“Idol”: Final Four Perform
I was wrong about that whole "death metal/free jazz" thing, apparently. We had to say goodbye to our friend Janelle Arthur last week on American Idol, and now we're down to four remaining women: Amber Holcomb, Angie Miller, Kree Harrison and Candice Glover.
Tonight's (April 24) performances were divided into two rounds, the first being the contestant's choice and the second a fan-voted theme that was later revealed to be one-hit wonders. Oh, the possibilities!
Leading off the night, Amber sang Celine Dion's "The Power of Love" with an impressively restrained a cappella intro.
She looked a little frozen on those steps, though, and struggled to match Celine's intensity as the music swelled. Nicki Minaj thought she looked like a "big sexy glass of milk" in her white pantsuit, and Mariah Carey said she gave it "flavor." Amber has really come on strong in the last few weeks, so don't count her out.
Candice is apparently a huge fan of rapper Drake, so she sang his song "Find Your Love" and let herself improvise over the melody.
It was an impressive technical display, but honestly kind of boring, so I don't know how that will play with the voters. Keith Urban urged her to just "keep letting the authenticity come," while Nicki wished she would have "stuck to the melody."
Blues fan Kree got to show off that side of her personality by singing Susan Tedeschi's "Hurt So Bad," which sounded great but was still lacking a little something. Randy Jackson thought "parts of it were a little disconnected," and Keith wanted to feel more emotion from her and "leave nothing on the table."
Avowed Jessie J fan Angie opted to sing her idol's "Who You Are," seated at a white Steinway, which seemed like the exact right thing to do for her. A very smart play and well-executed at this stage. Mariah called it "stunning," and Randy said, "You made me forget that was a Jessie J song."
Then we got weird duets. First, Kree and Amber duetted on Adele's "Rumor Has It" surrounded by a bunch of drum-circle hippie types.
The arrangement just sounded a little too thick and heavy and the pair's voices didn't complement each other well at all. Keith Urban said he was "waiting for someone to just cut loose and throw a mic stand or something," which would have made this considerably more interesting.
Second duet was Candice and Angie singing the Rihanna and Mikky Ekko (Nashville artist shout-out!) duet "Stay." Both had really strong opening shots, before joining together and knocking it out of the park.
This could be the top two finalists right here.
For one-hit orders round, Amber kept her diva obsession going with Richard Harris/Donna Summer's "MacArthur Park" and got to move around the stage a little bit when the disco section kicked in.
It was a big ol' vocal and she held some high notes for an improbably long amount of time. Impressive. Keith thought she was "dominating" the night, and Nicki was happy that she was "blooming for the world to see."
Candice sang "Emotion," the Robin and Barry Gibb-penned tune that was a hit for Samantha Sang.
For most people, this one was probably not a song they're familiar with, which could go either way for Candice. She was great, as usual, but it's hard to picture what kind of artist this makes her. Nicki called her a "superhero" and Mariah thought it was "stellar," so maybe she'll sail right on through.
Kree chose the always lovely Procol Harum hit "Whiter Shade of Pale" and, honestly, messed around with the melody of a really great song a little too much for my taste. I'm worried she might be in danger after this one. The judges were split on it, with Randy saying she "redeemed" herself and Nicki wondering if she was "dimming a little bit."
For her second song and the final performance of the night, Angie went for Julie London's "Cry Me a River" and actually sounded pretty great.
Surrounded by dramatic fog, she dug into the lyrics and conjured up something dark and powerful, or "celestially powerful" as Keith said. "You came out tonight to snatch some wigs off some heads, honey chile," added Nicki. "Tonight was your night." I'd have to agree.
Top 2: Candice and Angie. Bottom 2: Kree and Amber
Before the credits, Ryan Seacrest alluded to a "surprise twist" tomorrow night, which is probably how they'll make the show last another week like it's supposed to. Judging from his delivery, I wouldn't assume that it's going to be the save, either.