American Idol 12: From A Buick 6 (Finals Round 5: Top 6 Perform)

There’s a sense of predestination on two counts this week… it’s almost guaranteed that the judges’ save will be used this week (even if Lazaro goes to the guillotine) as I believe this is the last week it can be used – which means the “elimination” could well be planted by the producers to provoke sympathy for someone… and with the Bacharach-David theme for half the show, these singers (none of whom are older than 24) will be floundering badly… VFTW is already over the moon about tonight.  Not sure about the rest of us.  Well, here we go…

THIS! … is American Idol!

Based on the opening montage, the real question now is “Who shot Burnell?”  It appears both of the women on the judges’ panel would have saved Burnell… and so would Keith.  So did Randy pull the trigger on him?  And why?  We’ll probably have to wait for the tell-all book…

We go live to Television City… where Sir Anthony Hopkins is in the audience?  Really?  We start with the trainwreck round… I mean… the Bacharach-David round…

Round 1

Angie Miller
“Anyone Who Had A Heart” (Dionne Warwick)
Not bad… not quite Dionne, but a solid performance.  A very good showcase for her vocal talents, but missing something from an entertainment perspective… I think I have to agree with Keith Urban – we need to sense that she felt something about the song.  Definitely a good start for the show, though…

This segment really sums up my problem with the show’s format.  The singers get 90 seconds.  The judges prattle on forever, especially when they have nothing to add.  Why not let the singers sing a little longer?

Amber Holcomb
I Say A Little Prayer” (Dionne Warwick)
Another solid performance – and one that she needed, as she’s been kind of on the edge for a while.  There were moments where she faded behind the backing vocal, but generally, she did a good job.  I’m not raving about it as much as the judges, but it was definitely one of her better performances.

And now, the trainwreck.

Lazaro Arbos
Close to You” (Carpenters)
This was all far too Vegas for me – acting out the song without any real feel for it.  It was OK – certainly not as bad as his worst performances, but nowhere near as good as what preceded it.  The judges piled on a bit, finally thinking they were free of being nice about Lazaro’s “struggle” because the performance kind of fell flat.

That was more painful for the judges’ all-out trashing… no, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as they portrayed it, either.

Kree gets to visit the Product Placement Red Zone… before…

Kree Harrison
What the World Needs Now is Love” (Jackie DeShannon)
Gutsy move, starting out with minimal accompaniment – but she can carry it off.  I was worried this was going to be a bit sleepy at first, but she did get into it a bit.  As always, a solid vocal, but I’m not sure it’ll resonate with the voting audience.

No break… right into the second half of the Country Girls Segment…

Janelle Arthur
“I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” (Burt Bacharach)

I don’t know how she got stuck with this overwrought bit of Bacharach-David excess… but give her credit for not standing like a statue at center stage.  Instead she took an OK song and used it as an excuse to work the crowd and make the performance better than the song.  It might be a show-stealer.

The judges are even more out of touch than usual tonight, for the most part.  That’s all there is to say about that.  Oh, and for the record, the Nissan “Daniels from Accounts” ad is, perhaps, the most phenomenally stupid advertisement ever to air on American television.

Candice Glover
“Don’t Make Me Over” (Dionne Warwick)

I guess I can repeat myself – good performance, but another one standing stock-still at center stage and belting rather than showing any genuine emotion or connection.  I blame the theme.  It was a very good job with a song she may not have had any business singing.

And with this, let’s bury the Bacharach-David songbook and keep it buried.  Wrong music, wrong generation, wrong group of singers.   Let’s pretend this first hour never happened and pick up… AFTER THE BREAK!!!

So after a dreadfully dull first hour… let’s get current… more current… something like that.. it’s “Songs You Wish You Wrote”…

Round 2

Angie: “Love Came Down” (Kari Jobe)
Coming in, this was one song I didn’t know… so I’m curious to see what we get.  She starts back on the piano.  And she shows the power of having a connection to the song she’s singing… we hear a passion and a depth that her first performance probably had no chance of having.  In the B-roll, she said she wanted this to get her to the Top 5.  It might have done more than that.

OK, so the show started a few minutes into the second hour.  And yes, I downloaded the original Kari Jobe version because of this.  It was that good.

Amber gets the Product Placement Red Zone treatment – and is trying not to talk about her… “friend”… Burrell.   OK, like we honestly care?

Amber: “Love On Top” (Beyoncé)
Wow, she’s struggling with this one from the first note… and never quite got a real handle on the song.   Right after a song that Angie clearly connected with, we get Amber just sounding lost, both vocally and thematically.  The crowd roared, but I’m not a fan of this performance at all.

Please note, there’s a disclaimer a few weeks back that I really don’t connect with Amber’s style at all.  So this really could be me.   Right now, though… batten the hatches, it’s Lazaro…

Lazaro: Angels” (Robbie Williams)
Oh.  This was brutal.  You almost have to wonder if he figures he’s either going to go through or get saved, and he could mail this week in.   This was a pointless performance and I want those 90 seconds back.

This time, he deserved the dumping-on.  To quote the late Roger Ebert, “I hated hated hated hated hated it”.  Who’s next?  Wait, Kree has the chance to be current, but she’s doing Kris Kristofferson?

Kree: Help Me Make It Through the Night” (Kris Kristofferson)
Ah, she’s probably influenced by the Martina McBride version… and I can hear that influence in the performance.  I’m not saying that in a good way.  It was just… there.  She can probably get away with something less than her best, but not often. She’s got an awesome voice, but there was no fire here at all.  She’ll do better next time, I hope.

Were the judges wrong, or was I?  It’s all a matter of opinion, right?  Right.  And this is my blog, so my opinion is also right.  OK, back to the Two Hours That Killed Idol…

Janelle: “The Dance” (Garth Brooks)
Another country ballad… but the difference between Kree’s song and Janelle’s is that there was that connection here that wasn’t there for Kree (although Janelle’s Idol Note fell a little flat).  Still another solid performance from the one singer who’s improving week-to-week and who has found her niche.  She is reaching the point where she probably doesn’t need to win to have a solid future in Nashville.

We’re turning for home (although you can argue we may never have actually started)… one song to go before… well… is anyone voting?  We get the strangest song choice of the night… AFTER THE BREAK!!!

Candice:  “Lovesong” (The Cure)
Influenced by Adele’s version… and man, can you hear it in the first 5 words.   But give her credit, she got into the song and while not quite making it her own, she made it work really well.  An impressive way to close out the show (although I have doubts about the “best performance ever”).  It was good.  Really good.  Not that good.

The Recap

Nobody’s going home.  The judges have to use the save to keep the show on its announced schedule, so Lazaro’s absolutely terrible performance will be rewarded with a return trip.

I’ll be away from my keyboard during the results show tomorrow, which will be good for my sanity, so I’ll do the fast-forward recap later in the night.  They’ve announced Kelly Clarkson and Scotty McCreery as their alums-coming-home.  See you then.


Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, slightly less occasional improv player/ref/tech, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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