I’ll admit that when I heard the theme, I cringed. Motown? Are you freaking kidding me? I love soul and rnb music, but Motown just isn’t…good. It’s probably the cheesiest music on the planet! Just a level or two above Kidz Bop! I was fully prepared for an evening of unoriginal song choices absolutely slothered in cheese and overbearing back up singers. And yes…the contestants delivered.
However, what I got was by far the most entertaining episode this season. It had nothing to do with the actual performances. They were somewhere between “meh” and “my god, I really wish The Voice was on right now.” What made this episode unforgettable was the drama! Nicki was out of control, and it was glorious to watch! And yet…Mariah isn’t one to be outdone. She too seems to have a few screws loose! But nothing, nothing could compare to the epic return of the group performances, or just how horrible they would really be!
Onto the rankings!
Candice Glover – I Heard it Through the Grapevine
Candice wins no points for song choice. However, if you’re going to pick one of the most overdone songs in the history of karaoke competitions, you might as well take a bit of a risk and switch up the arrangement. She put a much jazz and blues spin on the song that really brought out the song’s gritty and angry side. It was actually pretty memorable! Her vocals continue to slay, as per usual. Candice is playing the game well! While other contestants are becoming complacent, Candice is continually taking risks. Kudos to you, Miss Glover!
Janelle Arthur and Kree Harrison – Like A Prayer
I can’t be the only one who thought that this song had nothing to do with the theme. Apparently Madonna is from Detroit, so….way to over reach, Idol. Either way, this performance pit the two country girls against each other in a total Country girl cat fight! Actually, it was more like two women standing in the middle of the stage uncomfortably, singing a rather lame Madonna cover. There was absolutely zero energy in this performance. Like…none! The arrangement allowed the mandatory chorus to really soar, but our two starlets were accessories in this rather awkward performance. At least their vocals were decent.
Lazaro Arbos – For Once in My Life
Lazaro’s ship is sinking fast. Luckily, he managed to turn in his best performance to date. That said…it was still just barely above “okay.” He chose a cheesey song, and performed it like the dinner time performance on a Carnival cruise line. Still, it was nice to see him half alive on the stage. The vocals were his personal best, and by that, I mean he wasn’t horribly off key! Kudos?
Janelle Arthur – Keep Me Hanging On
When I heard the song that Janelle had chosen, I was hoping that she would have been smart enough to pick the only somewhat less cheesey 80’s pop version. However, she truly shocked me by chosing her own original arrangement! She strapped on a guitar, and sang a slowed down acoustic ballad version of the song. It was chilling, haunting, and had enough country twang to really play into Janelle’s strengths. It was by far the most interesting performance of the night, and proved that Janelle has enough tact to be able to win this game. Do we have a new front runner?
Devin Velez – Tracks of My Tears
And onto someone who has no idea what game he is playing…Devin Velez! This was his most uptempo song choice, which is sad because you can barely sway to this mid-tempo ballad. Sure, Devin is a fantastic vocalist, but who cares if you can’t remember his performance? There is absolutely nothing to get excited about or notice anymore. In fact, he too looked like a total lounge singer. I get the feeling that we’ve seen all that Devin has to offer, and it just isn’t enough to take him past 6th place.
Candice Glover, Angie Miller, and Amber Holcomb – I’m Gonna Make You Love Me
Yeah! Girl power! Could this possibly be the new Destiny’s Child? With their level of talent, possibly. But with such a crappy song choice, never ever ever! My god, this song is the reason that I hate this theme! Cheesey, annoying, and just plain stupid! That said, the girls totally owned it. Each one used their moment in the spotlight to show off some diva quality vocals, and then stepped into the background to provide some on point harmonies. Overall, it was a solid performance, but I will never approve of that horrid song choice.
Burnelle Taylor – My Cherie Amour
This theme is so Burnelle’s pocket, so I have no idea how or why he turned in such a mediocre performance. It’s a bit like Kristy Lee Cook bombing Dolly Parton night back in season 7. That’s not to say that Burnelle was terrible, but he didn’t deliver on the huge potential of the theme. First of all, his song choice was boring as hell. He is by far the most nuanced singer in the competition, and that is something special that he possesses. However, I’m beginning to see that the “nuances” in his voice are actually covering up a severe weakness: he can’t hit all the notes. He constricts his voice at odd times, and it makes his delivery sound a bit uneven and a jarring at moments. Plus, am I the only one who notices the awkward “m” sound he places on the end of random words? In this song, we heard new words like “amourm” “adorem” and “ignorem.” This performance as a whole wasn’t bad, but I’m finding so many things to nitpick at with this guy.
Angie Miller – Shop Around
Last week, Randy told Angie to try going in a more pop-rock direction because she was capable of it. This week, she put on a tight dress and rocked out like an unashamed skank hoe! While it was nice to see this more energetic side to Angie, it didn’t quite connect like it should have. She tried to put some rasp in her voice when it simply wasn’t there. Her pitch was off and on and off again, making for an uneven performance. Would the judges eat their words and admit that they gave some bad advice? Nope, they just acted like they never said anything. Their advice this week? Go back to the piano! Never change who you are! Mixed messages much?
Burnelle Taylor, Lazaro Arbos, and Devin Velez – I Can’t Help Myself
Oh. My. God. This was a complete train wreck No survivors. Not only is this, in my opinion, the worst song ever written, but Lazaro committed an unforgivable sin on the idol stage. He forgot his freaking lyrics! You could instantly see the panic on Devin and Burnelle’s faces as they tried to salvage the situation, but the damage was done. There was no saving it from there. Things fell apart at an alarming rate. It wasn’t even a nosedive…it was just spontaneous combustion. Nicki’s critique. “Get off the stage!” Ouch.
Amber Holcomb – Lately
This song is one of those “kiss of death” songs. At first, I thought that it would be for Amber as well. This is the same type of weepy ballad that Amber doesn’t need to be singing. And yet…her vocals were stellar. It fit her register like a velvet glove. It was probably the best technical performance of the night, and it created the most powerful moment of the night. However, I really need to see her move away from these ballads sometime soon.
Kree Harrison – Don’t Play That Song
I really thought that Kree would step on stage and slay it. She has the vocal power to take this big ol’ song and really belt it out….but she didn’t. While her vocals were on point as per usual, she didn’t give the song the power she could have. It was a missed opportunity, and as a result, we were left with a decent showing of the evening’s most original song choice.
8. Lazaro Arbos
7. Burnelle Taylor
6. Devin Velez
5. Angie Miller
4. Kree Harrison
3. Amber Holcomb
2. Candice Glover
1. Janelle Arthur
Go home, Lazaro, you’re drunk.
Unfortunately, I know he won’t even touch the bottom 3. So who will go home? Well….this is the point in the season that our Pia Toscano’s and Michael John’s start happening. I have a feeling that Angie Miller isn’t as safe as we think, and that we might see the save used tonight.
We’ll find out soon!
Damn it! I should have stuck with my original answer! Originally, I made the prediction that forgettable contestant Devin Velez would be voted out. However, since the show is due for the inevitable shock elimination, I jumped ship, and called Angie the sacrificial lamb (who would no doubt get the save.)
Unfortunately, we were treated to a rather anti-climatic elimination episode, and Devin was sent packing. However, when everything was said and done, we did get some fireworks! Devin fired back at Nicki’s harsh criticisms in an interview. Nicki fired back with a twitter rant. Devin responded with some twit-snark. It was glorious!