Welcome to the live blog and recap as the Top 7 Perform on American Idol Season 12!
Tonight, the top 7 tackle classic rock in a theme where ballads are not allowed. Who will be able to step up and deliver the goods? Who will crash and burn? Sound off in the comments section!
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-We wrap up with the performance recap and Ryan hyping tomorrow night’s results show, featuring Carrie Underwood and Casey James.
That’ll do it for me! But keep refreshing the page and scrolling up, as I’ll be adding full videos of tonight’s performances as they become available. I’m up to the girls trio performance so far.
So who do you think will be going home? Who will be in the bottom 3? And will the judges’ save be used?
Thanks for hanging out, and I’ll see you tomorrow for the results show!
-Back from break with Amber talking about how nice it was to have her sister in the audience, since she’s stationed in Georgia.
-We then cut to Ryan, who’s in the crowd with Season 11 finalists Joshua Ledet and Hollie Cavanaugh. Joshua, who looks more and more like X Factor UK finalist Marcus Collins by the week, talks about performing at the White House, while Hollie Cavanaugh discusses moving to LA.
ANGIE MILLER closes the show!
-The contestants talk about how Angie gets excited about EVERYTHING. They then talk about how Angie really works the eyes during her performance, staring the camera down. It’s a pretty funny segment, particularly Burnell trying to imitate Angie’s stare, and ending up looking like The Undertaker.
-Angie sings Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” from her piano, because CLASSIC ROCK LIVES ON, I guess. Of course, because this is Top Ten Finalist Angie Miller and not Top 40 Semifinalist Angie Miller, she doesn’t actually stay at the piano. That said, it’s still her best performance by a huge margin. She also looks amazing, exuding more star quality than she has at any point in the competition. The wind machine is a bit much though.
(I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how badass Orianthi is on the guitar. She’s shredding like she hates the Ninja Turtles)
-Nicki (whose hair makes her look more like Daenerys Targaryen by the week) compliments Angie’s all-black look, before saying that while she enjoyed the performance, she wants to see Angie get back to the Colton Dixon/original song side of her that they saw earlier in the competition.
-Randy thought the piano and those tender moments made for a great performance, adding that the note at the end was killer. He then asks Mariah about how these contestants can sing songs that are out of their wheelhouse.
-Mariah doesn’t really answer Randy’s question – she simply responds by saying that it can be difficult trying to make someone else’s song your own. She was initially worried when Angie got up from the piano, but ultimately felt that the song was a perfect match for her.
-Keith loves a lot of what Angie does in the moment, however he also wants her to feel the songs more when she chooses them, as it’s not really about singing the song well. He hopes that she’ll be able to engage more with the song, going forward.
-Ryan brings up Jimmy Iovine’s advice about Angie’s theatricality, and I realize for the first time this episode that Jimmy hasn’t been featured at all. Hmm. I don’t know if that says less about my ephemeral memory, or more about Jimmy’s on-again/off-again relevance to this show.
-Back from break with Candice backstage, discussing her attitude onstage, and how she feeds off the energy of the crowd, and her own adrenaline, to essentially become another person onstage.
-Ryan interviews Orianthi about learning ten songs in 24 hours. I’m of the mind that this show can only be helped by adding more Australians.
AMBER HOLCOMB is up next!
-The contestants rib on Amber for always talking to herself, with Burnell adding “She can talk to me ANY time.” The contestants then talk about how gorgeous Candice is, and how she’s always snapping a quick photo with her phone. Burnell is apparently REALLY into Amber, as he makes come-ons to Amber through the camera, thus proving that he’s likely the only straight guy in the finals this season. Janelle says Burnell should have a crush on Amber, she’s beautiful. No argument there.
-Amber sings Heart’s “What About Love”, and it’s one of the better vocals of the night, but I STILL don’t get the standing ovations from the judges. Once again, everyone stands but Mariah, though she seemed to have every intention of trying to stand. I guess her dress stopped her short.
-Keith compliments Amber’s shoes, as I wonder if maybe he doesn’t have some kind of foot fetish. He then talks about what an outstanding vocal she delivered.
-Nicki talks about sampling that song for a mixtape and dedicating it to Lil’ Wayne, who then dedicated it to Trina or someone else. Apparently, she never knew where the song she sampled came from, but we don’t dwell on that, as Nicki talks about Amber delivering the best vocal of the night.
-Randy was glad that Amber made the song her own without losing herself in the song. He also appreciates her bringing out the “legs.”
-Mariah is proud to have watched Amber grow from the auditions to now, and asks America to vote for her.
-Ryan asks Amber when she first heard the song, confirming that she knows the song from the Swiffer commercial. I suppose this is part of Ryan’s season-long initiative to expose the embarrassing limits of this year’s contestants’ musical knowledge.
-Back from break with Candice talking about Burnell recruiting her to prank Lazaro for April Fool’s Day by telling him that the house was on fire. However, it backfired, as Lazaro didn’t fall for it, and Candice ended up breaking her toe in the process. Don’t know exactly how that series of events adds up to a broken toe, but sure.
CANDICE GLOVER is up next!
-The pre-performance video sees the contestants detailing the brother-sister/love-hate relationship between Candice and Burnell. It’s really endearing, and pretty funny, making both contestants a thousand times more relatable. Love it.
-Candice sings “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones (my suggestion for her in last week’s Week In Review article!), and she does a great job with it. She continues to make this look embarrassingly easy. The arrangement is kind of one-dimensional though.
-Mariah pleads with America to vote for Candice.
-Keith asks about Candice’s toe, and she reveals that she’s in more pain than she can even say. Keith says that voids what he was going to say about her needing to move around stage more. But he adds that her voice is just amazing.
-Nicki says that the broken toe is what Candice gets for playing that trick on Lazaro, since he has “special powers”. She then agrees that Candice has an amazing voice, although that song choice put her to sleep. Nicki then pre-emptively boos herself, in a really awkward moment. Keith is thankfully there to break things up by shouting out Orianthi’s sick guitar skills.
-Randy gives a brief history of rock music, in a roundabout way of saying that Candice slayed it.
-Ryan asks Candice about her reaction when she learned about this week’s theme, and she talks about how big of a departure this is for her. Didn’t sound like it. Seriously, it’s getting to the point where I feel like she actually could sing anything, and not just as a point of hyperbole.
-Back from break with Lazaro backstage, talking about how he hasn’t been himself lately, but that his performance helped raise him back up.
KREE HARRISON, JANELLE ARTHUR and AMBER HOLCOMB are up next!
-They’re singing Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”, and it’s a pretty easygoing, fun performance, at least until the girls either completely forget the words or get drowned out by the band, it’s hard to tell. Amber looks great, by the way, with her spiky vest and jeans ripped to shreds.
-Randy is over-the-moon about the performance, saying it was “SO good.” I don’t know about all THAT, Randy. There’s such a thing as pimping contestants too hard.
-Mariah compliments the girls on their blending. This “American Dynasty” accent needs to stop.
-Keith loves hearing another Billy Joel song, then tells the girls that they’re really good together, and should work together more often.
-Nicki immediately wins me over by comparing the trio to Jem and the Holograms, and says that while she loves the girls, she thought the song choice led to a boring, cheesy performance that she ultimately hated. However, she tells Amber “You’re giving me some Naomi Campbell realness right now!”, complimenting her killer wardrobe.
-Ryan asks the girls how much time they had to learn the song. Janelle reveals that it was down to the wire last night, with Ryan agreeing that they were all worried for the girls. Janelle adds that Amber, in particular, was worried about how she would sound, but that she ultimately ended up sounding great. This group is like the opposite of the Lazaro/Devin/Burnell trainwreck from last week, with the girls helping each other onto the bus instead of throwing one another under it.
-Back from break with Janelle backstage, pouting that the judges took her wardrobe. We cut to the judging panel, as Nicki is wearing Janelle’s boots and Randy is wearing her vest.
LAZARO ARBOS is up next!
-The contestants talk about Lazaro’s fondness for pastel colors and dramatic poses at the end of his performance. Glad someone else picked up on that. Candice jokes “You’re not Elvis” (HA!). Notice how Burnell was neither seen nor heard during this package. Wounds of last week run deep, son. #TheStruggle
-Because the night is dark and full of terrors, Lazaro sings “We Are the Champions” by Queen. Granted, it’s not exactly awful or anything. Hell, I’d argue it’s not even particularly bad, from a vocal standpoint. But he’s just getting absolutely massacred by the band. You could also skate on his forehead from how badly he’s sweating, but I can’t really rag on him for that. If I were doing a Queen song, I’d be mortified too. Ultimately, I’d say Lazaro mostly acquits himself well.
-Nicki notes that Lazaro didn’t do his signature pose at the end of the performance, instead offering up some attitude that really got Nicki going, in a good way. She feels like he did the song justice, and that his fans will likely keep him around.
-Randy was concerned when he heard about this song choice, but felt Lazaro ultimately did a good job.
-Mariah was also worried, but felt Lazaro really delivered on what is one of the more anthemic songs of the classic rock catalog.
-Keith says that Lazaro was smart to pick a song that played into his theatricality. He even loved the “Matador”/”I am done with zis song!” body language at the end.
-Ryan discusses Lazaro’s wardrobe, completely eliding the more relevant topic of his increasingly monolithic hair.
-Back from break with Burnell and Candice backstage. Burnell says that song was a much better fit for him than his first, while Candice says that she felt Burnell brought the energy that they share together offstage, since they’re really close. Now I’m dreading her reaction when he gets eliminated before Lazaro.
JANELLE ARTHUR is up next!
-The contestants poke fun at Janelle’s drama queen tendencies, saying that everything is a soap opera for her. This includes the contestants acting out their own dramatic Janelle lines, with the contestants adding that Burnell can’t keep a straight face any time Janelle says anything, since she’s so over-the-top with her drama.
-Janelle sings “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel, and it feels a bit like a Reba McIntyre performance. It’s not bad at all, really, but it’s nothing to get excited over either. That said, this song definitely fits into Janelle’s comfort zone, and it shows.
-Keith continues talkin’ footwear, shouting out Janelle’s sparkly boots. He says that while it wasn’t the best song choice for her, he loves how she works the stage, adding that he loves how she gets better every week. He calls her a contender.
-Nicki tells Keith to stop taking the words out of her mouth, regarding the boots. She asks Janelle if she can borrow them (“What size are you? I’m a five!”) and saying “I’m going to add them to my line. I’m serious.” She tells Janelle that the performance was exceptional, and then talks about her relatability as a female, saying that girls will love her because she feels like every girl’s best friend.
-Randy loves Janelle’s vest, since this is apparently Project Runway now, before talking up her performance, calling Rock “kissing cousins” with Country music. He does Keith one better and calls Janelle “The GREAT Contender.”
-Mariah talks about how perfectly the key fit Janelle’s voice, and adds that she agrees about her relatability, saying that Janelle feels authentic and real.
-Ryan warns Janelle that the judges are coming for her wardrobe, before throwing to break on the promise of another Queen anthem from Lazaro.
-Back from break with Kree talking about her love of singing Janis Joplin, and how even though she’s in pain, she was glad the judges enjoyed the performance. She also felt like the crowd got into it.
CANDICE GLOVER and BURNELL TAYLOR are up next!
-They’re singing “The Letter” by The Box Tops, and I’d argue this is one of Burnell’s better performance. His voice has a wonderful grit to it here. That said, he’s still kind of stiff onstage. But it’s still a wonderful vocal. Candice delivers too, as she always does, yet I’m really starting to notice Candice’s tendency to overdo it. Luckily, this song kind of called for it.
-I’m over Mariah as a judge. She basically talks about how she wished they’d have picked an R&B classic, somehow forgetting that it’s Rock Week. She loved the performance though, etc.
-Keith singles out Candice, kicking off a panel-wide gushing segment that continues as…
-Nicki declares that Candice is in a different league. However, she says that this felt more authentically “Burnell” than his solo performance, and praises his vocal. That said, I don’t know that she’s helping the cause for the girls this season by negatively comparing Burnell to Kree and Candice, and saying that he should be doing what they’re doing — even if she is right.
-Randy continues the gush-fest, talking about Candice’s amazing vocal and Burnell’s solid contribution.
-Back from break with Angie and Lazaro talking about their performance, and how they agreed that if they messed up, they messed up, but they would try to have fun regardless.
KREE HARRISON is up next!
-The contestants joke about how Kree seems to know everybody. She knows everybody in the crew, she knows their families and friends and all their personal histories. Burnell then talks about how Kree gives each of them a hug every day and tells them that she loves them. Okay, that’s adorable.
-Kree sings “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin, and it’s exactly as good a fit on her as you might have expected. She’s got this wonderful mix of rock and blues about her that is eminently appealing. It’s a pretty great vocal, to boot.
-Randy talks about how she blends country and blues, and says that he feels like the night has finally begun.
-Mariah praises Kree’s innate ability to pick her songs, adding that tonight was probably her favorite Kree performance.
-Keith asks Kree how difficult it is to perform in her high-heeled boots. She jokes, “It doesn’t tickle my feet, but they look great!” Keith says he asks because it looked like she was having difficulty with the performance. Kree explains she has a pinched nerve, prompting Keith to compliment her determination in delivering such a great performance.
-Nicki says if she was voting on the Idol app, she’d give Kree all 50 of her votes, saying that Kree feels like an already established artist.
-Ryan asks Kree about her Janis Joplin connection, and Kree reveals that they were born in the same hospital, and that her grandmother went to school with her as well.
-Back from break with Burnell backstage, agreeing with Keith’s assessment that he was uncomfortable.
-Ryan then announces that YOU, the audience, can help pick a theme for Idol. Now’s my chance to push Disney Musicals Night and The Music of Hall and Oates through the system! Put your suggestions up on Twitter using the hashtag #ATTIdolTheme
LAZARO ARBOS and ANGIE MILLER are up next!
-They sing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen, and it’s really not the worst thing in the world at all. Lazaro is in the wrong key, and it appears he misses a lyric, but their voices blend pretty well. Angie doesn’t miss a beat though.
-Nicki says the performance was nice, even though Lazaro forgot the lyrics again.
-Randy thought Angie was great throughout, and that it got better for Lazaro as it went along. He then asked if Lazaro knew the song beforehand, and Lazaro admits he hasn’t, because apparently Lazaro has a reference base of about three songs.
-Mariah picks up the slack for Lazaro, trying to say that it’s hard singing a Freddie Mercury song, as he was a singer who performed in a very specific key. She takes the long road to the compliment, rambling for a bit before simply just saying she thought they did a good job.
-Keith thought it was kind of a variety show performance (though Nicki argues that “variety show” is what they were going for), but adds that this fits Lazaro much better than the “candyman” vibe he gave off last week.
-Ryan asks Lazaro what he whispered into Angie’s ear after the performance, and Lazaro says “I don’t knooooow” like a 5th grader being asked if he was the one who slipped the note in the cute girl’s locker before lunch. It’s almost endearing, actually.
BURNELL TAYLOR opens the show!
-It’s that time in the season where the pre-performance videos feature the contestants poking fun at one another, and I have to admit, I’ve always enjoyed these. The other contestants talk about how Burnell’s accent makes him impossible to understand, while Candice mentions that Burnell’s laugh sounds like death throes. She also does a pretty amusing imitation of his “My Cherie Amour” performance last week.
-Burnell sings “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi, and I’m not even sure how to feel about this. It goes through phases of being really awkward and stilted, but then there are moments where it actually kind of fits Burnell, in a weird way, although I’m not sure I buy him as a badass in a black leather jacket. That kick at the end was just…no, Burnell. No.
-Keith loves Burnell’s voice even if he didn’t really care for the performance. He advises Burnell to try and make the song more his own if he makes it to next week, since he has such wonderful originality.
-Nicki compares Burnell to a Teddy Ruxpin, saying that he’s still lovable to her, yet she agrees with Keith that he needs to do more to make it recognizably “Burnell”.
-Randy agrees with Nicki and Keith, and says that Burnell needed to “ride the beat harder”, since he’s inevitably going to have to sing uptempo songs as his career goes on.
-Mariah is proud of Burnell for showing a different side, and applauds him for delivering on a song he probably only just learned. How is it that now Mariah is the one doing accents more often than Nicki? Her “American Dynasty” accent (“daaarling” this and “daaarling” that) is profoundly obnoxious.
-Ryan asks when Burnell first learned the song, and Burnell says he always knew the song, and chose it because it was the only song he knew in the theme. He says that while this theme isn’t really him, he tried to do his best.
-Aaaand apparently Lazaro and Angie are doing a duet after the break. Let’s spend the commercial trying to think up portmanteaus for their pairing. LazAngie? AngAro? AnBos?
-We open with a video package celebrating the illustrious history of Classic Rock. If one of Angie’s song spoilers turns out to be correct, then this will be fairly hilarious in hindsight.
-We’re underway for Classic Rock Night on American Idol, otherwise known as Lazaro vs. The Theme III: The War to Settle the Score.
-And, oh look, Nicki and Mariah are wearing matching outfits again! This time in 1960s Stewardess blue. This has to be on purpose.
-Ryan announces that Orianthi will be playing onstage with the contestants. We then get a brief shot of the audience as the top 7 come out. Oh hey, Joshua Ledet and Hollie Cavanaugh.