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‘American Idol’: Candice Glover Kills It, Kree Harrison Fights The Eye Of Sauron

Last week, American Idol surprised everyone when they decided not to send a single contestant home. Actually, those of us wondering how they are going to fill the remaining weeks of the show with content were probably less surprised than others. Suffice to say, there are still four contestants left, and it’s their job to somehow make these next two hours interesting. Sing, little my pretties, sing!

As the weeks continue, the stress continues to wear on the remaining girls and it’s starting to show in their performances. Usual crowd-pleaser Kree Harrison is undermined by a Lord Of The Rings-inspired background, as well as her own shaking confidence. At this point, it’s pretty much anyone’s game to win, except for Candice Glover, who consistently delivers killer performances night after night. Wednesday night’s themes are 2013 songs, followed by standards. And without further ado, let’s the games begin!

Wearing a rosy glow after her recent nuptial renewal is judge Mariah Carey. Nicki Minaj has thrown her jet-black Bettie Page wig back into the rotation and is looking like a modern-day Nefertiti. It’s glorious.

The contestants walk out hand-in-hand, to let you know that they are all good friends. This would be way more interesting if they were openly rooting against one another. Harry Connick Jr. is this week’s guest coach. He’s flirting with the ladies with his nerd glasses and loving every second of it. Hope floats, y’all. Ryan Seacrest claims that this week someone really, really does have to go home. No take-backs, Ry!

First up is Angie Miller. She gushes about how hilarious Harry is and they have some super-staged awkward banter. Guys, Will & Grace was a really long time ago. Cut to Angie at the piano on stage for her version of Rihanna‘s “Diamonds.” It seems like an odd choice, unless you’ve heard the version by Sia, who wrote the tune. Angie makes it a very jazzy love song. I say jazzy because I feel like I hear some bongos somewhere in the background. Hmm, I think she could have used more wind machine.

Keith Urban says he loves the song and then says he wishes she hadn’t changed the arrangement. He tells her to let her spirit change the melody. Nicki calls it “bland, lackluster” and I have to agree. I felt like we were at a John Tesh concert. Randy Jackson, dressed like Max Fischer, as he is wont to do, was also not a huge fan of her performance, but loves Angie’s leather shorts. Mariah lets us know that she’s going to be rambling tonight, but finally says that she thought Angie played to the camera too much. She refuses to admit that she agrees with Nicki.

Amber Holcomb is looking cute and wearing some complicated jeans. Her choice is the duet from Pink and Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me A Reason.” There’s way more singing in her session with Harry, making me think she’s going to do well tonight. God, her voice is so pretty. I wish it were Angie off to the side, forced to play the piano accompaniment, because it’s not like she’s already exhausted with all these damn performances. Amber hits the high note and the guy on the drums looks pleased. The only thing I worry about is that she’s singing this a little too upbeat for the subject matter. Let’s see what the judges think.

Nicki kicks off the critique by digging on her jeans. She felt that Amber’s practice session with Harry was way more connected than when she was singing. Randy agrees with Nicki that the contestants no longer look like they’re having fun. Mariah rambles, rambles, rambles and then says Amber needs to get her confidence back. Keith is more understanding of her nervousness and praises her beautiful voice. I think he might be tired of getting booed.

Next is Candice, who will be singing “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. She tells Harry that the reason she chose it was because of the emotional connection. Harry then makes a really weird joke about her being a man. She is very sparkly on stage and looks quite lovely with her long, straight hair. When she pulls the mic from the stand and moves around stage, she really kills it. She might as well drop the mic and walk off the stage.

Randy starts off by saying of Candice, “This girl right here can sing a song!” Mariah concurs excitedly and I can’t stop staring at her hair. It truly is gorgeous tonight. Keith calls it “a winning performance.” Nicki starts by saying, “That performance actually deserved a standing performance, so excuse us.” After stalling, Mimi stands up with the rest of the judges. Nicki is pleased that Candice took every note from last week and tells her, “Congratulations!”

Kree has chosen to sing Carrie Underwood‘s “See You Again.” She looks stunning tonight in her electric blue top and trademark tight black pants. She sounds fabulous in her rehearsal with Harry, who seems to be a big Kree fan. For her performance, Kree chooses a simple presentation as she sits atop a stool and is accompanied with a guy with a guitar, and oh, THE EYE OF SAURON BLAZING BEHIND HER. This is hilarious. It sounds good, but I’m so distracted. Maybe if she were singing “Ring Of Fire” by Johnny Cash, this might make sense. It literally looks like the gates of hell have opened up behind her. I hope the judges are listening, because I clearly cannot. As she finishes, she steps off the stool though the Stargate into another dimension. Just kidding!

Somehow, Mariah manages to completely ignore the crazy backdrop and solely critiques Kree’s singing. Keith wonders why he wasn’t completely connecting with her and I scream at the TV, “Maybe it was the meteor hurtling toward Earth behind her!” Nicki said she loved the performance, saying that Kree “sang with [her] eyes.” Randy praises her vocal and emotion.

When Ryan pulls Kree aside for her exit interview, she is surprised by a leather-jacket-wearing Harry Connick Jr. to cheer for her. She really looks lovely tonight, even though you can tell she’s bummed she didn’t get better feedback.

Angie will sing “Someone To Watch Over Me.” Harry’s advice is for her to keep it simple. She sings and it’s pretty, but I can’t help but wonder, could the guitarist not dress up for one friggin’ night? This guy is wearing a flannel shirt and jeans. This isn’t a Dave Matthews concert, sir.

Keith immediately asks why she chose this song. Initially, it sounds like a trick question, but he says she did a great job. Nicki confesses that Angie always makes her think of a Disney princess and she liked Angie’s second performance best. Randy gives the sloppy dressing guitar player props for his playing as I yell, “He could have worn a suit! Google Men’s Wearhouse for coupon codes!” He says her voice sounded great. Mimi would like you to know that her mother also used to sing “Someone To Watch Over Me” to her when she was an incredibly gifted young girl. It devolves into Nicki thinking that Mimi was disagreeing with her, which prompts Nicki to yell, “Clean your ears out!”

Amber will be singing “My Funny Valentine” and she learns the actual meaning of the words behind the song during her practice sesh with Harry, much to her shock and surprise. Her stage design is competing with Kree’s for most bananas. It looks like it was conceived by one of the Real Housewives Of New Jersey, with a giant chandelier hanging on the screen behind her and lots of red and gold. I’m not sure how I feel about the outfit. It’s a little old. Like they dressed her up like Michelle Obama, whom I love, but is way older than Amber. That said, she sang beautifully.

Nicki loved it, as well as Amber’s outfit. Amber gets teary-eyed, overwhelmed with emotion. Nicki gives her a girl-to-girl pep talk and says, “That was a great job!” Randy comments the last half of the song was “absolutely unbelievable.” Mimi thanks Amber for singing that song. Keith says that with a “little bit of confidence” she became “stellar.” Amber needs a vacay, poor baby. America, you’re driving her crazy.

Candice is singing “You’ve Changed” by Billie Holliday. Damn, Candice looks and sounds great tonight. She is such an old soul, keeping it simple and soulful with some elegant runs that give me goosebumps. At the end, the judges rightly give her a standing ovation. Randy says, “Speak your truth, girl. That was amazing!” Mariah tries to be sarcastic and fails miserably and then instructs everyone to download this single on iTunes. I agree. Keith and Nicki succinctly say it was amazing.

At this point, I am shocked that there’s still 20 minutes left in the show. Idol is definitely working these kids overtime.

Kree is singing “Stormy Weather.” Harry is anti-licks and advises Kree to stick to the melody. He is super adamant, guys. He tells her to “sing that son of a gun.”

Ooh, for the first time, we see Kree in a dress. She looks beautiful and totally does the licks Harry told her not to. Ha! Kree sounds good, but I feel like she hasn’t really been herself lately. These kids are run down. Mariah sort of tells Kree that she’s not totally pleased with the song choice. She wishes she would have chosen a more bluesy song. Keith agrees that she should have chosen a different song. He’s worried that she is losing her natural instincts during this process. Nicki basically says that Harry got into the girls’ heads a little bit and wishes all the gals would have taken more time on the song choice. Randy advises Kree to “stick to who [you] are.”

Before commercial break, Ryan tells Harry to rebut Randy’s assertion that Kree should have sung the Etta James version. This is so pointless. They have so much time to fill, they are encouraging guest judges to start fights now.

The show closes with a very sassy group performance by all of the girls, complete with denim-clad backup dancers. It’s weird. Can we please let these girls get back to their hotel rooms, so they can sleep? I’m sure they have to drive a Ford Focus to a children’s hospital in the morning.

And tomorrow, someone is seriously going home, like for realisies. See you then!

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