This is the right Top 2 based on the whole season. Candice is arguably the greatest vocalist to ever hit the Idol stage and Kree has been more consistent than anyone other than Candice. Since we are forced to compare this to the last all-female finale, Candice is Fantasia and she should run away with the win from Kree who is Diana DeGarmo if Diana DeGarmo was someone I cared to remember anything about.
I’m going to do this by rounds like a boxing match. Though if Kree was a boxer, the ref would spend the whole time pulling her apart from her opponent. She likes to hug.
Kree deserved better than “Angel.” It’s a slow, boring ballad that has no resemblance to anything she will be singing post-Idol. I want to say that this was Simon Fuller’s way of sabotaging Kree to elevate Candice but “Chasing Pavements” was no better. Kree sang hers well but only because she did nothing to change it. Candice tried to do something with hers and it came off adequate. I didn’t like Candice’s lower register (after 12 seasons of watching Idol and a handful of Voices, Sing Offs, and X Factors, I can confidently use singing terms) at the beginning. So do you reward the person who sang the best without taking chances or do you reward the person who tried something unique and didn’t necessarily succeed? I’m going with the former because Kree still deserves kudos for not quitting the show when they made her sing about digging two graves after her home package.
Round One: Kree
There was nothing like Phillip Phillips’s “Home” this season. Kree’s “All Cried Out” was a catchier song but she uncharacteristically missed a lot of the big notes at the end. Candice’s “I’m Beautiful” was a terrible song that she Miralaxed.* Both songs had messages that really fit the way the producers wanted us to perceive Kree (dead parents) and Candice (hideous). This round comes down to what song you would rather hear on the radio. That makes the decision easy.
*sang the crap out of
Round Two: Nobody
Kree reprised her “Up To The Mountain” from Vegas Week and added a choir to make the vocals soar up to heaven. Those vocals went through the pearly gates and sat down at a nice table with Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton’s original face. It was a nice way for Kree to go out. Candice reprised “I (Who Have Nothing)” from Top 10 Week because Simon Fuller made her sing an Adele song earlier so we miss out on another take on “Love Song.” It didn’t matter. This was the perfect ending to a near perfect season for Candice. The acapella Bo Bice-esque opening was flawless.
Round Three: Candice, by a what-they-don’t-let-Kree-sing mile
Should Win: Candice
Will Win: Candice
My entry in this week’s New Yorker Caption Contest.
The final 3 singers get a week of little responsibility as a reward for making it this far. They get to be lavished with celebration after celebration in their hometown. They get a day named after them that will be celebrated for at most one more year unless they win American Idol. Then it’s 2 more years unless they are Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. They get to cry a lot. We get to cry with them. It’s all well deserved. Finally, they don’t have to worry about song choice because it’s up to Jimmy, the judges, and the “production team” to give them songs to sing. Doing it this way makes it easier to force Kree to finish third.
Kree Harrison - “Perfect” - This is a terrible song choice for her. Isn’t she supposed to be the next great country star? This was as awkward as when they made Blake Shelton sing Maroon 5 on “The Voice.” Should Kree have changed it up and tried to make it fit her style? Sure, but I’m betting there’s even less time to prepare with traveling home, not to mention the other 2 songs she has to learn. Jimmy wanted to see her do a pop song. Well, she did. I hope he’s happy in his “Please offer me candy and kidnap me from the playground” attire.
Candice Glover - “One” - This is a predictable (and terrible) pick. He should have picked any other U2 song as that would take her away from the Mary J. Blige version. She sings so much like Mary J. that it can only be compared to it. Also, any time I have to think about Bono is a ruined life moment for me. I dislike his music with the same passion he throws into making the world better. It’s in direct proportion. So keep doing good, Bono, and I’ll keep regretting every time I can’t change the radio dial fast enough. Respect.
Angie Miller - “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” - I know she sang it well but ever since I’ve realized she’s the inevitable winner, I can’t stand her. She hasn’t had a moment in the live rounds. Was there ever a winner who didn’t have a signature performance with America voting? She sang that original song and that carried her to the finish line. Could it have been that good? It was so long ago, I can’t remember.
Candice Glover - “Next To Me” - Isn’t the point of picking a song to find one where the singer can have a moment? She should have gotten a cool, jazzy ballad and not a pop song. How much money did Emili Sande’s record company pay to get two songs on the show? That’s the only way to explain her getting saddled with this. Though, it would have been to mean to give it to Kree. They did enough to her. She sang it well but it did not fit. And the judges should know better.
Angie Miller - “Try” - Keith and Randy high-fived after she performed it. The force from their joy of picking the perfect song for Angie almost knocked off Randy’s Rydell High pin. (Side note: Can someone run Randy over with Greased Lightning?) The song really worked for Angie, though. This was probably the second best performance of the night and her best of the live rounds. Still not a moment, though.
Kree Harrison - “Here Comes Goodbye” - Let me first say that “Kreem always rises to the top” is the worst pun I could fathom for her name. That town has to try harder. This was Kree’s only good performance of the night. It was the right song. Too bad it had the most unfortunate title. Is there not a song by Dixie Chicks called “I’m Glad I Finished Third?” There has to be. Maybe they couldn’t get the rights cleared in time.
Angie Miller - “Maybe” - Was this picked by Jeff in craft services or Molly in lighting? Who is this “production?” It’s funny that Angie’s clearly worst performance of the night came at the piano. That’s her thing. I guess it just shows her growth. Which doctors have said there’s nothing more they can do. It was so shouty. It was like she was singing next to a construction site and only she could hear the jack hammers. Not the best but it doesn’t matter. She has a Phillip Phillips-esque following and we know how that worked for him.
Kree Harrison - “Better Dig Two” - At least it was a country song so there was that. Not cool to give her a song about digging two graves after all that dead parents stuff but it was never her night anyway. Do not collect $200, Kree. You’re done. Get out of here! Kree-treat!
Candice Glover - “Somewhere” - That made my mom’s life! What a vocal! If Angie is automatically in the finale and it’s between Kree and Candice for the last spot, it has to go to Candice. She deserves the finals just for sitting through Nicki trying to tell her how inspirational she is for singing while not being skinny.
Should Go Home: Kree
Will Go Home: Kree
It was Then and Now Week on American Idol which allowed the contestants to show us their takes on standards and the music of 2013. Forcing the contestants to sing songs from this year drove the average age of songs sung this season all the way down to 86.
Harry Connick, Jr. was the mentor for the women this week and he was fantastic. He gave great advice and led me to wonder why there weren’t more mentors this season. Was it too much effort to provide help to the singers? There’s a surprising lack of spending for a show that generates so much money. How come they only get 15 songs to choose from in a particular theme? Next season, for Divas Week, everyone sings either the song from Titanic or the song from The Bodyguard. That’s it! Come on, Idol. Spend money. Clear songs. Hire mentors. Give me a job. Do something. Preferably the last thing.
Angie Miller - “Diamonds” - Angie doesn’t get enough credit for doing her own arrangements of songs. (Candice too.) So let’s give her 10 points for changing the arrangement. That will bring her ultimate total to 11 points for this performance. It was not good. It was sleepy when it wasn’t screechy. She really missed that big note near the end. Very unlike her. Oh that last point was for singing a song from 2013. It’s like how you get points for putting your name on the SAT.
Amber Holcomb - “Just Give Me A Reason” - When Ryan leaked that someone was singing this song, I wanted it to be anyone but Amber. This song is so good and has so much feeling that it needs to be sung by someone who has feelings. Amber has not displayed feelings. And once she does, that’s when the Ambers will rise up and destroy the humans. It actually started out very nice but it veered off towards the emotional parts. Humans live to see another day.
Candice Glover - “When I Was Your Man” - She should win. She won’t. But she should. She has to be in the Top 5 All Time Idol Contestants. Has to. The judges decided they liked Candice this week which was probably not the result of every Idol blogger ripping them apart last week. Didn’t like how Nicki said she liked Candice again and then asked her if she lost weight. 10 more pounds Candice and you can be a superstar!
Kree Harrison - “See You Again” - Kree spent the whole week trying to get back to connecting with songs. Look at what I found by user “KHBalanced” on the Idol message boards - “Missed Connection: You were a Black Crowes song that deserved better. I was a singer that gets prettier every week.” It sure sounds like her. I give her credit for going above and beyond. She sounded so good and her eyes showed emotion. Great performance by Kree. And if I may, get back to her, “She Talks To Angels.” You guys deserve another chance.
Angie Miller - “Someone To Watch Over Me” - She’s a Disney princess and I know Nicki said that too but I wrote it down in my notes before she said it so I’m keeping it. Birds should hold her microphone while chipmunks stab Randy repeatedly in the neck! You know, like in Cinderella. She excels at these songs. It still wasn’t amazing but she can sing a standard much more naturally than she sings her rock songs.
Amber Holcomb - “My Funny Valentine” - This was the best she’s sung all season. It finally felt like she knew what she was singing. When the human race goes extinct, it will all be because of a New Orleans-based crooner and his wonderful advice. Well, you’re not getting out of this one early like you did in Independence Day, Mr. Connick, Jr. Amber’s crying dad really boosted her chances of staying this week.
Candice Glover - “You’ve Changed” - She was flawless. Again.
Kree Harrison - “Stormy Weather” - This was not as bad as I will make it out to be but it was a letdown for being in the last slot of the show. I think this was the result of Harry Connick, Jr. telling her not to do runs. She kept fighting with being herself and staying true to the respected mentor’s advice. It felt like a mess. And I think we’ll be seeing another entry from “KHBalanced” on the message boards.
Bottom 2: Angie and Amber
Should Go Home: Angie
Will Go Home: Amber
So many people mistype Macklemore as Michael Moore on the internet. So what if Michael Moore did make “Thrift Shop?”
Dear American Idol,
This is the most angry I have been since Top 3 week with Haley Reinhart and the JLo/Randy debacle. There has to be more subtle ways to play up an agenda than what you did last night. I get that Amber is a very marketable young woman. She has a booming voice and a body that can be dressed up any way stylists want but she is not outperforming the other 3 women on this show. She may be able to eventually but the show is about right now.
I long for the days of Simon. He would have taken her “MacArthur Park” performance and given it the verbal beatdown it deserved. He would say, “I felt like I was at a pageant or the British equivalent of a pageant.” Amber sings every song like it’s the theme from “The Love Boat.” “Here’s your lei and why don’t you get a refreshment from Isaac? Enjoy your stay and remember to smile. I always do.”
Now, let’s discuss Kree who was the tonight’s equivalent of an American Idol toilet. (Which you can get from Sky Mall. It comes in Mariah or Randy.) What did Kree get for having her strongest night in weeks? A label of being too complacent after previous high praise and how she’s ultimately destined for the Bottom 2. Look, Kree is going to be fine. With how previous terrible Idol contestants moved on to solid country careers, Kree is going to take that world by storm. The same storm that should clean her Andy Dupree-style after crawling through 500 feet of whatever comes out of Randy’s mouth.
And where did the Nicki Minaj tongue-lashing for Kree come from after the “Rumor Has it” duet? I’m pretty sure Amber forgot to sing her part a few times. So Amber takes a frightened deer stance and gets credit for carrying herself like a diva? I don’t get it. Would it be so hard to push Amber on us without unfairly taking Kree down?
They were less obvious with Candice in terms of criticism. In truth, it was one of Candice’s worst nights. (Still better than most people’s nights.) I just don’t understand how they could disrespect Candice by further discussing at length Amber’s MacArthur Park performance during Candice’s judgment time. Candice had to stand there and smile while they talked about Amber. Do they not know that Candice can hit a note that would shatter Amber into a million tiny pieces? But she doesn’t because she has grace.
It’s disappointing that the shoving of Amber down America’s throats took away from the actual competition and the great night that Angie had. Angie deserved to be the focus of the night. For her to win Top 4 week by outperforming the other 3 is an achievement she deserves to be praised for in every Idol recap blog. Instead, we have to spend our time writing about the producers and their manipulation. Why can’t reality singing competitions be pure and about the artists like they used to be? What happened to Hollywood?
Going Home: Nobody because they have to waste a week to finish the show at the scheduled time.
Sean And Kevin For Wild Kingdom’s Next Wild Guide
Sean and I made a video entry in the Wild Kingdom’s new web series contest.
Music by Kevin MacLoed (Incompetech.com)
This week, the girls got to sing the Idol-favorite theme “Songs From The Year You Were Born” and then, due to lack of male genitalia, got to sing the songs of “Divas.” Because of how good these girls have been all season, there are expectations that they will be all-time great every week and that’s not entirely fair.
I have a theory on Mariah Carey. They have cloned her Multiplicity-style and have been rolling her out in reverse order of dumbest to most rational. That’s the only way to explain how she has gotten more constructively critical each week. And also the only way to explain how, during the whole episode, she kept asking Randy if she was next to talk to the contestant.
Finally, I’ve been sick for a few days now and I was pretty cranky while watching so I took it out of all of the singers.
Candice Glover - “Straight Up” - She was born in the year 1990 when bad was good and clothes could be worn in any direction. She gave a jazzy, big-voiced version of the slowed-down acoustic thing Andrew Garcia did a few seasons ago. This was my favorite performance of the night. Impressive to not be a huge letdown after her monstrous Top 6 week. This is how I expect Anchorman 2 to be. But funnier.
Janelle Arthur - “When I Call Your Name” - She was born in the year 1989 when bad was not good and clothes were worn as God intended. This was the song that made her stop crying when she was a baby. It must be because it put her to sleep. I don’t think she missed any notes but I didn’t care. She’s a twangy disappointment.
Kree Harrison - “She Talks To Angels” - She was born in the year 1990 which we covered. As a child, she was obsessed with red cowboy boots. Does this mean she’s going to be the mother that Ted Mosby reveals? Can I stop watching that show now? I love Kree and she’s my favorite on the show but this was not the best. It got rambly. I’ve noticed Kree sometimes looks like she’s annoyed to sing a big note.
Angie Miller - “I’ll Stand By You” - She was born in the year 1994 when good was grunge and I was in kindergarten. She dedicated it to “her home Boston” and that gave her the permission to be terrible. This was the worst I’ve heard her sing. And yet she got a standing ovation. Should I have mentioned that this blog is dedicated to New Jersey for getting through Hurricane Sandy? I forgot to do that. That should cover me for not having anything to say this week. A standing ovation? For me? You shouldn’t have, single reader.
Amber Holcomb - “Without You” - She was born in the year 1994 when I was also born and this song was not written. I never understood why people get to do covers of songs. Isn’t every song covered every year? Regardless, she hit a lot of big notes but I don’t ever get the feeling that she knows what she’s singing. Or how to sing it differently. She’s an amazing-looking, gorgeous-voiced karaoke singer.
Candice Glover - “When You Believe” - This was a predictable song choice executed very well. This song is done every year on Idol. Never this well but every year. I don’t understand why. They have been told for 12 years to never attempt Mariah or Whitney but I guess if they are both involved, 2 divas make a right. I’m glad we got “Straight Up” tonight because this was superb blah.
Janelle Arthur - “Dumb Blonde” - All I can say is someone wants to go home. How do you choose a fun, upbeat song for the “Divas” portion of the show? Stand in the middle of the stage and sing the biggest notes you have! No one has ever done well when they find themselves singing and walking around the judges’ table. Congrats on making the Top 5, Janelle. Go home.
Kree Harrison - “Have You Ever Been In Love?” - She nailed it. Remember what I said about Janelle? That’s what Kree did. Stand still and belt. The standing ovation felt like it was owed to her for previous performances. It’s like when Russell Crowe won for “Gladiator” after he should have won for “The Insider.” For a front runner, she really hasn’t gotten that many standing ovations. I shouldn’t complain though. There’s more than enough of them being given out this season as it is.
Angie Miller - “Halo” - I thought she was going to do something cool with it on piano. Can we tie her to a piano? Why can’t she always play piano? We can call her “Piangie.” It’s perfect and she’s ruining it. With that said, she did a great job. I hate this song but she really sang it well. I’d go so far as to give it my second favorite of the night.
Amber Holcomb - “What Are You Doing With The Rest Of Your Life?” - I felt like I was watching a PBS telethon but I can’t afford to donate enough for a tote bag based on this performance. Leave Barbara to Glee where it doesn’t matter how old fashioned it sounds. I’m becoming more convinced that Amber needed one more season to learn how to sing or get hungrier. She’s coasting on a big voice. She’s had enough time now to develop into the star she can be and it hasn’t happened. Idol wants her to win but it’s not meant to be. She’ll go home next week the latest.
Bottom 2: Janelle Arthur and Amber Holcomb
Should Go Home: Janelle Arthur
Will Go Home: Janelle Arthur
The shipping on these bowling shoes is ridiculous! Otherewise, good deal!