American Idol Season 12 Top 9 Performances

American-Idol-2013-Top-9-Performances-Live-RecapThe Lennon and McCartney song book created some interesting turns in American Idol Season 12.  Christian musicians Burnell Taylor, Janelle Arthur and Devin Velez had their best moments of the season, Kree Harrison maintained her excellence and Christian musicians Candice Glover, Angie Miller and Amber Holcomb took side steps with good performances.

I was amazed at how musically ignorant these contestants and even some of the judges are. Come on, Mariah you are required, as an experienced singer, to know the entire musical catalog of  The Beatles!  I will grant the young contestants some leeway for not knowing “My Life” or “Leaving Home”, but how can you live in Western Civilization and not hear “Let It Be” or “Eleanor Rigby”.


American Idol Season 12 Top 9 Performance Rankings

1) Burnell Taylor- “Let It Be”
Even after deducting from Burnell’s performance for not knowing this song, fantastic. This maybe the best re-envisioning of “Let It Be” that I have ever heard. Burnell Taylor’s tone grounded him this classic and enabled him to modernize it with R&B runs and jazz phrasing. This was an exceptional interpretation of a 45 year old classic.

2) Janelle Arthur- “I Will”
What a lovely performance. This is the best we have seen from Janelle Arthur all season. She twisted this rock band ballad into a country ballad without sacrificing one ounce of the song’s beauty. The shifts were subtle and perfect. We finally were able to hear the full beauty of Janelle’s voice. We now have a five girl race for American Idol Season 12. This performance in the closing spot should carry Janelle Arthur into the Top 5.

3) Kree Harrison- “With A Little Help From My Friends”
As a singer, Kree Harrison is perfect. It really is not fair to most of the other Idols. Her country interpretation of the psychedelic rocker was filled with blues influences and overwhelming power. At one point I thought Keith Urban was going to fall out of his chair. I think Kree Harrison could sing in the dreaded opening spot every week and still make the American Idol Season 12 Top 3.

4) Devin Velez- “Long and Winding Road”
We watched Miguel open for Alicia Keys last night and I kept thinking that Devin Velez is capable of what Miguel does. We saw a little hint of those R&B chops with this performance. With short tasteful runs and cadence changes, he gave this classic a sweet R&B twist. It showed off the beauty of his voice perfectly. Mariah was speechless and should have been.

5) Candice Glover- “Come Together”
A great strategic move to do this off center rock anthem. She did not feel as infused in this song as we have seen her in past weeks but she sang it perfectly. She commanded the stage with aggressive moves. There was no R&B here only Ann Wilson quality rock and roll wailing.

6) Angie Miller- “Yesterday”
This was her weakest performance of the year but the judges fawned all over her? This felt more like showing off than performing. Angie is a wonderful singer but her real strength is her ability to engulf a song and bring the audience into the message and the emotion of the song. Tonight she just sang a bunch of notes, in a really good way, but still. Performances like this will not push Angie Miller to the American Idol Season 12 Top 3.

7) Amber Holcomb- “She’s Leaving Home”
Amber delivered a roller coaster performance of a great song. She started off uncomfortably shaky, but, my gosh, once she found herself she took us on an amazing ride. Her vocal choices were daring yet subtle and perfectly delivered. The last minute of this performance was probably the best vocal of the night. However, she was inconsistent and she seemed a little distant on stage. If she is given enough time to mature in American Idol Season 12, she could be a contender.

8) Paul Jolley- “Elanor Rigby”
Once again Paul Jolley oversang and tried to wring too many vocal moments from this subdued song. I don’t really like the way he pronounces his lyrics. Nikki said “safe, bland, forgettable”.

9) Lazaro Arbos- “My Life”
Just a mess. He was rushing, he was off key. Lazaro seemed lifeless and strained. I think American Idol Season 12 has become too big for Lazaro Arbos.

Popularity does not always track with talent or performance. At some point talent will prevail. I am concerned that Devin Velez will be in the bottom 3 this week with Paul Jolley and Lazaro Arbos. I think Paul Jolley goes home tonight.

Check in with us on Monday for our American Idol Season 12 Top 8 Power Rankings.

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