American Idol 12: 5 O’Clock World (Finals Round 6: Top 5 Perform, Part One?)

Fox has kind of lost the plot – they’ve announced that the Top Four will perform two weeks from tonight, May 1.  So… either the save that was supposed to be unavailable at this point will be used tonight… or they’ll just decide that the Top Five (or Top Four) is a two-week show… or, as one of my friends mentioned on Facebook, they’ll decide that after the atrocity in Boston on Monday, they can’t send someone home now.  Just for the record, if Fox pulls that stunt, I won’t be blogging (or watching) the show any longer.

Keep in mind we’re into an area Idol has never travelled.  There has always been a male contestant at this point – until now.  Will tweens and teens tune out with no “cute boys” to watch?  For that matter, will the bored housewife audience tune out for the same reason?  We’ll find out tomorrow when (if?) the vote total is announced.  But now, it’s time for the show – with two themes, of course… The Year You Were Born (which is going to make me feel very, very old) and Divas (there’s a surprise) … we’re live from Television City… because…

THIS! … is American Idol!

The opening montage looks back at the four prior female Idols… Kelly, Fantasia, Carrie, and Jordin… and the five ladies who remain, one of which will join them in a few weeks…

Seacrest does the obligatory shoutout to Boston, no matter how hard the idiots in the audience try to keep shrieking over it… and then we roll on as usual.

Round 1 – Year You Were Born

Candice Glover
“Straight Up” (Paula Abdul, 1989)
I’d have to see how many Pauler songs have been done since she left… I don’t think it’s a lot… and it’s apparent within the first four notes that Candice has rearranged the song into a more bluesy vibe.   And it was a clever idea, as the song comes off a bit better without the pop affectations, and it certainly showcases Candice’s singing style.  She’s gone out and set a high bar for the night… very good job.  Candice said that Janelle helped pick the song – you have to wonder if Janelle picked the means of her own dismissal…

First break… complete with a mystery baby picture to take us in… of course, if you know the show, you know it’s Janelle, as she was introduced second in the open… proof that Idol is far too predictable now… and why the hell do we have to hear from Jimmy Ego-vine?  I mean… I don’t like hashtags, but #shutupjimmy.

Janelle Arthur
“When I Call Your Name” (Vince Gill, 1989)
Janelle brought out the guitar this week… and a down-tempo country ballad, which might not have been the best choice.  She’s a really good singer, and shows it here, but the song is kind of bland and forgettable, which is the last thing she needs at this stage of an Idol season.  She’ll need to kill her second song, otherwise VFTW might lose another choice.

Off to break, with a picture of baby Kree… also, there’s supposedly an Idol Surprise coming… the Idol Pad blog claims to have it and will tweet it after the show.  I’ll pass it on, if it actually happens… oh, forgot… #shutupjimmy…

Tour dates are out for the summer Top 11 tour – dates at the Idol website, of course.  They’re skipping Richmond and Charlottesville again, so feh… nearest date to here is at Mason’s Patriot Center on August 9.  Tickets on sale in a couple of weeks, so save those dollars…

Kree Harrison
“She Talks To Angels” (The Black Crowes, 1990)
It’s Kree and a guitarist to start, and the band joins in after the first verse… I was worried she was going to give a flat performance, but as the band ramped up, so did she… another solid performance with the Idol flourish at the end.  She’ll be OK for another week, I suspect…

Oh, look, fake judges’ fight.  Anything to try to wake the show up…

BREAK!  The Idol Pad has dropped next week’s Top Four and/or Five themes… One-Hit Wonders (the sponsored Twitter fan choice) and Free Choice (I can’t wait to see what they come up with this time)…

Angie Miller
“I’ll Stand By You” (The Pretenders, 1994)
Interesting choice for Angie… who goes back behind the piano… and reminds us where she’s from… one guess… and we get a good look at what seems to be Angie’s weakness… great voice, little or no connection.  You’d think a song she’s dedicated to Boston would bring some fire out – but she’s too much into the technical side of the performance, leaving little or no room for emotion.  It was good – very good – but it was… too stiff, too techie, too… perfect.  We need to see Angie show some humanity at some point, I think.

One more singer left in the first pass… so we know whose picture goes up on the video wall… #shutupjimmy

After a plug for the Product Placement Lyric Contest with Carly Rae Jepsen, we get the Product Placement Red Zone with Amber and one of her devoted fans…

Amber Holcomb
“Without You” (Mariah Carey, 1994)
Of course, the original was by Badfinger in 1970… this performance continues the theme of performances that seem a bit separated from the song.  Another technically good and emotionally flat rendition… at this point, I will consider the theory that it’s me and not the singers… but this first hour almost seems like a throwaway (except for Candice).  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, nothing changed…

Maybe it’s because the hour drags with 7 1/2 minutes of music, 20 minutes of judging, and 30 minutes of commercials and product placements… honestly, they have to cut the show down next season (if there is a next season), because these two-hour snoozefests are killing it.

Oh… Harry Nilsson didn’t write “Without You”, Mariah.  You sang the damn thing, you should know that Badfinger’s Pete Ham and Tom Evans wrote it… coming right after Keith Urban (Aussie, lest we forget) accidentally mocked the American “Amber Alert” system, it was a rough segment….

And off we go into break, before a Round 2 that’s going to feature a song from the catalog of the Evil Wind of the North… ugh… #shutupjimmy

Round 2 – Divas

Candice Glover
“When You Believe” (Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston)
This could be just about anything… here goes… she did take on a challenge, bringing one voice to this movie duet.  I don’t think she took the song anywhere near the vocal heights of the original – it’s a bit of a stripped-down and, frankly, smaller version.   She did start to push on the song a little near the end, but this was a chance to blow the competition away and she didn’t take it.  It was good… really good.  It should’ve been great.

I wonder if any of the girls are actually going to try to win this… it’s an open question at this point.  They’ve been able to coast for 5 weeks because they knew they’d outlast the guys… but now it’s a real competition and nobody’s competing… #cooltheyshutjimmyup

Janelle Arthur
“Dumb Blonde” (Dolly Parton)
Wow… an uptempo song!  And a fun one, at that… and Janelle’s clearly having a bit of fun singing it… does Idol allow this?   She clearly lost her breath control doing her walk around the judges’ podium, but she can be forgiven for it because she brought a bit of energy the show needed… maybe not the “best”, but definitely the most entertaining of the night so far.

OK, Nicki, NOBODY is going home tomorrow – I really can’t see them having two straight Top Four weeks – but I understand you have to pump up the pointless vote… Oh, and the Evil Wind’s song?  Next.  Aaaaaaaargh.

Kree Harrison
“Have You Ever Been In Love?” (Céline Dion)
Oh, Kree, why have you betrayed me?   And why have you betrayed yourself?  It’s a Céline song… you have to dive in and belt it out, there’s no room for subtlety here… no, wait, she finally got her inner diva going, late in the song.   Still, like Candice, this could have been a blowaway – instead, she settled for good. 

Quick explanation, as I think I need one – I want to be entertained on an entertainment show… the singers are trying too hard to be perfect, and not enough to be entertaining.  If any of them figure out that it’d be a good idea to be fun and have fun and act like they’re having fun, instead of a long series of Srs Bsns auditions… she’ll win.

Angie gets another tour of the Product Placement Red Zone – with footage of the girls’ visit to the LA Kings’ game the other night, and an quick shot of Fox’s Erin Andrews (oh, and her boyfriend, the Kings’ Jarret Stoll).

Angie Miller
“Halo” (Beyoncé)
I’m going to have to repeat myself.   Technically sound.  A little bit of feeling, but not much.   And, honestly, too close to the original at times for comfort.  Nice.  Maybe she gained a little on the competition because she tackled a Beyoncé song, but still…

Good part is that the show is so far over that the judges had to be all but cut off… there is a saving grace to a hard out at 10:00pm…

Amber Holcomb
“What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?” (Barbra Streisand)
Covering a song originally from 1969 by Michael Dees, this is from The Way We Were.  From 1974.  Tell me she chose this willingly, go ahead… because if she chose the song that’s going to end her run on Idol, she ‘s dumber than I give any contestant credit for.  She’s got a good voice.  It was a good performance.  But this song choice – whoever made it – will cost her votes.

Recap

I have no idea who’s going to be saved tomorrow night.  Really, this was as banal of an Idol show as I’ve ever seen… nobody wants to win, nobody wants to entertain, and they all want to be lounge singers (except Janelle).

Candice was solid.  Janelle was fun.  But there’s nothing in it between them – it’s going to be random chance that determines who has to sing for the probably-inevitable save…

Clay Aiken and Fantasia (I’ll resist any “two diva’ jokes) perform on the results show tomorrow, which – fortunately for my sanity – will be on DVR here later in the evening.  Not that anyone’s going home…

And the Idol Pad’s Surprise?  No long wait for a coronation album – although this might explain the uninspired live performances.  The finalists have all been recording songs for their debut albums, and the winner’s album will be out “shortly” after the finale – and possibly in time for the tour.  Of course, if they’re doing new music all week, when do they have time to rehearse songs for the show???

See you tomorrow.

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Author: Rob Hoffmann

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

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