The American Idol Season 12 Top 9 Power Rankings include 7 Christian musicians with Candice Glover leading the pack for the second straight week. There is really very little change from the American Idol Season 12 Top 10 Power Rankings. We did lose one of our top 5 when Curtis Finch Jr combined the deadly lead off post with his worst vocal performance of Season 12.
Last Wednesday’s show was the first for the Top 10 and their first live competitive performances in American Idol L.A. studio. I was surprised at the safe song selections and timid performances. Candice Glover and Janelle Arthur both made bold song selections and they both delivered. Kree Harrison and Angie Miller both performed beautifully but with boring song choices. Burnell Taylor and Amber Holcomb also delivered stellar vocal performances, but I could not tell their perorfmances this week from any other week we have seen them.
I saw some insight into why the girls seem to be so much more talented than the guys this year. While Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Angie Miller and Janelle Arthur all seem to be relevant, radio friendly, demographically current artists; the guys are all referencing old tired adult contemporary performers like Boys 2 Men and Josh Groban. You are not going to win the hearts of American Idol voters if you strive to be their mothers’ favorite artist.
American Idol Season 12 Top 9 Power Rankings
1) Candice Glover- Wow, wow, wow. When she said she was singing “I(Who Have Nothing)”, I thought it was a bad idea. First, she was trying to top one of the all time best American Idol moments when Jordan Sparks staked her claim to the Season 6 title with this song. Second, Candice skews older and needs to work hard to position herself as a currently relevant soul singer. I was wrong on both accounts. She took the performance title away from Jordan Sparks when she updated this 50 year old jazz standard with new and excited soul phrasing and subtle R&B riffs. I agree with Randy that this was the best performance of Season 12 and with Nikki when she said that the song should be retired because no on else will reach the standard Candice set. Check our Candice Glover‘s performance of “I (Who Have Nothing)”
2) Kree Harrison- Kree did a fine job with the Roy Orbison‘s “Crying” but I think that is one of those songs that should never be sung. I found myself unfairly comparing her to Roy Orbison and it was just did not measure up. Good thing Roy Orbison is not competing in American Idol Season 12. I hope Kree Harrison takes a song and grabs our attention this week. We do not want another Pia Toscano.
3) Angie Miller- Angie’s versioin of “I Surrender” was the second best performance of the Top 10. However, Angie Miller is not going to win American Idol Season 12 by out singing Candice Glover or Kree Harrison. She has a big strong voice but that performance exposed how her voice thins out in its higher registers. I think she can win Season 12 but she needs to do it with her artistry and her performance skills. She has already delivered two show stopping performances this year and both were based on her passionate performance of songs that engulf her. More of that, Angie.
4) Amber Holcomb- She his here because she consistently delivers flawless performances. However, planting herself in the middle of the stage and belting big, old ballads will not take Amber Holcomb to victory in American Idol Season 12. It is time to show the American Idol voters why they would buy tickets to her tour. She needs to start singing to her age and excite us with a change of pace.
5) Burnell Taylor- Really, you want to pattern yourself after Boys 2 Men? At least reference John Legend or Alicia Keys. We need more singers who bend soul and jazz into an interesting stew that gets us dancing in the arenas. Burnell Taylor is number 5 because he has the most interesting voice on American Idol Season 12, he is compelling to watch and he has sung each song perfectly. Time to stretch with song selection and give us more variety in your performances. We will not buy a cd with 74 minutes of well sung ballads.
6) Janelle Arthur- “Gone” showed Janelle Arthur as a relevant, contemporary country singer. I imagined that performance at one of the country music awards shows or as an opening act for Miranda Lambert. The judges criticized her because this song limited the range of her vocals, but Janelle is smart. She knows that her vocals cannot stand up to Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Angie Miller or even Amber Holcomb. However, she is an excellent singer who has the looks, personality and performance skills to captivate an audience. She can use those skills to drive herself into the American Idol Season top 4. I see her journey as similar to Hayley Reinhart‘s or Syesha Mercado‘s who both stayed true to their vision even through relentless criticism from the American Idol Judges.
7) Devin Velez- Michael Buble? Josh Groban? I know you love your mom but why not try to sing to an audience that is your age. What about Drake or Justin Timberlake? Or why not even consider embracing your faith and going full on Christian or gospel music. Devin Velez has the vocal and performance skills to be uber relevant and exciting. I just hope Jimmy Iovine can mold him into the compelling, current artist I see in him.
8) Paul Jolley- I just don’t get Paul. He wants to be country but I have not heard country from him yet. His voting results from last week showed him to be more popular than I thought. However, I have yet to see a performance from Paul that I remember.
9) Lazaro Arbos- Lazaro’s fourth place finish in the American Idol Season 12 Top 10 shocked me. Through the live performances he has consistently selected songs that are too big for him and has delivered performances that seem terrified. Lazaro Arbos has a beautiful voice but American Idol seems a little too big for him.
Wednesday night the American Idol Season 12 Top 9 take on the songs of “Lennon and McCarthy”. This should be interesting. This should play right into Angie Miller‘s groove but that sometimes results in disappointed expectations. How will the R&B singers (Candice Glover, Amber Holcomb and Burnell Taylor) interpret these rock and pop standards? I don’t remember many Lennon or McCartney country songs for Kree Harrison or Janelle Arthur. Will Devin Velez, Paul Jolley or Lazaro Arbos surprise us with an exciting breakthrough?