American Idol Top 4 Performance Night Recap: I Don't Think That I Can Take It [Updated]

American Idol Top 4 Candice GloverWelcome to Miss American Idol, an exciting new reality series from Fox where gorgeous, talented women take the stage and sing for your votes — and then the ones with the skinniest legs advance to the finale.

Wait, that’s not an actual show? Then please someone tell me what I spent two hours watching tonight as a white-hot rage percolated through my circulatory system and turned me into the kind of cussing, fork-throwing (yes, I may have slammed cutlery into the hard wood floor), definitely-not-enjoying-myself monster you’d typically see on a show like Bad Girls Club or The Real Housewives of the Ninth Circle.

Yes, yes, I know…Idol has always been the kind of show that wears its agenda on its sleeve — usually spelled out in the blood of the contestants it hasn’t pre-selected as its Chosen Ones (TM) — but tonight, the commentary from Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson was so despicably biased against Candice Glover and Kree Harrison that I half-expected exec producer Nigel Lythgoe to send a marching band across the stage to drown out their voting numbers as they were read. You know, just in case you hadn’t gotten the message.

RELATED | Idol Exclusive: Season 12 Judges’ Save Expired; ‘Contingency’ Plan Will Prevent Premature End

Add to that the Ringling Bros.-esque parade of dancing ladies, cartwheeling elephants and tightrope-walkers to herald THE OFFICIAL SEASON 12 ARRIVAL OF AMBER HOLCOMB (hinky upper register, occasional flat notes and coma-inducing song choices not included), and you had a recipe for one of Idol‘s most blatantly manipulated, blood-pressure raising, franchise-destroying nights of all time ever.

And if you think I’m being melodramatic, please bear in mind that Candice’s second performance critique was hijacked by Nicki & Co. defending Amber’s cover “Macarthur Park” against Jimmy Iovine’s completely legitimate critique. But then again, Amber can put on a white pantsuit and perform an ancient Celine Dion ballad completely stationary atop a set of glowing fuchsia stairs and be called “current,” “2013” and “amazingly perfect.”

VIDEO | 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’

Oh. Mah. GAH. I better get to tonight’s set list and letter grades before all my anger causes the internet to implode. (I’ll be back overnight to update this post with full reviews of every performance, so do bookmark, refresh and enjoy!)

But first…a pox on Nigel Lythgoe & Co. for RUINING what should’ve been an incredible One Hits Wonder theme with what you know had to be a shortlist of halfhearted, unimaginative, brutally enforced “suggestions” for the Top 4 ladies. Imagine how much fun it would’ve been if Duffy, Estelle, Concrete Blonde, Dionne Farris, The Verve, Gnarls Barkley, New Radicals, Everything But the Girl, Lucy Pearl, When in Rome, Blind Melon and Everlast were on the “cleared songs” list? Oh man…

Amber Holcomb: Laura Branigan/Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love” | Remember those innocent early days of Idol when Paula Abdul would tell a female contestant she looked beautiful — only because she couldn’t think of something nice to say about the singing? Now we’ve got Nicki Minaj asking for a moment of silence to contemplate Amber’s undeniable gorgeousness — as if aesthetic considerations are the only (or at least the most important) point of the Idol experience. Disgraceful. Anyhow, Amber started out strong with a nearly a capella intro, but by the midway point, her voice was straining to hit the high notes, and the end result was not entirely pleasing to the ear. Even worse, though, Amber’s delivery lacked the appropriate amount of fire to fully sell such a fusty old ballad. It was the equivalent of trying to cook a thick steak with a lit match. I mean, if you’re going to belt a line as schmaltzy as “I’M YOUR LAY-DAY! AND YOU ARE MY MAHHHNNNN!” at the top of your lungs, you’d better feel it all the way to the tips of your Manolos. In Amber’s case, though, this felt like more of a vocal exercise — “Look, ma, I can do what Celine does!” — more than a deeply felt interpretation. Good thing we had Jimmy on hand to acknowledge the vocal strain, then insist the perfomance would be “very difficult to beat.” (See how much easier “judging” is when you write out your script before the performances?) Grade: B-

Candice Glover: Drake’s “Find Your Love” | First, can we have a moment of silence to acknowledge the immense creativity and risk-taking spirit of Candice’s extremely current “contestant’s choice” selection? (If you don’t know Drake’s 2010 original, then click here and give it a listen — just so can appreciate the audacity of what Candice brought to the Idol stage tonight.) Okay, with that out of the way, I’ve got to admit it wasn’t Ms. Glover’s finest performance of Season 12 — mainly because she tried a little too hard to bring “vocal moments” to a song that calls for a certain level of sing-song simplicity. Nevertheless, I appreciated the sophistication of Candice’s phrasing, the way she personalized every single word as if she was speaking to a special someone. She drew me in from the proud-yet-vulnerable intensity of the opening line (“I’m more than just an option”) to the world-weary surrender of the bridge (“Too many times I’ve been wrong/ I guess being right it just takes too long”). What Candice rarely gets credit for is the fact that she’s a first-rate actress. Whatever mood she’s called on to deliver — romance, heartbreak, yearning, anger, flirtatiousness — she brrrrrrrings it. (And yes, in her case, “bring” has seven r’s and is most definitely italicized.) And instead, she gets RANDY *&#^%@ HACKSON telling Candice she doesn’t need to put runs into every phrase (something she’s never done before!) and that he doesn’t want people to think of her as “THAT CHURCH GIRL” (something no one has said about her at all this season). I mean, why not just say “We don’t want anyone to look at you and think that you stab kittens, Candice!” It’d have the same ludicruous effect of calling into question all the facts we know about Candice, but at least it would clearly be comedy, yknow? And as for Nicki calling a Drake cover “old-fashioned” — on a night where she praised “The Power of Love” for being current — well, let’s just say her pre-judgment was as visible as her thong was during last week’s results-show deliberation. Grade: B+

Kree Harrison: Susan Tedeschi’s “It Hurt So Bad” | I understood to a small degree Mariah’s critique that she still to see Kree “get lost in song,” only because there wasn’t a big crescendo of pain and longing over the course of the performance; instead, it all percolated in that laid back, just-below-the-surface way that Kree seems to dig, without ever coming to a boil. And on Top 4 night, she might have been better off burying herself alive in the blues, rather than riding sidecar alongside the blues. Nevertheless, you’d think that the judges would’ve given some consolation points for the fact that Kree didn’t miss a single note or — if vocals don’t count for anything anymore — at least for her relaxed, joyous stage presence (a definite upgrade from last week’s occasional awkwardness). Instead, though, we had Nicki claiming Kree had given us a performance that wasn’t even worthy of her Top 4 slot! Um, why? Because she’s over 18? Because she’s the type of artist who’s not going to go sans pants in her music videos? Or because Nigel Lythgoe whispered into Nicki’s ear monitor that Kree is no longer the ladybug of choice? Well, Nicki gurrrl, none of those reasons pass the validity test. You are dismissed — do not pass go and do not pass the microwave to pick up your waffles on the way out, either. Grade: B+

Angie Miller: Jessie J’s “Who You Are” | I could quibble that Angie had already covered Jessie J in her audition, in Hollywood Week and in the Vegas round, but so what? The end product here was one of Angie’s best efforts all season — and the sense of earnestness she brought to the rambling piano ditty felt absolutely genuine, both within the moment and within Angie’s “Type-A Girl Learns to Break Free and Embrace Her Imperfections” Idol Edit. I didn’t even mind the breathlessness on the fast-and-furious bridge, or even the furrowed brow during the closeup* before “that’s my home.” Both presumed negatives became positives within the framework of “Who You Are.” I would’ve stopped short of giving the performance a standing O — as all the judges did, except for Mariah, whose train was caught under her chair — but it was probably enough on its own to guarantee Angie a Top 3 finish. But just to be sure, Uncle Nigel had Seacrest call Angie’s adorable, emotionally overcome grandmother onto the stage for a hug**, because Angie loves her Grandma, and grandmas love to vote for Angie. Grade: A-

*one of 147 exquisitely framed closeups she got during the first performance alone
**RIP: Subtlety (Dawn of Time-2013).

Amber Holcomb: Richard Harris’ “MacArthur Park” | To quote Amber’s big, crapastrophically held note — “Oh nooooooooooooooooooooooo!” I mean, come on now. For starters, how is it that none of the judges pointed out Amber’s cluelessness in choosing a track that’s more square than a White Castle hamburger, and then for doing absolutely not a damn thing to bring it anywhere near the vicinity of 2013? And if not the song choice/arrangement, perhaps they could’ve pinged her on her poor diction, which rendered the entire bridge utterly incomprehensible? (Not that the song makes a lot of sense anyway, but I’d have liked to have known if Amber was correctly reciting the lyrics, or just randomly dropping a syllable salad of “la la la mrmmm macarth cake mmm la la.”) And lastly, there was the small matter of Amber’s pitch, which veered to and fro like Mariah trying to make her way to her judging chair in a pair of sadistic heels and a dress with a runaway train. But nope! Why talk about that when we have Nicki Minaj on hand to say that of all the girls in the competition, Amber (whom she mistakenly identified as Angie — way to be invested here) is the one she’d most want to be friends with? UM, THIS ISN’T THE AMERICAN GIRL DOLL STORE, NICKI, IT’S A SINGING COMPETITION WITH A MAJOR-LABEL RECORD DEAL AT STAKE. JESUS! Keith, almost equal in his ridiculousness, waxed poetic to Amber that “Summer has set in for you and it’s here to stay.” Bloody hell, please someone tell me Nigel Lythgoe wrote those words down on a cocktail napkin and paid Mr. Urban to recite them, because it those fell out of his mouth organically, he has much explaining to do. Okay, I’m gonna stop this paragraph here because I’m getting furious all over again and it’s not good for my mental/physical health. Grade: C+

Candice Glover: Samantha Sang’s “Emotion” | This won’t rank as my favorite Candice song choice all season, but honestly, she’s got such incredible vocal prowess, she could sell me on just about anything (except maybe those dreadful sparkly face pins Randy Jackson always has on his lapel) (okay, maybe even those). I loved the run she executed on the repetition of “in the words of a broken heart,” the low notes she struck on “come home to me darlin’,” the little added jazz inflections she tossed off to differentiate her rendition from the many (including Destiny’s Child’s) that came before it. My sole complaint, alas, was that the background singers sounded like they were straining from the beginning of the performance to the end — adding a sort of “hyena giving birth” undertone to the proceedings that I definitely could’ve lived without. Keith, of course, decided to weigh in on how old the song choices were for One-Hit Wonder theme — rather than waiting till after Angie had performed her 1953 composition — but at least Mariah took a moment to point out Candice was struggling with a bad cold (not that I’d have noticed). Then, of course, Nicki had to drill home her “TeamAmber” talking points by — in an incredibly disrespectful twist — using Candice’s critique to get on Jimmy’s case for his post-ad break put-down of  “MacArthur Park.” Somehow it ended with Jimmy coming back out on stage and insisting the judges acknowledge that Candice was superior to Amber in Round 2, while still somehow everyone made it all about Amber. Amber, Amber, Amber! Actually, Candice, Candice, Candice! (I feel a little better now.) Grade: A-

Kree Harrison: Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” | I’m going to stop talking about the judges’ critiques for a paragraph because, in the end, they’re just a lot of words, pre-written in the Idol writer’s room (most likely) and brought to life by folks who aren’t nearly skilled-enough actors to really make ’em stick. (Plus, I’ll rain more fury down on them when Melinda Doolittle and I shoot Idology on Friday.) So I’m just going to focus on the delicate oasis Kree created with her heartfelt cover of “Whiter Shade of Pale” and the way it brought back memories of my 11-year-old self blasting The Big Chill soundtrack on our family’s record player back in the day. Good music — and good singing — can do that: Calm your frazzled nerves, make you feel nostalgic, transport you to another time, another place. And as Kree belted out that big ole “and so it wah-ah-ah-ahhs,” all those things happened at once. She was up there on that stage, lost in the enigmatic words of a band I never realized only had one hit (they weren’t, exactly), mercifully unincumbered by the trappings and manipulations of a reality TV competition. And that, Kree Harrison, was everything I needed in my life today. So thank you. Grade: A

Angie Miller: Julie London’s “Cry Me a River” | This was a pretty good performance of a pretty song by a girl with a pretty voice. There was a lot of fog on the stage, and a crescent moon hanging in the background. Did I really believe at any point that Angie had truly “cried a river” over the object of her affections? No, I cannot say that I did. Was there much gusto behind the performance aside from that of a teenage girl thinking “if I can just get through this, maybe I can do another Jessie J jam next week”? If so, I didn’t hear it. Did the performance give off a hint of Eau de 1987 Telethon? Yeah, but there are worse perfumes you could find in grandma’s dresser drawer. And yet it inspired Keith to call Angie “mystical and celestially powerful,” and Nicki to accuse Angie of snatching her rivals’ wigs right off their heads. And I’m not going to pretend I know what to say to/about that. Can I plead the fifth, on the grounds that it’s really, really late and I want to go night-night? Grade: B+

Amber & Kree: Adele’s “Rumour Has It” | I’m not sure why Nicki dumped all the blame for the failings of this duet on Kree, but why veer off script on the duets when there’s an agenda to enforce? To my ears, Amber never really settled into the beat of the song, whereas the usually languid Kree actually was hitting her marks with more authority. Frankly, this isn’t a song either of these ladies should ever cover again, but any person with a shred of musicality could’ve told you that before the performance even happened, no? Grade: B-

Candice & Angie: Rihanna’s “Stay” | I loved all the stank Candice put on this usually delicate Rihanna number, and I loved how Angie uglied up her vocals just a bit to match Ms. Glover’s intensity level. The harder-edged arrangement was perhaps a wee bit odd, but I warmed to it mostly because Candice and Angie proved so compelling. The only thing that could’ve made this epic duet better would’ve been if the ladies had dropped their mics to the floor at the end of the performance and walked off the stage before the judges had had a chance to speak. Grade: A

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Season 12 Top 4 performance night? What did you think of the judges’ comments? Do Candice and Kree have bus tracks on their backs? Who’s going to be in trouble come results night? And will the “special twist” Ryan Seacrest hinted at mean there’s no elimination this week? 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. Eric says:

    Ok I feel like your ratings tonight, and your anger for the judges are understandable, but I don’t think you should go so hard against Amber right now is very disheartening and feels kind of rude. Yes she choose a bad song tonight for 1 hit wonders, but she still was still great. Amber is current because she has a youthful feel and effortlessness about her that makes it seem like she’s not trying to be or do something she’s not, in a way she has the “Girl Next Door” factor. Candice first song felt all wrong because she doesn’t have what that Drake song needed, and her second song was her same old same old which makes me feel, personally, that she has plateaued as a performer. To me Candice seems now to be trying to hard to look and sound current, but it just doesn’t feel right. Kree on the other hand is just getting the needed advises she has needed for most of these live shows, it’s just coming later then expected. As a whole Angie won the night, but I feel like we all need a “Do Over” so theses very talented girls can have a chance to fix the mistakes of the night.
    P.S. Please don’t start bashing these girls on locksmith that’s not what this show is about.

  2. MB says:

    I think Angie took the night but I am sick of all the Amber pimping. How rude to talk about Amber while Candice is standing there. I will never vote for Amber because of this.
    I think Candice and Angie’s duet was incredible and I would really like to see an Angie/ Candice finale. Besides the over pimping of the judges there is something about Amber I can’t warm up to. I love Kree and think she has a beautiful voice but I find her preformances to be boring and I’ve felt this way for weeks. She even sang one of my all time favorite songs tonight. She sang it beautifully but something was lacking. She use to be my second favorite but not anymore. She just holds back too much.

  3. pandora__box says:

    michael, you are living in my brain. evidently no one has pointed out that american idol had 11.9 million viewers last week. that’s >60% drop in five years. so as desperately as the judges are trying to foster amber onto the scene, someone out there is not buying it. repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” beat Idol. i am sure that this can be laid at the feet of all those wgwg’s. remember them, the ones’ who brought in ratings? even us dumb viewers like our manipulation to be more subtle than a sledgehammer.

  4. Krista says:

    Someone please wake me when this season is over.

  5. Renee says:

    Color me naive but I’m actually surprised Keith Urban went along with this so enthusiastically – happily tossing any shreds of integrity to the wind. (With the other 3 judges, integrity was never really an issue.) I’m less offended by Nigel’s agenda than I am by how heavy handed it was – Kree wasn’t great but she certainly didn’t merit the full on (scripted) bashing she got. And I’m still debating which was more bizarre – the heaping praise on Amber’s awful, often off key MacArthur Park or ignoring Candice to debate the Awesomeness of Amber. Wow, I kind of expected a guest appearance by JLo cackling maniacally and shoving Candice and Kree into the listless circle of shuffling swaybots. I thought Angie was good tonight – but as the judges clearly don’t care about vocals I assume they were so positive because they’ve decided she’s no threat to Amber. If that’s the case, I may power vote for Angie in a totally futile gesture of protest against Uncle Nigel’s mean-spirited plotting.

  6. Lindalu says:

    I think the judges need to turn their chairs and shut their eyes when listening to Amber. Maybe they’ll hear the wonky notes I heard tonight.

  7. Tiff says:

    I LOVE Candice, but she was off tonight. I think her voice is a little tired.
    Amber was also kind of off on The Power of Love, and I think the mixing was messed up on her second song, I could barely hear her, and the two second clip of her at the end had her off-key.
    Kree…is always good but boring to me.
    Angie…was good on the first song, but was great on the second. WOW. And she and Candice doing Stay was amazing. I definitely want a Candice-Angie finale now.
    My rankings for tonight:
    1. Angie
    2. Candice
    3. Kree
    4. Amber
    I REALLY don’t get the judges pushing Amber. It’s really grating on my nerves. I would never listen to her outside of Idol.

  8. Pati D says:

    Talk about pimping Amber. Standing ovations for her performances especially when her second song was so corny? The judges picked apart Candice and Kree for their song choices for their first performances but blew smoke up Amber’s you-know-what about how great her performance was when her song choice was boring and predictable. Atleast Candice and Kree picked songs that were not predictable.
    Keith talked about Kree having no emotion when she sangs yet Amber gets a standing ovation for doing exactly the same thing with a smile.

  9. “despicably biased” against Kree and Candice? As far as I’ve seen this season, that kinda describes you Michael FOR Kree and (especially) Candice in your recaps. We get it: Candice is exactly the kind of singer/style you go bonkers over (a little akin to Fantasia) and Kree is like a new Crystal Bowersox for you. And don’t get me wrong: I think they are both fantastic singers. Kree was my fave this season coming into tonight. But you have been incredibly far from objective this season. Yes, I know this is an opinion column. But I haven’t felt even a little fairness from you this season. Even a little acknowledgement that Angie and Amber are great singers too. I’ve followed you since you did this recap on EW, but I almost stopped coming here about halfway through this season because it’s been so uncomfortable. Melodrama indeed.

    As for the performances tonight, I thought Angie was outstanding and Amber was (mostly) great, but Candice and Kree really disappointed me. I found their performances boring. In particular, on “Emotion” I was shocked by how Candice let the backup singers just stifle that performance. They are no Brothers Gibb and she should have found some way to rearrange that song to minimize them and the damage they could do. Or pick a different song.

  10. Anne TM says:

    The minute the crtiques of Candance began my first thought was Slezak is screaming and throwing things right now.

    • Anne TM says:

      *** my typing is terrible*** Candice

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      LOL. I thought the same thing. It’s Haley Reinhart all over again.

      • Not quite. The judges criticized The Lady Reinhart CONTINUOUSLY, and seemingly no one else. Candice has gotten tons of praise this year. Tonight I thought she deserved the criticism.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          True. But tonight reminded me a bit of the whole Haley Reinhart thing.

          • Haley Fan says:

            Interesting you should say that, because I too was reminded of the whole Haley Reinhart thing, but with Angela. This was the night she came on strong and completely changed my thinking on the rankings, just the way Haley did when she broke out with “BATJ”s.

      • Jasmine says:

        please, Haley was like the black sheep according to the judges. Candice only got one bad critique. Haley has had numerous bad critiques for no reason. She sang her butt off everyweek. I don’t think you can compare the two. Haley’s journey on the idol train was like a rollercoaster! It’s a miracle she survived!

        • MB says:

          Nobody but nobody ever got the treatment Haley did. I remember being on the phone with my DIL and saying “OMG this is just so unfair.” , and at the time I wasn’t a huge Haley fan. That came later and I am still a Haley fan. She was treated so badly I cringed. I have to admit that she wasn’t a little sweet thing and fought back which in some ways hurt her but she really was justified in her behavior.

  11. Billie says:

    I KNOW. I KNOW. UNFAIRLY. KREE. IS. GOING. HOME. TOMORROW. :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

    • LeahKittyS says:

      And the rest of us know not to panic because the non-surprise twist is that nobody is going home. That’s the “contingency plan” they have in place because the Save was not used.

  12. Michael says:

    Amber has never been my favorite but I always have to admit that she is a fantastic singer. Though when she decided to hold that note on her second song for like thirty seconds I had to mute my Tv. It was like nails on a chalkboard. Angie totally won the night for me though

  13. Sarah says:

    Hands down the best performance was Candice and Angie’s duet on “Stay.” They really seemed to feed off each other and make each other stronger. Candice’s rich lower notes and Angie’s sweet high notes complimented one another really well.
    At this point, it comes down to personal preference for who you vote for since all four of the contestants have proven themselves as excellent singers. Personally, my favorites have always been Candice, Angela, and Amber and I would love a Candice-Angela finale (especially after that duet).

    • MC says:

      I loved the Angie-Candice duet. It was one of the highlights of the season. Candice was very slightly off on her solos, but I chalk that up to her cold and some fairly mediocre songs. Angie did her thing all night; she’s clearly a love/hate contestant. Some folks will never give her the time of day, while others will acknowledge Angie is a versatile talent who keeps improving. Candice and Angie are my favorites. I’m happy to have two favorites this season because I simply didnt warm to anyone in the top five last season, with the exception of Hollie. It never felt like Hollie was in the top five because she got thrown under the bus repeatedly. Elise was outstanding on A Whole Lotta Love, but TPTB made sure to ignore her the minute the buzz from that performance died down. Skylar should have worn a customized t-shirt on stage that said, “I can’t win this because the young country sweethearts were on here last season.” Skylar had some buzz early, but clearly TPTB were never invested in her. I know that I’m in the minority, but last season was much more frustrating to me (and just as manipulative as this season).

      • The Superficial Man says:

        MC – you are not alone as far as being a big Hollie fan last year !! I record every episode each season and I remember repeatedly listening to/watcing “Perfect” , “River Deep Mountain High “, “Bleeding Love” and others she did. Of the course the fact I thought Hollie was hot with that killer LIverpudlian accent didn’t hurt !!

        Last year was so predictable- I knew seconds after seeing Phillip Phillips sing “Superstition” in his audition that he would win in a cakewalk ( not that I wanted him to win, however )..

        From the last three seasons the contestants whose performances I would go back and watch the most were Haley, Hollie, Jessica, and this season Angie. I don’t know what that says when back in 2011 I didn’t go back and re-watch a single Scotty McCreery performance all season. This season I have not gone back and re-watched any of Kree’s performances. Nice voice but visually unexciting to watch,

        But then again on Idol I have always rooted for the ladies who I find attractive AND have voices that I enjoy hearing singing. I really hope Angie wins this season.

        • Jasmine says:

          Me too! about Angela winning! definitely. The performances I always go back and watch are of Haley Reinhart, Elise Testone, and now Angela Miller. In fact, last night I watched all of Angie’s performances again including the judges comments. That girl is something. She’s absolutely beautiful too! I said it once, I’ll say it again: HUUUUGGGEE GIRL CRUSH! no, I am in love with Angela Miller. I like the fact that she’s a love/hate person. That just shows that she’s someone to talk about. It shows that people are “feeling” whenever they hear of Angela or see Angela perform. She’s making people feel things, good or bad! She’s powerful! Yeah, go Angela! Vote for Angela Miller!

    • Jongirl says:

      Best duet since Adam and Alison did “Slow Ride”. But that one will never be equaled.

    • Mary says:

      I hated the duet. I thought they took away from the true meaning of the song. In this case less is more.

  14. Joy says:

    Couldn’t agree more Michael with amber…she did seem flat and I just get no emotion from her. They were really throwing Candice under the bus tonight and I have no idea why.. One thing is for sure best top four ladies left in any previous season of idol

  15. T says:

    I loved when Jimmy called out the judges for not saying that Candice was better than Amber in Round 2. That was the best part about him standing up there…

  16. Brian says:

    I think they want Candice and Kree to advance and get to the finale, which is why they were telling them what they need to do next week with song choices and stuff. They are almost patronizing with Amber telling her how far she has come this year (as if she is going home).

  17. lola says:

    wow dont need to be a bitter bitch head Michael.

  18. LeahKittyS says:

    Hey guys, remember that time Nicki suggested that Lazaro has special powers (which is why Candice broke her toe when the gang tried to prank him)? What if those powers include mind control. Amber is his best friend and he wants her to do well. That would explain why they’re hyping her! (Because based on how she’s been singing, there is no other explanation for that. Except maybe reverse psychology.)

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Once upon a time I would have said you were crazy, Leah. Now I’m saying, “Okay…could be…it’s possible”. That’s how RIDICULOUS tonight was for me.

  19. The Angie/Amber campaigning tonight was absolutely nauseating. I was yelling at my TV for 2 hours straight. Unreal. Almost lost it when Nicki started talking about Amber during Candice’s critique. So inappropriate.

    • Had Nicki not done that, Jimmy wouldn’t have come out on stage. I loved seeing Jimmy on the stage and Nicki and Randy going up on stage. That was a classic moment!

      • MC says:

        I know many people (including myself) are heavily invested in the outcome of the show, but I appreciate the comedy and silliness of it. I laughed when Jimmy came out and argued with Nicki. I’m a big Candice fan, but sometimes you just have to laugh. Randi is obviously Nigel’s mouthpiece/puppet, so I always laugh when he says outrageous things (it’s always to promote Nigel’s script).

  20. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    First comment:.
    How did One Hit Wonders – which practically screams 80s (or even 90s or 00s, at the least) end up sounding as old as a Nigel theme? I think you’d need to be in your 50s or 60s to even realize those were one hit wonders in most of the cases. I’m not sure a single one of them was written even as recently as the 70s. And only Kree’s Whiter Shade of Pale seemed to be based upon something more recent than the 70s (seemed like she was using the 90s Annie Lennox version, but that brings up another point Annie Lennox is hardly a one hit wonder nor was Donna Summer (Amber used her 70s disco-ish version I believe) so it seems weird to be using versions that are the best known versions today when those versions were sun by non-one hit wonder singers). And I started saying this before Keith started coming out with his comment.
    Based off the 90s Lenox take, Kree’s was like what you might have expected though from the theme, other than it based on a very non-one hit wonder artist’s version which is probably the best known version of it at this point in time.
    Not that Angie’s wasn’t good or that Candice’s wasn’t good. They were and they worked and that is all that matters in the end. It was just a surprise to have an older vibe from even this theme.
    Amber had some really good parts to her one hit wonder but it wasn’t the best song choice I’ll agree.

    • Maddie says:

      Whiter Shade of Pale was released in 1967. I am really old and remember it well!

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Me too!

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        I was YTBB in 1967. I clearly remember when Annie Lennox wrote the song in 1995 though ;) hah. (actually I’m pretty sure I was aware of the older version at that time although I didn’t know the name of the band just that some guys sang an also cool version of it some time way back when, seeing the name Procol Harum now rings zero bells for me, never heard of them, although I have hear their song performed by them before). Whatever the case, both versions are awesome. Kree’s version is nice too although not as haunting as Lennox.

  21. Chris says:

    I’ll tell you where I can see Candice in the real world today Nikki – Can anyone not see Drake doing a remix with Candice’s remix? Yeah. CURRENT PEOPLE. AND I’ll go to Candice’s concerts because I am the market. Randy when I see and hear Candice the last thing I think is “oh there’s that church girl”. I see and hear an artist sharing her creative ability and gift with us. Yes, Keith. I am hearing Candice every week too – thank you for the sanity at the judges table. “AUTHENTIC” PEOPLE!
    Kree – SING dem’ blues girl. I don’t need you to roll on the floor in pain/passion – or make Keith feel pain for that matter – for me to get you. Nikki you have lost your “smoke up your ass” ever loving mind.
    Kree carried that duet – period. I don’t care who was standing with swag better.
    Nigel I don’t know what that mess was at the judges table but you need to reel it in. Totally UNACCEPTABLE to not critic the artist on the stage – Amber’s performance was over. Or IS THIS AMBERIDOL now??? Seriously. RIDICULOUS!!!! At least Keith ONCE again had the sanity to say “Um back to Candice”. And Randy you feel like Candice is settling back in? Where was she unsettled? You are an IDIOT sir. Yes she is a superstar Mariah. Keith I hear you – thank you again for giving Candice SOMETHING worth a critique. Thank you Jimmy for calling them out! “Hashtag POW”
    Kree – thank you for that song. Thank you for sticking with this and I am really looking forward to buying your album.

  22. jumpingship says:

    Tonight’s show literally gave me a headache due to confusion and exhaustion, which in turn is due to the show’s utter ridiculousness. The “judges vs. Jimmy” head-on confrontation felt too desperate to seem like they have chemistry? or spice? together which in fact they do not have an iota of compared to The Voice coaches. (failed attempt there). Seacrest seemed like he was bored out of his mind. and while abusing the contestants with slave-singing is a given on Idol, I’ve never felt sick to the stomach of having to put up with 2 hours of that. It wasn’t torture on the ears and I’m still gonna watch the remaining episodes to see what/who the execs want this season, but there is definitely no magic this season. I’d have to say I was only kept entertained by Slezak’s hilarious tweets while Idol was on.

  23. Davey says:

    Did anyone notice Jimmy didn’t even comment on Kree’s second performance, which was excellent because of the judge’s shenanigans?

    And just because Randy screams that Angie is in it to win it doesn’t mean I have to believe it.

    How is Cry Me a River a one hit wonder? That song dates from the 1940s or sometime that far away.

    My votes tonight went to Kree with Candice getting a few too.

    • Jasmine says:

      well, according to everybody, NONE of the songs were one-hit wonders, Angela’s choice included. Angela is going no where, like it or not! That just leaves me to say “Yes Yes Yes!!!” i love angela. Everyone vote for her!

  24. trev says:

    I’m sorry, but Candice and Kree were kinda boring tonight. I thought Amber’s first song was AMAZING! Her second song was just ok. Angie was great all night.

  25. Ansa says:

    I don’t think anyone is going home tomorrow night. I think Kree will be at the bottom then there will be a twist and she will be saved. The Power of Love …been ther done that …but Amber did a good job of it. But WTF….Mac Arthur’s Park? She sounded soooo terrible on that I was totally shocked when I saw them standing…the high notes were painful…. I love Kree but I honestly think she needed a bit of kick in the butt. I still think she has the prettiest tone ever but I don’t feel any hunger for her to win….She sang her songs very well…but I did agree with Keith’s final critique, she needs to find another moment. I still want my Candice and Kree finale! I was getting sick of the Amber over praising…She certainly didn’t deserve it. Angie….was boring to me.Cry me a river was a snoozer….Candice, didn’t like the first song…Emotions was better but I did notice a bit of a strain…I was so looking forward to this final four but it was really a disappointment. The songs were all pretty boring! Won’t be downloading any from tonight.

  26. Davey says:

    If Angie wins this thing I will scream. I don’t get any emotion when she’s at the piano. Just a lot of pounding those keys and fake emoting.

  27. Kenny says:

    Lol none of this matters, They couldn’t have made it more clear that NOBODY is going home tomorrow…the Dying children at the hospital screams “Idols Give back”

  28. Lib says:

    I’m no Rhianna fan, but I love ” Stay.” Such a subtle song. Candice and Angie’s performance -not so subtle. Too much. Just no.

  29. darcy's evil twin says:

    Oh my goodness, thank you Jesus for Jimmy calling out everyone on Amber’s peformance of “MacArthur Park”. Seriously???? “MacArthur Freakin’ Park”? The worst song EVER? She should get booted just for singing that song. I could NOT believe it. What in the world were the judges smoking?
    And who is putting Kree and Candice in those skinny tights or whatever they are? talk about a wardrobe disaster.

    • Lana says:

      DET you nailed it with the pants, I keep thinking why oh why is Candice wearing skintight black pants? Idol needs to hire Stacey and Clinton from WNTW to help with dressing cause the stylist they have now sucks.

  30. Bartleby says:

    Amber’s second song was absolutely horrendous.

  31. pandora__box says:

    i think it is time that idol leaves the stage. with what little grace it has left. i enjoyed over the years, now i’m embarrassed. btw, i started watching the voice for the first time this year. i realize that they have not had a breakout artist, but the talent on that show makes idol look like amateur hour. all things should come to an end. preferably before they jump the shark.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      1.) I agree that Idol should bow out after this season, but considering it’s still FOX’s #1 show it probably won’t. Greedy corporations, caring more about the money than the happiness of the public.
      2.) The shark has already been jumped. I would list all the examples, but we’d be here until Memorial Day.
      3.) Go Candice! And Kree! You girls rock!

    • Linda says:

      actually Chris Mann is a really big commercial success. He did not win and in fact came 5th I is really weird how they never have a breakout star..but Chris has done the best of all so far.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Is he the guy that’s from Olathe, Kansas or somewhere in the Kansas City area?

        • Maddie says:

          Not sure where he is from, but he was an opera singer hoping to turn into a pop singer, if that helps. Nice voice but never was my favorite or my style.

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        he was in the finale and came in 4th. He is doing well because of his very specific genre (sort of ironic that not being able to hack it at The Met or some such seems to leadspeople to much more $$$$ as they sing watered down opera and pop music in classical cross-over, personally if I will hear classical style I like it paired with songs it was meant form and performed by the best of the best and if I hear pop/rock I like it sung like pop/rock because it sounds weird and doesn’t work for me well at all when they try to sing it in operatic style, but there is a whole large group out there that doesn’t listen to classical or opera but loves that weird operatic take on pop/rock and thus he brings in $$).

  32. darcy's evil twin says:

    And by the way, Mr. Slezak, I blame YOU for “MacArthur Park”. You and your “One Hit Wonders” idea. Sheesh!
    And while Kree’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” was my favorite of the night, how does that qualify for a one-hit wonder? Procol Harem was hardly a one-hit band. I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments so I apologize if I’m repeating what others have posted.

  33. marie says:

    I’m disgusted. I’m so done with this show. Michael, I totally feel your pain. What a bunch of b******t. That’s it, I’m not even coherent in do angry, I’d best just shut up.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Nice to see I’m not alone!

      • Haley Fan says:

        Ah the rightous indignation of it all, What a bunch of corporate skally wags these producers are, and don’t think for a second that Slezak isn’t in on it too. The more drama the more activity on his blog.

      • marie says:

        Heck, I wasn’t even coherent enough to type properly last night! I’m still angry today. I appreciate the updated column and agree with most of what Michael says. But, for now anyway, I don’t have anything much to add to the nearly 450 comments already posted here, except to note that Keith Urban, you broke my heart. My little crush on you is so over: lying, easily-bought-off snakes are not my cup of tea.

  34. Linda says:

    Before Janelle went home (on the singing night), Niki said ” If u go home next week I know u will do big things on your own”. Then results night Janelle went home. So Niki said the same to Kree tonight. I can only hope she gets the RAGE vote tonight.
    I think they will use the save so no one is going home..but Candace and Kree will get exposed as the bottom 2..they wont tell us who the lowest vote getter is and no one will sing for the save. They will just announce it when they get to the results phase for bottom 2.
    They are pimping Amber and Angie so much that I cant be objective about their performances. They may have done better than I want to give them credit for.
    I hunch by the end it will be an Angie/Amber sing off and I think Amber will win. (Not that she should–but they can market her to young girls).
    My choice would be Candace and any of the others for the finale with a Candace win.

  35. NJ idoloonie says:

    Is anyone else noticing what a poor job the stylists are doing this season? The girls are always in black and white and some silver. where is thhe color? Candice would stand out in red or a bright color. Why not a dress even. Candice, kree and angie were all in black, while amber was in white, and then orange.

    • karenb says:

      And then there’s the matter of Amber’s hair. And makeup. Yikes.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Yes. It reminds me of my sister’s closet full of black, white, and the occasional gray outfits. Maybe my sister is the stylist and she hasn’t told me. No – she would NEVER put Candice and Kree in those stupid pants!

    • Mary says:

      Black is slenderizing so that is why so much black. Amber has worn color all season and I believe so has Angie – maybe not as much. Candice shirt was red, Nicki commented on it.

  36. Peks says:

    Skylar Laine not happy about Amber calling Hollie “ok.”

    Skylar Laine ‏@Skylar_Laine She’s ok???? She’s amazing and one of my best friends with amazing talent. SMH at this. Really rude.

    She also wrote another tweet basically calling Amber a nobody, but deleted it.

  37. I watch the Idology show religiously and I enjoy it immensely. With that said, I couldn’t disagree more with Michael’s review this time around. The bias for wanting Candice to win is showing a little too much tonight.

    For me, Amber had the best performance in the 1st round and Angie had the best performance in the 2nd round. There is no way that Candice’s 1st performance eclipsed Amber’s 1st performance tonight! Does Michael have a bias against skinny women? Amber and Angie sang their tail off tonight!! The fact that both of them are thin and beautiful is secondary to great vocals on this night.

    The way I scored it was Angie > Amber > Candice > Kree tonight.

    Kree didn’t have a good night performance-wise, and Amber owned her during the duet. Keith, the lone country judge on the panel, was echoing my thoughts about the lack of connection to the song that Kree was exhibiting this week and last week. I give Candice credit for not complaining about the cold until Mariah brought it up, but that doesn’t change the fact that she made “sleepy” song choices. Drake’s song is awesome, but she changed up the song to the point where I can imagine it being sung in an abandoned lounge.

  38. Chuck says:

    First Round:
    Amber: sung OK, but hardly “current.”
    Candice: very good vocally, but I didn’t really like what she did with the song.
    Kree: easily the performance of the night; the judges were on drugs
    Angie: good performance of an uninteresting song.

    Amber & Kree: good moments here and there, but neither sounded totally comfortable.
    Candice & Angie: Angie rose to the occasion. Excellent work from both.

    Second Round:
    Amber: only bad performance of the night.
    Candice: competent, boring song choice
    Kree: competent, inexplicable song choice.
    Angie: Old fashioned, but I liked it.

    This show has no subtlety at all about its agenda, and I assume that yet again, it will backfire.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      Why was White Shade of Pale inexplicable? That’s an awesome song and doing the 90s cover at least gave us one hit wonder from the 90s in weird sort of way.
      I liked Kree’s second song choice way better than her whatever choice of a blues song, as Jimmy said out of all the blues songs why that one and why not project it like a star?

  39. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    I didn’t quite agree with Michael’s take for the One Hit Wonder grades but nothing I can go crazy over, nobody will exactly agree to the finest level on everything down to the exact +/-.
    But wow do I disagree with his first song grades for Amber and Kree.
    Amber was definitely right at the top there with Angie (with Candice in the running, she was every bit their raw technically but she didn’t have quite the smooth wonder of Amber and she sounded older in her style and I didn’t like her song choice as much and it didn’t have the special feeling and extra that Angie brought her first song so I’d place Candice behind Angie and Amber but definitely ahead of Kree) but I think Kree was plainly left behind by the other three on that first round. It didn’t have the vocals of Amber, the tight technicals of Candice, didn;t bring it like Angie. Kinda of a droopy song choice. I mean she sang it decently well enough but it didn’t have that extra anything.
    No way in the heck I understand how Kree got a better score than Amber on the first song. Didn’t have as much vocal wow to it and a much more whatever song choice. I agreed with Jimmy out of all the bluesy songs you pick that one? I hate to say it but I agree with Randy on the entire first round and more with Jimmy than Michael on the first round.
    If Kree hadn’t come back a bit on the second round I’d think she’d have definitely been in fourth overall this week. Now it is hard to say since Amber wasn’t blowing me away on the second song. The whole thing is confusing. Some of it may be just down to what style or songs you prefer for all.
    I wasn’t quite so crazy over Kree on Whiter Shade of Pale though to stand it out as THE “A”. PARTS of it deserved that but a lot of other parts of it kept making me think of Annie Lenox so much that I was almost getting distracted by wishing for a bit more haunting Annie Lenox mixed into some big chunks of it. Maybe that is not fair though.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      I liked Kree’s song choice the best for the last round, then Angie’s. I wasn’t so crazy about Candice’s choice (was sorta with Keith there) and even less so for Amber’s.
      For the first round I liked Angie and Amber’s song choices the best.

  40. karenb says:

    I wonder how this boring season is going to play out when Idol starts trying to sell those tour tickets…

  41. Lee says:

    Cracks me up how you won’t even mention Angie’s name in your review even though she KILLED it tonight! No one else took as much risk and she nailed both songs and the duet. As far as the judges, they were way too hard on Kree tonight, and they continue to push Amber so much it is sickening. Her second song had several flat notes but they would not call her on it. But at least give Angie her due. She earned it tonight.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      While I didn’t care for “Cry Me a River” Angie did a great job – there’s no doubt about it.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        But that song is older than ME for cryingoutloud. And that’s old.

        • HitTheGroundRunning says:

          I’m still chuckling that we all thought one hit wonders would bring us a ton of 80s, 90s and today! Every last song was written before I was born, one maybe before my parents were born I think.

        • Jasmine says:

          let people sing what they want to sing. It doesn’t matter how old or new the song is, it doesn’t matter how old or young the contestant is. If Angela wants to sing Cry Me A River, let her. It’s like people are trying to limit them to only singing songs that are close in their age ranges. That’s stupid. A 19-year old can sing a “woman’s song.” Nothing wrong with that at all.

      • Ademm says:

        (there might be a little doubt — or a lot — or a ton)

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Okay, I went back and listened to it again and while it sounded more like “High school musical” than the standard it’s supposed to sound like, it was a decent performance. This is starting to remind me of the season with Crystal Bowersox where someone had a good performance if they stayed in the same key for the entire song!

    • now you know says:

      What risks did Angie take? I watched the same show and totally missed that.

  42. Suzanne says:

    Loved Candice mixing up Drake- at least it was a current song unlike the others. Amber is just ok, MacArthur Park is a terrible song, so glad Jimmy called the judges out on their overhype of her. If she wants to be the new Whitney or Celine that’s fine but neither of them where selling many CDs towards the last few years of their careers. Angie is what I call a “Glee” singer- pretty voice but way too theatrical and fake emotion for me. Kree has a lively tone but I agree with Keith she needs to jazz it up a bit her performances put me to sleep. I’d rather hear her record than see her in a live show. My votes go to Candice…

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      How is Jesse J not current? Drake may be current but the song sounded old how it was mixed up, not my favorite song to either way, and it sounded older to me than the 80s Laura Branigan Amber did.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      How can you praise Candice for being the only current one in round 1? How is Jesse J not current (Angie)??? And while Drake may be current, with the way Candice mixed up the song, not that I care for it in it’s original form particularly, it sounded a LOT older than Amber’s 80s Laura Branigan Power of Love.

      • suzanne says:

        I wasen’t only praising Candice for being current- the point was that the judges didn’t. They talked about the Jessie J song as current but not Candices. And to be honest I never heard the Jessie J song before tonight so it wasen’t in my radar to mention it. And I think the arrangement of Candice’s sounded more classic/jazzy than outdated 1987 like Ambers.

  43. CK says:

    The judges are terrible, but Nicki Minaj is so ridiculous it’s hard to watch. Why of all people she thinks she’s in the best position to critique wardrobes is beyond me. This is the same person who dressed as a toy chest at the VMAs. When she says stuff to Candice and Kree like “I can’t talk about your vocal anymore.” I’m like WTF? That should be your first, second and third priority when you’re a judge on a singing show. That’s like watching Top Chef and the judges saying, “I can’t talk about how your food tastes.” It makes no sense.

  44. J says:

    I am too bored with this season to get angry.

    Candice took a Drake song and made it sound old. Kree is boring as a performer throughout the season, but the judges suddenly realized it. Amber is not great, and Angie is the one who seems to be most current, yet picked old songs tonight. Although I give her credit, she went modern several times this season, while other contestants didn’t bother.

    It was just a boring episode tonight. Jimmy Iovine seems ready to be a judge. Make it happen Idol.

    Keith said it best: They couldn’t find one hit wonders from the past decade?!

  45. forwarddad says:

    Yikes everyone breathe. Amber didn’t ask the judges to comment on her the way they did and neither did Angela. Vote forbwhom you want but no need to bash the other singers. And that includes Michael.

  46. forwarddad says:

    *for whom*. Why can’t we edit.

  47. I have been kind of rooting for Kree, despite the fact that I don’t prefer country music. Her concern for people is genuine, as evidenced by the video of her at the hospital. I sincerely hope that Melinda vehemently disagrees with Michael on this during the official Idology video of these performances though. Kree was not connected to the song and no way on this green earth did Kree sing better than any of the other 3 women in the 1st round. Kree got crushed on the duet when alongside Amber.

    You can’t fake being genuine though, and I senses a truely genuine nature about Kree and Angie in the vidoes of the hospital. I can’t say the same for the video with Candice. It was a tad awkard when she told the child lying in bed that she was on American Idol. The deadpan “I know” from the child said it all.

    • Kaba says:

      Kree CRUSHED Amber in the duet. No way around it.
      People will look at Amber because she has more power than Kree does to her vocals but oh my God Kree carried that song without having to oversing like Amber did.

  48. Nedsdag says:

    Miss American Idol indeed! Just end the competition and give Angie her tiara, sash, and bouquet of roses. I hope she says “world peace” in the judges Q&A competition.

    • Jasmine says:

      Oh my gosh! for the umpteeth time in a row, Angela doesn’t act like she’s in a beauty pageant! She’s just really passionate, that’s all! Gosh! You people are sooo jealous of this angel! Vote for ANGELA everyone!

  49. Brandon says:

    Amber and Candice were great as always, but they were right when they said Angie won the night. She was just so good. Amber, on the other hand…..zzzzz

  50. KP says:

    Except for Whiter Shade of Pale all song choices were boring to me. Also, It did not seem to me that any of the 2nd half songs qualified for one hit wonders, most especially Cry Me a River. All 4 girls can sing well, but to me, at least, Angie is the weakest, Kree has the prettiest voice.