and icon, he is a living legend.

    • Mich says:

      Go home, Jorge. You’re drunk.

    • twnkltoze says:

      What koolaid are you drinkin’? It has nothing to do with being Hispanic, having a speech impediment (since it doesn’t appear to show up when he’s singing), there’s no conspiracy or technical hijinks. The fact is Lazaro just doesn’t measure up in this particular SINGING competition. He’s been given chance the same opportunities to learn the lyrics and sing on key as the rest. He just doesn’t have what it takes. Not only that but he’s become a little too smug about sticking it out this long. Nobody is doing him any favors by keeping him there. You’re only prolonging his humiliation at his own shortcomings, vocally speaking.

    • deedee says:

      I call Poe’s Law on Jorge’s post.

    • marie says:

      Hmmmmm, a few spammers / trolls commenting on this column, no?

  37. Candice delivered tonight, her performance has to be the best performance since Adam’s “Mad World”.

  38. CJS says:

    If Candice does not win…………………
    I’ll be very, very happy. Great singer…no charisma… she will not be a huge success. I am primarily voting for Angie (as I personally like the contestants that can do more than sing but can play instruments and write their own music such as Phillip Phillips, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry). We don’t need another karoke singer no matter how great she sings. Plus I never go for who the judges try to push down my throat, so I’m also voting for Amber & Janelle, the underdogs who not only have the voice, but who are also having fun while preforming. Heck, at this point, I’d rather Lazaro win over Candice just to see all of your reactions ;)
    Sorry Candice fans, but even if she wins, she will not be a star.

    • Mafs95 says:

      So, are you saying that someone who plays instruments is more of an artist or a musician than someone who can sing beautifully but at the same time rearranges the songs? I’m sorry, but you must be joking…

    • Scott says:

      How are the judges NOT pushing Amber down our throats? She is consistently over-rated by them.

    • waterbug says:

      Angie is mediocre. She is sounds like a wannabe Glee stand in.

  39. LeahKittyS says:

    Aw, even our old buddy Heejun is in on the action.

    “Only 6 left? What happened to all the guys??”
    (To which someone humorously replied “They were abducted.”)

    “Just let Candice win the whole thing and air some NBA playoff games on FOX…#GreatIdea”

    I’d be down for his second suggestion, but that means I wouldn’t hear more of Angie and Kree. So I’ll sit with it for the last month.

  40. cj bacci says:

    As the song goes ” I Want Candy” !!!!!

  41. Mich says:

    Can we please address the fact that Amber was all kinds of shrill on Love On Top? Maybe everyone was distracted by her legs and 1980s jacket, but that performance was terrible.

  42. twnkltoze says:

    Candice FREAKING Glover. “You want top 3?? RECOGNIZE THAT B**CHES!!” Although Candice raised her own bar tonight, if that is even possible, ALL of the judges AND Jimmy should’ve been falling over themselves apologizing for their ridiculous top 3 ratings last week. Candice showed amazing strength tonight and delivered TWO spectacular vocal performances. Nobody else could touch her on any level. She had me in tears.

  43. Connor says:

    Why do the Judges love Amber… Her first song was solid but equal to Angie first song and they critiqued the hell out of it. Then amber comes out and sings and they are stunned. Then Angie sings her 2nd song and Nicki was coming down harsh on her and talking about how good the othe three girls were compared to angie. Then Amber sounds karaoke and they thought it was amazing.

  44. TheOneM says:

    LMFAO !!! Slezak is so funny:

    *Lazaro – Close To Me = F*

    H a h a h a . . . s t o p l a u g h i n ! ! !

  45. Tahoe Mike says:

    Angie – She is drop dead gorgeous, but good girls just don’t do it for me. I’m not tired of looking at her, but I’m thinking I’ve heard enough.
    Amber-, Wow that first song was breathtaking! I didn’t like the second one at all, but I’m not really a Beyonce fan.
    Lazanjaya- Oh Holy Flock! The Horror, THE HORROR! What he did to Karen Carpenter, I will not forgive. My dislike for this clown is no longer good natured.
    Kree-, I want to like her, I really do.. The first one was nice, but not awesome. I liked “Help Me Through The Night”, that was cool. Of course Nicki has never heard it.
    Janelle- I loved “Never Fall In Love”, the judges are on crack. We all know Randy plays favorites and we have reached that point in the show where everything his fave’s do is great, and everybody else sucks. Nicki is the same way. Janelle seems to be getting the Haley Reinhardt treatment. She gets better each week, and keeps to the theme, and they kill her for it.
    I had never heard her second song, but I have now. By the time she was done, that song was no longer a stranger. I got the beauty and meaning of the song in one listen. THAT almost never happens on this show.
    Candice just kicks butt, wow!. She is the kind of voice I love. I expect to be listening to her for decades, and I am so OK with that. Way to close the show with a total showstopper.
    Mariah finally got in the game tonight!
    Tonight, I voted for the first time this season. Not voting has kept my aggravation down on results night, but I just can’t sit silent any longer while Lazanjaya keeps moving on.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I thought the judges were unnecessarily critical of Angie’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and Janelle’s “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” while giving Amber too much praise.

      • Name That Tune says:

        They are pushing Amber. I think Janelle is more popular, which puts Amber as the #5 girl. Let us hope that the bottom 2 isn’t 2 girls.

        • Tahoe Mike says:

          I really like both Janelle, and Amber. I would probably put them at no’s 3 & 4 behind Candice and Kree. I keep wanting more from Kree though. The thing is that they are all unique enough, from each other, that I think there is room in my music collection for all of them. They are my top four.

  46. darcy's evil twin says:

    Holy Moley, Keith said it all, Candice – “We’re Not Worthy! We’re Not Worthy!”.
    And I enjoyed hearing her rendition of “Don’t Make Me Over” – Dionne Warwick’s first Burt Bacharach hit!
    Kree was amazing on both songs.
    Janelle would have done better had she chosen “The Red Strokes” instead of “The Dance”. “The Red Strokes” gives the singer a chance to “build” and it has a big finish. Did I understand Nicki correctly – she’s never heard “The Dance”? The lyrics to “The Dance” are exceptional but it’s not exactly a “singer’s song”.

    • The Beach says:

      Once again Keith impressed me with his musical knowledge when he gently corrected Janelle and/or producers on who actually wrote “The Dance”.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Yes, but it was an honest mistake. Garth DID write a lot of his own music and Janelle did say she was 11 when she first heard the song. I heard the story once about how Garth stubled onto “The Dance” and was able to record the song. But that was long ago.
        “The Dance” and “Friends in Low Places” put Garth on the map.

  47. Timmah says:

    Wow, Mariah mentioned TPTB. Now she’s really going to be in trouble with them.

    • deedee says:

      I know! I was thinking, yikes, Mariah, you’re not supposed to pull the curtain back so we see what’s behind it!

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        She actually mentioned them once before. I was like what?? Hah maybe she reads the blogs. Good stuff.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      From Mariah mentioning TPTB tonight, the way Keith and Nicki hinted last week that the producers made them pick their Top 3s, and the way this year’s male finalists have been hinting at how much control the powers that be are really exercising, don’t be surprised if eight people are reported missing before we get to the finale.

  48. Lois Benton says:

    Best and worst of Idol, ever. Candice: Transcendent. Lazaro: Hilarious. At first, with Lazaro, I was, all, okay, this is an alternate melody, all jazzy and such. I was down with that, but then, it was, very quickly (What? Two, three measures in?): No, WTF? Here’s the lowdown: CANDICE is an amazing singer, who, but all that is holy, ought to be a major superstar right now. Amber, by all that is righteous, should be up and coming in a major way. Kree should be more along in her career than she was before Idol. Angie and Janelle should be up and coming in a less noisy way than Amber. Cute little, and slightly, talented Lazaro should have been cut before the voting rounds.

  49. lame says:

    Fixed. Puppets 4 judges controlled by producers. Giving training to girls LAzoro kicked under bus. Voice is fairer. Xfactor funner. Me no Satan support here. Candice can sleep with the devil. MIRIAH SEEKS AN OK FROMRANDY?… Wtf?…. oh i get it it. Embicile producers.

  50. Danny says:

    I’m one of the few I guess who thought Candice was good, but far from one of the best all time Idol performances.
    I also don’t like how they’re trying to run Janelle off the show. I knew pretty much what they were going to say to her before she even sang. I knew that Candice was going to get raves before she even sang (she WAS good, I’m not saying she wasn’t- just I knew w/ Janelle between Kree & Candice, those 2 were going to get mad props & Janelle was going to either get bad reviews or muted praise)
    I still don’t think any of these girls are as good as any of the top 7 from last year. I think the top 5 is veryVERYvery close. Last week I had Amber at #1 overall. This week she’s down to #4 after some solid, but not great-performances.
    My top 6 overall would be-
    1) Janelle- IMO she’s still got the best song of the season
    2) Kree- I thought her 2nd song was the best of the night
    3) Candice- Very good, but I think a lot of people are over rating her
    4) Amber- Always solid, but never any “WOW” moments
    5) Angela- Another one who can’t seem to do anything right. I think she’s the one who they’ll start to ride after Janelle.
    The difference between 1 & 5 is hair thin. I can see a case made for any of them.
    6) Lazro