American Idol: Top 4 - April 24, 2013
Top 4 - April 24, 2013 - Contestant's Choice & 1 Hit Wonders
1. Amber Holcomb - "The Power Of Love" A
Amber's performance of this song, originally by Laura Branigan and most famously covered by Celine Dion, was unbelievably gorgeous. I could only notice one "off" note. The rest of it was right on point. I could hear a youthfulness in her voice that I've never really heard in anyone's rendition of this song before (not even Hollie Cavanagah's from last season).
Now, examining this performance in the context of the competition, it came off EXTREMELY dated. Celine's version came out in 1993 and that is EXACTLY when this performance - both visually and auditory - could have been taped. It could have been a performance at the 1993 Grammy Awards. Now, I'm not complaining, because I love the 80's and 90's when it comes to fashion, technology, music, movies, TV, etc. BUT the judges spent literally the majority of the show tonight - even after OTHER contestants' performances - praising Amber and saying how "current" this performance was. Don't get me wrong, it was a great performance, but NOTHING current about it.
2. Candice Glover - "Find Your Love" A+
I loved the deep parts of her voice, I loved how she infused this whole song with a jazzy, slow-burn vocal. It is an absolute TRAVESTY how Candice did not get the credit she deserved for this original, exciting, unexpected performance from the judges. She took a hip-hop song with a rap vocal and turned it into a completely different, unique song with both jazz and R&B elements. It was fascinating and fabulous. I won't even waste space on how off-base and insane the judges were with their critique on this performance. I like it even better the second time I listened to it than the first!
For those not familiar with the original version by Drake, I've embededed it:
And Candice's version:
3. Kree Harrison - "Hurts So Bad" A-
I heard some Carrie Underwood in her voice, for the first time in this competition. It's not a bad comparison to make, for sure! Kree really had a lot of grit and a gravelly tone in her voice during this song, which made it a bit different from some of her previous performances. It was a great choice for Kree, who gravitates towards country songs with a blues base.
4. Angie Miller - "Who You Are" B
I can't lie, this song has been done to death on Idol this season and I find it to be a very cloying, "dare to be different", artificial song without much that's genuine or moving to it. I mean, with lyrics like, "it's OK not to be OK"....come on. Ugh. I feel like I've heard it way too many times on Idol, and the song's melody forces Angie into a place where to me she sounds a bit unpleasant and sharp. Angie started the song very pretty but she lost me a bit along the way as the song irritated me more and more. I do love her performances at the piano where she can really shine.
DUET #1 - Kree & Amber - "Rumour Has It" B-/C+
There was just something off about this whole performance from start to finish. The chemistry between the two singers wasn't there, as Nicki correctly pointed out. I loved the staging with the giant drums and film strip background. The vocals weren't as up to par as they could have been. It's not something I'd listen to ever again.
DUET #2 - Angie & Candice - "Stay" A
This was infinitely better than the previous duet. It must be pointed out that these two ladies had the benefit of hearing the critique Nicki Minaj gave the previous duet and perhaps adjusting their performance slightly based on it. But maybe not. This was all around a better song choice, better vocals, and a more interesting performance visually and vocally.
5. Amber Holcomb - "MacArthur Park" C-
Let's point out a few things about this song. First, it was already performed by Carrie Underwood on this show, so it's a bit of a dangerous tread. Second, it ACTUALLY contains the following lyrics:
Someone left the cake out in the rain / I don't think that I can take it / Cause it took so long to bake it / And I'll never have that recipe again
I am honestly not sure what to make of it. Also the lyrics mention "drinking wine while it is warm", which is just a disgusting idea in general. This song was also released in 1968, making it even more strange that the judges would give Amber constant critiques of being "the whole package", "so 2013", "the next Rihanna", etc. when she chose a 1993 Celine Dion power ballad and this sap fest from 1968. Her vocal was wobbly from the start on this song and the disco part was atrocious. How is she current when she can't even move around on an uptempo? It's basically a requirement for pop stars to dance and perform these days. Gone are the days when people can stand still at a mic stand and perform - although you'd never know it from watching American Idol this season!
6. Candice Glover - "Emotions" A-/B+
I've never liked this song much - the Destiny's Child version OR Bee Gees version - I have to be honest, but Candice breathed new life into it for me. I loved the part where the music dropped for a second and her vocal was allowed to take center stage. I would have to admit that it's a bit of a boring song choice and not particularly memorable. Probably my least favorite of Candice's performances, but she is such an unbelievable singer that she literally probably could sing the hell out of any song.
7. Kree - "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" A-
I think right off the bat I had to give Kree some bonus points for song choice. This song is absolutely unbelievable and one that I'll always remember from growing up on the music of Motown, the 50's, and 60's. Her voice sounded sweet and ethereal in the beginning verse - I think I would have loved to hear more angst in it right from the start. I probably would have given Kree a B+ otherwise, but this song really grabbed me. I wished she had done a bit more with it however.
8. Angie - "Cry Me A River" A+
SADLY, Angie did not perform the Justin Timberlake song, but a true one hit wonder song that I had never heard. This performance was VERY Broadway - in the delivery and the staging. I almost feel like this could have been a number from CATS. That is not exactly a compliment or an insult. Angie's voice was absolutely beautiful and I loved that she put some attitude in her vocal without losing that beauty. Listening to this performance made me wonder if she will go on to star on Broadway - I wouldn't doubt it!
Best of the night: Candice - "Find Your Love" and Angie - "Cry Me A River"
Worst of the night: Amber - "MacArthur Park"