Welcome to the first installment of “Rankings”, American Idol edition, where fellow writer Nick Roman and I will give our stance on this week’s performances and results on Idol.
Disagreements? Think something different? Join us in the comments!
Best performance of the week?
Candice Glover stole the show. She absolutely slayed “I Who Have Nothing,” and really no one came close. She is a complete return to the vocal powerhouses of classic Idol, not the likes of Paige Miles that we had seen in recent years. Also, Kree Harrison‘s take on “Crying” was the most enjoyable performance of the night, and Burnell Taylor‘s “Flying Without Wings” was right behind her. Burnell’s tone is impeccable, and he may be a force to be reckoned with is he chooses the right songs. We would love a Kree/Burnell finale.
Worst performance of the week?
What was Jimmy Iovine sipping on that he would say that Janelle Arthur killed her performance? That was even more hilarious that Nicki Minaj thinking that it was a travesty that Curtis Finch, Jr. was about to be eliminated. It was monumentally stupid of Curtis to do “I Believe.” No one on Idol should ever do that song, really. Other than “A Moment Like This” and “Home,” no other Idol single is more identifiable with its singer. Within the context of the competition, it is far more iconic than any other winner’s single. Although we couldn’t stand Curtis one bit at any point of the competition, he sang the song well enough to escape being the absolute worst because from an objective standpoint, Janelle was really the worst this week. When reviewing performances, it just fell flat from start to finish- and there’s no reason it should have, since it was right in her wheelhouse. She really needs to step it up, going forward.
Most disappointing performance of the week?
Angie Miller delivered a very good vocal, but we expected more. Angie has got to step it up a notch, or she could be Pia’d and go in the middle of the pack. Nick just expected her inventiveness and originality than to sing a Celine Dion song more or less the exact same way Kelly Clarkson sang it, only not as well. Though she has some really solid, underrated stage presence, we hope she gets back behind the piano for Lennon-McCartney Week. Devin Velez also gave a very boring performance.
Whose chances of going farther have improved?
Amber Holcomb did exactly what she needed to do at the right time which should secure her for a few weeks. Although we were initially puzzled by the standing O, she did deliver an okay, solid performance. We can’t never argue with her look or how she carries herself. Her song choice wasn’t on par this week, since no one should ever sing a winner’s single as part of this competition, but her performance had us buying into the hype. If she plays her cards right she has potential stun the competition. From the initial rankings, with Lazaro Arbos coming in at #4 and Janelle Arthur coming in at #5, it seems as if his sympathizers and her country fans may carry them for a while. It wouldn’t surprise me us if both of them last a while.
Whose chances have decreased?
Devin Velez and Paul Jolley, who joined Curtis in the bottom 3 might make that tier their home, unless their fans come out in support. Devin went from being a dark horse in the competition, and one of the most consistently excellent vocalists of the season, to a fairly bland performer. This however is mostly due to song choice, as he is someone who should ever be doing country music, even if it just barely skirts the edge of pop. That said, it’s not at all impossible for him to bounce back and become a real contender. Plenty of Idols have landed in the bottom in the first week and gone on to make huge runs in the competition, from Syesha Mercado to Haley Reinhart and Kimberley Locke. He & Paul’s chances of winning have been hampered significantly (since no winner has ever been in the bottom 2 the first week), but he could still go far.
Did the right person go home?
Janelle Arthur probably deserved the boot more, but given the performances from Wednesday night, but it’s fine for her to stay and Curtis Finch go this week. Even though he sang his song better than Janelle or Paul Jolley sang theirs, he offers less to the competition. At least with Janelle or Paul, it’s conceivable to see them doing a rock or pop song at some point instead of just sticking with country songs or country arrangements all the way through the competition. What we’ve seen is all it seems for Curtis to be capable of and he wouldn’t have been nearly as versatile as a similar singer like Joshua Ledet, or even a Jacob Lusk, who branched out into other genres, even if they didn’t always work. Luckily, we dodged the inevitable “Dance With My Father” performance.
Song Suggestions for Lennon/McCartney Week?
Candice Glover - It’s time for her to go uptempo. She would absolutely slay “Come Together” or Stevie Wonder’s version of “We Can Work It Out.”
Angie Miller - The predictable choice is “Let It Be.” She could really nail a song like “Blackbird” or “The Long and Winding Road.”
Kree Harrison - Joe Crocker’s “With A Little Help From My Friends” could possibly be a moment from her. But if she wants to do something slower, we’d love to hear her take on “Yesterday.”
Janelle Arthur - As long as she doesn’t pull a Kristy Lee Cook with “Eight Days A Week,” we’re good. I’d go with “Here Comes the Sun,” just a light, lovely song with room for interpretation in performance. But she’d compete with Brooke White’s memorable performance of the song in Season 7. Of course, she did an uptempo song this week, so maybe she should be the one to do “Let It Be.”
Amber Holcomb - Amber will be tempted to do an uptempo as well. She might sing something like “Got to Get You Into My Life” like Syesha Mercado did in Season 7. However, she should sing “Eleanor Rigby” and really bring the fierceness and put some stank on it!
Devin Velez - He could reinstate his position in the competition with a song like “Something.”
Lazaro Arbos: Hopefully he resists his temptation to do “Imagine,” but Lazaro isn’t really the best at song choices. If we were Lazaro, we’d scale it back to something small and intimate that doesn’t require a lot of belting or vocal gymnastics. He could give “Across the Universe” a try, but if he wants to play it a bit more safe, maybe he can be the one to do “The Long and Winding Road.”
Paul Jolley: “Jealous Guy” would serve him well. At least, it would serve him better than trying to insist on another country-type song. He insists that it’s the kind of artist he wants to be, but we have to agree with Jimmy. We just don’t see it, and it feels like he’s trying to force a square peg into a round hole every time he tries. “In My Life” could be a good one for him too.