The “American Idol” 2013 Top 4 last night performed songs from then and now, and the theme of then and now could have stood as a metaphor for the contrast between this week and last – and not in a good way. Last week, no one was sent home and it seemed so right; this week, it seemed at times like only Candice Glover deserved to stay. And what’s that about forgetting your lyrics on a Top 4 performance?
Angie started off the show with a shaky performance of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” Not even performing at the piano could draw good comments this time and the judges have always seemed to love that. She didn’t even get credit for putting her own spin on the song in this slowed down version. But then she did hit quite a few bum notes so tha kinda defeats the object, I guess. Nicki thought she was playing too much to the camera and audience instead of just “getting lost in Angie.” I just love that it was Nicki Minaj who criticized a contestant for playing up to the cameras. Randy thought once Angie hit the chorus, she had nowhere to go. I cringed as he tried to bring in Keith Urban on his praise of her leather shorts. Dedicating “Someone to Watch Over Me” to her mother was a nice touch, though and was a much better performance.
Similarly, Kree’s first performance of Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” also received lukewarm praise with her again not making an emotional connection to the song. “Stormy Weather” was an apt second song, mirroring how she fared on her last…I mean latest…performance show. But the biggest showdown of the evening came between guest mentor Harry Connick Jr. and Randy Jackson. Randy wished Kree Harrison had sung the bluesier Etta James version of “Stormy Weather,” while Harry, who’d insisted the Top 4 make sure they understood the melodies of the standards they had to perform in round 2, said no, she needed to learn the (original Lena Horne) song first and then be Kree. Randy said, “I agree, but Kree, just be Kree, baby! We just want you to be Kree!” Harry mimicked Randy, “We want you to be Kree, but choose the Etta James version.”
Candice Glover was the standout of the evening, regardless of any personality training she may be taking. It was weird for me to hear her sing Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” without changing the lyrics. I don’t quite agree with Keith who said that
Candice could have sung “When I Was Your Giraffe” and it still would have been “a winning performance” based on what only Candice can bring for show and tell. Yes, as Mariah said, “Candice knows how to take any song and use the musicality to change it to suit her” but I still didn’t like her sex change for this song. It seemed amateurish, like any of us singing a song for our own enjoyment, rather than to give a convincing performance. She deserved the only standing ovation of the evening from the judges for her rendition of “You’ve Changed,” though and she is probably the only one who does not need to be worried about tonight’s results show.
Amber Holcomb tried hard with her versions of Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” and later “My Funny Valentine.” Her first song was an embarrassing disaster of forgotten lyrics. Why would you even choose to sing a song you don’t know live on national television, especially at this stage of the competition! No wonder Amber looked scared. She needs to be. “Well, I like your jeans” was all Nicki Minaj had to say on the performance. But she cried during her second performance. That is what people will remember about this performance. Not that she repeated it from Hollywood, not that Harry Connick Jr. pointed out that she really does not understand the lyrics at all.
Nicki Mina was all over trying to make her dry her tears: “You’re a superstar! You have friends everywhere! Stahhhhp!” The performance itself was pretty good, despite Harry Connick Jr. not being a fan of the runs, because the classics don’t need them. Actually, they probably do on “American Idol” where contestants are fighting to stand out from each other.
So what grabbed my attention on last night’s “American Idol” was Amber Holcomb forgetting her lyrics – unfortunately, but also that Candice Glover cannot, must not, be sent home tonight.