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.

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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.”

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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…

CONTESTANT’S CHOICE
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).

ONE-HIT WONDERS
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+

DUETS
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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855 Comments
  1. nich says:

    Can Nicki point out when Amber was ever some girl on that stage because I haven’t seen it once. Last night was a joke.

  2. Jay says:

    I’m so glad I missed the show last night. The obvious bias of the judging is so aggravating, I can’t watch any more.

  3. Laura says:

    I was so annoyed with the show last night. The judges were disrespectful. Candice did a great job. I never heard of that Drake song before and Candice made it beautiful Amber is good too but McArthur Park was terrible. I think Cree is losing her confidence because of these idiotic judges. Angie’s just Ok to me. They are pushing the skinny Girls Amber & Angie . All about the look. Who cares if Adele won tons of Grammy’s & an Oscar. American Idol says you must be skinny to win. Who is picking these songs they are horrible.. Nicky Minaj is so rude telling Cree if she is here next week. This show is done and is off the rails.

  4. Donna says:

    The Power of Love – I kept thinking of the theme song from Back to the Future. That would have been a better choice. But Michael (and all the other anguished commentators) consider this: how would winning help Candice’s career? I frankly have a hard time seeing her carrying on with all the obligatory winner’s duties, and I wonder how being the winner would play out in the summer tour. Are all the silly little 11 year olds going to scream for Candice? Buy her records? She’s vastly more mature and talented and shouldn’t be put in the position of pandering to 11 year olds. Clearly the PTB want a chirpy, relatable plastic princess winner. I see Candice having a longer career trajectory than that. She could do worse than following in JHud’s footsteps. And the same goes for Kree, who needs to work on emotion and stage presence, just as the judges note. Both of them have career potential with legs (so to speak, since legs are a hot topic right now in the Idolsphere), regardless of whether they win.

    • marie says:

      Good points, Donna. Yesm look at JHud, and she didn’t get even as far as Top 4 (was it 7th place for her?). I have to remind myself, it’s only a stupid TV show.

    • syb says:

      Although I love Candice and am not ready to lose her for the season, it’s not even about her anymore. It’s about credibility of a show I’ve always enjoyed. Yes I know it’s not the first time the judges have whitewashed flaws of a contestant, praising something mediocre or worse to the heavens while nitpicking and giving contradictory advice to another less favored son (or usually daughter.) But I had irrationally hoped that new panel, and a panel of people who aren’t necessarily on the same page with each other or the producers might actually try to critique without sounding like they’re trying to sell me a timeshare in Amber Acres. It seems that whoever they hire to sit in those judges’ chairs must sign a contract to sell his/her soul, and dance to the company song.

    • teatime says:

      Candice can not just ‘follow in JHud’s footsteps.’ She can’t just wait a couple years and then acquire an Academy Award winning role in a major motion picture, and then become a well paid spokes woman for Weightwatchers. That is not just ‘what heavy set female contestants do when they do not win.’
      The winners of this show do not have to pander to 11 year olds. Millions of people watch this show and buy music from the contestants. Not that she will have any trouble being liked by 11 year olds. Plus if she or Angie wins the summer tour won’t end in a string of low-key ballads like it would if anyone else from this season’s top 10 had won.
      Winning would mean that she will get the recognition she deservers for stellar vocals, musicality, and some interesting performances. It also means a guaranteed album release and at least 1-2 singles that will be heavily promoted.

  5. Andrea says:

    What I don’t understand is that the judges criticize Kree for song choices…and then they DON’T criticize Amber for picking MacArthur Park. (And when Jimmy called them out re: that…they say that he hates the song, it has no bearing on her performance.)

    And…it doesn’t matter if the producers/judges influence public votes so Amber wins this season…I still won’t buy her album.

    • Jess says:

      Right. Amber was actually praised by most of the judges for her songs and was called current, but she sang a Celine ballad and a 70s disco song. Angie’s second song is from the 50s and was praised. Candice, meanwhile, was called “old-fashioned” when she’s the only one who did a song from the past 10 years!!

    • nix says:

      then don’t buy her album,. I’d buy her album. heck id even buy her concert tix. ur such a hater sigh

  6. Ann VerWiebe says:

    All I’m saying is that there have been a lot of one hit wonders that aren’t 60 years old (Julie London – are you KIDDING me?). American Idol has a staff – I’m sure plenty of those songwriters, who are now flipping burgers, would be happy to have their songs co-opted. And, don’t get me started on the Kree/Amber duet. Kree so obviously out sang Amber. I don’t know what the PTB have in mind, but fortunately at this point, they all four have a chance at a successful career.

  7. Cornucopia says:

    Missed the show last night, but two things: 1) Michael, you are hilarious and I love this article, Idology (never miss it), and just about everything you ever write. 2) I do not understand how Lythgoe and the producers are so incredibly dense about how their manipulation (as well as their insistence on “drama”) is a major part of what’s killing the show.

  8. jw says:

    Nigel’s manipulation goes against your selected winner and you’re pissed? But his manipulation the rest of the season doesn’t bother you as much? Come on…this show is a joke.

  9. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Amber looked bored throughout the whole show.

    • Amy says:

      Amber to me, last night, looked like she was coiffed to pose, and so…she looked like she was posing more than singing last night. Not that she wasn’t singing…just that all the posing, posturing, strutting and wearing of the big, peachy lips took all the attention. However…for me….it didn’t distract me to the point of not knowing that there were, absolutely bad notes, sharp parts in McArthur Park, thank you Michael & JImmy!! (bless his usually Amber-luvin’ soul for owning up to it!) for acknowledging what the judges were primed not to mention. It was not good. Not to mention, I’m with Jimmy…I hate that song. Any of us who lived through radio “killing and beating it to death” back when….well..there is just no coming back from it. I never want to hear it again…and definitely not on Idol from a 20-something y.o.

      • Amy says:

        Oh yea and….Nicki (I think?) saying “good for you for making it current”….I was like whaa?….how in the heck did THAT sound current? It was a karaoke replica of the 70’s arrangement…with sour notes. Thanks, Michael for calling that one out too.
        Honestly…all that obvious-to-ANYONE BS, last night…is what has killed whatever shred of credibility Idol had left…and soon it will make it unwatchable even to an Idoloonie, like myself. I stopped voting years ago. And on that…they SHOULD have fixed the voting to limit votes, rather than manipulate a “girl win” this year, instead…would have been better.

  10. Jaclyn says:

    It saddens me to think it, but clearly the judges hesitation on the brilliant Candice and her marketability and life outside the show is about her slightly larger than average body. Fat discrimination remains to be one of the last acceptable prejudices.

  11. hart K says:

    I think that all the contestants already knew that it was non-elimination week so they were just having fun by choosing not serious songs. Though someone is going to be eliminated,they judges will save her. My prediction about who will be eliminated n saved is Amber,in case to get more mercy from the voters.especially nicky who wants amber to win,but I hope that Kree will win,even if she doesn’t win,I will definitely wait for her album

  12. marie says:

    That imbecile Randy pausing for DRAMTIC EFFECT before crying out, “…In it to WIN it!!!!!”…for the gazillionth time…

  13. Jess says:

    Is it me, or is Mariah the judge that doesn’t bend to the will of the producers. She was the only judge to put Candice in her top 3. And last night Nicki using her time after Candice’s 2nd song to say Jimmy was wrong about Amber showed the agenda. That is another way you know they are pimping Amber and trying to wreck Candice. I took Mariah’s “Cue finale music!” as a way of saying to move it along because she knew that was all unnecessary. Part of the reason the producers don’t like her may be that she refuses to do their bidding.

    I don’t think it has been mentioned that Mariah told Kree she was unfamiliar with the first song Kree did, so Mariah went and listened to it before the telecast. That shows Mariah’s investment. Her comment that when she heard the song she heard the country/blues fusion that is Kree. In other words the song showed the kind of artist Kree wants to be. When Angie or someone does that, the judges love it and say they can see what kind of artist she will be. When Kree does it, they talk about how she needs to do something to stand out more. Ugh. I loved how after Kree’s second performance Mariah told her to feel good about what she did. It was like Mariah knew the others were going to criticize her, so she wanted to get through to Kree to tell it it’s not about her actual performance. Kree’s vocal on “Whiter Shade Of Pale” was perhaps the best of the night (definitely top 2 of the solos).

    • Flicker says:

      I totally agree, Jess!

    • deedee says:

      Completely agree with you about Mariah. She has been trashed all season for her rambling style, but she is the one who has valid things to say about *singing*. Plus, you’re right – she seems quite invested. Listening to a song to get familiar with it before the show is pretty awesome of her! Above all, I find Mariah sincere … and she’s learning to get to her point faster, too, so, points for being the most improved judge on the panel this season!

    • syb says:

      I have thought Mariah rather worthless as a judge for most of the season, but I think it’s clear that this season is going to be her last, and she doesn’t mind burning the bridge behind her.

      Lucky for us that at least one judge has some integrity left, even if it comes from bitterness about how she’s been treated– from the surprise hiring of Nicki Minaj, through the leaked report of the plot to replace her, to being called out for “not being a judge.”

      I will say, I didn’t find Keith’s comments to Nicki or Kree to be totally out of line. But he lost me with the OTT praise of the other two.

  14. Flicker says:

    1. To me, Amber sounded like she was lip-syncing on the first song (did anyone else think so? Old fashion song choices, brutal judging. Who knows, maybe there’ll be backlash?

    2. Why is Kree being so overly criticized for lack of emotion when Amber isn’t? That said, I think Kree is starting to disconnect herself emotionally from the show and all the crap around it.

    3. I cannot believe the rumors about replacing Mariah with JLo. Actually I can believe them. JLo will say whatever she is told and take the cheque. To my surprise, Mariah has shown she can sometimes be the voice of reason.

    4. Why doesn’t Candice get any credit for creativity, artistry? Her taking on Paula and Drake (albeit a bit subdued) are to me comparable to Adam L and Kris A flipping songs in awesome ways. Good on you Candice for those brave choices.

    5. I just went on itunes and bought a bunch of Candice Glover songs. Thanks for the recap, Slezak — I really needed it to process last night’s infuriating show. Can’t wait for Idology.

  15. Angie_Overrated says:

    Long time reader of your articles, and I’m usually 100% on board with you, but this is the first time I’m not.

    A) I don’t think Amber’s praise was unwarranted at all. Mariah hit the nailed it with her Summers song pointing out the low notes. There’s so much focus on the glory notes at the top, but most of these singers are flubbing the bottom. Candice and Amber are the only ones nailing the bottom. And her Dion song was excellent, even if it was a copy cat of the original. If someone’s criticism of Amber is that she sounds too much like Celine Dion or Whitney Houston, I’d say Amber is in a very good position as a singer. Just saying.

    B) Why are you softening on your Angie non-love? Let’s face it, people, her performances are consistently terrible. You’ve had it right all along that her performances are gag inducing in terms of being maudlin, over the top, and screamy. You’ve had it right this far, why stop now? Her piano ditty this week was embarrassing and deserved faint praise at best, and nothing close to a standing ovation. Don’t be giving her anything higher than a B and the B should be more for effort than execution.

    C) I love Candice too and I think she’s going to win, but I think you might be overreacting. She’s not going anywhere but straight to the finale.

    • Ed says:

      Actually, I think the low range is where Angie does very well. It is at the top end where she drives me crazy with her screeching.

      • deedee says:

        Agreed. Angie’s tone is quite nice in the lower part of her range (if I listen with my eyes closed, otherwise I get so distracted by the camera raping and dramatic faces that I can’t even hear what she’s singing) but the upper part is just screamy to my ears.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      Amber had a pretty weak lower register the other week to say the least though so you can’t say she always his the lower register and others don’t.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        That was also a low F or a low F#, don’t remember. Very few women can hit that note well, and even most male vocalists can’t hit that note. That was the fault of the person who decided the key, not her vocal ability. I’m talking about normal low notes down to about an A natural. Candice and Amber are the two who nail those. The other women fade to black.

    • Jasmine says:

      @Angie_Overrated — I can just tell by your screen name that you don’t like Angela at all! You’re such a hater! Her performances have not been “consistently terrible”. If anything, she’s been the most consistent along with Candice. I bet you can’t do what Angela does or Candice for that matter! You’re just jealous that a ton of people like her! Even if Candice wins, good for her. People will be excited. But I bet you more people would be excited if Angela won! She’s just that type of girl! Stop hating! Everyone vote for Angela!

  16. Jerry Thomas says:

    Last nights show was simply a joke… on the viewers that is,Nigel’s little attempt to increase ratings and what a great job he has done. Imo this will be a late April fools joke on the viewers because NO ONE IS GOING HOME :D tonight’s show will be a free pass for all of the contestants lol x) Nigel played his sheeple with his magic wand and directed them in the direction they needed to go :)

  17. Woodmeister says:

    I’m still naive and idealistic enough to think that AI is still about the singing. I know it’s not but I hope anyway… I really couldn’t care less about “performance” or what someone is wearing. When I “watch” the show I’m usually doing something else at the same time-reading or on the computer or whatever. Whoever can may me look up and take notice are those I remember. Last night I looked up three times: once for Amber; once for Candice; and once for Kree.

    It was the sweet sounds coming from Candice and Kree make me look and stop what I was doing to enjoy their singing. With Amber it was a WTF moment and not in a good way.

  18. Mark says:

    Since the show is renewed (i.e. let’s ignore whether it should be), is there any doubt that the most important thing that needs to occur for next season is the firing of Nigel Lythgoe?

    American Idol desperately needs someone in charge who is (a) going to get current or interesting songs sung by the contestants — period (b) is not going to resort to this nonsensical pushing of decidedly ordinary contestants on us.

    I don’t want to hate on Amber (lovely girl, often terrific singer), but last night she realistically earns a “D”. Her vocals were at best mediocre on each performance (and arguably bad on the second solo one). She didn’t really nail any high notes and her low register is just not very good right now. Those are B/B- vocals “if we’re being honest”. But the song choices are both “F”. And I’m sorry, the outfits? The pantsuit was from the 70s? The shoes in round 2 were from a streetwalker?

    Again, I really don’t want to hate on her but in the context of the effusive praise, I’m mystified. If she were not so clearly marketable because of her looks and her sufficient talent, we wouldn’t be talking about her at all. Instead, we are having her shoved down our throats. It was too much… Michael is right, that was one of the worst episodes of AI ever.

    • Mark says:

      Not the same Mark, but I agree with your points. The first thing that must be done for next year (face it–this year is hopeless) is that Nigel must be replaced or he should hire younger assistants and delegate authority to them. Next, get rid of this entire panel of judges. Sure, Mariah, Keith and Nicki have had their moments, but overall there is no chemistry whatsoever. They don’t belong in the same room, let alone the same TV screen. Randy has been stealing money for years. Nicki, whether you like her or not, is driving away viewers in droves. Cut back to THREE judges. This show started to go downhill when the panel was expanded to four. Cut back to three, give us less talking and more music. Update the themes. No more Burt Bacharach, Motown, and Lennon and McCartney. I can listen to them on my ipod when I’m feeling nostalgic, but these kids have no connection to that music and can’t do it justice. It’s BORING. Pay for more up-to-date songs. Give them more choices. And stop trying to write the storyline during the auditions. One year it’s country. This year it’s the women. Next year should be Latin, except it’s on Fox so that won’t happen. My point is, abandon the script and just let it happen. Oh, and fix the voting. Five votes per phone number–no more.

  19. angelstorm says:

    This show just makes me angry – I’m done with it.

  20. Ed says:

    I usually agree totally with Slezak but not this time. I thought that Amber did a pretty decent job with “Power of Love”, probably an A-. Mac Arthur Park is a sucky song and she didn’t do herself any favors with the chopped up performance. C.

    Candace did OK on both hers, B+/B+

    I didn’t care for either of Kree’s songs. Whiter Shade of Pale sucked in ’67 and it sucks now. B/C+

    Angie did fine, but how many times are we gonna be subjected to listening at her on the piano?? All of her performances there sound exactly the same, screechy and tinny in the high registers. B/A-

  21. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    I think Candice shoulda done that Blue Cantrell song from the Hollywood groups round, Hit Em Up Style, for either her choice or her one hit wonder. Maybe it would’ve been a bit different and a bit of a risk in a way but once you are to top four I think you need some of that. Something like that I think she could sang the heck out of (as always) but also done something a bit different than her typical take something remix it into an old sounding R&B and so on thing, she did really well on the Bee Gees and yet still that song didn’t necessarily let her just bring it to the audience. With the Blu Cantrell maybe she coulda totally rocked the place down and it would’ve shown her with the complete package as they keep on harping about lately, it may have really had that fire and brought her more currency. Angie’s voice isn’t as perfect in timbre and so in some ways but the last two weeks each song has been bringing some kind of fire or it factor or energy or whatever it’s called.

  22. Mafs95 says:

    I’ve been a Amber fan since day one (or at least since the first time she performed on Idol) and I find her voice to be one of the best in the whole competition. This girl can become something really big if she’s coached in the right direction. There hasn’t been a single performance of Amber that I didn’t enjoy! I always ranked her performances equally or higher than a B+- Until now… I’m sorry for my language because that’s not who I am but WHAT THE “FAQ” was that performance of MacArthur Park? The only words I understood were “cake”, “bake” and “recipe”. And that high note in the beggining? I was speechless after I listened to that performance… It was a C- performance, in my opinion! Why Amber? Why did you ruin everything? I was almost as big of a fan as Nicki before that performance. She was a clear 2nd place to me, now she can be 4th in all honesty. Ok, I loved “Power Of Love” so she can still be 3rd place.

    • nix says:

      cmon give her a break. one bad song chouce aint mean shes not worthy to be top 2.. I don’t think any of the girls can belt Power of love like the way she did,, tbh in my eyes.. shes already a winner

      • Mafs95 says:

        All the 4 ladies are very talented, so one bad performance is more than enough to make her in serious danger. The same applies to the other girls, even Candice who is my favourite. This was Amber worst week on the show so far.

    • Seriously... says:

      For me, wise ranking should be on overall performances, not singling out one. Everyone of the ladies has their own bad night.

  23. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    I think Kree was also hurt by her first song choice a little (second song choice was really good though) and she didn’t seem to be totally quite bringing it although it was certainly a fine performance. It was kinda sad to see her lights go out as they started getting on her though. And it seemed unfair when they continued doing that in the duet where they kept trying to hint very strongly, if maybe not ever directly saying it, that Amber’s presence or whatever totally outshone here there, when other than for the first part, I thought Kree was the one who brought it a lot more. She did seem a bit disconnected for the first third and Amber was doing some good things there but then Amber seemed kinda sleepy whatever the rest of the way vocally and Kree started to really bring it at times.

  24. Bob says:

    Just to add my two cents. I don’t know if this has been said before since I don’t have time to read through all 600+ posts.

    I am glad Nicki and Randy pointed out Candice’ over use of vocal acrobatics. I know that seems to be expected twith current singers (except for maybe country) and it bothers me. SHe has a beautiful voice. I just wish she wouldn’t go as far as she does, with the runs, or melisma or whatever it is called. In previous years I sort of remember calling out singers for just that technique.

    I like Angie much more when I don’t look at her. She has a tendency to hunch her shoulders when playing the piano – very distracting. Also distracting is her following and staring at the camera.

    Kree does have to get more emotional. However, she is also one who sounds better when you don’t watch her.

    Amber picked the wrong music last night. It is too bad Idol contestannts no longer seem to have mentors who can guide them and give valuable advice. When Amber has the right music, in my opinion she is unmatched by the rest in the top 4.

  25. Jess says:

    If TPTB think Amber is so marketable and is like a Rihanna with a better voice, WTH does she keep singing old ballads? They aren’t doing anything to actually make her current. They didn’t even have her sing the Rihanna song last night. So weird.

  26. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    It’s a very confusing top four. Even this morning, I’m a bit confused about what I feel about them individually or comparatively. You can make various cases in various ways for any of them.
    .
    I guess at this point Angie seems to be trying to bring more of that it energy or something the most consistently which is hard to not reward so it seems like she deserves to be in the final at this point.
    .
    But then Candice has even probably even more power with a smoother, mellower tone and over the entire season has never really had a bad performance even if some were not all that exciting or entirely micro-connected (which you might overlook if R&B of her type is totally your thing or might notice if, as in my case, that is not really the #1 ultimate thing in my wheelhouse). She started bring more of that rock week, on top of purely technically great vocals, although the style wasn’t her best match but then totally brought it all the following week. Last couple seems to be back more like it was earlier though, very well sung but not always my favorite song choice and sometimes not that extra micro-connection bringing it thing. It would feel somehow unfair if she wasn’t in the final.
    .
    Kree certainly has a voice and has done a lot of great things but a lot of times she brought things with a touch more country-styling that is a bit less in my wheelhouse, just a personal thing though, and sometimes there just seems to be a bit missing of that thing that just grabs you and makes you go wow even the performance is plenty fine. In some ways maybe you say her voice should take her above Angie and so on and yet somehow Angie just seems to be bringing it more.
    .
    Amber does have an effortlessly amazing voice often enough. And I was feeling that she was being badly under-rated on this website early on. But she has had some costly song choice lately I think and hasn’t quite ever really exploded the way I thought she might. And she went a bit wonky on some low stuff to start the other week and then has gone a little pitchy on some high stuff it seems (despite judges claiming pitch perfection (Randy in particular), but he has been known to say things to push an agenda). She doesn’t seem to have the energy or deep musicality that say Houston already had at this age. Sometimes she can be smoothly, easily, delicately amazing and largely technically perfect. But then sometimes she goes a touch wonky and I was surprised at how off she seemed when she tried a fully modern, fully uptempo the other week. I mean it wasn’t that off, but it kept making me think of what a contestant on The Voice did last season. It’s weird in some ways you can say she has more potential and is better than Candice or Kree or Angie and yet then again it’s hard to see putting her in the final instead of Candice isn’t it? or Angie? maybe even Kree? And yet there is something there so it’s hard to just toss of her off either.
    .
    I was never all Janelle crazy as some were super early on, although she did show some nice delicate touches to her voice so she was good, but then she went way country country for me personally for a while and I was feeling it much but then she started going more to that less country country and more delicate and smooth voice and coming up with some pretty interesting takes when the others were just being ultra safe and whatever and I think she even won a couple weeks because of that it could be argued even if the others were doing some more pyrotechnics. I get what she tried to do with some of her last few song choices but given the particular nature of the competition this season and how it was all set up I think they were not wise and they removed any of her hope to crack the top four. She above all needed to use the perfect songs and tones.

  27. sandi says:

    I hope that the judge’s blatant bias towards Amber will back fire. I thought Nicki and Keith have been good this season except for last night. The judges tried to torpedo Haley, Casey James, Kris Allen. Compared to the contestant performances, the judges get a FFFFF

  28. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    My gut is pulling for Angie I guess, especially now that she seems to be the one trying hardest to bring that top four sort of it factor and delivering some of that on every song.
    .
    And then it seems wrong to not have Candice there too I guess.
    .
    If Kree stayed away from her most country or country-bluesy side I’d probably be a lot more inclined to actually buy her stuff than I would some R&B from Candice though. SO it is a bit weird.
    .
    And depending upon what Amber did and how she pulled it off I might have to say the same though.
    .
    If Angie suddenly decided to or got forced to go full on CC/CP/CR I might not be so inclined to get her stuff though (I have a feeling she won’t go that way other than a track here and there though unless given no option to do otherwise).

  29. CharChar says:

    I was really angry by the blatant manipulation last night that Idol tries to pull off every year without trying to seem “obvious”. Amber has a lot of potential, but she needs vocal coaching. That interruption of Candice’s critique was so rude – there are no words.

    I also thought that when Ryan mentioned the twist, he also said “Kree”. I thought it was something like “There’s going to be a twist in the competition, Kree” from what I can recall. Another scripted moment on Idol or “genuine moment”?

  30. Ash says:

    Micheal, I used to look to you for reality in the world of Idol. Sadly you have been replaced by the wonder that is Nicki Minaj!
    Nicki was right. I don’t disagree with you that Kree and Candice are awesome, however song choice is killing them. They are so boring.
    Amber to go next. Kree and Candice need to wow us.
    What happened to exciting performances?! Like Haley’s, or David Cook’s or Kris Allen? These girls need to find that fire and realise that just to be able to sing well is not enough.

  31. WendyT says:

    You can all have your favorites and you can get mad at the judges but I don’t think you can hold them to being fair, logical and rational. The music business is unfair, illogical and irrational. Who becomes successful often has nothing to do with singing ability and there are many very talented people who never “make it.” I think the judges give their gut reactions and don’t think about whether or not they are making contradictory remarks; they’re all in the music business and they consider the “it” factor, attractiveness, whether the contestant writes their own songs, vocals, performance, etc. in varying doses without a lot thought. They say what strikes them at the moment because no one really knows what makes a successful artist.

    Kelly Clarkson is really the only successful person from AI, meaning a person who has had mainstream success and is a bonafide pop star (and who happens to be very talented) with a now long track record. No one else matches this–not even Carrie Underwood, who despite all of her success and record sales is still considered mainly country (nothing wrong with that, but she’s not mainstream — Clarkson has also had country success). The only other people who come close are Jennifer Hudson and Jordin Sparks, but their success can’t touch Kelly’s. And, yes, these are all women — LOL. The most AI contestants can hope for is that they will perhaps be able to make a living off music; becoming a superstar is remote. And the music business has changed so much since AI’s debut. More and more a performer must write or co-write his/her own material — this is why the judges get excited about Angie (and why Mariah is telling her to keep writing). They get excited about Amber because she’s young and pretty and has a good voice. They are less excited about Kree (who, yes, has a gorgeous voice) because she doesn’t even fit into a country music box that well and will never be a superstar since she has zero charisma. They are less excited about Candice because she isn’t an “artist” — she is an interpreter. She’s wildly talented but being an interpreter doesn’t cut it in today’s music scene. The same goes for Haley — another very talented singer: she cannot be packaged and she is mainly an interpreter. Her record has not set the world on fire even though it might be very well done.

    People say that Candice can be compared to Mary J. Blige. Well, MJB has been in the biz a long time and is a songwriter as well. Adele is a songwriter and so is Katy Perry. No, Amber isn’t a songwriter and neither is Jessica Sanchez (another stellar singer). I think AI has had high hopes for the latter but I don’t think her debut single has done that well. So maybe an Amber type won’t bode well either. Looks, youth and a good or even great voice are no guarantees. It worked for Whitney Houston but that was a far different time. It worked for Mariah Carey, but she has always had a hand in songwriting. And she too debuted long ago.

    I hope AI or another competition (The Voice) will consider emphasizing artists who write or co-write their material or use an independent songwriter. They are really about the only ones who have a chance to succeed in the music business these days. This would also keep things current and maybe ratings would rise.

    Still, I have a fondness in my heart for AI. I’ve watched it from the beginning and all through the years as the train wreck gets worse and worse. I guess I’ll watch to the bitter end out of some kind of affectionate loyalty, but yes it couldn’t be more irrelevant. :-)

    • Matt says:

      How is Candice not an artist? Her re-arrangements of “Lovesong,” “Find Your Love,” “Straight Up,” etc. show true artistry.

      • WendyT says:

        She’s an interpreter. It doesn’t mean she isn’t talented at this, but she needs to write her own material.

        • Matt says:

          Why does she need to write her own material? Frank Sinatra didn’t, Whitney Houston didn’t, Celine Dion didn’t…

          • HitTheGroundRunning says:

            You certainly don’t have to. That said it does help one to avoid becoming a one hit wonder.
            .
            It’s is MUCH easier to avoid that if you are full on artist who writes or at least has a big hand in writing their own stuff.
            .
            Yeah Whitney Houston did none of that but she also had like THE greatest voice (plus tremendous innate musicality) of the last hundred years (ignoring opera types who are so different there is no way to directly compare).

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      I agree with much of what you said but I found “The same goes for Haley — another very talented singer: she cannot be packaged and she is mainly an interpreter. Her record has not set the world on fire even though it might be very well done.” pretty puzzling.
      .
      I mean she had a HUGE hand in writing all but one of the songs on her album and it wasn’t 10 songs of fluff like most initial Idol albums and the way she can jump into so many genres. Her record actually set many a review on fire but she got no big push didn’t pay to feature her on pop radio or itunes front page and the one single they released for her was the only one she had no part in writing. P2 also had a hand in his debut and avoided 10 songs of travesty.

    • teatime says:

      @WendyT your comments about Idol success are all over the place. You suggest Carrie Underwood isn’t that big a success because she is in country and not pop? Then you suggest JHud and Sparks are the next big successes apparently because they went into ACTING. . . since in terms of music sales and song writing there are about a dozen other contestants who have sold either more than them or in the neighborhood of them.
      — Start of rant —
      What is the about AI and all the complaints that more contestants are not literally among the biggest names in the industry? Does America’s Next Top Model have to become a mega international superstar or else the show is pointless? What is the expectation for Project Runway winners? Or Top Chef contestants? Or contestants from every other singing show? Somehow it is solely the incredibly talented and successful American Idol contestants who are constantly criticized because they somehow did not meet some unrealistic fan expectation.
      — End of rant —
      Music Producers are greedy. They are always looking for the next Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga who can rake in tens of millions of dollars in a year because, well, that is an absurd amount of money and it is an outside possibility in this industry. But it is not realistic to expect that to happen for anyone in the industry let alone any given contestant from any season of this show.
      For the producers I guess their main hope is that they can immediately cash in on the post-show publicity. Promotion is a huge part of their budget for any music they put out. They get a lot of ‘free’ publicity off of the show so they want to strike while the iron is hot and get a platinum or multi-platinum single or album out of that first album cycle. Amber’s looks can be expected to help push a music video so maybe they think she is their best bet right now for a multi-platinum single or two right off the show, with some current songs that they might already have picked out. Other very talented contestants such as songwriters or nuanced singers like Candice or Kree might have longer music careers but maybe a little less chance for an immediate cash-in. So the producers who are on the hook for whatever the winner is going to put out in the next few months mostly just care about what they see as the short term potential.

  32. Matt says:

    I love how Mariah doesn’t care about TPTB. She’s the only one who had Candice in her top 3. And last night when Jimmy came on stage, she says loudly: “Are we really going to blame Amber for choosing the song, though?” I think she was referencing the fact that contestants get such a limited list of songs to choose from.

  33. soundscene says:

    My two cents:
    (1) Idol producers need to stop thinking about which contestant can be the most successful after the show. It doesn’t matter. Success after the show won’t bring new viewers to the next season. The Voice hasn’t had much success with its winners, but it still seems to be thriving. Besides, success in the music industry is extraordinarily difficult. Being on Idol is a double-edged sword. It does give you exposure and a better likelihood for a record contract, but mainstream radio looks down on most Idol contestants. The two exceptions: powerhouse pop female vocalists and country singers. If you’re male and pop/rock/anything else, or female and not a power vocalist, you’ll get one, maybe two hits and one really successful album–best case scenario. For the TV show, it doesn’t matter. Make the show the most entertaining it can be and forget about trying to get the most marketable contestant to win. The manipulation has been obvious since the second season and it’s simply NOT WORTH IT.
    .
    (2) Fire all the judges and hire the next panel with specific focus on chemistry. Don’t hire simply because the person is a “name.” It’s NOT WORTH IT. Hire more obscure artists or record execs if, together, there is chemistry. Paula, Simon and Randy worked because they had chemistry with each other, not because any one of them was a particularly insightful judge.
    .
    (3) Get rid of Jimmy Iovine.
    .
    (4) Expand your song book. Even older songs that have never been cleared for the show before would be refreshing. Get rid of the lists and clear songs on the fly. Idol’s producers have already admitted that it’s not difficult to clear songs and the reason new songs aren’t added isn’t because of the money. So just tear up the lists.

    • daynamonet says:

      About clearing the songs, I ultimately feel like the contestants have MORE CONTROL than we think. If they actually think outside the box and don’t settle for whatever is on Nigel’s list, then maybe there would be more interesting song choices

  34. MaryK says:

    Thank you Michael for validating the fact that I have not gone completely insane!! At one point I was screaming at the TV.My kids were laughing at me calling me “Simon”. I was really happy with the 4 remaining girls– looking forward to the show and then it all changed.After Candice’s performance. and the judges ctitique I thought that’s kind of odd but when Kree was ripped apart I was really mad and by the end of the standing O for MacArther Park I was I don’t even know– I can’t go there again….loved your review though….Jimmy has become the voice of reason…very strange indeed

  35. Jess says:

    And since we now pretty much know Mariah is the only judge not acting as a mouthpiece for TPTB, isn’t the reality that Mariah is actually the most honest judge? She’s the one praising Candice and Kree when everyone else is pushing for that Angie/Amber finale.

    • deedee says:

      Do you think there was an “I get to voice an actual opinion” claus in her contract? Seems that way. Unless … unless it’s all part of the sinister plan to have one dissenting opinion so the show doesn’t look scripted. LOL, Idol machinations (or the suspicion of them) have become part of the fabric of my life. Sad. So, so sad.

    • syb says:

      I expect that’s because both AI and Mariah have already decided she won’t return for a season 13.

  36. Tim says:

    Why even bother watching this show when The Voice is so obviously superior?

  37. Amy says:

    Gotta admit…Angie won me back a little…maybe even more than a little, last night. I loved the Jessie J performance. That was the artistic, raw “Angela” I liked during her original. Then something went weird on her for me the rest of the season. But last night, had to give her props…all her performances were good and a step up. I’m 100% with Mariah’s great advice last night to remind her, her ticket to success is in her ability to write, as well as sing.
    And contrived as it might have been…and as easy a sappy, push-over as I might be for this but…the grandma moment, worked. Was touching and I felt Angie handled it in a way that worked for her and seemed authentic and sweet.
    There…that’s a lot from me who’s been bashing her the past several weeks! LOL…that’s all I got though….:)
    A Candice, Kree, Angie top 3 is what I’m hoping for, and think there is a good possibility for Candice/Angie finale now. I still love Kree’s vocals, but understand that some “blood & guts” seems missing from her performances…but I did not agree with the harsh criticisms she got last night. I’m hating the Amber pimping and anyway, just feel she should be next in line to go.
    I have a feeling no one is gong this week.

  38. nix says:

    I don’t understand how they can put some writer/reporter like Slezak on this site where he trashed whoever he feels like it. its an insult to all of us to sit here and read through the rubbish that he wrote about Amber. I’m not her fan but guess what? I think shes a great vocalist and a great person if you get to talk to her later . You should not have talk like that about her it’s unnecessary. I agree with the person above that everyone is entitled to their choices. U have yours and you may like Candice or Angie or whoever but that doesn’t mean you should make amber sound so bad when shes not. Amber caught my attention she she first sang My funny Valentine and I haven’t been disappointed ever since. She’s going to be famous and making albums when shes done with American Idol. You’re such a bad reporter I only came here for a recap.. not a trash cap

    • Mafs95 says:

      I don’t think he trashed Amber. He usually says nice stuff about her performances. He doesn’t go crazy like he does with Candice, but that’s his own preferences like you have yours. What he wrote was mostly true about Amber tonight. I think “The Power Of Love” was great, but “MacArthur Park” was just not good and I’m a big fan of her. She had awful diction problems and that high note was soooo flat. I think what irritated people, such as Slezak, the most was the fact that the judges didn’t give her the slightest critique and told her she gave a fantastic performance when she obviously didn’t. In Top 4, she needed to play with all her strenghts and instead of doing that, she gave the worst performance she ever did on the show. I hope she’s safe this week actually so she does have one more chance to show the true Amber that I fell in love, the one who sang “I Believe In You And Me” with a HUGE smile!!

    • Seriously... says:

      We feel the same in everything nix. Thanks for saving me the space..

  39. db says:

    Mike you said it perfectly. I am confused. When P2 bloomed last year – it came with volcano. But most of the stuff wasn’t that great before that only okay. Their threshold seems to have been lowered even though they sing well they don’t bring it. The silly critques last night – even by the aussie I will not name – left me confused. Good job bud.

  40. TVDIVA says:

    Slezak – your column shows exactly why I do not watch Idol anymore – I just get too upset when the judges seem to be all wishy washy like they got marching orders to confuse the contests. How can any of them sing with confidence if one minute behind the scenes the judges and producers love them all equally, and the next minute none of them can sing? So rather than throw utensils and dishes at the TV screen, I wait for your wonderful recaps and go listen to the songs on Youtube or ITUNES. Keep up the great work. Love your recaps.

  41. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    Good grief I can’t believe Jimmy’s freaking take on White Shade of Pale on the results show and how he blasted it and Kree. Gimme a freakin break. The only thing corny as hell in that bit was Jimmy.

  42. Larali says:

    I couldn’t stand a bit the oldies song selection. Really. This time it was toooooo much. Oldies and not even goodies. Lift music. So boring!

  43. Zen says:

    Okay. I may be the only one who feels this way, but I thought the judges were completely (well, almost) spot on last night. I don’t deny that TPTB are clearly favouring Amber and Angie at this point (Trust me, I was an Elise fan last year, and a Haley fan the year before so I know how it feels like when it feels like the show is plotting against your favourites). BUT i feel like Slezak is just sensationalizing it all. C’mon, Nigel might have plotted to bring Angie’s grandma to the show but there’s no way he could have forced her to cry and then plotted that lovely moment on stage.

    And about the performances, I realise that Slezak is clearly a Candice fan. I am too. In a fair world the finale should be Candice vs Kree, but Candice’s performances this week were really not that great. Yes her voice was stellar as usual, but her take on “Find Your Love” was incredibly loungy, and absolutely did not work. Changing the tempo of a song and adding some jazz-tinged runs doesn’t always make something great. NONE of the runs she did worked for the song. The melody was almost not recognizable anymore. It worked with “Love Song” incredibly, but it didn’t with Straight Up and it doesn’t with “Find Your Love”. I really really wished that she would have kept the original beat of the song to prove that she can do current, urban songs. I’m sure Candice will watch it back and agree. This was no Love Song or Ordinary People.

    Sure we have to applaud her for the bravery and her effort in always trying to make the songs her own, but when you want to take such a big risk, you have to be prepared to accept big criticism if the risk doesn’t work. Amber, as usual did not even bother with taking any risks, musically. She stuck to what she’s good at (Power of Love) but she absolutely killed it! Her vocal performance was almost perfect on that song. Slezak giving her a B- is just blatant biasedness. At this point doing something safe but absolutely nailing it is better than taking a huge risk that unfortunately failed. MacArthur Park was a bad song choice, but I think the judges praise stemmed solely from how impressed they were at Amber’s glory note in the song, and it was glorious! It was sort of like a Siobhan Magnus “Think” moment. One crazy note made everyone forget everything else.

    I thought the judges were spot on with their criticisms of Kree as well. Yes Nicki Minaj went overboard, as usual, especially in her critique on the duet. But Keith’s critique was excellent. Kree put no where near enough feeling into her body on her first song, which is what everybody, Slezak included, has been asking her to do. And her second song was just, as Keith said, very middling. None of those performances were anywhere close to the heights of Crying, Up to the Mountain or Help Me Make it Through the Night.

    Angie in my opinion, even though I usually can’t stand her, clearly clearly won the night. All in all, I am glad they get another week, and I really hope they all blow it out of the water next week. Cause it is just getting disappointing.

    • teatime says:

      I did not care at all for the strident Whitney/Celine ballads back when they were actually original and current. They just sound like a pretentious excuse to me to show off that you can hit certain notes for the sake of hitting them. That is not why I listen to or enjoy songs or music. Amazing vocals is great, but I like to hear them as part of a song that I love for other reasons and not just as a vehicle to show off exceptional vocal skill. 25 years later when a new artist starts off by covering those songs I have every reason to believe that new artist will probably never put out an original song that I would actually like. To make things even worse, those songs have been covered so many times on these singing shows it also shows an amazing lack of originality in choosing material that might be interesting.
      Now, if some contestant were to change up a different song and turn it INTO a Whitney/Celine style power ballad, that might impress me. I don’t think anyone has done that yet.

  44. Zen says:

    I apologise for my previous loooooong post. I just also want to add (LOL) that perhaps some people have been ‘pre-judging’ performances based on the leaked song lists. I too thought Amber would be horribly boring on Power of Love when in fact she was amazing. Similarly, I thought Angie was going to go back to her bag of tricks with the Jessie J song, but found myself surprisingly engaged.

  45. Anybody'sGame says:

    And who are you people to give ratings on the songs? A, B,C,D whatever. State your credentials to do so. If you’re not a musician just say what you like about the performances.

  46. Dom says:

    Michael, while I agree with a lot your reviews, I just don’t on this one.
    First of all:
    – Amber was dreadful on both songs (close your eyes and you’ll never want to listen to any of her renditions in the car) – she hit the notes but boy was her voice devoid of any warmth or depth
    – Kree is usually incredible but I agree a 100% with what Keith said, if she wants my vote, she’ll have to show me she wants this and for the past couple of weeks she was more like a lukewarm Coca-Cola than the passionate beast she was at the beginning. I fastforwarded through her second song fyi
    – Angie tries hard (sometimes too hard) yes, but boy were the songs current when I closed my eyes! I could easily have this on my favorites playlist tomorrow
    – Candice reminded me of Mary J. Blige yesterday. On both her songs, she had that melodic comfortable R&B groove, but it’s not enough for me to vote for her. She and Angie are my favorites but boy does she need to sing something else!! MJ is a star but I would never vote for anyone who sings her type of songs because they’re simply to comfortable

  47. WishesRandyCouldn'tSpeak says:

    Wow, haven’t posted on here since last year. Anyway, personally I was mad last year that Jessica couldn’t even win and only started watching again as soon as I saw Candice come back in the auditions – was so damn happy. So I rooted for her until I saw Amber with My funny valentine – hot damn, her voice this entire season alone has made me a true fan of hers. And I felt so bad for her that America just wasn’t rewarding her as she so deserves. Yeah she gets comments praised by judges, but thats because shes not getting any votes – keep in mind she had like ZERO footage of her until My Funny Valentine, while Kree Candice and Angie all generated enormous foundations of fans by that point. And yea sometimes the judges do praise her too much but seriously if you’re not gna get mad, throw fits, etc. when the guys were clearly derailed this entire season then u can’t just get all uppity now when things don’t seem to be goin ur way. I love Candice, but her first performance and Kree’s for that matter were off for me. I dunno, i just wasn’t feeling them and agreed with the judges.

    I agree with Nicki that at this point, it’s useless to talk about vocals cuz all 4 of em deserve to be here based on that. Now it’s more about who can u connect with etc, and for me I like everyone but Kree – she’s just boring for me sorry. And damn, Angie has made me a fan of hers, bring me to life, i surrender, halo, and pretty much everything has been spot on and I feel her passion and her fight SO much I just want her to win so she can have her moment. I dunno, random thoughts I guess. For me, Candice has to be in top 2. Other than that, Amber or Angie but I don’t mind any of the 3 winning.

    • TheGirlsRock says:

      I think Candice and Kree have gotten most of the praise…. some of it well deserved. Jimmy started the Amber thing, I think, the others have since come on board. He has something to gain which is why I find his commentary objectionable.

      I’m with you on Angie. I really think this is her dream in the truest sense. I don’t feel it is at all fake as some would believe. I think she is guilty of being a little naive in the most pleasant youthful way. I do think she’s thought about this extensively much of the way the Rachel character on Glee foresaw her stardom. It’s pure … I think…and refreshing and for that reason and the fact that she can flat out sing I’ll be voting for her till I learn otherwise.

      Those of you that won’t vote for her because she happens to be pretty in her own way…well all I can say is wow… that is sad.

      • Jasmine says:

        100% agree on Angela! She is hungry for it, which is why I think she should win! She also has an amazing voice and wonderful personality! However, I just hope she has that same desire and drive AFTER the show is over, whether she wins or not. They always say that the pursuit of what you want is more desirable than when you finally have it. Vote for Angela!

        • HitTheGroundRunning says:

          It’s a constant fight though. Just winning Idol even doesn’t mean you have it. She’ll have plenty fight for after. Even the biggest stars have to try to maintain it and it ain’t easy.

          • tonya says:

            OK THIS SIGHT IS SO RACIST THEY TOOK MY COMMENTS OFF ABOUT AMBER.ALL THESE FOLKS ON HEAR TRASHING AMBER PUTTING HER DOWN.AND YALL TOOK MY COMMENT OFF.OK I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW DID YALL GET MY INFO AND I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM THIS SIGHT TODAY NOW TAKE THIS OFF.AND I DIDNOT CURSE SO I WANT TO KNOW WHY YALL HAD A PROBLEM WITH ME STATING MY OPINOIN ON AMBER.

          • HitTheGroundRunning says:

            Why the heck do you keep posting your racism rants in response to my posts? The post you responded to this time didn’t even mention Amber’s name! I haven’t been slamming her anywhere either. In fact earlier in the season I was even saying that I thought a lot of people might be under-rating her.

  48. tonya says:

    READ MY COMMENT AND REPLY BACK WHO EVER SIGHT THIS IS.AND I STILL SAY AMBER IS GOING TO MAKE IT REGAUDLESS AND ALSO THE JUDGES DONT MANIPULATE PEOPLE.HER FANS HAVE THERE OWN MINDS AND THATS WHO THEY LIKE.AND I STILL SAY SOME OF THESE PEOPLE ARE BULLIES AND THEY ARE RACSIT.ALSO SHE WILL BE BIG AND THE JUDGES WILL STILL LIKE HER IF SHE DID LEAVE.AND YOU STILL CANNOT CHANGE THAT HA .THIS COFIRMS WHAT I WAS SAYING ABOUT PEOPLE COCERNING AMBER HATERS!!!!!

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      Maybe you can say some of that but as for your call that this blogger is racist? Where do you get that when he says that he loves Candice more than Kree and keeps tossing off Angie like she doesn’t exist half the time? Why does he have Melinda as his partner? Why does he praise Fantasia like crazy then?? Why did he love Amanda Brown on The Voice above all others?? etc.

  49. daynamonet says:

    Ok everyone rest easy; First off I have to say while my favorites are both Candice and Amber (with me wanting Candice to win) I was also a bit disgusted at the judges for the critiques they gave Candice and Kree and the standing ovation for Amber on BOTH songs. I mean Power of Love was debatable, but MacArthur Park, really? I was like wow, there’s definitely some shady stuff going on. First off Amber on contestants choice singing “Power of Love”, I mean she sounded great, but of all the songs to pick, she picked power of love, I would’ve preferred her to do a whitney song again if you ask me, I would’ve actually appreciated it more and believed more that it was her choice. And also her outfit was amazing, I was like go Amber and the hair, however, with the outfit she had on, I really expected her to have done a different type of song, like something more funky, more R&B, a little more beyonce-esque, but whatev; And we need to commend Candice for being the only real risk taker completely flipping that Drake song and making it her own, although the vocal wasn’t at her best, I still feel like she should’ve been commended for taking a risk and being dare I say it CURRENT, unlike Amber choosing Power of Love. Mariah was the only real voice of reason during Candice’s performance but what’s up with Randy saying Candice is a “church girl” when really that’s been the farthest from my mind esp after her performing a Drake song. Moving on to Kree’s first performace, which I actually enjoyed and loved that she tapped by in to her bluesyness, but the judges totally trashed her. That’s the first time she’s done a song like that really since evidence (same artist) and I liked it a lot. I do agree she needed to show her grit, but her vocal was solid and she was growlin and hittin those notes. Nicki making the comment about them “blowing smoke up her ass” was just cray cray, if that’s the case it needed to have been said for amber. I also feel much of the critique they gave Kree was about 5 or 6 weeks overdue. I mean maybe if they hadn’t been blowing smoke up her ass in the beginning she would be coming off as more interesting now. I don’t have much to say about Angie, she was the best this week, she killed it and I was impressed, and after her duet w/ Candice I realized that a Candice/Angie finally, but then I digress b/c I think it’ll be easier for Candice to beat kree or Amber. I do think Angie and Candice want it the most though and have the most passion. Absolutely classless how they discussed amber during Candice’s critique and how they praised Amber so much on the duet w/ Kree. Honestly I think Kree definitely better vocally and the adele song just fit her voice more. I do have to admit they’re both stiff. Oh, and as far as nicki minaj trying to figure out who the Candice fan is, no need to look father than right her, because I AM a Candice fan, I also won’t find it surprising if many hip-hop/R&B artists and producers are knocking on Candice’s door once the show is over whether she wins or not (hopefully she will) and I won’t be surprised NICKI is Drake is one of those artists. All in all I LOVE Amber but she’s not going to learn anything if the judges keep “blowing smoke up her ass” she could probably benefit from the constructive criticism the most. Really she has all the goods, she just needs to pick the right songs. If she picked better songs (more current songs), was actually getting mentored and judged, we would probably be having a very different conversation. Please don’t hate on Amber though its not her fault she’s not getting the proper guidance. Also this week she’ll have no choice but to sing a current song b/c the theme is Now and Then. And I’ll do u one better the Then is “standards” and the Now is “Hit songs from 2013” so she really has no choice but to go current. I think it’s going to be a test this week for the contestants, but mostly for the judges. Really they all have enough money anyway especially Mariah, so why do they care if they actually TELL THE TRUTH, and not do everything that Uncle Nigel says?

  50. Dayrah says:

    I thought it was funny that Kree sang “A Whiter Shade of Pale” while she and Angie had ridiculously overdone fake tans this week. HAHA
    (I’m assuming they’re fake since the idols probably don’t see THAT much sun every week).

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