Last week, three of the four American Idol judges left Candice Glover out of their top 3. They may have awakened the beast. Last night Candice Glover brought the house down, brought the judges to their feet and to their knees and inspired Mariah to share her glitter. After Candice Glover‘s two song tour de force last night, anyone who does not include her in their top 3, is just wrong.
American Idol Season 12 took us on quite a journey last night. First they took us through one of the most boring book of songs in popular music- the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song book. Listening to these songs back to back to back was trying. The second half of the show, where the Idols sang songs they wished they had written was much better. Now that we are on to two songs each week, singing talent and popularity took a back seat to maturity and broader musical talent, in a big way.
In addition to the show that Candice Glover put on, we also saw the return of the Angie Miller we all love. The judges all screamed that the difference was Angie back at her piano, but that is secondary. Angie Miller returned to worshiping our God with Kari Jobe‘s “Love Came Down” and delivered a transcendent performance that brought many people in the audience and on Twittersphere to tears.
Kree Harrison delivered two very strong performances, but the other big news of the night was the meltdown of Lazaro Arbos and the judges painfully difficult critique. His first song “Close To You” was never on pitch and he did not even make a key change with the band. The judges did everything they could to encourage him, but there was nothing good they could say. His second performance was not much better.
The only thing that may save him was the surprisingly weak performances by Janelle Arthur. I really expected Janelle to do more magic with this broad array of songs and she played it pretty straight forward. That decision exposed her voice and left her in trouble.
American Idol Season 12 Top 6 Performance Rankings
1) Candice Glover – “Love Song” by The Cure/Adele
The original Cure version is one of my favorite rock songs. Candice Glover performed a slow, smokey, jazzy interpretation I never that possible. This was not The Cure, this was not Adelle, this wass a revelation. This girl is the best I have seen on American Idol in years. Keith Urban bowed at her feet. Mariah went on stage and threw glitter. Amazing is not a strong enough word for what we saw last night. Randy said that may have been the greatest performance he has ever seen on American Idol.
2)Angie Miller – “Love Came Down” by Kari Jobe
Give Angie Miller a song she believes and she soars. She just swallowed up the entire theater. Angie Miller overwhelmed the big Idol stage with a big production of angels and smoke. She did not need it. She took Los Angeles to church and it was a fabulous trip. That was Angie Miller at her very, very best. Angie Miller singing about Christ is magical. Yes, I cried. Standing, whooping ovation from the judges. Randy said “amazing, unbelievable.”
3)Candice Glover – “Don’t Make Me Over” by Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick
Candice Glover is amazing! She took another old boring Bacharach song and turned it into a 21st century, flaming, soul barnburning show stopping performance. I want this song now. I want her album now. The runs, the growls, the key changes, the power notes, the falsettos- she brought it all together. This is one of the best vocals of American Idol Season 12. Nikki said it all “oh goodness gracious”.
4) Kree Harrison – ”What the World Needs Now” originally sung by Jackie De Shannon by Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Brilliant. Kree rearranged this sixties anthem into a country ballad. It gave her voice room to soar and it pulled us hard into the lyrics. A really fabulous performance from Kree Harrison. I would buy this record. Keith pointed out that we feel the humanity and compassion of Kree Harrison in her performances. He called it her best performance of the season.
5) Kree Harrison – ”Help Me Make it Through The Night” by Kris Kristofferson
Kree Harrison calls this song simply beautiful. I agree. That performance was simply beautiful. We saw Kree Harrison in her full-on country persona. That interpretation took me back to my childhood when my mom would blast this song out into the neighborhood. Another special performance by a great singer. Randy calls her a natural singer. Keith called it a “buckle polisher” and just predicted that Kree Harrison would be admitted into the Grand Ole’ Opry. No bigger compliment for Kree Harrison is possible.
6)Amber Holcomb – “Love On Top” by Beyonce
I liked this performance much better than her first performance. The start and finish were a little pitchy for me but the middle was strong. The entire vocal was fun and bouncy. What, Mariah half criticized her vocal? Every other judge continued to fawn all over Amber Holcomb.
7) Janelle Arthur – “The Dance” by Garth Brooks
This was not a great song for this moment. Janelle Arthur really needed more at this moment. We saw Janelle’s voice in all its glory, its sweet tone and perfect pitch. Her performance was engaging and deep. However, there was no breakthrough moments here. Keith was right that this might have been stronger if she had just played her guitar. Janelle Arthur needed a breathtaking performance and she delivered a solid, sweet performance.
8)Angie Miller – “Anyone Who Had A Heart” by Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick
This was a great song choice for Angie’s voice. It really highlighted her low register. The song is a typical bland Bacharach adult contemporary but Angie Miller sang this beautifully. She held back while showing great range. Keith asked for more passion. Missing passion from Angie? really. Nikki and Keith were right that it seemed a little old fashioned.
9)Amber Holcomb – “I Say A Little Prayer” by Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick
Amber Holcomb‘s voice sounded great but she struggled with the pace of the song. She seemed to struggle to catch-up at times and that caused some pitch problems. I think this was Amber’s worst performances of the season. The judges once again fawned all over her. They thought Amber Holcomb was amazing.
10)Janelle Arthur- “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” by Burt Bacharach
I was hoping for more from Janelle Arthur with this performance. I had hoped for some special Janelle interpretation. This was more of a middle of the road performance that did not show Janelle’s voice in the best light and brought nothing new to the song. Keith said, ‘that was good”. That is the best I can say as well.
11) Lazaro Arbos – “Angels” by Robbie Williams
This performance was okay for a few moments during the chorus when Lazaro could sing big. That is about all I can say. The rest of the song was off key and he was over run by the music. Nikki had nothing to say. The other judges hemmed and hawed around criticizing Lazaro Arbo without eviscerating him.
12)Lazaro Arbos - “Close To You” – originally sung by The Carpenters (Bacharach/David)
It is really hard to listen to this song without hearing Karen Carpenter. Lazaro did not compare favorably. There were pitch problems all over the place. This was as bad a performance I have heard from any performer all season long. Randy said it was horrible, probably his worst performance of the season. Mariah nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to criticize his performance. This was another example of Lazaro Arbos coming to the show under prepared.
I do not understand American Idol Season 12 voting this year. I am 3 out of 4 in my predictions but never have I predicted Lazaro Arbos in the Top 3. I think last night’s performances lands him the bottom 2. However, I think Janelle Arthur was weak enough to save Lazaro for one more week. I don’t think the judges will save Janelle Arthur so I think she goes home tonight. If anyone else is voted off, I think the American Idol Season 12 judges save them.