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.

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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 how produce their own music with this great studio monitors to consider for any musician.  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 as the ones I have seen in New York jazz shows.  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

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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.

American Idol Season 12 Top 7 Power Rankings

American Idol Season 12 Top 7Now things begin to get interesting on American Idol Season 12. We have six exceptional competitors and one weaker singer who continues to bask in inexplicable popularity.  Lazaro Arbos takes the judges criticism week after week and continues to pile up the votes.  His popularity could result in a shocking result this week that may force the judges to use their save.  The American idol Season 12 Top 7 includes six Christian musicians.  We just do not know about one of our favorites, Kree Harrison.

Our two favorites, Candice Glover and Kree Harrison opened and closed the show with powerful performances. The real story of the past few weeks is the momentum being generated by Janelle Arthur with her smart, artistic arrangements and performances. While Janelle is asserting herself Angie Miller has stumbled the past few weeks with perplexing song choices and performances. Season 12 is still there for any of the top 6 but people better start creating some memorable moments because Candice Glover and Kree Harrison are assembling a powerful body of work on American Idol Season 12.

American Idol Season 12 Top 7 Power Rankings

1) Candice Glover
Week after week Candice Glover delivers fresh, soulful, bluesy takes on standard American Idol fare. Last week was no different when she re-interpreted “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Her take on this classic was a little more aggressive with assertive vocals and a more driving beat. I would not want to listen to an entire album of these songs from Candice Glover but I would relish any of the songs she has done this year on her first CD. Candice Glover is putting together very strong body of work on American Idol Season 12. If anyone else wins, it will be because of genre popularity or some major stumble by Candice. Right now, Candice Glover is on a path to the finale.

2) Kree Harrison
Yes, Kree Harrison is a country singer. But she is a country singer like we have not seen since Hank Williams. Kree Harrison brings the back woods blues and the down south soul back to country. Her take on “Don’t Play That Song for Me” was brilliant. For an Aretha fan to listen to someone else make this song fresh was a revelation. If Kree Harrison keeps this up we will be headed to the best finale since, well since the beginning of American Idol. Kree Harrison is a mature performer, a tremendous singer and she has put together a consistently great Season 12.

3) Janelle Arthur
Here she comes. The country girl who was dismissed as the second best country singer on American Idol is showing, like David Cook and Phil Phillips, that there is more to winning American Idol than a big voice. Janelle Arthur put together back to back performances that wowed us. Her version of “You Keep Me Hanging On” won the American Idol Season 12 Top 8 performance rankings and revealed new vision of that song. She is highlighting the beauty of her voice and the maturity of her artistic vision. We are loving it.

4) Angie Miller
Where have you gone our emotive songstress? You bolted to the top of American Idol Season 12 with gut wrenching performances of meaningful songs. In the past few weeks it seems Angie Miller has tried to win by showing off many different sides of herself. You can do that if the different sides fit you. These past few weeks don’t seem to be Angie Miller the artist. It is time for Angie Miller to reconnect with her audience in a authentic way and build on that relationship into the finals. If not, we are going to be shocked in one of these next few weeks.

5) Amber Holcomb
Week after week Amber Holcomb has delivered some of the most stunning vocal performances on American Idol Season 12. Last week’s “Lately” was stunning. Difficult, subtly arranged, daring, perfectly sung, and yet, I was not wowed. I don’t know if it is the tone of Amber Holcomb‘s voice or the sting of ballads she has sung but I just don’t feel the excitement she will need to win American Idol Season 12.

6) Burnell Taylor
Probably the most interesting, vocally, of all the performers on American Idol Season 12, Burnell Taylor is losing me with his parade of ballads. His cool tone and jolting phraseology pull me in, but I need to hear something a little more modern. Tony Bennett has a cool tone and an interesting phrasing style but he is not winning American Idol Season 12. Burnell Taylor needs a big moment this week or we will see him exit on the next two weeks.

7) Lazaro Arbos
Lazaro Arbos was at his best last week and it still was not good enough. He has a beautiful voice and he can probably do something with it professionally. However, this year, in this competition he is out of his league. His popularity does continue to surprise but I expect him to exit within the next few weeks.

It looks like we will see Burnell Taylor and Amber Holcomb move out of their comfort zones with this week’s theme- “Classic Rock, No Ballads.” Plenty of Creedance Clearwater Revival, Journey and Heart this week.  This could be a turning week in American Idol Season 12. Join us Thursday as we review the performances.

American Idol Season 12 Top 8 Perform Motown

FOX's "American Idol" Season 12American Idol Season 12 has entered a forest of bland that has seen some interesting performances but mostly just the same old trees over and over again.  I don’t know if it is the tired old themes, leveling off of the top performers or the transition to a new stage, but Season 12 has ground to a crawl.  The American Idol Season 12 top 8 performed songs from Detroit (not just Motown) and most of the performances were more of the same we have seen since Idol arrived on the L.A. live stage.  Kree Harrison and Candice Glover sang exceptionally but did not reach the heights of earlier weeks.  Angie Miller actually had her second misstep in a row and needs to right herself if she is going into the Top 3.  The highlight of the evening was the surging Janelle Arthur who delivered one of the most original performances of the season.

American Idol Season 12 Top 8 Performance Rankings

1)Janelle Arthur – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”
This was a brilliant moment for Janelle Arthur. She performed an quiet, subdued arrangement of this big “wall of sound” song. Her arrangement was dark and brooding and seemed to fit the mood of the lyrics even more than the original recording. Keith said her arrangement brought out the angst of the lyrics. Janelle Arthur took the night without attempting big vocal histronics. She stayed in her zone, played to her strengths and delivered a stunning professional performance. Is Christian musician Janelle Arthur the David Cook of American Idol Season 12?

 

2)Candice Glover – “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
Once again Candice Glover showed off her tremendous pipes, but more importantly, her performing savvy. She made just enough changes to the song that it was fresh without abandoning the song’s essence. Her slow quiet start just pulled us in and then Candice Glover walloping us with a growling, rollocking take off. She did soften the performance with some sweet falsetto moments and then closed with just a nasty finishing run. With all of that said, I think Candice is an example of what is happening on American Idol Season 12. She is delivering every performance and is showing a lot of versatility, but she has wandered from what has made her special to us. Candice Glover needs to return to her roots and deepen our connections with the singer we fell in love with a month ago.

 

3)Amber Holcomb – “Lately”
Everytime Christian musician Amber Holcomb steps onto the stage she takes big risks and delivers in a big way. Crazy phrasing, daredevil runs and perfect notes, big and small. She did it again with a moving, stuning performance of “Lately”. Mariah called it a ‘tour de force” and resorted to profanity when the audience did not seem to understand the gravitas of her statement. Amber Holcomb was spectacular, but I still do not connect with her and I think the American Idol audience is struggling to meet her as well. That may be why she was in the bottom 2 last week.

 

4)Kree Harrison – “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”
A cool country blues twist of one if my favorite songs. Kree Harrison smartly chose to not try to match Aretha’s crazy vocals but, instead, took it into a little more rock twinged country style. There is a deep, primordal connection between blues, soul and country. They come from the same rural roots so it is pretty easy to move from one to the other. Listen to Hank Williams (the original) and try to tell me where the blues and soul stop and country begins. I agree with Keith that Kree successfully takes us on that journey from blues and soul with her country voice. However, we have seen Kree Harrison better and I hope we are going to see her start to push herself in the coming weeks.

 

5)Devin Velez – “Tracks of My Tears”
He just seems so comfortable on stage. Devin Velez slightly altered “Tracks of My Tears”, delivered a perfect performance and probably did not do enough to save himself. He held back some of the runs and stayed more into the melody of the song than he has in past weeks. However, Devin Velez needed to wow this week and this was not a wow.

6)Angie Miller – “Shop Around”
Where did Angie Miller go? Is she over confident or is she focused too much on winning, on showing all of things she can do. The Civil Wars did not become one of the most successful groups of the past few years by showing all that they can do. Angie Miller, we love you at the piano singing from your soul about what matters to you. That is our connection with you. That is what made you a front runner in American Idol Season 12. Go back to yourself and allow our relationship to grow with you. Mariah said it all when she said “that was not Angie”.

 

7)Burnell Taylor – “My Cherie Amour”
I am glad you latched onto “Let It Be” last week. I have grown tired of your maudlin ballads week after week. You are a cool and interesting singer but I will not buy a cd of ballad after ballad. We need you to take your great instrument and wrap it around some more interesting material. Burnell Taylor ran some nice scales in the middle and finished with some soul phrasing at the end. It is not about how you sing it is about what you are singing.

 

8)Lazaro Arbos – “For Once In My Life”
Lazaro Arbos seemed defeated during the judges critiques this week. I think he is tired of hearing how courageous he is. This was much better than last week but still not up to the standard set by the other 7 on American Idol Season 12.

I will be shocked in Lazaro Arbos is not in the bottom 3 tonight.  I think her will joined by Devin Velez and probably Amber Holcomb.  Unfortunately, I think Christian musician Devin Velez goes home tonight.  However, do not be surprised if we have a surprise tonight and Angie Miller or Janelle Arthur slip into the bottom 3.

Join us on Monday for our American Idol Season 12 Top 7 Power Rankings.

American Idol Season 12|Top 10 Performances

Candice-Glover-I-Who-Have-Nothing-American-Idol-12-Top-10-622x349Americn 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:

  1. The girls, as group, are heads  above the guys.
  2. American Idol Season 12 loves  them some Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
  3. 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.

American Idol Season 12- Las Vegas

One21music covers Christian musicians performing on American Idol Season 12.  We had an exciting and frustrating new twist last week and we were not here to discuss.  I apologize.  Our site was under lockdown for maintenance and we could not post.  We are back now and we will be here all season.

 

American Idol Season 12 top 5 guys vegasamerican idol top 5 girls vegasLast week American Idol Season 12 took us into the world of live audience sudden death performances. While the decision to eliminate performers after only half of them performed is a little frustrating, I like the format.  Over last week and this, we will be able to finally see all of the performers.  For the most part, I agree with the first 10 selected to go to the live show.  I was, and always am, surprised how some of the performers such as JDA and Chris Watson stumbled in their moves to the big stage.

Of the first 10 selected for America’s vote, five are Christian musicians.  Amber Holcomb, Angela Miller, Tenna Torres, Curtis Finch Jr and Devin Velez have all openly expressed their faith.  Angela Miller, Curtis Finch Jr and Devin Velez have all received substantial airplay during the auditions and Hollywood week.

Even last Tuesday, during the live performances, the judges were still raving about Angela Miller’s original song, “You Set Me Free”, which she performed during Hollywood Week.  Here’s why:

However, Amber Holcomb burst forth with the best performance of the week.  Here is 18 year old Amber Holcomb singing “My Funny Valentine”:

After the first week of American Idol Season 12 Las Vegas performances, here are my power rankings:

  1. Angela Miller
  2. Amber Holcomb
  3. Devin Velez
  4. Kree Harrison
  5. Adriana Latoni
  6. Curtis Finch Jr
  7. Tenna Torres
  8. Elijah Liu
  9. Paul Jolley
  10. Charlie Askew

This week American Idol Season 12 picks the final 10 performers to hand over to America for their votes.  The guys will perform first this week and then the ladies will perform on Thursday.  It will be interesting to see if the final 10 guys and final 10 ladies learned anything from last week’s performances.

Watch for these five Christian musicians performing on Wednesday night’s episode of American Idol Season 12: David Willis, Burnell Taylor, Vince Powell, Lazaro Arbos and Josh Holiday.  Based on what I have seen, I will be surprised if Burnell Taylor and Vince Powell do not make it to America’s vote.

On Thursday night American Idol Season 12 will feature seven Christian musicians performing live.  Aubrey Cleland, Jett Hermano, Rachel Hale, Cristabel Clack, Janelle Arthur, Candice Glover and Breanna Steer will compete to get to America’s vote.  Candice Glover has been the vocal stand out of this group so far, while country singer Janelle Arthur has been receiving as much face time as anyone on American Idol Season 12.

Join us this time next week as we preview the American Idol Season 12 Top 20 so you can get prepared to vote.