American Idol

American Idol 12 – Trey & Nick’s Week in Review – Top 9

Welcome to Week In ReviewAmerican 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!

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Best performance of the week?

No point in saying that Kree Harrison and Candice Glover didn’t bring it per usual, but Angie Miller also delivered a great performance this week as well. Her stripped back, relatively restrained take on “Yesterday” showed an injured, vulnerable quality to her voice that made her more appealing as a vocalist than she’s been at any point in the competition.

Worst performance of the week?

Lazaro Arbos was a hot-mess express, and he probably didn’t gain any new fans by blaming the trainwreck on having a day to prepare, when Jimmy revealed on the results show that he rehearsed the song with Lazaro five days earlier. Yes, we can applaud Lazaro’s courage in pursuing this career, and in auditioning for the show, and even making it as far as he has. But America needs to stop grading him on a curve. A bad performance is a bad performance, whether you stutter or not. His vocal was rough, and he really deserved to land in the bottom 3. He probably should have went home. However, Paul Jolley‘s performance just didn’t do anything.

Most disappointing performance of the week?

Burnell Taylor once again delivered a decent vocal, but it was largely unspectacular when compared to some of his previous performances. We enjoy Burnell a lot still, but his chances of actually winning are diminishing on a weekly basis, as he doesn’t really challenge himself. Worse, “Let It Be” did all that much for his voice, as it made him sound nasally, in parts. Hopefully he can find a way to branch out into more uptempo, contemporary-sounding arrangements, because he definitely has the goods to go far.

Whose chances of going further have improved?

Janelle Arthur‘s performance this week finally delivered on the promise of her audition. She’s not going to actually win the thing, but it’s no longer beyond the realm of possibility that she might finish in the top 5 instead of going home in 8th place. Of course, whether she belongs there or not is another matter entirely. Burnell Taylor also skipped out on the bottom three this week. If the girls continue to skip votes, he may the only male to challenge the top girls for a while.

Whose chances have decreased?

Amber Holcomb‘s trip to the bottom 3 showed that her fanbase is weaker than we might have initially thought. Though she’ll likely get a significant voting bump off of her bottom 3 appearance, she doesn’t come across as a frontrunner the way she once did. Over the course of the season so far she has indeed gone on to seem like a viable competitor for the Season 12 crown. A bottom 3 showing won’t destroy her chances of winning altogether (lest we forget Ruben Studdard and Kris Allen), but she’s definitely taken a hit.

With two men being voted out back-to-back, is it impossible for one of these guys to win this season, or has their stock fallen too far?

It’s not impossible, but it does seem very unlikely, at this point. With Paul Jolley’s elimination, it’s now set in stone that, for the first time in five seasons, Idol will have a winner who isn’t a white guy. In theory, that’s huge, though it doesn’t automatically mean we’ll have a girl winner. It just means that the frau has no one to vote for, which means all bets are off. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the older women will gravitate towards Lazaro, and God help these finalists if they do, since he’s already got a sizable enough fanbase to stay out of the bottom 3 when it should be his summer home by now. But for Lazaro to win, the remaining women would have to crash and burn in spectacular fashion, and it’s hard to see Candice, Angie, AND Kree all being sacrificed to the altar of Johnny Bowtie. So while not impossible, we sincerely doubt a guy has a realistic chance of winning this year. At least not if Nigel has any intention of going forward with a season 13, because if these girls can’t beat this crop of guys, they might as well just cancel the show!

Song Suggestions

Candice: “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” could be huge for her, in terms of providing her a platform to display her crazy vocal range, while also allowing her to engage with the story of a song, emotionally. Similarly, she could kill it on “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

Kree: She’d do good on a little Smoky Robinson, either “Tracks of My Tears” or “Cruisin’.” Girl would slaughter “Tracks of My Tears” though. Could it be like Adam Lambert’s version.

Janelle: She’d be well-served doing Didi Benami’s countrified take on “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted” from Season 9. Strangely enough, Didi didn’t actually perform that version on the show. The country twang was strictly for the iTunes version, which makes us wonder what got lost in translation there, as it was infinitely superior to what she actually did (and she ended up getting eliminated for it).

Burnell: He should probably sing some Stevie Wonder, either “Living For the City,” “All Is Fair In Love” or “Lately,” even “Superstition.” He could have a serious moment with any one of those songs, and gets the boost he needs to be “in” the competition.

Amber: Though it’s technically outside the time period of what people traditionally identify with Motown, Amber could do Lionel Richie’s “Hello,” but I imagine she’ll stick with the more classic fare like “Can’t Hurry Love,” “Keep Me Hangin’ On” or “Heatwave.” She should avoid those, but “Baby Love” is a good song from that time period that hasn’t been done to death on the show. The song won’t show off her vocal range the way a slowed-down ballad would, but it has the potential to show off a fun side to her that might make her seem more relatable, which will translate to more votes keeping her out of the bottom 3.

Devin: “What’s Goin’ On” could be good for him, but “Never Can Say Goodbye” by The Jackson 5 would fit him really well. The latter could actually get him out of this hole if he nails it.

Lazaro: On that note, “I’ll Be There” would be decent for Lazaro as long as he doesn’t try to do too much with it.

Angie: She should do Diana Ross’ “Touch Me in the Morning” at her piano, but also maybe Carole King’s version of The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (which might actually be a better fit for Kree).

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