March 6, 2013 by Susan Miller
We made it to the live shows! Deep breaths everybody. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back for making it through the last two months. Man this show drags on forever. Whenever we get to March and I realize we don’t even have a top 12 yet, I start to get antsy about that May deadline. Somehow they always make it. Must have something to do with daylight savings.
First up were the top 10 girls, who are very pretty and very talented and very nice and half of them will be voted off the show on Thursday. The last time they did cuts like this was season 10, which turned out to be crazy loaded with talent, so I have high hopes. Let’s get to sorting.
Zoanette: “What’s Love Got to Do With It” – Poor Zoanette went from closing the show last week to opening it this week. It’s never a good sign if you’re picked to go first in the early rounds, and the producers knew what they were doing with this one. It was frightening and weird from start to finish. Bad outfit. Bad song choice. Bad singing. Bad wig. (Though I would like to say that I’m glad that shorts and tights are back in fashion. I used to rock that look hard back in my daycare days.) Mariah looked physically pained during the song and Nicki was frowning and Randy was thrashing all around, because that’s what everyone did last week. I think the main problem with her performance was that it was just too normal. It didn’t allow her to be fierce and dramatic. She tried to fit in with everyone else and she fell far short. I think she’d probably be a great Broadway singer, in one of those diva supporting scene stealer roles. But as an Idol pop star? Not so much.
Breanna Steer: “Flaws & All” – I have to admit that much of what they cover now is brand new to me, so it has a different effect. For example, I only recognized 4 of the songs tonight. So I think it was a good song choice for her? She has a pretty tone on the verses, which is rare for this show, but I’m not sure she has the pipes to fill an Idol auditorium. Then again, I think most current pop stars would struggle with that. Keith loved it, Nicki hated it and right on cue, Randy started rambling on about “moments.” I love it when Randy talks about jumping up and down. That mental image never gets old. Mariah just kept on ignoring everyone except Randy. She’s so adorably awkward. I don’t think it was a big enough “moment” (ugh) for her to jump out of anonymity with the voters. It’s a shame, but maybe she and Aubrey can form a group like Nicki suggested.
Aubrey Cleland: “Big Girls Don’t Cry” – Goodness this girl is pretty. I have to look up her name every time she sings, because she’s just “that pretty girl” in my mind. Looks aside, she attempts the Fergie song and it doesn’t work out, because it never, ever, ever works out for anyone. The chorus is too fast and doesn’t provide those moments that Randy is jumping up and down over and by the time it wanders back to the verse, it just sounds flat and boring. Given Idol’s recent vendetta against pretty girls, I fear Aubrey might not make it. Her tone and style are lovely, but this song is a killer. You’d think that someone who has been watching the show since Kelly would know that by now. The judges essentially tell her to keep trying. They’ve clearly seen this show before too.
Janelle Arthur: “If I Can Dream” – It’s a testament to how bad the first three were that this vocal seemed like a breakthrough for the recently struggling Janelle. I think she’s another one that doesn’t have the pipes to fill an auditorium, and in all her straining ends up going sharp and flat and wonky all over the place. I love her old country vibe, but the emotion never matches and she’s too busy worrying about the camera and smiling and being a small town/girl next door/America’s sweetheart to really settle in and just sing. Sorry, Janelle. I bet you’d sound lovely in a coffee shop.
Tenna Torres: “Lost” – Tenna has a little bit of a squeaky whine to her voice that can be off-putting, but she also has such control on the verses and can soar on the choruses that it seems like the kind of tic that can be fixed. She’s the same sort of artist as Breanna and Aubrey, but has much better pipes. I’m very curious to see how America responds to her, given that the most memorable thing about her performance was Nicki commenting on her boobs and then Randy freaking out until Nicki told him to shut up. Never leave us, Nicki.
Angela Miller: “Never Gone” – So we’re calling her Angie now? Oookay. I think “Angie” will benefit the most from future theme nights. She’s kind of stuck in a rut with her song choices. Every song has sort of the same build and pace and tone and it’s all gotten a little Nickelback-y. Same chorus, same notes, different words, all emoting face. She needs a change. If she were a white guy with a guitar, she could just do that for 12 weeks, but she’s a girl, so she’s going to have to throw in a “Stuff Like That There” or “Alone.” I can’t wait to see it. The judges, naturally, told her not to change a thing, so I hope she ignores them and experiments a little. Nobody puts Angie in a corner.
Amber Holcomb: “I Believe In You and Me” – Such a powerful voice. Pretty, deep, thick, lovely. She’s going to have to pick more current songs soon, but for now. Wow. Love hearing that out of the tiny girl. Seriously, all these girls have stick legs. Y’all need to eat! Seriously good voice, but that song, and that accompaniment makes her sound like early 90’s Whitney. Which is a pretty impressive feat, but doesn’t really help sell her as a current pop artist. She’s got talent oozing out her ears, so I’m a little worried for her this week. Hopefully Nicki’s Barbs followed her directions.
Kree Harrison: “Stronger” – That voice! Clear as a bell on a summer’s day. Love it. I wish they didn’t make her wear platform heels onstage. I bet she’d have a much better and easier time getting those notes/emotions/music out in flats. She’s the best singer/songwriter type the show has this year, and I hope she makes it through this week over the pop star pretty girls. And she’s funny! And she’s Nicki’s wife! I love her so much. She’s going to get cut and I’m going to be stuck hate-watching this show for the rest of the year. I feel like Kree is so unassuming that she’s going to need one of those acapella, dark stage, spotlight moments to make people shut up and take notice of the beauty and power and control in her voice. Also, did I mention she’s funny? A real person contestant with a real personality! I can’t get enough of this girl.
Adriana Latonio: “Stand Up For Love” – Yikes. From start to finish it was just… yikes. First off, her interview package didn’t do her any favors. She kept talking in a weird baby voice about jewelry and shoes and diva stuff and then she kept referencing Alaska which only made me think of Sarah Palin and Tina Fey. Before she even sang a note, I wanted to not like her. Lucky for me, it was just another boring pageanty ballad sung by a young, boring pageanty girl in a weird, boring pageanty prom dress. I did feel a little bad for her every time she sang about getting left behind, because she is so going to be left behind on Thursday. I loved that Nicki just took the awkwardness out of the room entirely by telling her she wasn’t ready. Simple as that. Nothing left to be said. Alaskaaaah.
Candice Glover: “Ordinary People” – Ooh, excellent song choice. She has such a great storyteller quality to her singing. John Legend is getting some amazing coverage on this show this season. The weird loungey arrangement didn’t do her any favors, but she rose above it, because it was a dream song choice and she’s got professional control of those pipes. A+.
If there’s any justice in the universe, Angela, Amber, Kree and Candice will be sent through. The fifth spot should be given to Rihanna or Jessie J or Katy Perry to see if they could compete in this environment. Now THAT would be a show. Take the celebrities off the dance floors and the diving boards and put them back in their money making element! The music industry would never survive it.