American Idol 12: Ten Little Idols (Finals Round 1: Top 10 Perform)

So did you notice there are no WGWGs in the finals this year?  I guess the best way to ensure that a White Guy With Guitar doesn’t win is to not cast one.

There’s been no buzz from Idol about the Eleventh Tour Singer sing-off since the announcement was made after DVRs cut off last week… so it’ll be interesting to see what they do with that – and with the reality that they don’t have enough singers to fill out the planned schedule.  I expect either the “Judges’ Save” to come back, or a swerve tonight.

Anyway, we are down to the Touring Ten… and by tomorrow night, we’ll be down to Next Week’s Nine.  So, from Television City…

THIS! … is American Idol!

Apparently, we are starting without the judge from Mars – Nicki Minaj’s seat is empty as she’s stuck on the L.A. freeways… supposedly.  We shall see…

First up tonight on “Music of the Idols” night… Jimmy Iovine.  Damn, they didn’t fire his useless ass?

Curtis Finch Jr.
”I Believe” (Fantasia’s AI3 debut single)
They’re throwing their (arguably) most charismatic guy singer under the Death Spot bus… and he doesn’t help himself by meandering around any semblance of tone or tune in the opening lines.   And the rest of the song was kind of a lukewarm mess.  There were some good moments, but he never really seemed comfortable with the song or the arrangement.  If he gets through, it’s on personal popularity and not on the performance.

Apparently, Nicki’s limo arrived during the song, and she’ll be seated during the break… I wonder how many hours late she really is – I mean, you have to figure she’s supposed to arrive sometime before airtime, right?

Contestant #2 gets the Product Placement Zone treatment…

Janelle Arthur
”Gone” (by Montgomery Gentry, sung by Scotty McCreery in AI10)
No surprise the country girl covers the latest Country Idol… she’s got solid stage presence and a pretty good handle on the song.  This isn’t an Idol Moment, but it has to be enough to get her through another week…

Break… as I found out via email that I’m invited to the Jeopardy! auditions this spring in New York… OK, back to THIS show…

Devin Velez
”Temporary Home” (Carrie Underwood)
Interesting choice, as he’s hardly a country singer… and he sounds kind of thin doing the song, and there’s really not a lot of emotion behind it.  Really, there was nothing here to recommend him at all.   He doesn’t have the fanbase that Curtis seems to have, so he’s in danger, I think.  The audience couldn’t even be bothered to boo when Keith Urban panned the performance… that’s really a bad sign.

I can hear VFTW now, debating which of the guys to support, although I suspect they’re waiting for one of the guys in particular to perform…

Angie Miller
”I Surrender” (by Céline Dion, sung by Kelly Clarkson in AI1)
Oh, dear… between Iovine burying her (as the “beauty pageant” girl) and her choosing a song from the Evil Wind from the North… she’s in trouble with the usual AI voters (bored middle-American housewives and tweens).  It’s a song that lets her show that she can belt out a mid-tempo ballad, and (of course) she’s attractive and has a great stage presence, but… as far as song choices go, there had to be better ones… all kidding aside, she’ll get through this week.  And she remains an Internet favorite to win the whole thing.

I can’t understand why Iovine buried her… but I know VFTW is ready, as their most-likely choice is next…

Paul Jolley
”Amazed” (by Lonestar, sung by Scotty McCreery on AI10)
Iovine buries him, too, as a “Broadway” singer (who oversings too much).   It appears that he listened, as he didn’t go into a lot of histrionics… and in this case, the measured performance works better for him – unless he really wanted the VFTW endorsement, as I suspect they won’t find this fun enough to mock.   This was the best performance of the first half of the show.   Of course he’ll be back.

Now who will VFTW pick?  Well, there are five more singers, but… only two get the Product Placement Zone treatment… here’s the second one…

Candice Glover
”I (Who Have Nothing)” (by Ben E. King, sung by Jordin Sparks on AI6)
She seems like she should be a bigger presence on stage, but she’s kind of letting the song overpower her.  I expected a more vibrant performance – instead, it’s a static and by-the-book ballad.  She got a lot of applause (and milked the Idol Note for all it was worth), but if this is where she plans to be going forward, she’s not going very far.  She’s got a really good voice, but… the overall performance came up short.  I could see VFTW adopting this one because of their love (*cough*) for Jordin.

To be honest, while there’s a lot of vocal talent here, I don’t see many entertainers… they ALL need to work on that side of their talents.

Lazaro Arbos
”Breakaway” (Kelly Clarkson)

I really don’t have much to say.  I sympathize with his story, but he can’t come out at this point, fall flat on a song like this, and expect to stay around long.  I think we have our VFTW pick, and I think he may have put himself right in the bullseye tonight.  Simon Cowell would’ve called it “forgettable”.  The thing is, his story may get him votes this performance didn’t earn. 

I know Angie Miller is the crowd favorite, but I think the next singer is one to keep an eye on…

Kree Harrison
”Crying” (by Roy Orbison, sung by Carrie Underwood in AI4)
I just like her voice more than anyone else’s this season… and while this song doesn’t allow for much “stage presence”, she really ought to move around a little and involve the audience a bit more… but that’s a quibble.  This was a single-ready performance, and she’s probably already got a foothold on a career regardless of what happens on Idol.  She’s coming back next week.

For the record, Nicki Minaj needs help.  She’s clearly insane.  Just sayin’.

Burnell Taylor
”Fly Without Wings” (by Westlife, Ruben Studdard’s AI2 debut single)

Another technically-solid performance that a hard time going anywhere… no real indications that he had any connection to the song.  He’ll benefit from the almost-Pimp spot, but he needs to find something he can connect to if he wants to last very far into the season.

And now, the Pimp Spot – although being Pimped failed Vincent Powell last week…

Amber Holcomb
”A Moment Like This” (Kelly Clarkson’s AI1 debut single)
Nothing like going after the biggest Idol song of them all… and we have quickly discovered that Amber isn’t Kelly.  This was an underwhelming performance – she’s got a good voice, but the Idol producers so frantically sweetened it with vocal tricks (and, I think, what sounded like piped-in applause at one point) that it’s clear that they knew this wasn’t going to be a Moment.  It was good.  It wasn’t great.  She’ll get through, but we need to see something vaguely resembling emotion if she wants to make a run.

The recap

My bottom three: Curtis, Devin, Lazaro
America’s bottom three: Curtis, Janelle, Candice
Going home: it’s a toss-up – but I’m thinking Devin
VFTW pick: Lazaro (announced during the recap) – no surprise there

Tomorrow, Bon Jovi, Phillip Phillips the Phillipsest (singing the AI12 vote-off song, “Gone, Gone, Gone”), and that Number Eleven For The Tour sing-off.

See you then.  I have to start studying for the J! audition.

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Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

One thought on “American Idol 12: Ten Little Idols (Finals Round 1: Top 10 Perform)”

  1. Congrats on Jeopardy! None of the performers impressed me this week. I did see Minaj’s “waffles” critique (??!!), and I think her tardiness is the start of a power struggle to see what she can get away with. If so, at least that’ll be fun to watch.

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