Well, this is certainly a milestone in the show’s history. Just when we thought that the competition was being dominated by cute boys with guitars, the unthinkable happened! The powers that be have over turned the very forces of nature to guarantee our first female winner in five years! After (finally!) saying goodbye to Lazaro Arbos last week, we have our first all female top 5!
And after tonight’s display of talent, its a fully deserving top 5! Seriously, these girls came out with guns blazing! The judges were giving out standing ovations left and right. Even Nicki risked serious wardrobe malfunctions by getting to her feet! Well done ladies, well done!
Our themes were The Year You Were Born, and…fittingly, Divas. But which one of these diva’s came out on top?
Candice paid tribute to the show’s roots by chosing a Paula Abdul song. Coming from a girl who just slayed a song by The Cure, Candice earns points for the single most eclectic repetorie of songs that any Idol contestant has ever had. Rather than squeaking out this thin pop tune, Candice brought in the band to perform a mellowed out acoustic rendition of the song. It may not have showed off her vocals, but it didn’t have to. It had a really cool vibe that fit her style and her voice well. It was a little bit funky, a little bit jazzy, and as always, soulful. It was a solid performance that took me by surprise.
When You Believe
Now, this is the Candice I expect. Typical diva power ballad by not one…but two typical Idol staples. Still, Candice has the vocal chops to go toe to toe with both Whitney AND Mariah, and come out alive. She did just that. Her passion was on full display, and her voice simply carried the song to dizzying heights. This performance was a bit standard, but as always with Candice, solid.
Overall Score: 4/5
When I Call Your Name
For her first song, Janelle chose to go all the way south for a classic country tune. She strapped on her guitar, and crooned out a rather pleasant number. She sounded angelic with her pure as snow country tone, and really played to her target audience. It was a smart move, and showcased what you get by voting for Janelle as opposed to the other girls. Unfortunately, this performance was a bit of a snoozer to anyone that isn’t into classic country, which happens to be everyone that doesn’t eat at Cracker Barrel on a regular basis. It was a good performance, but when your competition is knocking them out of the park, this definitely felt underwhelming.
With this performance, Janelle showed the ability to do what the other girls can’t. She rocked the stage, and performed this song as if it was written for her. Seriously, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see this song as the lead single off of her debut album. The problem? In fact, it would be a typical Idol contestant’s album….you know, one poorly promoted single, disappointing sales, and a quiet contract termination. That type of album. Once again, this was good….but not great. I feel like we’ve already seen 100% from Janelle, and it just doesn’t stack up to her competition.
She Talks to Angels
I have been waiting 12 seasons for someone to pick this song. Kree definitely earned some major respect points for picking it! This was a fantastic choice that really played into her strengths, and finally showed her digging into the song. She looked much more confident and poised on the stage, and even put a little emotion into the number! As always, she sounded fantastic on a technical level, but as a fan of the original…I had to disagree with some of her choices. We hear from the judges over and over again that Kree has a blusey element to her voice. Unfortunately, she sang the song in her upper register, making it sound like a typical Country ballad. I would have preferred her sing it a octave or two lower, and keep some of the song’s blues grit. She still sounded great, but if she had dug a little deeper, this could have been phenomenal.
Have You Ever Been in Love?
Did this performance deserve the standing ovation it received? Probably not. Still, it was a solid display of vocal prowess, and versatility. We don’t usually see her pick these pop ballads, and it was kind of nice to see her become more vulnerable in her delivery. Still, while this was a good performance, it failed to really stand out or make the impact that the rest of her competitors did.
I’ll Stand By You
Everything about this performance was a slam dunk for Angie. She chose a fantastic song for her voice, sat down at the piano, and came across as vulnerable and emotional. And rightfully so, given the circumstances. Our resident Bostonian began the song with a sincere dedication to her home town, and instantly, you could feel the tension in the room suddenly shift. With just a few words, she commanded the attention of millions, and through her delivery, she captivated them through a heartfelt performance. Sure, there may have been some issues here and there, but this performance was honest, and sometimes, that counts for more than flawless vocals.
Never in a million years would I have put Angie and Beyonce together. This turned out to be the biggest risk of the evening, and boy howdy did it pay off! Angie came into this song like a siren, and continued to weave her spell through her lush vocals and dramatic delivery. This performance showed her in the most marketable light we’ve ever seen her, and she truly did seem to become a star on that stage with diva potential. She dug deep for this performance, and I’ve been waiting to see that from one of these girls. Angie has fire in her eyes…watch out basic girls!
This performance garnered some mixed reviews, and for once, I agree with the split panel. Like…both sides. This performance was fantastic in spots, and a bit lacking in other areas. This song demanded quite a bit from Amber’s lower register, and she simply doesn’t have one. Each time she dipped down, her voice came out thin and hollow. However, when she went up, she went way up, and truly soared. It made for an uneven, yet commendable performance.
What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
Amber definitely earned points for taking on the most challenging song of the evening. Barbara Streisand? That’s a tall order. And yet, Amber stepped up to plate and hit it out of the park. Remember when she tore through My Funny Valentine about ten weeks ago? This was a throwback to that performance, and then some. She scaled it back and concentrated on delivering an emotional performance, where every single note was caressed sensually before being unleashed in a flurry of pure glory. Without a doubt….this was the performance on the evening.
And how did the girls rank in the end?
5. Janelle Wheeler
4. Kree Harrison
3. Candice Glover
2. Amber Holcomb
1. Angie Miller
Since I had a bit of a delay in writing this review, the results are done and over with. While I did expect Janelle to end up in last place, I must admit that I fully expected the judges to use their save. It was a shock that they didn’t!
And so, we say goodbye to our little blonde marshmallow. Until next week!