American Idol 12: Revolution Nine (Finals Round 2: Top 9 Perform)

So… it’s the annual mugging of the Lennon/McCarney songbook on Idol tonight.   You never know if Sir Paul might turn up for this – he’s been a pretty good sport about it, even though he no longer owns most of the songbook.  Lest we forget, Michael Jackson bought Northern Songs, then merged Northern with Sony’s music publishing wing.  So except for a few early tracks, tonight’s royalties will enrich Sony and the Jackson estate.

This, of course, is why the RIAA wants to stop you from downloading music.

THIS! … is American Idol!

For the record, I had named this blog before the start of tonight’s show.  Really.  Yes, “Revolution” was the backing track for the intro.  I feel… awkward…

All four judges arrive on time for tonight’s show.  I guess losing Curtis Finch Jr. last week wasn’t really enough for Nicki Minaj to walk away.  Yet.

Canadian Idol alum Carly Rae Jepsen has connected with the Big Red Sponsor for this year’s ill-fated Perfect Harmony competition – a weekly chance to vote for lyrics, staging, and more for her finale performance in May.

There is some pending business – will Charlie or Aubrey get the eleventh spot on this year’s Idol Tour?  It’s…

  • Aubrey ClelandVFTW couldn’t pull Charlie through.

Oh dear… they’re tossing Kree under the Death Spot Bus.  After being Top 3 last week, she could well be Bottom Three this week… AND we get more of Jimmy Iovine?   WHY, IDOL, WHY?

Kree Harrison (last week: Top Three)
”With A Little Help From My Friends” (Sgt. Pepper)
We get a reminder that Kree is an orphan (losing her dad at 12 and her mom at 19) as this week appears to be “backstory week” in the vignettes.  Maybe that’ll counterbalance her leadoff spot tonight – of course, going out and flat-out killing this track doesn’t hurt, either.  Great start for the evening – arrangement, voice, look… she got it all right.  She’s good enough to win Idol 12, if only she weren’t female…

Thing is, I’m not sure any of the guys can steal this.  The casting really has been set up to try to get a girl to the top… if a guy wins this year, a girl may never win again…

Burnell Taylor (LW: 7)
”Let It Be” (Let It Be)
He didn’t know the song coming into the week… so he’s already in trouble (and the lack of support last week means he needs help)… and he’s in more trouble from the first note… I not sure where he’s going with his voice – and neither is he.  It’s a simple song that he made far too difficult.  He did recover a bit near the end, but barring disaster for other singers, he’s going to be at the low end of the standings again this week…

Of course, the judges thought it was the best thing since sliced bread… go figure.  No, wait, I promised to ignore the judges this season.  Forget I typed that…

Amber Holcomb (LW: 5)
”She’s Leaving Home” (Sgt. Pepper)
I’m not sure there’s much to say… she did the song, it sounded nice, and that’s about it.  It’s a mid-pack performance by a mid-pack singer who’s going to be #4 or #5 again this week.  Nothing exciting, nothing wrong, and no signs of charisma or connection at all.  The acknowledgement that she didn’t know the song before this week explains it… but I’ve seen her three times now and she’s… um… just there.

Two hours for 9 singers drags.  Badly.  But FOX is selling enough advertising to support their entire network, so do they care?  Probably not.

Lazaro Arbos (LW: 4)
”In My Life” (Rubber Soul)
OK, they’re setting low expectations in the pre-roll vignette… apparently, he had problems with the rhythm of the song in rehearsal.  I’m not sure this was a good song choice.  He doesn’t seem sure whether to truly make it his or to try to stay true to the original… and isn’t really doing either.   I don’t think he’s a top 4 singer, but the audience does.  I expect another too-high ranking this week.   Apparently, he’s the victim of a last-minute switch – so while understandable, it’s still not a good performance.

Really… we have a generation of karaoke singers who don’t know the Beatles’ catalogue?  I blame our failing educational system…

Candice Glover (LW: T3)
”Come Together” (Abbey Road)
First singer since Kree (almost an hour ago) who projects the least bit of confidence and – dare I say – swagger… and it shows through in the performance.  I like the way she handled the song’s odd lyrics and edgy quality… she’ll be rejoining Kree in the top 3 this week, no doubt.   Clearly I missed something in her performance last week, but this week, she stands out.

One of these weeks I’m going to remember to jump into the DVR about an hour into the show and breeze through it… the long judge segments are just killing the momentum…

Paul Jolley (LW: 8)
”Eleanor Rigby” (Revolver)
For the singer written off as “too Broadway” last week, this song is a good choice, as he can overact a bit telling the story behind the song.  Unfortunately, he starts out very thin and a bit screechy… might’ve been nerves, as he gets the song back under control and then turns on the Idol Flourishes toward the end.  I think he deserves to get through, but I thought that last week and he wound up in the bottom three.  To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s there again.

It seems that part of Paul’s problem is that he wants to do country and his voice wants to do pop.  If he doesn’t figure it out, he’ll be gone from Idol in a hurry…

Angie Miller (LW: T3)
”Yesterday” (Help!)

She gets a tour through the Product Placement Zone… before taking on one of the most beautiful songs in the Lennon/McCartney songbook.   It was a bit theatrical (maybe slightly too much so), but that doesn’t matter.   This was a perfect showcase for her voice, with a stripped-down arrangement that focuses completely on her.  This might just qualify as one of this season’s Idol Moments.  I’ll be stunned if she’s not the first one into the top three tomorrow night…

Idol is putting last week’s lowest-ranked girl and lowest-ranked guy in the pimp spots.  Makes sense, right?  We’ll see…

Devin Velez (LW: 9)
”The Long And Winding Road” (Let It Be)

He also gets a Product Placement Zone trip, probably in a last-gasp effort to save him… he’s giving off a Vegas lounge-singer vibe on this performance, and that’s not a compliment.  It’s a good performance, but nothing jumps out as terribly memorable.  I don’t know if it’s enough to find all those voters who didn’t vote for him last week… he could be in danger of leaving.

And to wrap it up, this season’s Blonde Country Chick.

Janelle Arthur (LW: 6)
”I Will” (The White Album)
Choosing a less-familiar track can be a mixed blessing… but this track allowed Janelle to showcase her vocal range nicely.  She’s still looking for a Moment, but it was a strong performance that ensure she’s got another week in the competition.

The recap

Top Three: same as last week – Kree, Candice, Angie
Check, Please!: Paul or Devin

I can see another couple of weeks of guys getting voted off before one of them (probably Burnell) starts picking off the girls.  Although the talent would lead us to a two-girl finale, it’ll never happen.  Whichever guy gets out of these next couple of weeks makes it to the finale.

Due to my commitments to VCU Rams Radio studio ops (and their NCAA “Second” Round game tomorrow night), there won’t be a recap of the results show until Friday morning at the earliest.   That’s OK, it’ll be anti-climactic.  It’s too early in the season for the annual surprise vote-off, I think…

See you… um… soon.

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Author: Rob Hoffmann

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

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