American Idol 12: House of Four Doors (Finals Round 7: Top 4 Perform, Part One?)

There are all kinds of rumors about how Idol is going to fix its problem with the schedule – there are four weeks (including this one) remaining in the season, and three eliminations left.  There has to be a non-elimination week.  A lot of the rumors focus on this week – with the idea of having something happen tomorrow night to “convince” Idol to bring all four finalists back.

The real problem is this – will anyone still be watching by then?  The show is taking a pounding in the ratings, and honestly, while the Final Four are very talented, there is no evidence  that any of them are consistently able to be entertaining.  Looking at the rumored song list for tonight, they still – for the most part – don’t.

For better or worse… live from Television City…

THIS! … is American Idol!

It’s going to be your typical Final Four show – two solo rounds and a pair of duets.  The solo rounds are One Hit Wonders (the sponsored Fans’ Choice Round, and wait until you see the moldy oldies these teens and twenty-somethings allegedly selected) and Free Choice. 

The montage compares original audition footage with the performers now… before we cut to the studio for the usual opening festivities.

Round 1: Free Choice

The B-Roll is footage of the Idols doing good at the LA Children’s Hospital…

Amber Holcomb
“The Power Of Love” (Jennifer Rush)
It’s billed as Céline Dion’s song, of course… in what appears to be their effort to push Amber forward, she’s got a new, fuller hairstyle, moodier lighting, and a dazzling white outfit… she’s not belting the song as the Evil Wind of the North would, but – as has been my consistent problem with Amber this season – I don’t get any sense of a connection to the song.  You couldn’t convince me she chose it or cares about it.  As always, it’s probably a “me” thing, but still… it was a good performance, but it left me feeling on the outside looking in.

Of course, we sprint right off to break… and by “sprint”, I mean that we trudge through several minutes of judicial flatulence… Seacrest promises a “twist” coming up.  Probably nothing, possibly about our scheduling issue…

Oh look, more of Jimmy Iovine.  #SHUTUPJIMMY – and we get more of the Product Placement Red Zone.

Candice Glover
“Find Your Love” (Drake)
Apparently Candice met Drake at a concert a year ago and told him to watch for her on Idol… she’s kind of all over the place at the start before settling into the song a bit.  She may like Drake, but I’m not sure the song likes her… it doesn’t seem to suit her singing style at all, she got shouty and sharp at times, and I don’t think that’s what the song was supposed to be.  Good, but… not really good enough for the Final Four, I suspect.

More judicial wharrgarble, around the idea that she should and shouldn’t have done the song at the same time.  Yipe… oh, no twist yet, so was the “twist” that there would be no twist?  No, wait, the twist is that there’s more #SHUTUPJIMMY.  No, that’s not a twist.

Kree Harrison
“It Hurt So Bad” (Susan Tedeschi)
Back to the jazz/blues vibe… it’s the closest to something up-tempo we’re likely to see tonight… and it gave Kree a chance to unload on the chorus… but I still wonder if Kree could have had this thing sewn up by now if she’d just tried to pick more approachable music.   She gives it her best shot every week, and seems to just slightly miss the target.  Best of the (short) night so far, but still… we need that real killer moment from her sometime soon.

The judges are killing everyone tonight.  That’ll help the voting.  Oh… #SHUT – never mind, FOX thinks he adds value to the show.  Not sure why.

Angie Miller
“Who You Are” (Jessie J.)
This is a re-rack of the song she did, I believe, both at auditions and Hollywood Week… of course, she’s on piano, which is where she seems to do her best.  While it’s another slower song, there’s enough here for Angie to work with (including familiarity) that she was able to get an entertaining performance out of it… especially in the second half of the song, where you could feel that the song meant something to her (for the first time tonight for any of the girls).   Maybe not big enough to be an official Idol Moment, but way above the rest of the first round.

OK, so the judges are killing everyone not named Angie, but their catchphrases suck.  Forget Jimmy… #SHUTUPRANDY.  And, of course, we tug on the heartstrings with Angie’s grandmother giving her an onstage hug.

DUETS

Amber & Kree
“Rumour Has It” (Adele)
Not much to say, really, since this technically isn’t part of the competition.  But I will note that it’s amazing how much looser the singers are on the duets.  It’s a way to get a better handle on the singers… and I still think Kree outshines Amber.  Nicely done for both of them (and the drummers, of course!).

Of course, even though this isn’t “competitive”, the judges keep running their damn fool mouths (at least they kept it down to two of them).

Angie & Candice
“Stay” (Rihanna & Mikky Ekko)
I expected more out of a Rihanna song, but this one kept the slower-tempoed ‘safe song’ vibe of the evening.  It sounded like the audio mix buried Angie at times, but maybe it’s just me.  Another “nicely done” song.  Interesting, and enjoyable.

Of course, the judges made sure to roll the bus off Candice after throwing her under it earlier…

Round 2 – Big-Cellular Fan’s Choice Theme: One-Hit Wonders

Amber Holcomb
“MacArthur Park” (Richard Harris)
Can’t wait to see which 90 seconds of this 7-plus-minute epic she gets to do… she does stay true to the original, keeping Harris’ odd mispronunciation “MacArthur’s Park”, before thankfully segueing into the Donna Summer disco version.  If she’d stayed at the slow pace of the first few moments, this would have been the song that ended her stay.  As it is, she missed the chance to really show the spirit Summer put into it.  Close, but not quite there.  Again, good but… she really is the fourth-best singer in the competition, and if anyone goes home tonight, it’s her.

Does Nicki really think America gives a damn who she wants to be friends with?  Typical late-season insane judges’ comments… from someone who was already a whackjob.  And what do we have to do to shut Jimmy Iovine up????

The kids from LA Children’s Hospital get their live cameo… before we go back to singing…

Candice Glover
“Emotion” (Samantha Sang)
With a nod from Seacrest to the Bee Gees’ version (they wrote it, after all)… but Candice clearly sticks to the Destiny’s Child script, which allows her to dig into the song and belt it out a little bit.   A nice performance, as far as she let it go.   Probably fits the vibe she’ll stick to as a performer.  Too bad the judges used Candice’s time to bitch at Iovine about his review of Amber’s performance.  Really classy, guys.

Lovely, now we get an Iovine sighting on-stage, and a fake fight among Iovine, Randy, and Nicki.  Is this show even about the singers anymore?  OK, was it ever?

Well, they’ve successfully backed the bus over Candice again.  If she goes home this week – assuming anyone does – she was betrayed by egomaniacal judges and a worn-out executive who doesn’t know when to go away.  That segment was a travesty, and if FOX were capable of shame, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Our genius FOX station ran local promos on top of Kree’s Product Placement Red Zone interview.  Sinclair Broadcasting – they COULD screw up a one-car funeral…

Kree Harrison
“A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (Procol Harum)
One of the biggest one-hit wonders ever… but there’s really only so much anyone can do with the song… Kree does her best, but I have a hard time with the idea she wanted this of all the one-hit wonders out there…  a pretty good performance.  Probably will score her a few more votes.  

For once, Nicki has a valid point.  In the off chance Kree goes home, she’s going to do well anyway.  She’s the singer about whom I annually say “the best thing for her is to go home now and get away from the evil clutches of 19 Entertainment”… well, she would be, if Janelle hasn’t been ejected last week…

Angie Miller
“Cry Me A River” (Julie London)
Covered by half the world, but really?  A 1955 single as her one-hit wonder?  WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THIS WAS HER IDEA??? *cough* Sorry.  On with the song.  As you’d expect, she does a solid job with this musty classic, but you’re sitting here wondering what she’d be singing when she’s on her own… and this wouldn’t be it.  How are we really supposed to judge this?  I won’t say this was the moment Idol jumped the shark – but it’s the moment the shark gave up and swam off.

Recap

I’m not convinced anyone is going home – but if they are, it’s down to random chance, really.  There’s nothing in it between them.  Nobody did anything to really sink themselves, or promote themselves.  I did say early on that it might be Amber.  If you forced me to make a choice, I’d say she’d be at risk tomorrow night before being saved by massive producer manipulation.

There’ll be a results show tomorrow night, with a “surprise twist” (OK, the extended save is now all but confirmed, go figure).  To be honest, I’m likely going to watch the NFL Draft and do a late recap.   But we’ll see.  Until tomorrow, at some point…

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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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