American Idol: Top 4 Redux - May 1, 2013

Top 4 Redux - Now & Then - May 1, 2013

1. Angie Miller - "Diamonds"A-/B+

Angie starts off the show with a beautiful and understated cover of the hit Rihanna song. It is interesting how bare-bones this song is when you strip it down. The limitation of the lyrics becomes very apparent. Angie's voice was a bit shaky in parts, but I liked her version of this song. A common theme throughout the night was the strange arrangements given to some of these songs. I would have preferred if the band had not come in on this song, and just allowed Angie's voice and her piano playing to carry the song (or not - as the case may be).

2. Amber Holcomb - "Just Give Me A Reason" B-/C+

One of the night's many breakup ballads and this one fell a bit flat in comparison. It was a bit startling to see in her pre-performance package how disconnected she was to the lyrics of her second song. And on second listen, I wonder if it affected her performance here as well. This is a devastating breakup ballad and her enunciation on some of the words was hard to make out. She also smiled at some inopportune parts of the performance. Pink's voice demonstrates all the ache and devastation of the words and Amber just could not match that.

3. Candice Glover - "When I Was Your Man" A++

It only took me until the first chorus to begin crying. Unlike Amber, I truly BELIEVE every word, every heartbreak in Candice's voice. She inhabits the lyrics in a way few singers truly do. Can I admit I have never heard the original Bruno Mars song?? Maybe that aided in my enjoyment of Candice's performance. Not only was it a powerhouse, perfect vocal, Candice succeeded in moving the audience in a way that arguably none of her fellow contestants did. This was an absolutely stunning performance and by far and away, the best of the night. I agreed with Nicki's critique that this sounded like it could actually be Candice's song and not a cover version.

4. Kree Harrison - "See You Again" A

I wish the band had not come in on this Carrie Underwood cover, and just kept the arrangement as Kree and the Hot American Idol Guitar Player (TM). The arrangements have been so hokey and uninspired, and this was no exception. What really shined in this song was Kree's passion and emotion. I believed every note, I believed every word. I saw the pain in her eyes and felt it too. There are many great singers, but not as many great storytellers with beautiful voices - and in this performance, that is what Kree was.

5. Angie Miller - "Someone To Watch Over Me" B

I think I figured it out about Angie - when she is not sitting behind the piano, she comes off as though she is starring in her very own Broadway musical. And somehow, it (mostly) works for her. Her intonation, phrasing, the way she builds from a soft whisper to belting - it's all extremely Broadway. While I am not sure she fits into the current pop landscape, I don't doubt that she'll have a very successful stage career.

6. Amber Holcomb - "My Funny Valentine" B-

I didn't like Amber's performance this time around as much as I did the first time she performed it back on the Top 20 girls round. She stood out then among more mediocre talents. But with the high level of talent amongst these 4 girls, this didn't quite compare to me. There were a few parts where she went high pitched and it went a bit unpleasant. I wished more than anything she would choose a song where she moved from behind the mike. I wonder if that it's she can't move in the heels and just chooses to stay put. Whatever the reason, I always find her performances a little sleepier than the rest as she just is not a dynamic performer.

I've embedded her original performance below:

7. Candice Glover - "You've Changed" A

Like I mentioned before, Candice is the sort of storyteller who draws you in immediately with her voice and inflections. I loved the jazzy turns and runs she did on this song - they fit in so well with the song's style and the overall vibe. The staging and atmosphere was so perfect as well. She is captivating with each performance. Although I didn't love "You've Changed" as much as "When I Was Your Man", both performances were amazing and complimented each other in an interesting way.

8. Kree Harrison - "Stormy Weather" B+

Her voice sounded great but overall something was missing from this performance for me. It was a bit sleepy. To be honest, it's hard for me to recap this song because it didn't leave much of an impression on me - and it was the last performance of the night!

In closing, I will never understand why Harry Connick Jr. has not been on EVERY episode this season. Or is not seated behind the judges table. He is amazing and made this episode for me!

Best of the night: Candice - "When I Was Your Man"
Worst of the night: Amber - "Just Give Me A Reason"