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It was something of a repeat of the previous week on American Idol tonight (May 1), with all four ladies returning to make another case as to why the American public should make each the winner. And I still don't really have a good guess what's going to happen. Sorry, you guys wanted an expert or something?
The final four, Angie Miller, Kree Harrison, Candice Glover, and Amber Holcomb, got two rounds tonight, with the first being songs from 2013 and the second being standards. The always lovable Harry Connick Jr. was on hand to mentor them.
For her first tune, Angie put her signature spin on “Diamonds” by Rihanna, seated at the piano. It was pretty mellow, save for a couple big notes (one of which didn’t quite ring true), and she did this pitch ululating thing on the long notes that I’ve not heard her do before. “It was bland. It was lackluster. You can do a lot better,” offered judge Nicki Minaj. “It didn’t really go anywhere,” agreed Randy Jackson.
Amber stayed very current with Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason,” and Harry advised her to stay in the pocket and relax. It was, as usual, very well sung but lacking in the appropriate emotional heft for such a sad song. The judges sympathized that she was thinking too much about the show's end and getting votes. "Something’s different tonight. That was not stellar," said Randy.
Things turned around when Candice did Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” which seemed like an odd choice given the gender specifics. But she saw herself as the storyteller instead of being directly in the song. And Candice wants to win this sucker, because she brought her A-game for a really connected and powerful performance. Nicki made the judges give a standing ovation, and praised Candice, "Today you gave me every single thing that I was talking about last week."
Kree also went very current with Carrie Underwood’s brand-new single “See You Again,” which Harry loved as long as she wouldn’t do the “oh-ohs.” With the pedal steel added, and the softer arrangement, it sounded a little more like '90s country radio. Not bad. She also seemed to relate to the song. "I felt you. I enjoy you because of how authentic you are," praised Mariah. Keith, however, thought it was a little disjointed.
Still, Candice was best in round one. She was in the bottom two in voting last week, so she was really trying to earn her place in the final three.
In the standards round, Angie chose George Gershwin’s beloved “Someone to Watch Over Me,” which her mom used to sing around the house.
She tried to make it a little more contemporary with some rock guitar and heavy drums, but it just felt a little weird for whatever reason. "You always put me in the mind of a Disney princess," quipped Nicki, who thought it was better than Angie's round one performance.
The mentoring session got a little tough for Amber, who didn't understand what the lyrics of “My Funny Valentine” were about, and Harry had to explain them. That may have helped, because I felt her shining through in places.
"I think you made a believer out of a lot of people tonight," said Randy. A definite improvement over the first round.
But then Candice returned. She chose Billy Holiday’s “You’ve Changed,” and basically just annihilated the thing.
Elegant, controlled, unbelievably tricky in spots, but it never sounded like she didn’t understand what she was singing. "I’m going to download that ASAP," said Mariah. Win or lose, this girl is special.
Billie got another shout-out when Kree sang “Stormy Weather,” which has been sung by a ton of folks, including Kree's hero Etta James.
Harry wanted her to just sing it without all the fireworks and let the melody do the work, but she didn’t seem to heed his advice and the performance suffered somewhat as a result. Nicki cautioned her about song choice, and Randy urged her, “Always stick to who you are.”
Harry was put on the spot with the judges, and got in a couple good shots. “We want you to be Kree, but choose the Etta James version,” he jabbed, making fun of the way judges do such a great job of confusing the contestants by the show’s end.
“You’re making Nicki and Mariah look very benign here,” said peacekeeper Ryan Seacrest, who had to referee for the two squabbling ladies earlier in the evening.
The girls also got a rare Wednesday night singalong at the very end, performing the Little Mix song “Wings,” which I had not heard prior to this. It had dancing and attitude and stuff, and they all sounded pretty good together.
For my money, Candice also won round two. I suspect that’ll help her escape elimination tomorrow night, but I don’t know if she can win the whole thing. It’ll be sad to see one of them go tomorrow. But it’s probably going to be Amber, and I’ll get over it.
Also, can Harry Connick Jr. be on this show all the time, please?