Idology: Tightest Top 4 Race Ever! Plus: Is Idol Trying Too Hard to Make Amber Happen?

We’re down to the Final 4 on Season 12 of American Idol, and it would be an understatement to say any one of the remaining singers — Angie Miller, Amber Holcomb, Candice Glover and Kree Harrison — has a legit shot at the crown.

On this week’s installment of Idology, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Fab Four, and try to figure out which two Nigel Lythgoe & Co. seem most bullish about.

VIDEO INTERVIEW | Idol‘s Lazaro Arbos on Sassing the Judges, Smuggled Whitney CDs, and ‘Courage’ Critiques! Plus: ‘No Way 5 Guys Could’ve Left in a Row’

We also ponder a few other key questions: Is Idol trying too hard to convince America that Amber is the “whole package”? Why do grandiose diva ballads do no favors for Candice and Kree? Were Angie’s Top 5 performances overpraised by the judges? And what’ve legs got to do (got to do) with it?

RELATED | Season Finale Scoopapalooza: More Than 100 Spoilers on Your Fave Series’ Endgames, Including Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Once, Glee and More!

Press play below for the whole Idology experience, and for all my Idol-related news, interviews, commentary and recaps, 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. Rivky says:

    I am just throwing my two cents in here. I cannot imagine myself buying a CD from either Angie or Amber. They both make me want to fast forward my tiny computer. I think, and this is just one lady’s opinion, that Kree and Candice are really talented and would love to see one of them win it all. I would buy their CDs as soon as possible. In a year where the guys had more talent I do not think either Angie or Amber would still be here.

    • teatime says:

      What does “bs’d” mean?

      • Amy says:

        Yea, I’m wondering too?

        • HitTheGroundRunning says:

          more or less: bullsh#@ – apparently the ” ‘d ” at the end is some recent inner city thing. I have no clue why they started using bullsh#$ted (which is what it exactly stands for) instead of the plain old bullsh#@ that everyone has used since who knows when but they have and suddenly it’s spreading.

          • HitTheGroundRunning says:

            I am a little confused in that at least a third of the time I see it used it doesn’t really seem to make any sense that it was used so there must be something more to it that just using as B.S. sometimes it seems to be just tossed onto the start of almost every post from some people almost like marking territory or something I don’t know.

          • deedee says:

            No, it’s a religious thing that you put at the top of a written page:

            BS”D (בס”ד)

            B’siyata d’shmaya; “With the help of heaven” (Aramaic).

          • HitTheGroundRunning says:

            Interesting. So I guess all the times it made no sense it was because it was used as the religious thing and the times it did it was used in the urban way. Sorta weird people didn’t just stick to BS/B.S. and some started using bs’d when that is also a religious thing.

  2. watch Amber then watch Fantasia do the same Striesand song

    • Name That Tune says:

      Thank you for reminding us of that performance. Makes you realize that Amber gave a rather stiff rendition of that song.

      • Mary says:

        I loved Amber version. I do not care for Fantasia singing at all. Too screechy for me. I actually mute her when she is on.

        • Name That Tune says:

          But Fantasia wasn’t screeching on that song back in 2004. If you don’t like her version, check out Barbara Streisand or Shirley Bassey. Amber still comes across as a bit stiff. Amber is still young. I’d like to hear her sing this about 5 years from now.

  3. julia says:

    yeah i don’t get why amber is considered so youthful and marketable. obviosuly she has a great voice, but she almost always sing boring songs with no emotion and im pretty sure her album will be a bunch of dance garbage like that song jessica sanchez sang a couple a weeks ago. a bunch of girls record songs like that pop/dance fluff and they don’t sell anything. come to think of it what girl ever on idol has been super succesful with that kind of music (with possibly the exception of Jordin, and maybe if amber does more that route she’d have a chance). but i just don’t see her being succesful
    angie i could see as the purely pop version of taylor swift, or she might just be a huge christian sucess, but i’m guessing she’ll come back several times in future seasons. either way she’ll sell a lot of records
    candice if she wins or gets second i tihnk could be a huge success or a big miss. im reeally hoping for the former.
    kree same as candice, except i don’t think its as critical for her to make the finale to have a shot at success.
    overall i think angie is the safest best for being at least moderately succesful (with the potential to be in the same league as kelly and carrie), then kree, then candice, and then amber.

    • Guitar Blue says:

      When you cruise the top 100 R&B, Urban, Pop charts and artists over the past few years, Amber doesn’t stand-out as anything special against those artists – most that are still active in the biz and will be cranking-out new releases this year, next, etc.

      It’s true that Jimmy Iovine and his multi-million dollar marketing machine (Interscope Records) can make a star of Amber if they choose to (Young, physically fit, attractive, fair singer), but some of us would be more likely to buy music from Candice (a new R&B album) or Kree (a new pop-country/ballads album) for actual listening to a song more than once. ……………………

      Angie incorporates the best performance dynamics, so we’ll see if that gets her to the winner’s circle. Song choices are so limited by the themes, that it’s hard to say who will win — at least anyone has a 25% chance to be right — I think Amber is next-out, but could be a free week this time.

      • Mary says:

        I actually think Amber fits into all three of those category. Like all the girls they have to be given good songs first. I don’t know if any of the girls stand out at this stage of the game. I think Candice is very talented but I do not list to R&B that much. Kree will have a uphill battle in Country because females do not get their dues unless they are Carrie, Marinda. Angie fits in the CM but I am not sure if she could cross over. All of the girls are worthy of winning, but I truly believe Amber has a better shot if the AI brand does not harm her.

  4. Danny says:

    Last year’s top 4 was tight too. For that matter last year’s top 7 was tight. Last year’s top 4 had Joshua’s It’s a Man’s World, Phillip’s Volcano, etc. It’ll be interesting to see how this year’s top 4 stacks up.

  5. Anna says:

    At this point, anybody can take the win. All four of them are amazing although certain people must step it up to have better chances in winning. All four of them are amazing at what they do and what they do makes them likeable.

    She is at the top right now for me. She is the most consistent contestant of the four and I think she could win it all if she continues to surprise us and do what she does. Although sometimes I feel like she doesn’t connect with the songs but I guess that’s just me. She has had moments like I Who Have Nothing, Ordinary People, Natural Woman, and Love Song. I am sure that she’ll be in the finale because she the overall package.

    She’s been inconsistent at times but she does something to redeem herself and that’s what I love about her. There is always room for improvement for Angie. Although vocally, she isn’t the best but she is definitely the most marketable of the four and I can connect with her most of the time. She must do something to wow us to win because Candice is currently taking it all but I still LOVE them both. She’s had moments that help her get the votes like You Set Me Free, Never Gone, Nobody’s Perfect, Love Came Down, and Halo. She needs to continue to create moments in order to win it all. She is currently in my final two based on her fanbase and the overall package unless Kree or Amber steps it up, meaning, it’s definitely a Candice vs Anybody at this point.

    She is one of the most consistent contestants this season, if not as consistent as Candice. She sings beautifully and effortlessly and that’s what I love about her. Although, she’s been receiving the least hype among the idol fans because she doesn’t show expression in the songs she sings and she needs to step it up big time for her to receive more votes. I miss her bluesy folky country-y renditions of the songs she sings like Up To The Mountain, Stronger, With A Little Help From My Friends, and Don’t Play That Song. I really want to say she’s part of my top two but I feel like she’s lost that ‘thing’ that makes me love her. If she steps it up, she can possibly be in the finale.

    A m a z i n g. Although I feel like sometimes she doesn’t connect with the songs she sing. She is one of the most marketable contestants this season because she is the most current of the the four. She sings effortlessly and beautifully and that makes me love her. But that’s it for me on her. She needs to step it up big time and she could possibly go home next live shows (she’s been on the bottom 2) but I guess she’ll prove me wrong next time.

    To sum it up, this top 4 is one of the best top 4’s among all of the seasons if not the best (season 11 had the best top 7 for me). Anybody can win at this point, it’s just a matter of stepping it up now because that’ll keep them safe. I’ll be happy no matter who wins because I love them all.

  6. Rivky says:

    Beaaaahhhhahahahahaha!! I just watched DWTS and they did a Stevie Wonder night. Stevie sang My Cheri Amour and I kept waiting for him to sing “My Cheri Amour-m,you’re the only one that I adore-m….” Am I E-V-I-L? :)

  7. Mark says:

    Yes, absolutely, Nigel and his cohorts are attempting to shove Amber down our throats. If they continue, my gag reflex is going to do what nature compels it to do.
    Look, I like Amber. She is a beautiful young woman with great legs and a pretty voice. I can understand why they are trying so hard to make it happen for her. But she is not a star. They want to talk about the “complete package” Amber brings, but that package has been woefully mislabeled and improperly marketed. They want us to believe that she is a young Beyonce’ that will sell a ton of music to a younger audience. So why do they have her singing so many boring, dusty, adult contemporary ballads? Which is she, the next hip young teen idol, or an adult contemporary balladeer? I don’t think she is either of those. Amy Winehouse and Adele were able to break into that market at very young ages because they were incredible songwriters and gifted singers selling their own pain and experience. That’s not Amber. She’s singing pitch perfect karaoke versions of songs which have no connection to her, and it’s just not working. If they want us too believe that she is a young Beyonce’, then she should be singing younger, up tempo songs from younger artists– like Rihanna’s Only Girl in the World; early Beyonce songs such as Crazy in Love; early Whitney Houston such as I Wanna Dance With Somebody; uptempo Katy Perry songs like Hot n Cold; early Pink songs such as Get the Party Started or Who Knew — anything that sounds young and fun. Right now I can’t remember any of her performances–I forget them as soon as the judges start babbling.

    • Tom22 says:

      Almost all hyper-successful people have a certain edge to them .. maybe the term in passion in their interests that kind of sets them appart from the get go. “type a” is not it.. as they’re not so much perfectionists (though they might also be that) but just live and breath pursuing their inteterests and sort of embrace obstacles thrown at them as a challenge that begs to be overcome. (like Edmund Hillary’s comment that he needed to climb Mt Everett “because it was there” ) .

      I’ve seen a few tapes of a very young Beyonce and she was born for star-dom as well as born for singing. I’m not sure I seen anything like that in any of these contestants but we’ve only had small edits — seeing longer edits of them actually interfacing with the band and musical director etc might be a nice web-site addition even if boring to the standard viewer.

    • lala says:

      You got interesting song choices here, if you are an artist you’d have incredible artistry just for the song choices alone. I like Amber too among the girls. Let’s just hope that if she stays in the competition by next week and if fortunate until the finale, she gets to stick with these song choices. I believe it will justify the hype that the judges feel about her…

      can someone tell this to Amber tonight please..

  8. Adam says:

    The reason I love Amber is because she is so effortless and makes it look so easy. Nothing is overdone about Amber. Her talent and her potential are just starting to surface. I believe that is what the judges see in her. She will make it big regardless if she wins or not. Kree has been doing this for years and was even offered a record deal offer and for some reason has failed to make it. She has a beautiful voice but her energy level is so low that sometimes I wonder if she battles with depression. Candice is phenomenal!! This girl makes you believe what she is singing. The best vocals in the competititon.
    Angie has a good voice and even though she was my favorite back in Vegas week, she is my least favorite now. I feel she over’performs and oversings and is way too dramatic for my
    taste. I find her to be insincere. But she is the most popular and has a huge fan base(vote for the worst site is now voting for her,) so she will probably win.

  9. darcy's evil twin says:

    As usual I enjoyed “Idology” but missed Jason’s personal touch! :-)
    I finally watched last Thursday’s program (been out of town) and wow, I still can’t stand Fantasia, LOL. But I’m happy for her success. I loved Clay Aiken’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, which washed the bad taste of Lazaro’s version out of mouth.
    Straight up, the best moment of the evening was the appearance by Paula.
    At this point it’s difficult for me to rank the Final 4. Candice is number one, hands down. For a while it was Kree but Candice won me over. After that it’s a bit of a toss up for me. I would put Kree and Angie in a dead heat and Amber last but it’s a very talented group of ladies, no doubt. I agree it appears the show is promoting Amber for the win.

  10. lala says:

    I don’t like Angie doing the diva thing. If I heard her voice correctly, she’s either oversinging or shouting to hit the high notes. On stage, it appears too ambitious especially with Beyonce/Celine Dion songs. Better stick to her original compositions and focus on the artistry she’s creating out of Jessie J’s music, so amazing. and yes she does the Christian music so over the top.

  11. lala says:

    Amber is not able to showcase the “so right now” thing because of her song choices.
    It’s all about her voice–it’s soothing to hear even the high notes, it has so much potential. She’s only lacking in creativity. I really like her but she doesn’t give the energy that “i want to win this thing”, the judges do. I believe what we’re seeing from her is just a half of what she can really do, but it appears she chooses to stick to her comfort zone and looks comfortable with being the 4th runner up.

    because of that I want either Kree and Candice to win but it’s going to be a boring finale if they both end up in the final 2. Both have the talent and personality. They have the least haters so it wouldn’t matter who wins.

    I don’t agree that Kree is boring. she doesn’t need to appear “rowdy” on stage while singing country. It’s her personality if she doesn’t move a lot. She’s not overrated. She is consistent.

    An interesting finale would be Candice and Angie. Or Kree and Angie.

  12. tammy says:

    Too much Amber, the pushing is getting old. They obviously have a right to their opinion but the constant pushing is a turn off.

  13. Jasmine says:

    Angela just KILLED it tonight, ya’ll, with her 2 amazing solo performances and her duet with Candice. Utter perfection this girl is. Angela has it all. How can she not win! If she keeps this up until the last week, this girl’s taking home the crown! Now I believe it when she said she was voted by her highschool classmates as ‘Most Likely to Win American Idol’. I will be crushed if she doesn’t but I have no doubt that she will have some type of career after this. Who knows, we may have the next Big, BIg, BIG STAR on our hands! Love this girl to death!!! Wooh! Vote for ANGELA!!!!

  14. Tracy says:

    Amber has something that’s hard to come by. There is an aura and something beautiful in her voice that is not mainstream America, but classic, elegant , Ella-Fitzgerald like. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it. But while Candice has a equally if not more perfect voice and better technique, Amber has something that’s soft and real. She is a girl. She is just herself. There is a breezy refreshing something in her that you don’t get from the music industry.

    I think she will be potentially a massive star. Mariah said it just the way I felt. Like good wine, not everyone can appreciate it. If you are the kind who loves Kelly Clarkson, you do not like Amber.

  15. Tracy says:

    I mean…Kelly Clarkson…so boring.

  16. lala says:

    it doesn’t have to be “uptempo” all the time to make an impact.

    the purity in Amber’s “glorious tone” (as how Mariah describes it), how she elegantly she lets it fell on the notes is simply powerful. While I agree that Amber is not at all artistic as compared to the 3 girls in choosing her songs, her natural way of singing is artistry in its own way. I get it. She’s not yet that spectacular and does not use a lot of vocal gymnastics to be impressive enough, at some point i think it’s fine because if she does it may sound overdone and too ambitious. She will get there someday. She doesn’t need the backup singers, too much instruments, grand arrangement (that is sometimes more beautiful than singing). Her voice alone works it.

  17. Tracy says:

    I cannot understand why America can’t detect what a special talent Amber is. She’s got has an elegance and sophistication that is hard to come by in young singers. When she hits certain notes it reminds me of several legendary female jazz vocalists l, but with a freshness. It takes musicians to appreciate good singers. Perhaps not all people can hear the beauty of her voice. The other girls are singing powerfully as in contests. But Amber doesn’t oversing. She doesn’t have to. She is real girl. I like that she’s not catering to stereotype-obsessed America.

    • lala says:

      indeed… “what is popular is not always right.. and what is right is not always popular”…

    • Love music says:

      That’s exactly how I feel about Amber. People please!!! There is no one style of singing. Let’s applaud the brave instead of croticize whether they’re your favorite or not.