American Idol Season 12 Top 3 Showdown

Angie Miller, Candice Glover and Kree Harrison may be the best top 3 American Idol has ever seen.  Last night they left American Idol voters with a very difficult decision. After two difficult song choices, Candice Glover closed the show with one of the all-time great American Idol singing performances.  After a season of ups and downs, Angie Miller has clearly found herself as a performer and had the most consistent night of the three.  And the girl we have been pushing for more emotion, Kree Harrison, had the most moving moment of the night.

The evening started slowly as the judges reaction to Jimmy Iovine’s song selection sucked the energy out of the room.  Jimmy picked songs that did not play to the singers’ strengths, the time to perform the songs was too short and the judges generally shrugged their shoulders and said, “nice try”.  The second round pushed the show higher with the emotions of the home videos and much better song selections.  The third round seemed a little drained, until Candice Glover brought the roof down with “Someday”.

After seeing the videos of  home visits I was struck by a view observations about the American Idol Season 12 top 3. Candice Glover is deeply connected, rooted in her community.  Her journey is not one of escaping her life but one of fulfilling her destiny.  Angie Miller was born to be a star.  She seemed to absorb the attention and grow in the spotlight. She smiled more than she cried.  Kree Harrison has had so much pain in her life,  you can imagine why she is measured.  You must move forward from the death of both of your parents but the missing never heals. As much as Kree Harrison has moved forward, the hole in her was palpable.

American Idol Season 12 Top 3 Performances

1) Candice Glover-“Somewhere” by Reri Grist/Barbra Streisand 10

My first thought was that the producers suck at picking songs. In 1998, Arettha Franklin was asked to step in for Luciano Pavarotti at the Grammies.  With less than 24 hours to prepare, the Queen of Soul, delivered a picture perfect rendition of the operatic “Nessun Dorma” that proved she was the greatest singer of the 20th century. Like Aretha at the Grammies, Candice Glover took the song structure of this 10950′s show tune as it was and just out sang it.  She delivered a spectacular classical vocal.  Not modern, not gospel, just crazy good.  She just climbed the ladder of that song, taking it higher and bigger as she went through the song.  Candice Glover slowly, patiently built her performance with a hint of what was to come, then she just exploded through the final third of the performance. The highlight was how she stepped down from the first chorus to the second verse, beautiful and amazing. Keith said “how do you do that?”   and “If you do not vote for Candice you do not you do not have a pulse”.  Randy called it another one of the greatest vocals in the history of American Idol.  Mariah said” A+ amazing”.

2) Kree Harrison-“Here Comes Goodbye” by Chris Sligh/Rascal Flatts 10

Coming straight out of the gut wrenching video of her home visit, Kree Harrison poured herself fully into this song of dread, longing and regret.  Clearly the emotional centerpiece of the night, this brought the house down.  The singing was perfect, but this was a performance where Kree Harrison laid her soul bare.  All of the judges were in tears. With this performance, Kree Harrison may have mobilized the country vote to an American Idol season 12 victory.  Nikki called it one her best performances. I think Randy said it well, “you just sang your heart out”. Mariah said she was overwhelmed with emotion. Keith was in tears.

3) Angie Miller-“Try” by Pink 9

The judges picked a song in Angie Miller‘s wheel house.  This is the first time that Angie Miller was set free on the stage, without a piano or mike stand to tether her, and delivered a restrained yet exuberant performance that felt organic.  This was the big soaring pop vocal that Angie Miller does best and she just infused this beat.  That felt like an Angie Miller concert piece. She is peeking at the right time. Nikki said she has never looked this comfortable.

4) Angie Miller-“Maybe” by Emile Sandé 9

Angie Miller just belted that song. It was hard to connect because the song was a little weak. Angie Miller could have kept the opening a little more subtle but she sang and she roared and she belted.  The singing was perfect with no theatrics. Randy said “tonight, Angie Miller became a complete performer”.  Nikki said she has become what the judges have been asking for all season.

5) Angie Miller- “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” by Elton John 8

Why would Jimmy Iovine pick this song?  Angie Miller interpreted this as slowed down, almost blues, ballad.  It gave her a lot room to sing big.  The pace fit her voice very, very well. Angie Miller held back her performance and pulled us in.  I agree with Randy that her restraint made the song compelling.  Mariah called it one of her best performances.

6) Candice Glover-“One” by U2 & Mary J. Blige 8

A beautiful vocal but I thought Candice Glover forced it a little and fell off key in a few places. These performances are too short.  Candice was forced to jump into big notes and runs too early in the song, but by the time she hit the stretched run she held big notes, exposed her emotions and soared. Nikki compared it favorably to Mary J Blige.

7) Candice Glover-“Next To Me” by Emile Sandé 8

Wonderful intimate opening. The uptempo song fit Candice Glover‘s voice well. She sat down into a great groove and then did some nice riffs around the melody.  Not a song that offered much opportunity for Candice Glover to blow it out, but it was a perfect vocal performance.  Nikki was moved to tears, maybe not by the performance but by the moment.

8)Kree Harrison-“Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry 7

Kree Harrison found her country just at the right time.  She just seemed to set down into the groove of that song.  but I wish it had gotten bigger. Kree Harrison‘s performance was aggressive, edgy and gritty but it did not have much dynamics. Nikki said whoever picked that song should be stoned. Randy was right that the song was too ordinary for Kree.

9) Kree Harrison-“Perfect” by Pink 6

A mid-tempo country arrangement allowed Kree Harrison to show off her technical singing skills.  The song also exposed the limits of her range and it was clear that Kree Harrison was forcing herself to tolerate the song. .The performance was a little laid back for me. Keith commented on her signature sound. Agree with Randy that it did not have much pizazz.

Who are moving on to the finale?  Last night settled  nothing, all three showed their best.  If it is based solely on performance, Angie Miller and Candice Glover should be in the finale.  However, I cannot discount the power of the country voting block that may have discovered Kree Harrison all over again last night.  I will be sad to see any one of them go home.

 

American Idol Season 12 Top 3 Power Rankings

We are now in the final days of American Idol Season 12. It was a season that started with great promise and has featured some of the all time greatest American Idol performances.  However, achingly bad themes and a dysfunctional judges panel have taken the show to some of its all time lowest ratings.  It is a shame really.  The American Idol Season 12 top5 was the best I have ever seen. Except for the over extended stay by Lazaro Arbos, the results went about how they should have.

Now comes the hard part. Angie Miller, Candice Glover or Kree Harrison all could rightfully win American Idol Season 12. Each of them have the talent to develop strong a career.  All three of these ladies are superb singers with unique artistic visions.  I personally like this top 3 better than any I have seen.

American Idol Season 12 Top 3 Performance Rankings

Candice Glover American Idol 12 top 3

1) Candice Glover- I did not see Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood on American Idol.  With that said, Candice Glover has had the best season I have ever seen on American Idol.  Her lowest lows are at least comparable to most of Kree Harrison‘s performances.  Her bests are better than Angie Miller‘s greatest moments. Even the best duets and group performances featured Candice Glover. When I put together the list of best performances on American Idol Season 12, Candice Glover will dominate over half of that list.  Candice Glover combines a tremendous voice, with uncanny artistry and a personal vulnerability that enabled her to live in each performance with authenticity. She should win American Idol Season 12.

AngieMIller American Idol 12 top 3

2) Angie Miller- When Angie Miller loses herself in her songs, it is magical.  She has had some of the most moving performances of  American Idol Season 12. Angie Miller is a great singer, a moving piano player and a song writer.  Angie Miller has tremendous potential with two ready made markets.  She has a clear niche in the pop/rock world of Jesse J, Fiona Apple and Stevie Nicks. It seems her heart leans toward Christian music, so she also has a clear market in the CCM world of Colton Dixon, Brooke Fraser or Kari Jobe Angie Miller has been the most inconsistent of the top 3.  Her theatrical background has caused her to slip into over dramatization at times and her competitive spirit has caused her to occasionally lose sight of performance in service of competing.

Kree Harrison American Idol 12 top 3

3) Kree Harrison- The American Idol Season 12 country queen has had a perplexing season. She possess a wonderful voice and a clear sense of song.  She has been the most consistent performer of the entire show and therein lies the issue.  Kree Harrison has spent the season delivering wonderful performance after wonderful performance.  However, she has not been able to break through to create show stopping connections with the audience. Her season has been marvelous but we would have liked to have seen a few fireworks.  The second enigma is her refusal to sing country songs.  Kree Harrison has the largest voting block locked up.  She is the only one close to country and probably could win with just that vote.  However, she has sung only two country songs the entire season.  I think Kree Harrison squandered an opportunity to make American Idol Season 12 a runaway.

Who Will Win American Idol Season12?

This week will be the hardest week as we will lose a performer that deserves to win.  I clearly think Candice Glover should win American Idol Season12.  As I said above, I think she is one of the greatest performers to ever compete on American Idol.  With that said, where does her popularity come from?  Candice Glover is more of a throwback to the 60′s soul of Aretha Franklin and Mavis StaplesSharon Jones and Macy Gray are good contemporaries, but that are not mainstream.  If Candice Glover, receives the bulk of Amber Holcomb‘s voting block then I think she makes the final.  If those votes go to Angie Miller, I think Candice Glover goes home on Thursday.

Angie Miller has never been in the bottom two.  If she performs her Hollywood original song “Set Me Free” she should make it to the finale. That song is truly magical and will be a hit record in 2014.  If Angie Miller receives the bulk of Amber Holcomb‘s votes, she not only makes it to the finals, she wins American Idol Season 12.

Kree Harrison should be a shoe-in for the finale and I think she will be there.  However, if she is going to win American Idol Season 12, I think she needs to put on her cowboy boots and inspire her country voting block to come out in a big way.  I think voters for Angie Miller and Candice Glover will migrate to whoever, of those two,  is left, so Kree Harrison needs to bring the country vote in a big way.

Be sure to watch on Wednesday night when these three will each sing a song picked by Jimmy Iovine, one selected by the judges and one of their personal choice.

 

American Idol Season 12 Top 4 Performances Again

American Idol Season 12 experienced another surprisingly weak night that was absolutely dominated by Candice Glover, Harry Connick Jr and dysfunctional judges.  Candice-Glover-in-American-Idol-Top-4-again-Part-2-2916436272511973144Candice Glover delivered the two best performances by a mile. Amber Holcomb did her thing with “My Funny Valentine” but Angie Miller and Kree Harrison struggled throughout the night. Candice Glover is just out singing the competition on American Idol Season 12.

What was up with Harry Connick Jr? Based on the video we saw, he did not care at all about the modern songs and he was fanatically committed to original interpretation of the standards.  I think Harry Connick Jr did more harm than good. What he was trying to say was sing the song, not riffs.  What he said was, the songs don’t need embellishment sing them as they were written.  He is missing that these songs were overtly expressive in the demure society of the first half of the 20th century.  In the loud, everything goes 21st century, the understated anguish of these standards is lost in the noise.

As far as the judges go, firing is not good enough.  As punishment for their behaviour this year, Nikki and Mariah should be forced to perform duet on the American Idol tour this year.  Randy should be assigned to his seat forever.  Keith Urban seems to have given up so he should go back to the Voice in Australia.  They are disruptive and distracting and they have ruined American Idol Season 12.

American Idol Season 12 Top 4 Performance Rankings

1) Candice Glover – “You’ve Changed” by Harry James/Eva Cassidy
Wow this girl can sing.  Candice Glover completely ignored everything Harry Connick said and fully delivered in what he meant. She took this standard, engulfed its meaning, its foreboding, it s anguish and then delivered and fully 21st century explosion of runs and stops and groans and huge notes. I felt like I was in Harlem in the 30′s listening to a 60′s soul singer blowing it out in the 21st century.  The power, the subtlety, the control, the dynamics.  She took that song for a wild ride. Mariah said “okay” . Randy said “that was stellar”, “speak your truth girl”. The judges were rally just speechless.

2) Candice Glover – “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars
I struggled with this song selection, but Candice Glover just out sang that song.  She took it back to the 60′s and blew it out. Simply fantastic. .  Randy says “that’s how you sing a song”. Keith said, “when you sing that good, you could sing when I was your giraffe.”

3)Amber Holcomb  - “My Funny Valentine” by Mitzi Green/Chet Baker (Reprise)

This was another example of  an American Idol singer ignoring Harry Connick.  She tried and the first half of the song sufferred.  Then she got out of her head and let loose with what she does best. Amber Holcomb hit a cool run in the middle of the song and seemed to just take off..  She bent and warped that song. She made that song modern without losing the classic beauty of that standard. The second half of the performance was a tour de force. That was Amber Holcomb at her best.

4)Kree Harrison – “See You Again” by Carrie Underwood 7

Finally, Kree Harrison sings country.  That song selection guarantees her American Idol Season 12 top 3. That was the best Kree Harrison performance in 6 weeks.  Her aching vocals were heartbreaking. However, the song just did not go anywhere.  I think this performance highlights Kree Harrison‘s lack of passion and transperency.  She just does not open a well of emotion for us.  Keith did not connect to the moment.  He wanted it to big bigger.  Nikki loved it and said she sang from her heart. Randy said it was a great vocal.


5)Angie Miller – “Someone To Watch Over Me” by Gertrude Lawrence/Ella Fitzgerlald

The first half was a little sleepy and then built to a big finish. Angie Miller‘s mid range was big and powerful. I think Harry Connick got into her head.  These type of songs do a disservice to Angie Miller by exposing her theatrical tendencies.  I think she was fighting that the entire performance and Angie Miller is best when she is lost in her song. Nikki said Angie puts her in mind of a Disney princess.  I don’t think that was a compliment.

6)Angie Miller – “Diamonds” by Rihanna

A cool, jivey version of this mega hit.  Angie Miller took the disticntive rhythm of this song and turned it on its head. It freed her to highlight her voice.  And highlight her voice she did, but the performance lacked dynamics.   Loved the artistic risk she took, but I don’t think it worked. Keith missed the percussive weight of the song. Nikki called it bland and lackluster.  Randy said the song did not go anywhere.

7)Kree Harrison – “Stormy Weather” by Ethel Waters/Gladys Knight

I think Harry Connick confused Kree Harrison.  You can sing the song without runs but you need to SING the song.  She made some bad choice at the end of verses that undercut her voice.  The end had some moments but overall that was not great. Keith was right when he told Kree Harrison not to lose her instincts.  The country, blues singer was nowhere to be found in that song.

8)Amber Holcomb – “Just Give Me A Reason” by Pink & Nate Ruess 5

She seemed to struggle with pitch and seemed shrill many times throughout the song.  Pace really hampers Amber Holcomb.  She needs space to wrap her voice around notes and this song needed her to hit directly on the beat.  Tonight was a perfect example of why Amber Holcomb is not the “current” budding superstar the judges all want her to be.  Her singing style is more 1030′s than 21st century.  Nikki felt she was disconnected. Randy felt she was not having fun.  Keith rambled on about how difficult what she did was.

I think Amber Holcomb goes home tonight.  We then have a heavy weight top 3 who will need to bring it strong over the next two weeks.  Candice Glover has proven she can. Angie Miller can bring the wonder but can also confuse us.  Kree Harrison still needs to lift her game to justify winning American Idol Season 12.

 

American Idol Season 12 Top 4 Performances

American Idol Season 12 my have jumped the shark for the season and maybe for the franchise.  When the judges are so distracting with their unfathomable commentary and self centered behavior that they overwhelm the performances, the show has gone off the rails.  We spent last night in a perpetual state of “Huh?”.

I began to wonder if there was something wrong with the very expensive, seven speaker, surround, do dah sound system attached to my television.  Did I actually hear the judges say that 40 year old snooze fest songs like “The Power of Love” and “MacArthur Park” prove that Amber Holcomb is THE contemporary artist of the final four when Candice Glover completely re-arranged a Drake song that was ACTUALLY RECORDED IN THIS CENTURY?????

Did we actually see the judges completely disrespect Candice Glover by taking her critique and voting time to argue with Jimmy Iovine about how great Amber Holcomb was?  Last night, it seemed the judges were #initomuckitup. My assessment of the judges last night was #thud.

Angie-Miller-and-Candice-Glover-American Idol Season 12About the only judge I agreed with last night was Keith Urban, when he said “have there been any one hit wonders in the past 10 years?”  He could have said, “in these singers lifetimes.”  American Idol Season 12 Top 4 performances were a collection of old, dull songs, mostly performed in an over relaxed manner.  Angie Miller came to play with all of her heart and soul last night and she took the evening.  Amber Holcomb brought the same level of intensity and proved to me that, despite the judges love fest, she is not ready.

Candice Glover had a somewhat quiet night, compared to the last few weeks, and still managed one big moment and a string of three perfect performances.  Kree Harrison was the enigma last night. The country vote was handed to her last week with the departure of Janelle Arthur and she failed to sing one country song! I think last night’s show confirmed for me that Kree Harrison is a perfect singer who lacks the charisma to win American Idol Season 12.

American Idol Season 12 Top 4 Performances

1) Angie Miller/Candice Glover- “Stay” by Rihanna

We don’t normally review duets, but this was so far above the standard for the night that we had to give it, its proper due.  Candice Glover and Angie Miller were two great singers wailing away with this song.  They took care of each other and supported each other in the duet but they also drove each other higher and higher to an amazing peak for the show.  Candice Glover was her normal, amazing self.  I think last night was Angie Miller‘s best singing night of American Idol Season 12 and this duet was the best example of that.

2) Angie Miller – “Who You Are” by Jessie J

You think Angie Miller likes Jessie J?  Every Angie Miller performance feels like life and death and tonight was no different.  Every line seemed personal and yet communal. If felt like Angie Miller was singing to herself, trying to encourage herself to stay strong through this competition.  And yet, as we all shared in her struggles we took those lyrics into our own fears. The piano absorbs some of Angie Miller‘s energy and enables us to enter her performances with her.  When she hits her low register it is ethereal. That was a show stopping, heart breaking, tear jerker of a moment.  Mariah called it a “professional moment”, “stunning”. Randy said she made him forget is was a Jessi J song.  Randy said 10 out of 10 out of 10.

3) Candice Glover – “Find Your Love” by Drake

Once again Candice Glover showed her artistry and her voice by taking this Drake joint and turning it into an urban contemporary ballad. Candice Glover took the big ballad mood of “When You Believe ” infused some of  the reggae sensibility of “Straight Up” and then just performed crazy runs all around the melody of this song.  Candice Glover is no longer competing.  She is taking us on a serial Candice concert. We subscribe to the concert in 10 weekly issues, with one to three songs in each week.  This was my second shocking perplexment with the judges. Nikki wanted her keep the melody and called her “old fashioned”.  Randy criticized Candice Glover for all of the runs.  At least Mariah revolted against Nikki and Randy.  She said there were certain moments when Candice took her to a place she needed to be.

4)Angie Miller – “Cry Me A River” by Julie London

Despite hating this song, I think Angie Miller solidified herself on American Idol Season 12 with this performance. This was a  non-descript ballad that allowed Angie Miller to blow out her voice.  By standing in the middle of the stage and delivering a stellar, heartfelt vocal performance, Angie Miller put an exclamation point a series of five straight show stopping performances.  For those of us who have been criticizing Angie Miller‘s consistency, we just need to be quiet for a few weeks. Keith said “mystical and celestially powerful”. Nikki said, ‘tonight was your night”. Randy called it the best of the night.

5)Amber Holcomb – “The Power Of Love” by Jennifer Rush/Celine Dion

That was pretty perfect. The first verse was as about as pretty as anything I have heard on American Idol Season 12. She was comfortable to the point of being  casual.  Her comfort was commanding.  A beautiful singing performance of a completely horrible, 30 year old song.  This was my first perplextion with the judges. Of course the judges, leapt to their feet.  Keith called it effortless. Nikki said “she is so current.” What, is another show bleeding through my speakers?  I think my mother-in-law thinks she is dated.  This girl can sing the leaves off a tree but she is anything but current.  Amber Holcomb may be Season 12‘s Fantasia- a great singer who will never find an audience.

6) Kree Harrison – “It Hurt So Bad” by Susan Tedeschi

Kree, WHERE IS THE COUNTRY? Kree Harrison is more a blues singer than a country singer.  This song allowed her to unleash her voice and it is a big roaring beast.  She growled and she she wailed.  But the song really did not go anywhere. Kree Harrison was in her zone but is that zone sufficient to win American Idol Season 12.  Randy did not get it.  Keith was right that she did not pour her heart out in the performance.  Nikki said it was not a top4 quality performance.

7) Kree Harrison – “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” by Procol Harum/Annie Lennox

“and the crowd called out for more”, how appropriate. Does Kree Harrison have more? This was not Kree Harrison‘s night.  That was a spectacular vocal but not much more. Mariah had no words.  Keith did not like the middle ground song choice.  Nikki said that something on the inside of Kree Harrison seems to be dimming.

8)Candice Glover – “Emotion” by Samantha Sang/Destiny’s Child/Bee Gees 7

How can a song that was a hit for three separate artists be a “one hit wonder”  That was terrible. There was nothing to that song.  It was bland and middling, not worthy of Candice Glover‘s voice.  That seemed a little lazy.

9)Amber Holcomb – “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris/Donna Summer 6

Amber came to the second half of the show in her third outfit of the night.  She has all the instincts of a modern diva, she just needs to sing songs from this century.  The slow first part was exquisite, but when the disco pace hit Amber Holcomb was washed away.  She lost the emotional connection to the song and did not control the beat.  Her vocal wavered off pitch and she missed some of the high notes. Of course, the judges leapt to their feet. Not for me. Nikki wants to be friends with Amber.  Mariah said her star quality is starting shine.

American Idol Season 12 top 4 performance show was frustrating and disappointing for me. The song selections were mostly horrific and the judges were an unfunny joke. What happens tonight?  Ryan allude to a special surprise twist, which we all interpret as- “we need a non-elimination week to right the screw-up that has us ending one week earlier than Fox ordered”.  If there is an elimination, I am afraid the Kree Harrison is in trouble.

Check back with us on Monday for our American Idol Season 12 top 3 4 power rankings.

 

 

American Idol Season 12 Top 4 Power Rankings

It  was a little surprising that the American Idol  judges let their “save” lie dormant Season 12 because they now have a scheduling issue.  There are not enough shows to make it to the Season 12 finale on May 16th.  I am glad they let Janelle Arthur go.  To use the save on a talented singer who had no chance to win Season 12 would have been disingenuous.   They have a programming problem to solve, but maybe a little more integrity.

american-idol-season-12-top-4

We still believe Kree Harrison will win American Idol Season 12.  Watch her suck up most of Janelle Arthur‘s voters this week.  Some, who were drawn to Janelle’s performing personality more than her country roots, may gravitate to Angie Miller.  However, the most popular genre for American Idol voters is country and Kree Harrison has that all to herself.

American Idol Season 12 Top 4 Power Rankings

1) Candice Glover- Really, is there any question? The only reason Candice Glover does not win American Idol Season 12 will be because of genre popularity or audience connectivity. Since we started covering American Idol in Season 7, we have not seen a performer with the combination of pure singing talent, artistry and performance instincts. When we look at the best performances of Season 12 Candice Glover has delivered “I (Who Have Nothing)”, “Love Song”, “What About Me”, “Don’t Make Me Over” and “I’m Going Down”. That is an outstanding run that is buoyed by her consistency. The worst you can say about Candice Glover is that she had a few weeks in a row when she just sang spectacularly but did not blow our minds with her arrangements.

2) Angie Miller- She did what she does best this week.  Angie Miller took the emotions of the tragedy in her hometown and took the audience to Church with “I’ll Stand by angie-miller american idol season 12 top 4You.”  Then she bettered her first performance with “Halo”.  Angie Miller is a threat to win American Idol Season 12.  She has had her share of show stopping performances when you add last week to “Love Came Down”  and “Never Gone”.  However, Angie goes through periods where she seems to be trying to win American Idol Season 12 rather that allowing her artistry to flow.  Angie Miller‘s lack of consistency puts her American Idol run at risk.

3) Kree Harrison- This was a bad week for Kree Harrison and she landed in the bottom two. She has delivered week after week of vocal clinics but has yet to knock the audience off of their feet.  Her American Idol run is starting to remind me of Melinda Doolittle‘s. Kree Harrison is a great singer but is she a star?

Kree Harrison has the inside shot to win American Idol Season 12 because she now owns the country voting block.  However, where are the country songs?  Kree Harrison has sang one country song in the last six weeks.  For Kree Harrison to solidify her voting block she needs to go to Nashville and fly her country flag.

4) Amber Holcomb- She delivered her best performance of Season 12 with the Amber Holcomb version of “Waht Are You Doing With The rest of You Life”.  Amber Holcomb is a fearless singer but she has yet to develop her artistic vocabulary.  Her best performances have been old school ballads and her voice and phrasing are more Madeleine Peyroux that Rhianna.  Despite her good looks and edgy fashion style, Amber Holcomb is not contemporary enough to win American Idol Season 12.

We are down to the final stretch and three of the top 4 are Christian musicians.  I am anxious to see how the American Idol producers will solve their scheduling shortfall.  However, I am even more excited to see the Top four perform this week’s theme: “One Hit Wonders” and “Free Choice”.  I hope we will hear some country from Kree Harrison of some more Christian music from Angie Miller.  I am really excited to see what Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb will bring.  Join us on Thursday morning as we review the performances.

American Idol Season 12 Top 5 Performances

Was this Mariah Carey‘s birthday party?  Even Nikki Minaji offered up auditory sacrifices to American Idol‘s living diva.  As much as Mariah Carey feigned humility you could see her growing with every paean to her divaness. It was a strange night where the judges loved everything, even if pitch and pace were sacrificed to bombast. They stood for jut about every performance, except for Janelle Arthur, and complimented performances even when you could tell they were holding back criticism.

Angie Miller and Candice Glover dominated the night with big emotional performances wrapped in a big diva, emotional night.  However, Amber Holcomb pulled out a miracle at the end that will probably save her.  Kree Harrison was surprisingly mundane and just missed with song selection and performance choices.  Without those no-talent males around, the comparative level of performance jumped significantly so we watched everyone a little more critically.

American Idol Season 12 Top 5

American Idol Season 12 Top 5 Performance Rankings

1)Angela Miller – “I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders
I don’t know about the singing but I do know that performance brought me to tears. Angie Miller picked a great song, grabbed her piano, turned that song into a big power ballad and brought the house down.  She made some great vocal choices and lost herself in the song.  When she powered her mid range in the chorus the hair stood up on my neck.  The judges fawned over her but seemed to hold back some unidentified criticism.

2)Candice Glover – “When You Believe” by Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston
I do not like when American Idol performers do songs from Disney cartoons. Candice Glover convinced me to make an exception. Candice Glover took a song from a Disney cartoon and took us to church.  The melody is boring and Candice had to slug through a mundane first half of the song. But when she hit that first chorus she changed chords like an drag racer and soared. Was Candice Glover singing this song about prayer and faith to herself? I don’t know but I certainly felt I was watching her in an intimate moment convince herself that she able.  The judges stood and the crowd roared.  Nikki said, “that is the way you sing a Mariah Carey song.”  Randy called it the best vocal of the night.

3)Angela Miller – “Halo” by Beyoncé
Angie Miller finally got it right. She stood in the middle of the stage, delivered a performance that was just big enough and allowed her voice to dominate the song. A strong, strong vocal performance by Angie Miller.  It is obvious that Angie Miller was feeling it tonight.  That was huge and soaring.  Nikki said that Angie is back and performed the song like a diva.

4)Amber Holcomb – “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?” by Michael Dees/Barbara Streisand
Amber Holcomb probably saved her season with this final performance of the show. A beautiful low opening gave her room open up her vocal range. This was a good song choice.  It gave her voice time to flow with some fun, jazzy runs.  That was beautiful and elegant and mesmerizing. Her vocal was overwhelmed by the band and the orchestra at times, but this was Amber Holcomb‘s best performance of American Idol Season 12.  Nikki called it simply perfection.

5)Candice Glover – “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul
Candice Glover took a stinking dance pop number and turned it into a sultry, jazzy, Caribbean vibe. Her arrangement highlighted the lyrics and gave her room to show off her voice with runs, casual falsettos and long notes.  Incredible.  Candice Glover started the show and set the bar high.  Keith said she doesn’t choose her runs she feels them. Nikki called her The Boss.  Mariah merely said, “genius”

6)Janelle Arthur – “When I Call Your Name” by Vince Gill
This was a great choice for Janelle Arthur‘s voice. It showed the full range of her tone and highlighted the softness of her voice. She pulled some wonderful country falsetto at the end. We could feel her connection with the song and she pulled us into the melody. It felt that Janelle Arthur was sharing something personal with us. However, this performance would blend into a long night of country performances if we were at a country music special. The judges loved how much comfort she brought to her performance. Except for Keith, he did not feel the emotion of the song.

7)Kree Harrison – “Have You Ever Been In Love” by Celine Dion
This was a strange night for Kree Harrison. She never seemed comfortable and at times she seemed almost distracted. This song did not really fit Kree Harrison’s voice.  It sounded odd with her phrasing and at times her voice seemed to screech.  Why is Kree Harrison not singing country songs? The judges stood again but I just didn’t get it. Nikki said Kree just elevated her net worth. Kree Harrison confused me tonight.

8)Kree Harrison – “She Talks To Angels” by The Black Crowes
I was a little disappointed with this performance.  Of course she sang it perfectly.  Kree Harrison soared through some big notes and she was pitch perfect.  However, she seemed to struggle with the rhythm of the song.  She looked out of sync and never seemed to lift the song.  The judges all gushed about her voice but they all saw the clumsiness of her performance. Nikki thought it was perfection.

9)Janelle Arthur – “Dumb Blonde” by Dolly Parton
This was the wrong song choice for this person at this moment. Dolly Parton had so many better songs.  The song allowed Janelle Arthur to unleash her country rock side.  Janelle’s fiery side showed through her connection to the lyrics. But the vocals were just okay and performance was a little cruise like. Randy was right that there was more performing than singing. Nikki thinks Janelle is going home.

10)Amber Holcomb – “Without You” by Mariah Carey
Amber Holcomb has guts. She grabbed one of Mariah Carey‘s biggest hits, one of the most recorded pop songs of all time and one of the most performed songs on American Idol. But she just could not pull this song off.  She seemed to fight the song and her voice screeched at the top end.  She struggled with pitch and pacing.  I thought that was pretty bad.  The judges stood, I don’t know why. Except Nikki who said she seemed a little scared. Randy gave her props for trying ?

With that final song, I think Amber Holcomb saved herself and maybe elevated herself out of the bottom 2.  I clearly see Janelle Arthur in the bottom two but who will join her.  Is it possible that both of the country girls land at the bottom tonight.  I doubt it, but I cannot imagine Angie Miller or Candice Glover standing with Janelle Arthur.  So I think Janelle Arthur is voted off tonight.  Will the judges save her?

American Idol Season 12 Top 5 Power Rankings

Okay, so now it is time for the big boy girl time on American Idol Season 12. All of the guys are gone and we will have the first female American Idol since season 6. Candice Glover stands heads above the other four girls, but will she win?  Life is tough for a mature soul singer on American Idol, but she has been so good this year that we are comparing her to the  all time American Idol  greats- Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Carrie UnderwoodKree Harrison is as good a singer as we have seen on American Idol, but she has not had the spectacular moments we have seen from Candice Glover.  The third real contender is Angie Miller who has had transcendent moments on American Idol Season 12 but has been inconsistent.

American Idol Season 12 Top 5 Power Rankings

Candice Glover Top 5

1) Candice Glover- What a season Candice Glover has put together. She has demonstrated a big powerful voice, with a stylistic and vocal range unmatched on the show. However, what is putting Candice Glover in the same conversation as the all time greats is her ability to grab the meaning of a song, wrap it into a jazz or soul package and then perform perfectly. Candcie Glover’s version of “Love Song” was a performance and arrangement revelation.

2) Kree Harrison- An exceptional, polished singer, Kree Harrison has delivered a string of superior performances during American Idol Season 12. She has soul, blues and rock in her country voice. However, she has not had one transcendent performance. Every performance has been great but no show stoppers.

3) Angie Miller- On the other hand, Angie Miller has had several show stopping performances that will be talked about for years. We suspect that she has more to come over the next few weeks. However, Angie Miller has also stumbled on several occasions. When Angie Miller tries to sing lyrics that are not deeply felt she either comes off as theatrical or fake.

4) Janelle Arthur- Janelle Arthur has the best stage presence and most engaging personality of any of the American Idol Season 12 top 5. She has a beautiful voice, with a rich tone,but a voice not as strong as the other four. She has made up for her vocal strength with several great interpretations of songs that have created those special moments that are so important on American Idol.

5) Amber Holcomb- Another tremendous voice and, probably, the most stylish of all the Top 5. Amber Holcomb‘s deep jazzy vocal really shines on ballads but she still needs work on up tempo numbers. She has a cool, confident performance style that makes it hard to connect with her.

Who Will Win American Idol Season 12

American Idol Kree harrison

Power rankings are one thing, but America does not always vote in the order of our power rankings.  Voting demographics and likability are huge influences on who will win American Idol Season 12.  As we have seen over the past few years, music genre matters greatly.

I think that puts Kree Harrison as the front runner to win American Idol Season 12.  She has consistently been in the top 3 and last week she was in the top 2.  That is while she is splitting the country vote with Janelle Arthur.

Despite the breathtaking flash that Candice Glover has demonstrated so far this year, I think she still has work to do to make it to the American Idol season finals.  If Angie Miller anchors herself to her piano and finds songs that touch her soul, she will give Candice Glover a run for her money.  She is younger and, thus, more relatable to the American Idol voting demographic.  I think Angie Miller and Candice Glover will split the votes that Amber Holcomb is receiving once she exits American Idol Season 12.  Angie will receive the teenager votes and Candice will receive the Amber’s soul music followers.

You can surmise from my analysis so far, that I do not believe Janelle Arthur or Amber Holcomb will win American Idol Season 12.  Both are tremendous talents and both have created momentum for their careers but Kree, Candice and Angie are just too talented.

Wednesday night, the American Idol Season 12 top 5 will sing two songs.  One theme will be “Divas” where the ladies will sing songs from divas such as Celine Dion, Whitney Houston or,would they dare, Mariah Carey.  On the surface this works against Janelle Arthur, but if she is smart, she can set herself apart.  The other theme is “Birth Year Songs.”

Join us on Thursday for our American Idol Season 12 Top 5 performance reviews.

American Idol Season 12 Top 6 Performances

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.

Candice Glover Love Song

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.

 

American Idol Season 12 Top 6 Power Rankings

American Idol Season 12 Top 3Time for a little rant about American Idol Season 12.  How can anyone watch this show week in and week out and have a top 3 without Candice Glover?  How can America vote a top 3 that includes Lazaro Arbos?  I have questioned all season that Lazaro should not be in the top 20, the top 10, etc.  I know that America’s votes are fickle and unpredictable but this is a travesty.

However, I am less upset with America than I am with the American Idol  judges.  Keith Urban, Nikki Manaj and Randy Jackson all had top 3′s that excluded Candice GloverCandice Glover‘s “I (Who Have Nothing)” is the high point of the live shows.  Every duet or trio has been dominated by Candice Glover. Every week Candice Glover has been one of the best singers.  Sometimes you see things that are so perplexing that you must question the honesty of what is being said.

American Idol Season 12 Top 6 Power Rankings

1) Candice Glover- We can only hope that this week’s shocking exclusion of Candice Glover from everyone’s top 3 and the elimination of Burnell Taylor will light a new fire in Candice Glover. She has sang exceptionally well week after week, but she has seemed to fall into a complacency of easy song selections. Let’s hope she now digs deeper and begins a six week mission to wring amazement from each and every song she selects. We know Candice Glover can sing rock and pop but it is now time to turn this season into her own personal gospel and soul revue.  Say goodbye to Burnell Taylor and watch Candice Glover strut her stuff with”The Letter”

2) Kree Harrison- She continues a high level march through American Idol Season 12. Kree Harrison is the best country singer singing to an audience that prefers country. She has performed well each week but her performances have been devoid of peaks and valleys. Kree Harrison has yet to amaze us. That could hurt her in the end.

3) Angie Miller- She has had peaks and valleys. After an astonishing start Angie Miller had suffered through several weeks of perplexing, overwrought missteps. Will this week’s “Bring Life To Me” start her comeback. Angie Miller needs six weeks of deep, heartfelt performances of songs she cares about. And for heavens sakes, get back to your piano Angie Miller.

4) Janelle Arthur- This was not an amazing week for Janell Arthur and she wound up in the bottom two. She needs to wow America each week with her personality and her depth as a performer. Janelle Arthur can make it to the American Idol Season 12 top 3, but it will be because she surprises America each week with amazing arrangements and show stopping performances.

5)Amber Holcomb- I do not how Amber Holcomb is on three of the judges top 3. She is a beautiful singer and has been very daring in her arrangements. However, I have yet to be excited by any of her performances. She seems to struggle with up paced songs. Even this week, she technically performed a rock ballad and she has struggled in fast paced group numbers.

6) Lazaro Arbos- What can I say? Lazaro Arbos struggles to maintain melody and pitch in his performances and he regularly forgets lyrics. At this point we should be hearing interesting song arrangements and commanding stage presence. Instead we get roller coaster vocal performances that we are all grateful he finishes.  As we move into the first week to double solo performances, expect Lazaro Arbos to struggle mightily.  American Idol Season 12 is too big for Lazaro Arbos.

Will we have an all girl top 5 in American Idol Season 12? Will the judges use their save this week?  I bet we have one or the other.  American Idol Season 12 will have two solo performances this week.  The first theme is “Burt Bacharach/Hal David Songbook”.  The second theme is “Songs You Wish You Wrote”. Both of these themes provide the best artists a full range of possibilities.  These themes should favor Angie Miller and should give Candice Glover room to bring the gospel.

American Idol Season 12 Top 7 Performances

American Idol Season 12 Top 7 RockHave we ever seen an American Idol episode without ballads?  Not even one? So much potential for American Idol Season 12 with a show theme of “Classic Rock, No Ballads”, so much hope. We got a too heavy dose of Orianthi but the show, solos and duets both, was fun. Once again the girls dominated.  Kree Harrison, Candice Glover and Angie Miller were all essentially tied at the top.  Burnell Taylor, Janelle Arthur and Amber Holcomb were bunched in the second group. Nobody had a standout, amazing moment this week but we had mostly solid performance and an enjoyable show.

American Idol Season 12 Top 7 Performaces

1)Kree Harrison – “Piece Of My Heart” by Janis Joplin
So Kree Harrison is the den mother of the group and she is one of the best singers ever. She can do soul, she can do blues, she can do rock and she can do country. Wonderful, powerful performance of a Texas girl by a Texas girl. She was completely at home with the song and she consumed this song. Amazingly she has a pinched nerve and she stomped around the stage like a big 60′s rock singer. Nikki said Kree Harrison would get all 50 of her Idol app votes. She would get many of mine.

2)Candice Glover – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones
Candice Glover is just done. She is complete. She could go on tour right now. Candice Glover delivered perfect, powerful, aggressive singing with commanding stage presence.  My only complaint is that the song did not push her very much. Kree gets a degree of difficulty bonus but this was incredible. The judges continue to fawn over Candice Glover even though Nikki hated the song choice.  Randy was correct that she brought the rock attitude to the performance.

3)Angie Miller – “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence
All season long the judges have been telling Angie Miller to perform an Evanescence song. I think they were right. The song was big enough for her dramatics and her voice soared on this big rock anthem. I think she felt the lyrics and she stayed within the song. Finally, Angie Miller returned to her piano, even if just for a moment. Randy was right that her dynamics were great. This could be the return of Angie Miller.

4)Janelle Arthur – “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel
According to Burnell, Janelle Taylor is “horse waiting outside country”. Janelle’s thick country take on this Long Island songwriter actually worked. This was not the riveting performance she has delivered the past few weeks and the arrangement exposed her vocal weakness but her powerful stage presence made it worked. Nikki said that Janelle seems like every girl’s best friend. That translates into many American Idol votes.

5)Amber Holcomb – “What About Love” by Heart
I think Burnell is sweet on Amber Holcomb. Evidently Amber is sweet on Amber as well, because she is constantly taking photos of herself. This song skirts the edge of ‘no ballads”. This performance exposed some Amber’s shortcomings. She sang big and she sang powerfully. However, we did not see many musical dynamics from her. The song sounded like a flat plain. The judges gushed but I did not see it. Nikki even said it was her favorite of the night. I didn’t get it.

 6)Burnell Taylor – “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi
Burnell Taylor actually did much better than I thought he would with an uptempo number. The character of his voice showed through even though his unique phrasing was washed away in the tempo of this song. This gives me hope about his performance range. I hope to see some uptempo R&B from him if he survives the opening spot this week.  Burnell did “The Letter” in a duet with Candice Glover.  He should have picked that song for his solo performance.

 7)Lazaro Arbos - “We Are The Champions” by Queen
Lazaro Arbos is bright and dramatic but he is no Freddy Mercury.  This song completely engulfed him. For stretches of the song I could not hear him. When I did, he wavered all around the pitch. That was not so good. But we did have a big dramatic pose at the end. The judges generally liked the performance but I think they have lowered their bar for Lazaro.

The results are tricky to project this week.  We could have surprise but I doubt it.  I think Amber Holcomb, Burnell Taylor and Lazaro Arbos are in the bottom 3 on Thursday night.  I think Burnell Taylor is at risk because he performed first and his was not a stand out performance.  However, his duet was great and he was featured a lot during the vignettes between songs.  I think that will be enough to save Burnell and I think Lazaro Arbos runs out of steam this week.

Check back in with us on Monday to review our American Idol Season 12 top 6 power rankings.