Candice- “Straight Up (Paula Abdul)
Candice looks a little like Queen Latifa, doesn’t she? There were some serious, moment-worthy performances elsewhere on the show tonight (see Amber), but this tight, sweet, funky performance was my favorite. As much as Candice has been pimped all year, I don’t think even Idol realizes how good she is. The garbage can lid was a nice touch. A+, moment.
Candice- “When You Believe” (Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston)
It’s probably a good thing she was otherworldly good on her other song, because she was otherworldly mediocre on this one. I blame the band. She started out like she always does, like she was going to tear the roof off the song, but when the song kicked in the band was faster than she expected, and she never got comfortable. She handled the tempo change ok once she felt it, but she kept singing sharp. It means literally nothing. By the time Candice is at risk, at the Nokia in May, nobody is going to remember that she was a little sharp on April 17th. B-
Janelle- “Nobody Answers” (Vince Gill/Patty Loveless)
She has to be careful; she keeps taking more and more chances with the melody, and she isn’t good enough to get away with that for very long. If she tries one of these vocal triple axles without her feet set, she’s going to land on her butt. She hit it tonight, so all I can complain about is that the song choice wasn’t the best. B
Janelle- “Dumb Blonde” (Dolly Parton)
I had to go listen to Dolly’s version, I’d never heard of the song before… Dolly’s version came out in 1967, and it sounded like a vintage Tammy Wynette song. Janelle re-worked it, making it sound like something Janie Fricke or Reba McIntyre would have done in the 1980s. Her arrangement was outstanding, very creative, so Janelle has that going for her (which is nice…). Her best attribute at this point might be her creativity; she is the weakest link left vocally. She missed a ton of notes, trying too hard to compete with the four true divas she is competing against. A for the arrangement, B- for the execution, B+ overall.
Angie and Janelle both have about half an octave of range in the middle where they sound terrific, but outside of that their voices are fairly threadbare.
Kree- “She Talks to Angels (Black Crowes)
She made it her own, I guess, like someone doing an old school country cover of the song. I can’t see her song choice as a good idea, considering what the song is about, but I won’t kill her for it, either. C for the idea, A for the execution so a B for the overall performance, with a bump up because it’s Kree singing it. I can’t speak for everyone, but it always bugs me when a singer turns a blues scale into a major scale. It sounds, for lack of a better description, really white. B+
Kree- “Have You Ever Been in Love” (Celine Dion)
Give Kree fifteen years and she’s going to be hosting “Nashville Now”, or whatever passes for that show in fifteen years. For her sake, let’s hope they quit making the host talk to puppets by then. I think I might have overestimated her voice a little, but I underestimated her personality a lot. She is going to be really famous as a person, not just as a voice. B+
Angie- “I’ll Stand by You” (Pretenders)
Pia Toscano blew the doors off this song in season ten, but I think Angie did it even better than Pia did. Pia is much the better singer, but Angie brought more emotion to the song, and commanded the song like a master. I can do without the constant camera hunting and the cheesy “this is for my hometown” glory grab, but she knocked it out of the park. A
Angie- “Halo” (Beyonce Knowles)
Her vocal was strong, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was sort of “Debbie Boone does hip/hop”. A vocal, C+ feel, B+ overall.
Amber- “Without You” (Mariah Carey)
Nicki tried to say something I was thinking; Amber ain’t Mariah Carey (who is?), so she wasn’t going to sound great with Mariah sitting right there, watching her. As good as she was, and she was very good, the song is just too famous. Amber made no mistakes, but the comparison was too obvious. Actually, the largest mistake was Mariah saying Harry Nillson wrote the song. Not to be anal, but Mariah sang the song, made the song famous to an entire generation. She should know who wrote it. A-
Amber- “What are you doing the rest of your life” (Barbra Streisand)
Billy Holiday lives. Not perfect, but it didn’t have to be. A+, moment.
Safe to in danger:
Sweating to the end-
Both Amber and Janelle still have a slight chance of winning, but the likeliest result is that they will be the next two gone. I don’t know if they are still going to use the save; if they are, nobody is going home this week.