of 10: American Idols Remixed
chasing one dream. Four (or is it three?) judges waiting
to pass their criticism. One judge stuck on the 405. Add
it up, and it is the greatest spectacle of talent until
"The Voice" premieres in two weeks.
From Studio 46, CBS
Television City, Hollywood, America... a phrase that will be
oft-repeated... "The countdown to the finale is ON."
CBS Television City, Studio 46
After 11 years, it's finally
come to this... TODAY'S THEME INGREDIENT IS.... (musical flourish)....
THE SONGS OF THE AMERICAN IDOLS. Any song from the show or the winners'
post-show portfolio is fair game.
First up to sing for your
votes is Curtis Finch, who wants to be the next Luther. There can only
be one, but the closest thing American Idol produced was ... Fantasia?
He'll deliver "I Believe", season 3's coronation single.
THEY SAY: Keith says he
knows who he is, but he oversang it. Randy echoes Keith, but warns him
to try something a little different. Mariah wants to hear more of the
WE SAY: If you're going to
be a cat, be a tiger, but you need to match or BEAT the winner. And that
was a fierce song to begin with. That said... He nailed the tone. I
wouldn't have chosen the Will Smith jacket, though. I'm not a big fan of
the arrangement or the sharp notes, but Curtis sang the hell out of it.
I would've chosen Ruben, but he'll be around for a long time yet. But
Randy is correct, you need to diversify yourself if you want to get
Nicki is finally here, and
so is the pride of Oliver Springs, TN, Janelle Arthur. She needs to
stand out in the sea of young, female, blonde, country artists. She
needs to find a balance of being a country artist and being commercial.
She'll sing Montgomery Gentry's "Gone", which broke Scotty McCreery out
of those doors that were locked with the lights turned low. Will it do
the same for her?
THEY SAY: Keith liked the
female turn on it with the Leeann Womack runs. Nicki thinks she needs to
sing more "pretty" songs, but she's not 1000 percent on her song choice.
Randy said that the song didn't go anywhere. Mariah said Janelle gave us
a star performance.
WE SAY: Scotty attacked this
song when he did it. Janelle... not big on attacking. It's simply
verse-chorus-verse, walk, sing with the band, walk... Very safe
performance and not stand-outish at all.
Devin Velez says that
ballads are his sweet-spot. He can do a lot of contemporary stuff, but
will he try it tonight with "Temporary Home" by Carrie Underwood, a song
he connects with emotionally.
THEY SAY: Keith thought it
was the wrong song. Nicki disagrees 100 percent, saying that it was
"him". Randy thought it was safe. Mariah thought he could do so much.
WE SAY: Scared. Deer. In
headlights. Bad song. Bland singing. OWNED.
Angie Miller has owned every
stage she's been on, but she tends to go into beauty pageant mode.
She'll try to break out of that with Kelly Clarkson's round of 4 song
from WAY BACK in season 1. Will we surrender to Celine's "I Surrender"?
THEY SAY: Keith is pleased
by Angie's amazing range. Nicki says she personifies "perfection".
Randy: "The competition starts now!" Mariah had only one word:
WE SAY: ... no, still
pageanty. She performs the song with her whole body. It's a good show,
it really is. But we're waiting for the breakout, something that's going
to come forward, slap you in the head, and say "Here I am". This wasn't
it. But it was good.
Going into the half with
Paul Jolley, a perpetual oversinger. He needs a simple song, and he
needs to sing it simply. He's going to sing a simple song, "Amazed" by
Lonestar. We all remember two years ago when Scotty did it.
THEY SAY: Keith thought it
was one of his better performances. Nicki's "sexual appetite" is
stimulated. Randy thought it was a good song choice, but cautions not to
go for it unless he feels it. Mariah echoes that.
WE SAY: You know the old
saying "Don't think, feel"? Paul would do well to heed that advice,
because it seems to me that he was thinking way too much about the
performance. He tries to avoid oversinging... and ends up oversinging.
Or compensating beforehand. Just sing it.
On the other side of
halftime comes Candice Glover. Her parents have flown for the first time
to see her compete on this stage. First thing she sings is "I (Who Have
Nothing)" from Ben E. King, as sung by Jordin Sparks in season 6. With a
drum beat behind it.
THEY SAY: I think the
standing O speaks for itself. But the line of the night: "It would be in
everyone's best interest to never perform that song again... because you
just annihilated that song."
WE SAY: An interesting take.
A good arrangement. Candice emoting. Simply put... a brilliant move from
start to finish.
Next up, Lazaro Arbos,
hoping that his stammer will take a break for 90 seconds, long enough to
take on "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson off her sophomore album.
THEY SAY: Keith could feel
an emotional connection, but that song was not in his wheelhouse. Nicki:
"Que paso hoy, yo no me gusto..." Randy agrees with the other two.
Mariah says some rubbish about courage.
WE SAY: Pick. Another. Song.
Kree Harrison takes down the
8 spot with her tone, her range, and her confidence. She needs to
undersing "Crying" by Roy Orbison (as done by Carrie during season 4).
Ray Chew's advice: any time you get a moment, take it.
THEY SAY: Keith delivers the
"phone book" axiom, saying that if she made a record tomorrow, he'd buy
it. Nicki thought it was smooth, delicious, fun, and enjoyable with
waffles. Mmmm... waffles. Randy loves her. Mariah is happy that America
gets a chance to see her sing.
WE SAY: I hope Janelle was
taking notes. That was nice and subdued, underplayed, but at the same
time, she took her moments. It was pitch perfect, and the tone was
Next up, Burnell Taylor.
Don't worry if you don't know who he is. Nobody does. He hopes to change
that with season 2's coronation single. Westlife did it. Ruben Studdard
did it. Now it's Burnell's turn with "Flying Without Wings".
THEY SAY: Keith says that
his timbre is unique and eccentric. Nicki says that he's "well on (his)
way". Randy likes that he twists songs to fit him and that he believes.
Mariah likes where he went melodically.
WE SAY: Hate to say this,
Burnell, but you're up against three R&B singers, and of the two that
sung before you, you were outsung by BOTH of them. Very nasal. Very
White smoke on stage. Does
this mean another new judge?
And taking the closer spot
tonight... it's another as-of-yet-unknown Amber Holcomb. Closer's an
important position. She's got to leave us with something. Will she do it
with "A Moment Like This", the ORIGINAL coronation song from the
original American Idol.
THEY SAY: Keith is a fan of
that song for her, Nicki says the best of the night, comparing her to
Whitney. Randy says she blew it out of the park. Mariah: "#pow".
WE SAY: This is one song
that you just don't want to half-ass. And it isn't until the bridge when
Amber finally gets into it. But a good close.
Time for our results show...
THE ONE IDOL TO RULE THEM
ALL (this week): Candice
KELLY CLARKSON: Curtis, Angie, Kree, Amber
JENNIFER HUDSON: Janelle, Paul
WILLIAM HUNG: Devin, Lazaro, Burnell
... and the reigning Idol
gets to take the stage tomorrow. One will take off.