Thursday, March 21, 2013

American Idol 12: Top 9

We’re back for another week of American Idol with Lennon/McCartney theme week. Yes, this little reality singing show is yet again repeating the same theme this week that we’ve done in past seasons. Of course, these songs are legendary and great classics, but can we have a more exciting and creative themes next time? Seriously!

That's not to say the performances were awful because most of them rose to the challenge, and now that it has become obvious that this season’s talent is pretty solid - at least, on the girl's side - it’s time I start ranking them on a much tougher scale. It’s not enough to sing and perform well week after week. I’m going to start focusing on who is really connecting to the spirit of a song. It’s time to look beneath the surface of these contestants and decide if they really have what it takes to become a popular recording artist. Let’s take it to a whole new level..

On to the rankings!

09. Lazaro Arbos
In My Life
If this is a shock to you then you are probably Helen Keller. This performance was far worse than Breakaway, and I thought that was as bad as Lazaro could sing. I was wrong. There were flat moments, there were sharp moments, and then there were moments where he defied all music theory and messed up in an entirely new way. In fact, midway through his performance, the melody actually stood up and walked away. Haha. But you know what's the saddest part about all this? He's about to rock the symphaty votes after crying in front of America. Hey Lazaro, man up! Geez. 2/10

08. Devin Velez
A Long and Winding Road
Oh, Devin. On a night where there was absolutely no trainwreck - Lazaro was awful but he cried and stuttered, so he doesn't count - you managed to turn in one of the few forgettable performances tonight. A Long and Winding Road was perfectly fine if we were earlier in the competition. But, we’re not. This was just too basic. Sure, he sounded lovely infused with his usual runs, but the song made me either want to go to sleep or bury my head in my pillows. Devin, you were already becoming a boring contestant, and this certainly did not help. 5/10

07. Paul Jolley
Eleanor Rigby
Paul’s performance of Eleanor Rigby had an absolutely beautiful beginning - the verses were some of the nicest things he has done on the show - but then halfway through, he seemed to lose all of its character. It's nice to see him starting to become more aware of his instrument though. His vocal quality was crystal clear and if he can really work on being more consistent with his performances, he could do really well in the following weeks. 6.5/10

06. Angela Miller
I honestly thought that it was a given that the person who chose Yesterday would do a bang up job. It's just one of those songs that practically sings itself. As long as you respect the melody, you're fine! Unfortunately, Angela just couldn't resist going for those unnecessary glory notes. I can’t ignore how powerful her vocal performance was in this song, but it felt too studied with NO actual connection to the material at all. Honestly, I would have rather have heard her sing it poorly if she could have enthused a little bit more passion into the performance. Because, as it was, it felt vacant and left me shrugging my shoulders. 6.5/10

05. Burnell Taylor
Let It Be
I don’t have much to add about this performance. Burnell sang a lovely version of Let It Be, but somehow he still is desperately seeking a break out moment. I love how he playfully reinterprets the melody and his tone sets himself apart from the competition, but at the same time he also did hit a couple of rough patches on his higher registers and I didn't feel like he tapped into the emotional side of the song like say, Brooke White. It's good, but it could have been better. Also, how in the hell do you not know this song? 7/10

04. Amber Holcomb
She's Leaving Home
True, I didn't think this was Amber's strongest performance to date, but what worked for her aside from just having the good sense to choose this song in the first place, was the way she took the melody up at the end of the verses. I felt like she did showcase a different part of her singing style and she managed to show her beautiful tone by holding her notes without going overboard with her runs and melisma. Oh, and her upper register was firing on all cylinders and carried a purity that most singers only dream of. This was beautiful. 7.5/10

03. Candice Glover
Come Together
Candice sang a stellar (as per usual) version of Come Together and left me utterly speechless. I was cheering, waving pom-poms, covering myself in glitter; you name it, I was doing it. Haha. But seriously, her vocals were fantastic. I liked that she did throw in a couple of ad libs that took this into her own territory and there were some grit into the delivery that was fascinating to watch. I wouldn't say that this was her best performance because I've seen better - and that last run sounded exactly how she ended a song a couple of weeks back - but this was still great. 8/10

02. Janelle Arthur
I Will 
I have never ranked Janelle so high on my list, but her performance of I Will was brilliant. The effort that was seen on her face as she told her story was palpable and measurable. She turned the song into a lovely, lilting country ditty that has soul and her vocals were subtle yet powerful and she never succumbed to the temptation to over sing. Throughout this competition Janelle Arthur has shown us flashes of greatness and tonight was one of those moments. If she can build on this we would have yet another serious contender. 8.5/10

01. Kree Harrison
With A Little Help From My Friends
Let’s talk for a moment about why I absolutely love Kree Harrison. This is a girl that takes no prisoners. She’s brutal and she has a very rare gift and one that is not normally seen on American Idol. Kree feels music. Every song she sings, performs, and emotes takes her to a place where she can feel secure and confident. Her performance of With A Little Help From My Friends was soulful and professional. As always! This girl does not falter, but it’s making my articles kind of repetitive. Haha. I could just copy and paste every one of my critiques. She’s brilliant. So, what else can she bring to the table? 9/10


Who should go? 
Lazaro Arbos

Who will go?
Paul Jolley


Haley Jessica! said...

Agree on "who will go home" HAHA

But, as per rankings, not much DAM HAHA
Here's what I thought,

I'll put Devin above Paul and even Angela. Then put Kree after Amber. My best for the night would be Janelle :)

And what can you say about the judges? Is Nicki with all the censorship seem tacky or what haha

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