Americn Idol Season 12 started their “serious season” tonight. We have our top 10, we are performing on the big stage in L.A. and Jimmy Iovine starts speaking truth to the Idols. Tonight was a good night with a little bit of greatness mixed in. We learned three things about American Idol Season 12 tonight:
- The girls, as group, are heads above the guys.
- American Idol Season 12 loves them some Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
- Candice Glover is a beast.
Tonight, Candice Glover soared, Angie Miller and Burnell Taylor compelled us to love them even more, Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb showed us that they are in American Idol Season 12 to stay and Janelle Arthur showed us that she is a country star in the making.
The American Idol Season 12 top 10 performed three Kelly Clarkson songs, two Carrie Underwood songs and two Scott McQueery songs. Sorry you other 100+ American Idol performers. All the songchoices referenced prior American Idol winners.
For my taste, there are way too many ballads from this group. That will need to change or American Idol Season 12 will limp to the finish without an avid following. This group has a chance to be one of the best American Idol groups we have seen, but we very much need to see more variety in the song selections.
American Idol Season 12 Top 10 Performance Rankings
1) Candice Glover- “I Who Have Nothing”
This was not even close. Candice Glover took a 50 year old ballad, that had been one of the best moments in the history of American Idol, and subtly turned it into a contemporary R&B ballad, without sacrificing one ounce of the songs’ power. Candice Glover says she stood up in her living room when Jordin Sparks sange this in season 6. I am sure there were many people in America jumping to their feet in their living rooms tonight. Nikki said, “they should ban that song from Idol”. I agree. Candice Glover just put the exclamation point on that song.
2) Angie Miller- “I Surrender”
This is the best we have seen Angie Miller without her piano. I marveled at her control and power. Her voice was beautiful on the low end, controlled through the soft beginning and then she soared through the big ending. Nikki said, “flawless” and I agree.
3) Burnell Taylor- “Fly Without Wings”
I was disappointed to hear Burnell Taylor sing another R&B ballad, but that voice is so distinctive and his phrasing is so interesting that I was mesmerized. More than any of the “bottom 9″, Burnell controlled the pacing of his performance. We heard every emotion and I felt his message. I loved Keith’s comment that Burnell Taylor has a “magnetic eccentricity”.
4) Kree Harrison- “Crying”
There is no question that Kree Harrison has a beautiful tone, all the vocal power she needs and tremendous skill. I thought tonight was her weakest performance of Season 12. The pace seemed rushed, which prevented Kree from dwelling in the melody. The judges loved it and fawned all over her. I was not overwhlemed, as I have been just about every other time I have seen Kree Harrison perform.
5) Amber Holcomb- “Moment Like This”
I am one of Amber Holcomb’s biggest fans but tonight just did not connect for me. The singing was great with wonderful control and big, big notes, but her performance dynamics just did not connect with us here in Austin. The judges lept to their feet and Nikki said, “best performance of the night”. I don’t see it that way.
6) Janell Arthur-”Gone”
Janelle Arthur looked like a country star tonight and she performed like a country star. This aggressive country song did not highlight the beauty of her voice, but it did allow her to showcase some polished, professional performance chops. The judges were mostly cool to the performance but I disagree. I think tonight showed Janelle Arthur’s sweet spot on American Idol Season 12.
7) Devin Velez-”Temporary Home”
Just the wrong song choice. This was a little boring and Devin Velez did not do anything vocally to spice up his performance. It concerns me that he referenced Josh Groban and Michael Buble as the targets for his career. Devin Velez can be a dynamic R&B or CCM singer, but if he sticks with these ballads, we will not see him very long on American Idol Season 12.
8) Paul Jolley- “Amazed”
Jimmy Iovine told him he was oversinging everything and was coming off as “broadway”. Tonight Paul Jolley held back and it was a little boring. He sang the song well but there was very little that caught my attention.
9) Curtis Finch Jr- “I Believe”
Jimmy Iovine told Curtis he need to be more contemporary. So Curtis Finch Jr selected an old school, gospel tinged ballad that feels 50 years old. Unfortunately, Curtis Finch Jr delviered his weakest performance of Season 12 tonight. He missed on some of his runs and hit a few sour notes, but mostly this just seemed to be more of the same, just not as good as before.
10) Lazaro Arbos-”Breakaway”
Lazaro Arbos has consistently selected big rousing ballads. He does not have the voice to sing those songs and he struggles every time. Tonight was no exception. He missed on the big notes, struggled with tempo and seemed terrified throughout the performance. The Top 10 seems a little too big for Lazaro Arbos.
American Idol Season 12 Top 10 Predictions
I am afraid the Curtis Finch Jr picked the wrong night for a weak performance. He started the show in the death slot and then drop his weakest performance of Season 12. Lazaro Arbos and Paul Jolley are both weaker than Curtis Finch Jr but they are both more popular and Curtis did not soar above them tonight.
Follow us on twitter (@one21music) while we tweet the results and check in with us on Monday for our American Idol Season 12 Power Rankings and performance previews.