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. Danny says:

    Also on the show in general. I wish Nicki would shut her effin mouth. What a hypocrite that she’s laughing at Mariah as Mariah’s flapping her jaws forever about Lazro. Yea, Mariah needs to clam it too, but there isn’t the same hooker trash that Minage puts out.
    There’s never any flow to the show when 2 of the 4 judges talk longer than the contestants sing.
    Also, I wish there’d just be the contestant and not all the other people on stage. My favorite performances are almost always those where the contestant is alone. I gave Janelle round 1 for that very reason. I don’t think it was the best singing of the bunch, but I felt it was the best performances. I wish they’d get those other people off the stage.

  2. Guitar Blue says:

    Candice is getting a lot of raves and kudos on the blogs tonight – Kree as well. –What that is going to do, if the voting reflects it — is that Amber could suddenly slip into 5th or 6th place. ………………………………………………………………………………

    Lazaro supporters are not going to shift much, if Amber’s former supporters are now flipping to Candice or Kree — could easily be a Laz & Amber bottom 2.

    We know they would eject Lazaro, but Amber would be saved.

    • Name That Tune says:

      GaGB it’s not an either/or situation. People can vote for both Amber and Candice. They can vote for both Kree and Janelle. They can split their votes 6 ways. It’s not until top 4 that you see a real choice because there are fewer contestants. And honestly, there is enough difference between the 5 girls that you can make a real choice. Amber is nothing like Candice, not in style, substance, experience, or even genre. Kree seems to be more crossover country than Janelle. And Angie is the Christian artist.
      Maybe 25 years ago I would be all over Amber. Maybe if she had been forced to wait a year or 2 like Candice and Janelle and develop her craft, maybe then it would seem like the vote is being split between Candice and Amber. But right now it feels like we have an excellent professional competing against a really good amateur.

      • Joy says:

        Agree with all of this, and I would add that with text message voting, it doesn’t even take me more time to vote for two contestants instead of one — just put two (or three or four) numbers in the “To” box, and then paste in the word “vote” as many times as I want… If I’m not voting for someone, it’s because I’m not interested in voting for that person, period, not because I’m voting for someone else instead.

  3. darcy the slutty twin says:

    I laughed and laughed at Lazaro’s train wreck of a performance and then I heard the demon’s choking, gargling “I WRAAAABBBB YOUUUUU” during Candice’s performance and I nearly died.

  4. Joy says:

    Candice “paired up with the hottest names in R&B and pop music” is, like, my nightmare. Hearing her brilliance lost amidst the bland, overproduced garbage those “hot names” like to churn out…simply tragic. I know it’s the inevitable punishment for succeeding on Idol, but I’m planning to put off facing that reality for as long as I possibly can.
    In other news, I take back every single time I’ve called this season boring. Tonight finally made it worth sitting through the last four weeks. So glad we finally got to see some novel song choices, and some new sides of some of the contestants’ abilities…

    • candicegloverfan says:

      Interesting you should point out the typical overproduction in commercial r&b, Joy. I went and bought Candice’s ‘Love Song’ from i-tunes, and it’s so overproduced. She sounds fine, but very smooth and with much less dynamics than in the live version. Isn’t there a producer who could encourage her to do what she does when she sings live on her album? That’s what I’m looking for!

      • Joy says:

        I haven’t listened to the studio version yet, and I was looking forward to it — disappointed to hear it’s not on par with the live performance… I don’t know what it is about the industry, but it seems like my favorite R&B recordings these days tend to come from those artists who are equipped to take more control of their own songwriting, production, etc. So maybe I’ll just hope Candice knows (or learns during her Idol experience) enough about the production side of things, and ends up with a supportive enough label, to get her own ideas listened to during the recording process, instead of being entirely at someone else’s mercy…

        • HitTheGroundRunning says:

          It’s everything that is produced that way these days, other than classical music. It’s all loudness wars, almost every track hits peak signal from beginning to end, it’s all expanded and compressed and garbaged up. Sometimes an acoustic or live recording track will be allowed to survive close to as it was though.

      • Name That Tune says:

        I have 2 thoughts on that. One is they do the studio versions very early in the week. So it is a rushed deal. They have barely learned the lyrics. Then they start rehearsing for the live shows and more refinement happens. And then we get the live performance. To me, Candice just lights up with an audience. Something about the crowd sparks something in her soul and she takes it to another level. She is a natural performer and she will make her real money playing to live audiences.

        • HitTheGroundRunning says:

          I think Haley said that she did virtually all of her studio songs: enter studio, sing the song, boom done, one take first take, in, sing through it once and boom, done. Pretty amazing. I don’t know so much that everyone else did it like that, doesn’t seem possible, but I’m sure they try to get them to do as few takes as possible.

      • syb says:

        This is true, sadly. All of the rawness and vocal nuance is stripped from the studio version. It’s still well sung, but they ought to release the live version, sans demonic voice of course.

    • Harvey says:

      There’s a lot of really stellar R&B getting into the mainstream now. Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, and Janelle Monae are all fantastic artists that are getting plenty of attention.

      • Joy says:

        I’m not familiar with The Weeknd (will check him out!), but I feel like part of why Janelle Monae and Frank Ocean had awesome debuts is that they did a lot of their own writing and producing; they weren’t products of establishment handlers. If those two are the kind of hot names Michael’s envisioning Candice teamed up with, I’m all for it, but Idol albums being what they are, I figure she’s more likely to wind up with the standard-issue luminaries responsible for, say, J-Hud’s second album (which is not *bad*, but still a serious watering-down of phenomenal talent). And on the pop side…well, I don’t want Kara DioGuardi and Ryan Tedder’s fingerprints anywhere near her album. :-) Assuming Candice isn’t ready to take control over her own material, I’d rather see a label skip the big names and get her writing and recording with a few creative, edgy unknowns…but safe, predictable, star-studded production seems like the far likelier scenario.

      • Adam Fachry says:

        Have said this a few times on this board. YES, YES, and YES! Also worth noting. Miguel. And I think, names such as Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, and Jazmine Sullivan are all pretty unconventional R&B as well. Candice could also go the Jill Scott or Erykah Badu approach. R&B is not a dying genre, it’s actually pretty all the rage at the moment.

  5. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    I think they may have slightly overdone it with Angie, she sunk like a rock on dial idol for this week and it didn’t help Amber that much. And HORRORS!!! Lazaro is in a SOLID SECOND PLACE!
    Candice has a solid first place, then Lazaro somewhat behind, then Kree a bit behind, then Angie a bit behind, then Amber a trace behind, then Janelle way behind.
    Angie sunk from a solid first to flirting with bottom two. yikes.
    maybe they were hoping for a dramatic save for her?
    looks like Janelle for the save for sure.
    VERY scarily Laz looks to be in place to knock Angie out of the top three week! (or Amber for sure!) and quite possible could knock any of them out of top two and man who actually could win on a straight out vote if it were held this week or next. By top 2 or 3 I think the votes won’t be split enough for him to win though.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Calm yourself. Dial Idol can no longer be trusted in the age of text messaging and online voting through Facebook. This week or next (if the Save gets used), trust me, will be Lazaro’s turn to go the way of his fallen brothers.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      Hard to say though, RAW #s give a very different picture. RAW has often been more accurate for dial idol recently, but last week their prediction score was much closer.
      If it did go by RAWs this week then we get:
      1. Angie
      somewhat back
      2. Kree
      somewhat back
      3. Janelle
      barely ahead of, sort of tied just about with
      4. Candice
      somewhat back
      5. Lazaro
      barely ahead of
      6. Amber
      both the predictions (which were close for last week) and the raw numbers are pretty disturbing to say the least, each for one reason or another

  6. syb says:

    “a malfunctioning robot who spat out wilted word salads like “that was more in a direction of a performance that would be preferable”

    Lol, Michael. Thanks. That’s why I come here. Perfect.

    Anywho. I heard two performances tonight that will be with me forever, on every playlist after I download them tomorrow.

    Candice’s Lovesong was a true revelation. I used to buy Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday to hear that. Now I can buy Candice Glover. Wow. I do believe it is indeed the best performance I’ve ever heard on Idol.

    Kree’s Help Me Make It Through the Night. This is what I’d hoped to hear from Kree all season. I’m not a country fan, but certain singers transcend genre, and like Allison Krauss, she did that for me tonight with this one. She’s not particularly compelling to watch, but as a voice in the dark, wow. Lovely.

    I know people are bummed out that there’s no guy to spice up the bevy of female singers. But I’m willing to give that up for a season to hear these five. I really thought all of them from top to bottom truly shined tonight, and would have in any season.

  7. karen says:

    I thought the judges were unnecessarily harsh toward Janelle. I think she did a fine job w/ The Dance. Janelle has a downhome authenticity and personality that I am drawn to, even though Kree and Candice are better singers. My top three are Kree, Candice and Janelle. I would have put Amber in 3rd, but her Beyonce Love on Top was not that great. I liked her Say a Little Prayer a lot, though. Angie doesn’t do it for me but I like her as a person.

  8. Blank Slate says:

    It’s clear Lazaro never belonged there and it’s embarrassing to even have him on that stage. But I’m still a human and my heart feels sorry for him. He only has “A Friend” sitting in the audience as his sole cheerleader. Even his parents don’t want to be in that room. AI, do something before he goes postal and hurts somebody. He thinks he can sing. Make it stop.

    • HaleyFan says:

      Yea he had a big smile on his face the whole time he was being humiliated on national TV.

      • Blank Slate says:

        Do you think he doesn’t know he doesn’t cut it…? Was he hired for a role rather than a true contestant? Sometimes methinks they are cast for a reason– and the kid knows it…. As long as he gets paid, does he really care he is not a singer?

        • Blank Slate says:

          Another thing: the guy never takes responsibility for his performances. Last night he said something to Ryan about the “keys shifting” as if he was blaming the problem on the band via their rehearsals. I wish I worked on the show at that moment so I could tell him off backstage. :>

          • billh says:

            what if they sprung the key shift on him last minute as a sabotage? I wouldn’t put it past Uncle Nigel. I think they will start pulling out the dirty tricks to make him look bad . . . even worse than he his. Just look at the horrid green horizontal stripe child sex offender suit. does one need more evidence of sabotage? But that’s one of the themes of the show . . . embarrassing poor performers, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see it, even at this late stage. not without precedent. sanjaya. need I say more? but then, I am a Charlie fan so I might be an outlier myself as far as musical/ performance taste and ability to endure discomfort from the stage.

          • Joy says:

            @billh: I don’t understand all the hate for Lazaro’s suit. It was horrid, yes, but in a way that absolutely nailed the ridiculous-period-kitsch aesthetic they seemed to be going for. I thought it was good solid entertainment…unlike anything else about that performance.

    • Mac says:

      …and to make a bad situation even worse for Lazaro – he’s now being “pimped” as straight ?? What the hell ?? He hunts wildlife and has a girl “friend” in the audience ?? This poor kid needs Adam to bring him some guyliner – tell him to be himself and stoping taking BS from Nigel. I’m really beginning to hate this show and how it causes some of these people heartbreak – blah blah – I know “they signed up” – but none of these kids really have a clue what they are stepping into – even Kris and David Cook who won – and they still ended up not being able to play these stupid games that Nigel & Co. try to force them into.

      I agree 100% that Lazaro is being humiliated in more ways than one.

    • Sandy says:

      I hear what you are saying Blank Slate, I too feel sorry for him. I truly wonder if he not only has a speech impediment, but it truly sounds like he may have a hearing issue as well. I am not being mean, I really think he cannot hear well.

      • Harvey says:

        If the speech impediment started early in his development, it’s definitely possible that he has trouble interpreting language, especially under pressure.

  9. Nakk says:

    I honestly don’t get what people hear/see with Amber. I think it might be the fact that Nicki goes overboard with the critiques when she doesn’t sound half as good as she makes it seem. It’s so annoying. Then to see Nicki on twitter basically telling people to vote for Amber, I think is unprofessional.

    • deedee says:

      Nicki knows that Amber’s voting numbers are not as high as they’d like, and she knows that if she tells her Barbz what to do, they’ll do it. All part of the manipulation to sway the outcome to their liking.

  10. houster says:

    Michael: Thanks for reminding me of Shelby Lynne’s cover of “Anyone Who Had A Heart”; Its fanastic, and your comment was spot on.

  11. bbl says:

    Michael, you need to change it from `Adele’s version of The Cure’s “Love Song”‘ to `Candice’s version of The Cure’s “Love Song”‘. Thanks.

  12. Ramification says:

    Her critique ran for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. it did drag on but at least she was giving him something constructive.

  13. Blank Slate says:

    Another complaint: Angie’s constant mugging faces/mugging hands for the camera. She is not Ryan Seacrest but when she’s in the camera, she makes those hand motions to the viewers as if to show who’s boss. Quite annoying. She’s not all that, despite what she thinks about herself. Would never vote for her because she emits an entitled attitude that totally turns me off.

  14. raftrap says:

    I need to comment again, I just had the good fortune to watch Candice’s two performances again, and this is just not a competition, if they keep on this crazy charade that there needs to be a top 5 week and a top 4 week and so on, then Candice needs to close each and every one of those weeks in a giant confetti shower and have every season 12 contestant swaying from side to side next to her in congratulatory celebration until the finale comes around and instead of season 12 contestants she is accompanied by her fellow 11 idol winners. You are absurdly talented Candice, just absurd, I ACCEPT YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE, I’m rambling like a crazy person, I can’t even believe I’m commenting again, it’s her raw power that’s making me type things, and I’m pretty sure I’m gonna just go “Wow” all day at random parts of the day, I…just….wow…this is just to much.

  15. Name That Tune says:

    I’ve listened to Don’t Make Me Over for a good 40 years. This is the first time I have heard it as a defiant statement, an anthem for letting someone be who they are. After all the idiocy over Candice not being in the judges top 3, that was such a fitting song choice for Candice. Then she just polished off the night with a signature performance. I am so glad I got to witness this. Can we have the confetti shower now?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I felt the same way. That’s not one of the most popular Burt Bacharach tunes (and I was 4 when it was released so I mainly remember it from replay on radio and singing it in junior high school choir) and it was so refreshing to hear her rendition.

      • marie says:

        Not one of their most popular, but certainly one of their most soulful (they got poppier as the years went on). I was delighted yesterday afternoon when I saw this was Candice’s choice at a spoilers website.

    • grateful by the bay says:

      So agree with you NTT & det!

  16. Blank Slate says:

    This does not take away from Candice’s LOVE performance. Totally brilliant. Amazing. GOOSIES galore.


    Conspiracy Theorist in me wants to know: WHY oh why did Mariah just happen to have tossable glitter on her desk? This woman doesn’t even stand UP once she sits down (another thing I have a beef with but that’s another story). But she rose, grabbed glittler, and walked un-attended to the section of the stage Candice was standing?

    I suspect this was all planned in advance. I smell a Nigel!

    • Cat Lady says:

      Maybe Mariah was so impressed with what she heard in rehearsal that she had it ready.

      • Blank Slate says:

        Something in me suspects there is no way Mariah spends any more time in the AI studio than need be, The limo her in at 5 PM LA time, they limo her out at 7:01 pm LA time! The girl has hair to play with and no time for rehearsals… ;>

        • Matt says:

          Wrong. The post-elimination interviews have revealed that Mariah stays and speaks with the contestants and encourages them. Nicki didn’t stay and talk to Curtis, Paul, or Devin.

          • Joy says:

            I wonder if the best possible thing right now might be to move Mariah, for the rest of the season, into a weekly pre-show mentoring row. She’s made it clear she’d be much happier with a support role instead of having to judge, and goodness knows the audience would be better off that way. Take the time you’d save on her critiques and use it to show highlights from a pre-taped coaching session with all the contestants…not necessarily specific to the individual performances, just a weekly Mariah Carey master class in vocal technique. Probably wouldn’t be the most exciting segment ever, but at least it might be a way to get her off the panel without bruising any egos (“the contestants have been asking for more time with Mariah, and she’s generously agreed…”).

    • raftrap says:

      Also I don’t think its a conspiracy if it’s a good thing, that would be like a conspiracy for free unicorns and rainbows for everyone day, or a conspiracy for 3 more seasons of “Arrested Development”, what I’m trying to say is that I’m all for the Candice Conspiracy.

      • Blank Slate says:

        I’m not saying anything negative toward Candice. Heck if I could have punched through the screen and tossed confetti or glitter or puppies on her, I would! It just seems a little calculating on the alleged judges’ part that Mariah happened to have glitter on her desk. I always carry glitter around with me. Don’t you? I think that glitter was planted there by Sir Nigel et al who knew this would be An AI Moment and scripted Mariah’s actions into the story line. Candice won the season last night as far as I am concerned. This from someone who waits eagerly for Kree’s performances each week so I couldn’t be any more blunt. Candice wins. SHOULD win. Please please don’t give it to Barbie Doll Angie. Please.

        • raftrap says:

          Completely agree, and sadly no, I don’t carry glitter in my pocket all day, but if I were around Candice on a weekly basis it would be a reasonable habit to carry glitter to throw at her everytime she hits any note. And when I say I agree, I completely agree with everything you say, right down to the Angie thing, I never had the chance to say it but “Bring me to life” wasn’t good, I’m sorry, it just wasn’t, at least I didn’t get it, it looked good, but it sounded really bad, the original is such a great song, and that was tame, put of breath, copycat-ish…but enough of this unnecessary Angie talk, best of luck to her, but this is Candice Glover day people!!

          • Blank Slate says:

            I’m with you 100 percent. Angie is a poser. All hair and smile and dress but it’s all surface after that. Nothing deep or genuine.

            Candice made me weep. That voice. That feeling. That realness. Oh my. Fabulous and mesmerizing.

          • HitTheGroundRunning says:

            I don’t think that is fair at all.

        • waterbug says:

          I totally agree with you Blank!

        • marie says:

          LOL, so I’m not the only one for whom Angie is reminiscent of Barbie?

    • deedee says:

      I was thinking about that last night, too! I was like, hmmm, how convenient that Mariah just happens to have a handful of glitter confetti lying around! But yeah, clearly planned by *someone* as compensation for everyone’s dismissive attitude toward Candice last week.

    • marie says:

      (JLo is, happily, gone. Can we agree to say “goosebumps” now, maybe? Pretty please? Ok, ok, yes, I’m being very petty…but that expression of hers gives ME goosebumps – the BAD kind maybe more like getting my hackles up – yuck…)

  17. Maria says:

    Candice has been my favorite all along. I don’t need the judges to convince me to like her.

  18. Cat Lady says:

    My take:
    Angie: On song #1, it was a nice vocal, but sounded a little tinny or strained or….something. I didn’t enjoy her tone as much as usual. But I LOVED “Love Came Down”. It was much better and you can tell this is totally her comfort zone.
    Amber: Her vocal was perfect on “Say A Little…”, but she did had a little trouble with connecting with the lyrics. (Did I catch a smile on the word “heartbreak”?) But it’s a light, fluffy, not very deeply emotional song, anyway. On her second song, it was such a relief to see her smile and have fun for the first time all season, even though her vocal was a little jerkier. But those idiotic shorts?! After the non-jeans from last week? Where is the stylist?
    Lazaro: Song #1: Just say NO! “Angels” was a nice song and I didn’t hear any clinkers, but I don’t know that song well enough to know whether or not he did a good job. This idiotic charade of him pretending to be a contender on this show has GOT to end this week.
    Kree: Excellent vocal on both songs and finally seemed emotionally involved with both.
    Janelle: Bit pitchy at the start of “I’ll Never…..” and then just a pedestrian effort. “The Dance” was good till the last note, which seemed off to me and my family.
    Candice: “Don’t Make Me Over” was technically perfect, and I never thought of any other way to interpret that song than as an angry proclamation. “Love Song” was PERFECTION! To quote Simon, “It was a vocal mahster clahs”. One of the most amazing performances I’ve ever heard on this show. My jaw hasn’t dropped this far since the days of Adam Lambert’s “Mad World”. Oh, my goodness!!!!!

    • Tessa says:

      Totally agree! Made me think of Adam and Mad World!!

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      What was the matter with Amber’s shorts? That’s totally in style. I see girls wearing those all over the place. Look outside. Don’t become an actual cat lady hah.

      • Cat Lady says:

        I see it all the time, too; just like I see guys with their pants on the ground, and people with their cracks showing (both genders), and guts hanging out of shirts and over the tops of pants. Just because it’s in style doesn’t mean it looks good.

  19. I would love to hear a duet with Candice and Matt Giraud of season SPECTACULAR 8.Performance is the name of the game not just singing. I think Amber is the clear winner there . Adam Lambert has voice and performance SKILLS. That has not been matched since.

  20. Jess says:

    Mariah pointed out the sweetness of Janelle’s airy voice last night, for the record.

  21. Matt says:

    Didn’t Nicki walk off set in the early auditions when the other judges were telling a contestant she was better in country and Nicki wanted to let her do what she wants? But now Nicki can force the piano down Angie’s throat?

    Mariah has been imploring Candice to do that jazzy kind of singing for weeks now, by the way. I figured Michael would leave that out of his recap.

  22. Aidan says:

    Lazaro isn’t going anywhere. Get used to it. No way he finishes lower than #3 this season. Talent is overrated in popularity contests. What Lazaro has can’t be measured.

  23. janet says:

    Better brace for another week of Lazaro. He’s in the top 3 according to Dial Idol. I say Idol cooks the books this week and puts him out of his misery and sends him on his way. The future of Idol is at stake and Lazaro is making a mockery of it.

  24. starship says:

    Yes, Candace stepped up this week and her final performance had some great vocals (minus demonic sound). However, lets not pretend she’s that perfect and over-praise her. She has zero chance at a successful singing career, even if she has a nice voice. I can’t see any scenario which ends with her winning.

  25. Blank Slate says:

    How could they have one of the worst performances EVER the same night as one of the BEST ever? It’s like.. it’s like.. we’re being played… ;>

  26. darcy's evil twin says:

    I like to go back and listen to the performances early the following morning when I can listen to them better (i.e., when the husband is still in bed and not talking to me, LOL).
    I have to say I really enjoyed Angie’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart”. While I agree with Mr. Slezak’s opinion about Shelby Lynne’s version (I have the CD where Lynne covered Dusty Springfield songs) I did enjoy Angie’s vocals on the song. yes, a little more emotion would have been nice but it’s still very good.
    Janelle worked the stage on “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and deserves some credit for not just standing there and singing. The more I hear her the more I like her and she is definitely a viable country artist. Remember, Carrie Underwood wasn’t the powerhouse on Idol that she is now. Janelle doesn’t have Carrie’s chops but she has a sweet, clear voice and there’s definitely a spot for her in country music. There are way too many hot guys in country right now singing about getting drunk in pickup trucks and Janelle would be a nice change.
    Kree brings more maturity to her songs than Janelle (something Nicki hit on last night) but Janelle definitely shows promise. Janelle is better than Kellie Pickler, IMO, and Pickler has had a successful career in country music. And just for the Kellie Pickler haters Pickler has been far better post-Idol. I don’t think she fared well under pressure and she’s just a country singer – pure and simple.

  27. Mikko Makitalo says:

    I have not hated Janelle, but I have never been any fan either, but to me she sounded now very fresh, natural and lively. All the other girls are techinically marvelous, but janelle strats to be the one, who people can relate to. If she can deliver well, she could go far.

  28. hannah says:

    Your reviews of Candice Glover are absolutely the greatest, most hilarious things I have read! I freaking died!! I had to attempt to read it out loud to my boyfriend and could barely get through it due to my bursts of laughter and gasps of breath. I never comment on things like this but you deserve recognition!
    Thank you for that! You are amazing!

  29. Dave says:

    Did anyone else prefer Candice’s first performance to her second. I’m not pleased that Adele’s cover has inspired all of these jazzy, overwrought covers that can’t match the original Love Song. Candice’s performance was still incredible, but I thought she was equally powerful on Don’t Make Me Over, while also producing a performance that was understated and listenable. It could be a contemporary track.

    • Nakk says:

      I loved Don’t Make Me Over as well. I absolutely thought it was better than LoveSong. She also had to go see a vocal coach because she has been hoarse all week. Lazaro couldn’t beat her on her worse day. LOL

  30. Jessica says:

    I’m going to be like Nicki Minaj critiquing about the whole 1st half of the show-all blame on whoever picked that horrible theme. Oh where to start?? 1st off *Thank you* to all the girls for proving this is not the worst season! Keith Urban was spot on tonight and has redeemed himself for all that leaving Candice out of top 3 garbage. Nicki-excellent advice! Randy- annoying sayings at times but I am enjoying him this season. Mariah- Please watch back and learn how to talk-quickly and to the point! For Lazaro-Keith and Nicki said it best. Moving onto the talent now. Angie- Loved the 2nd song. Hope she’s is understanding that they are telling her when she is away from the piano she is not good enough. It’s true! Amber- Not so much a fan of her singing the chorus in 1st song but she can sing! If nothing she can be a Victoria’s Secret model with those legs! Kree is amazing! Janelle- I like her, I don’t think they should leave her out as a future country singer in the business. She’s not Kree and liked what Randy and Keith told her in their critique with The Dance. Candice!!! She showed them! Smacked her voice in their faces like “What you left me out?!!! Well bam!!” I love her and really hope she is in the finale! Taking on a Cure song made me fall even more when she said Adele she dropped a second until she sang. I loved both songs! It will be rough once Lazaro goes home (or if he stays) and really hope he doesn’t get some sympathy vote for being told the truth last night.

  31. Stacey says:

    I think they were honest last week. Candice didn’t have a top 3 performance. We’ll see whether voters liked this week with her pimp spot but excellent performances. If Lazaro doesn’t go home tonight. They better use the save on ANY of the girls. For a girl to go instead of Lazaro. Mayhem! I also felt Janelle (while she did a beautiful job, might have done using her guitar on “The Dance”. And made it more intimate… Amber had a decent first, awful second. Kree was a little sleepy for me. But still excellent!

  32. LeahKittyS says:

    Amber and Angie and Candice and Kree
    These are the ones who fight for Top 3
    I’m done with Laz, but we could very well
    Be using the Save on pretty Janelle

  33. Shane says:

    Mariah is not incoherent. She’s filibustering.

  34. Was Lazaro’s performance last night the first time the judges offered a negative feedback to a contestant and the audience didn’t boo the judges!? Randy not only said it was horrible, but he straight up said they were back in the auditions stage and the audience was just silent.

    I noticed because it always annoys me how the audience boos whenever any judge gives a negative comment

  35. kailor says:

    If there is any justice in the world, Lazaro will be going home tonight and Candice would go on to win the title with Kree as runner up. I have to say as technically proficient as Kree it was not until tonight that you really felt she emotionally connected with the song. She will need to consistently connect with her songs if she want to catch MISS Candice Glover. Anyways Candice FTW. Loved her since her group song with DeAndre and Jessica Sanchez’s It doesn’t Matter Anymore (and may we say it is one of the best group performances of all time)?

    • RedInDenver says:

      The DialIdol website shows Lazaro in 2nd place — right behind Candice. I hope to God that the on-line voters make up for the phone voters idiocy.

  36. Mark says:

    This is going to be so far down the list that it’s unlikely anyone will ever see it, but I have to say something. I don’t know what show Michael was watching, his scores border on criminal gradeflation. This show was every bit as boring and sleep-inducing as I feared it would be. IF this show isn’t cancelled after his season it will be a miracle.

    Unweighted grades:

    Round 1:
    Angie – C
    Amber – C
    Lazaro – F
    Kree – C
    Janelle – C
    Candice – C

    Round 2:
    Angie – C
    Amber – C
    Lazaro – F
    Kree – C
    Janelle – C
    Candice – A

    That’s it. One excellent perfomance, two utter failures, and nine boring, sleepy, comatose zombie-like performances.

    This show is so on the ramp.

    • mamamitzvah says:

      So why do you watch it? :)

      • Mark says:

        Good question, and one that is getting harder and harder to answer each week. There was a time when my entire family watched this show. Then my kids dropped off one by one. Then my wife dropped off. Now it’s just me, and I’m getting very little enjoyment from it. Two excellent minutes out of a 120 minute broadcast is a tremendous waste of my time. I love music and I love to see it performed live, but this show dying before my eyes. Between the insipid judges (Randy? Really? Exactly what does he contribute? He only parrots something someone else has already said, or throws out one of his five stock phrases); blatant attempts at audience manipulation; the talented but creatively challenged contestants; and the tired, insipid themes, this show should be euthanized.

  37. Bobbi says:

    Love Candice and love Kree. But, I am really sick of Nicki praising Kree by putting Janelle down. There is absolutely no need to tear someone down to build Kree up.

  38. RedInDenver says:

    OH MY GOD! I just checked the DialIdol website and it shows Lazaro in SECOND PLACE — just after Candice!

    The AI voting is turning this show into a JOKE!

    • gailer says:

      lol I hope he sticks around just for the amusement of it all. The judges can save any girl they want.

      • RedInDenver says:

        I don’t know …. I find his performances (and the judges critiques of his performances) painful to watch. The judges have only ONE SAVE — so it’s entirely possible that Kree, Amber, or any of the other remaining girls, could get booted before Lazaro — which would be a real shame.

        I wonder how much impact the VoteForTheWorst website actually has; or whether it’s the sympathy vote which has kept him on the show so long.

  39. BustasOnAllSides says:

    When I heard the second song would be “Songs I Wish I Had Written,” I was praying so hard, “Please let Candice pick ‘Purple Rain,’ Please let Candice pick ‘Purple Rain!”

    “Lovesong” worked out alright for her, though. To put it mildly.

  40. Tessa says:

    First time in years I actually voted! And I rewatched her performance more than once! If I were on the voice, I would’ve turned my chair around at the very beginning! Moving, electric, flawless and so creative if you know the Cure’s version. Loved it! Finally!! And her own emotion was affecting as well!

  41. Del says:

    “Well, I’m pretty sure that got shipped in directly from the sales rack in the fourth circle of hell.” This line is why I don’t read Mr. Slezak’s reviews with a Dr. Pepper in my hand….must wipe off screen *again*…..

  42. Audra Robinson says:

    I really hated what Candice did to that Cure song, it was almost unrecognizable, but you can’t deny her voice is pure loveliness. I’d actually rate her up there with Christina Aguilera just on the purity of her voice and her ability to hit a huge range of notes with power.

  43. waterbug says:

    It’s amazing how Lazaro speaks more clearly than Mariah.

    • billh says:

      hahaha, this is the funniest post yet . . . ! still chuckling. good one! the show would move along much faster with Lazaro on the judges panel, and Mariah . . . I dunno . . . working makeup, singing backup, whatever.

  44. Louis says:

    Funny Michael how on the same day you released your worst performances in Idol history, you have a new number one. But it’s not all bad. You perhaps have a new number one at the top of the best performances in Idol history. I guess you take the good with the bad.

  45. James A says:

    Despite a lovely Vocal that Candice gave I am still not sold. She won’t win idol and I bet all my cards she won’t make it to the finale either. Top 3 at best. (She is in all respects…Melinda Doolittle 2.0)

  46. ohreli says:

    I disagree with what Slezak said about Mariah. I thought that she was trying hard to say something useful and constructive about the SINGING, not just the empty compliments (Amber) or empty insults (Lazaro) that the others were offering. Yes she takes a lot of time to conjure up the words she wants to say, and she needs to learn to feel comfortable with just stopping talking without all the “parting thoughts”–but if you distilled her critiques, I think she offered the must constructive criticism.

    • Jess says:

      Correct. Mariah has been giving constructive vocal critiques all season, including last night:
      Candice – She has been telling Candice all season to sing jazzy and do what only she can do. Candice did it last night.
      Kree – Mariah has been telling Kree to keep it simple and not “ham it up.”
      Angie – Mariah has always told Angie she’s best at the piano, and last night she mentioned the over enunciation.
      Janelle – Mariah has told Janelle she is best when she keeps it simple and when she uses the airy/breathy part of her voice.
      Lazaro – Since Vegas she has been telling Lazaro to picks a good key for his vocal, and last night she said he didn’t even follow the key change.
      Amber – Mariah was the only judge last night to mention the vocal flaws Amber had. The others were “too nice.”

  47. Jackie says:

    I didn’t get all the love and standing ovation for Amber’s first song I thought it was okay, but it didn’t connect with me emotionally at all. Same for Angie’s first song. I liked Janelle’s “The Dance” emotionally more than what the judges assessed her at. Loved Angie’s second song. Great performance. Kree .. fantastic as usual. Candice. Candice. Candice. You knocked my socks off girl. Don’t Make Me Over was so damn good. The only Bacharach performance that really nailed it. But Oh.My.God., her second song was truly an Idol (or any show) classic. She is just too damn amazing for words. I”m glad she didn’t get through the last season because this season, with one more year behind her……….. she’s GLORIOUS. ABSOLUTELY GLORIOUS.

    My only fear is that all the (deserved) criticism for Lazero will cause his megafans to feel even more sorry for him and keep him in yet again. I blame Nigel and the rest of the damn producers for this. I have to believe they told the judges to say “nice” things about Lazero just to keep his sob story front and center. Unfortunately, I don’t think even they realized what a monster they were creating by doing that. Courage. Yes. Top 10. No. Top 20. No. Top 6? Are. You. Freaking.Kidding.Me? Now it’s to the point where that poor guy’s gotta have had enough of all the negative critiquing, surely. Dear God: Please don’t let this foolishness carry on any longer. It’s not fair to him at all. Put Lazero and us out of our misery. Amen.

  48. Samuel says:

    For what it is worth, I was at yesterday’s show and MC is a true professional. Throughout the performances, she was writing down quick notes, the only judge to do so. There were a few moments during ad breaks where Ryan asked the audience to recognize the crew members, and Mariah was the only judge paying attention and clapping. She clapped when Ryan announced that Kelly Clarkson would be performing on Thursday’s show, again she was the only one listening and acknowledging what was going on.

    Anthony Hopkins was in the audience, and when his presence was announced, Mariah went up to greet him and take some pictures along with Ryan. All of the other judges stayed put.

    After the live show ended, Ryan, Randy, Mariah, and Keith taped several short clips each to introduce Idol on Chinese TV. Here, Mariah was totally a pro and in her element. She was the only one to nail her lines on the first take! Garbaj was nowhere to be found.

    MC and Keith were hanging out while waiting for Ryan and Randy to do their clips, and I think they get along just fine. She seemed happy throughout the show and several times waved and blew kisses to the lambs, she saw my sign (MC = #POW!) and pointed to it.

    Anyway, this is all to say that Mariah’s class and professionalism is astounding, and not always apparent on live TV. For someone of her stature to be so humble and considerate is refreshing.

    • deedee says:

      Thanks for the report, Samuel. I think Mariah comes across as a genuinely nice person underneath all her diva “dahling” stuff. She also has lots of things to say. Mariah and Keith are probably the only two on the panel who understand real singing. Nicki is all about the package, which counts, but gets annoying to constantly hear (remember Kara?). If Mariah can let go of her fear of sounding critical or harsh, and just cut to the chase, she can be a great judge.

    • darcy the slutty twin says:

      So that was Anthony Hopkins!

  49. BrazenSongBird says:

    To some Posters: Just because you don’t agree with the opinions differing from yours doesn’t mean that they are any less valid. How about toning down the insults? We get it…you like a contestant. Perhaps bordering on fanaticism. However, by its very nature, music is subjective. One person’s masterpiece is another’s trash. How else do you explain Yoko Ono’s recording career?

  50. Leela says:

    Candice is excellent, but I have to say that performance was overwrought. I wish she would every once in a while just sing without embellishing every single note. The beauty of Adele’s jazzy/bluesy version of Lovesong is its deceptive simplicity; she’s at one with the music, the lyrics and the emotion – not showing off her vocal calisthenics. (Just remember I said that Candice is excellent. No argument.)