On Wednesday night’s episode of American Idol the remaining ladies of the Top 4 performed two songs each, chosen from the themes “one-hit wonders” and a free choice from any category. This was a great opportunity for the ladies to show what they could do when given the freedom to choose their own song from their own genre.
Amber started the show off with her rendition of “The Power of Love”, originally recorded by Jennifer Rush and later by Celine Dion. Amber did a passable job, but it just seemed to go downhill after the a cappella portion at the start of her performance. Both Jennifer and Celine have a ringing quality to their vocals that make this song so beautiful. Amber’s tone just wasn’t a good match and her voice sounded dull and flat at the end of each line of the song, when it should have sounded much brighter. Nicki’s insightful comments included calling Amber a “big sexy glass of milk” and Randy claimed to hear the “ringing” quality that just wasn’t there.
Candice followed with her rendition of “Find Your Love”, by Drake. She performed the song in her trademark R&B/bluesy style and pulled it off without a hitch. Nicki thought she could have “stayed with the melody”, which she did for the chorus at least and I didn’t hear the “churchy” quality that Randy talked about. Candice’s vocal ability is out of this world and so far she has made song choices that highlight her unique abilities.
Next came Kree with her performance of “It Hurts So Bad”. Poor Kree. I honestly don’t know what is up with Keith Urban constantly harping on her to “cut loose”. Kree’s style is her style, she has amazing vocal ability and she shouldn’t try to force herself to change because it will come across as inauthentic. Nicki made a comment that was typical for her, telling Kree “You look sexy in red” and also thought the performance was not worthy of the Top 4 and said, “everybody can blow smoke up your ass, except Nicki”. Jimmy Iovine chimed in saying it was the wrong song for her and she was hurting herself with her song choices. Kree wisely chose to ignore them both and told Ryan she chose the song “because she loves it and thought it would give her the chance to let go.” She then asked the audience if they liked it and they answered with a nice round of applause.
Angie Miller chose Jesse J’s “Who You Are”. Heeding the judge’s advice, Angie chose to perform this song while at the piano. Although she did an okay job, I didn’t hear the soaring vocals usually associated with her singing from behind the piano. It was kind of slow and dragged for me. Keith Urban commented that she looked “prim and proper with good annunciation”, and seemed to “loosen up” as the song went on. Mariah muttered something about a train and Jimmy Iovine pronounced Angie “neck and neck” with Amber. I think we all saw Randy’s comment coming down the highway at high speed, which was of course, “She’s in it to win it!”
Next came Amber and Kree performing a duet of Adele’s “Rumor Has It”. This is what I had been waiting for since the episode began. In my opinion, they did an outstanding job with the song. I wish Nicki would stop with the comments to Kree that she has to add more personality. She has plenty of fans who love her just the way she is. More pimping of Amber occurred when Keith said she had “command” of the stage. It definitely seemed tonight that the judges were deliberately attempting to sway the voters in Amber’s direction.
The second duet of the night came from Angie and Candice with “Stay”. This performance received a standing ovation from the judges (all except Mariah) and I really don’t understand why. Their voices, while outstanding alone, just did not work together. They have totally different sounds that just didn’t mesh well. They seemed to be putting way too much effort into their vocals and that song lends itself to an easy, flowing vocal style. Randy said that “Candice redeemed herself”, but for what, I’m not sure.
For the “one-hit wonder” theme, Amber inexplicably chose “MacArthur Park”. This has got to be one of the most bizarre songs ever written with the possible exception of “Coconut” (You put the lime in the coconut…). Given the song, Amber did a nice job with the vocals, but the key changes sounded weird. Keith said “she was dominating tonight.” Nicki couldn’t resist commenting on Amber’s necklace and shoes and added, “that as a girl, out of the 4 girls in the competition, you’re the one that I would want to get to know”. Mariah said Amber’s “low notes were rich and full”. Jimmy’s comment was that it’s “a corny song no matter who sings it”.
Candice delivered a wonderful version of Samantha Sang’s “Emotion”, despite the fact that the backup singers nearly ruined it for her. She put just enough of her own spin on it to make it truly unique. For some reason, Nicki Minaj decided to take up Candice’s time responding to Jimmy’s comments regarding Amber’s performance. Jimmy came out on stage to defend himself and said the judges must be smoking the green icing.
Kree followed with Procol Harum’s, “Whiter Shade of Pale”. I had been looking forward to this one ever since Branden leaked the Top 4 song choices and I was not disappointed. Her vocals were crisp and clear as usual and it was for me, the best solo performance of the night. Keith once again commented that Kree needs to “show more emotion”. Nicki thought the performance would land her in the bottom 2. Randy said she had “redeemed herself for her last performance” and I agreed with Mariah who said there was nothing to redeem herself for.
The last performance of the night came from Angie singing “Cry Me A River”. This was a terrific performance of the song, and she managed to deliver it without the piano. It was a little less theatrical than some of her previous ballads done at the piano, and I really liked it. In my opinion, the knowledge that she suffers from a significant hearing loss makes her vocal ability all the more amazing. Time was running short and the judge’s comments to Angie were limited to three words or less. Keith said it was “Celestially Powerful and Mystical”. Nicki said “that was four words” and Randy let loose with several “Yos” and repeated his earlier assessment that “she was in it to win it”.
From the comments made by the judges all night, I would have to guess that Kree is going to end up in the bottom 2 tomorrow night, but maybe her fans will rally around her and ignore the judge’s remarks. What position do you think the remaining 4 will be voted into based on Wednesday’s performances?