Wednesday, March 27, 2013
AI Season 12- Top 9 Performance
A city of innovators, of the American dream, of visionaries, is Detroit. Smokey Robinson and his baby-smooth forehead wax philosophical about the Motown Sound, which is tonight's theme.
Nicki is wearing a bright red sheath with short sleeves. Her black-rooted blonde hair has a side part and is softly waved. Mariah wearing the same shade of red. Her dress is right out of Mad Men, with a gathered skirt, cap sleeves and plunging neckline. Keith is in a brown tee that reads: Detroit VS. Everywhere. Randy is in a yellow tee and a gray cotton jacket. Ryan's pinstripe shirt has a white collar, and he's wearing a pewter suit with an eggplant tie and pocket square.
Smokey is in the house, so I'm sure we'll be checking back with him periodically. Mariah has a glittery, lighted, pink plastic magic wand (my granddaughter had one just like it 8 years ago- we're not talking Designer Wand here). She's using it to bless Ryan, and bonk Randy on the head. She grabs Ryan's arm and gives it a big hug. There is a big ol' grin on her face. Mariah may be just a teeny bit intoxicated.
#1. Candice- singing I Heard it Through the Grapevine
Smokey: ride the beat
JI: raise the bar
Candice is wearing a gold and brown sparkly blouson top, with black stretch pants and knee boots. Her hair is softly curled and her makeup is great. She starts out slow and bluesy but she's changing up the song a lot. Candice is good no matter what she does, and she's in tune and performing well, but I don't love this arrangement. However, sub-par Candice is still miles better than nearly everyone else.
R: one of the best voices of the competition (Randy Cliche #6)
Since we're insisting on a two-hour show when no such thing is needed, we have lots of extra time that will be filled with some actual singing (which is better than some of the things they fill time with on this show). Kree and Janelle are going to countrify Madonna, which should be interesting. Janelle is wearing a sleeveless top with a sparkly silver front and a white back. Kree is in a white jacket with huge asymmetrical lapels over a black top with a sparkly scalloped hem. The stage is filled with yellow smoke and they're singing Like a Prayer, joined midway by a very hip-looking-but-gospel-sounding choir. This is fine, though not in the least exciting or interesting. It is also not noticably country.
N: feels like Kree is a pro who flew in to sing with an Idol Contestant (Note: this is not a compliment to Janelle, who feels the sting. So does Kree, whose arm tightens around Janelle's shoulder)
R: Kree fine, Janelle pitchy
M: it was a sisterhood moment... babble... omigod, so much babble
K: considers them solo artists and won't critique a duo, but wishes they had used the stage a little more
#2. Lazaro- singing For Once in My Life
Smokey: do what you like
JI: having learned that making Lazaro cry only keeps him around longer, is faint in his praise
At first I think Lazaro is wearing a shiny gunmetal gray polished cotton suit. But when he steps into the light I see that it's a biker-style jacket. A biker-style jacket made of satin. And he's wearing it with brown leather pants, a light shirt, and a sparkly gold tie. The singing? Well... it's not good. It really and truly is time for Lazaro to go home.
R: there were pitch issues, but it was far better than last week (Note: also faint praise. No one wants Lazaro to cry)
M: echoes Randy, but thought it was a smart song choice
K: Smokey's advice was good
N: calls Lazaro Ricky Ricardo and gives a shout-out to Smokey
Before the commercial, an off-camera Mariah continues to talk over Ryan, who is trying to work up there. I think they eventually shut her mike off.
#3. Janelle- singing You Keep Me Hanging On
Smokey gives her specific advice for singing the song.
JI: echoes that advice
Janelle, wearing a white peasant top with loose balloon sleeves and what looks like Toreador pants with boots, is sitting on a stool. She's playing a guitar that is nearly as big as she is. This is a very unusual arrangement, it almost has a Latin flair. I like this, and I think it's Janelle's best performance to date.
M: at your finest
K: so much better as a solo act, brought out the angst in the song
N: some pitch issues
R: absolutely loved it, in it to win it (Randy Cliche #2)
#4. Devin- singing Tracks of My Tears
Smokey: his guitarist wrote that song
JI: slightly behind the beat
Smokey: that's okay as long as it's on purpose
Devin is wearing a red dinner jacket with black satin lapels over a black shirt with a white collar. He still has Tintin hair. Well, there's being artfully and purposely behind the beat, and then there's missing it entirely. Also some of the high notes. And many of the medium ones as well.
K: great style, but don't overthink it
N: look like a ripe banana, loved it
R: Devin is back, y'all (Randy Cliche #5)
M: loved it, flawless
Me: Huh? I thought it was almost a as bad as Lazaro's performance.
Our next group of Time Wasters is Amber (one-shoulder strapless dress with sparkly sunbursts), Candice (black sparkly top), Angie (sleeveless gold and black top and leather short-shorts.). They're singing I'm Gonna Make you Love Me, and none of them will own up to being the Diana of the group (though obviously, it's Candice). Amber sounds fine, Angie is still the proficient little Pageant Princess (and man, I wish she would shut her mouth once in awhile. I don't mean *shut up*, I mean physically and literally close her mouth. It never happens). These three girls can harmonize though, and the ending is great. Great enough to get Standing O's from Keith, Nicki, and Randy. Mariah stays seated, but says: Hashtag WOW, and A+ amazing. And some more babbley things.
#5: Burnell is singing My Cherie Amour
Smokey says Stevie Wonder was 14 when he recorded this song (Note; Wikipedia disagrees, putting him at 16 years old, which is still pretty darn impressive).
JI: tells Burnell to hold back a little
Burnell is wearing an ill-fitting all white suit with a golden medallion at the collar. His pronunciation is off on the first few lines, as though he was saying each word as individual syllables. It's weird and unpleasant. He's moving around a little more than usual, but still his arms are doing the heavy lifting, and he's missing easily half of the notes.
Keith gives him a Standing O.
N: reminded why she fell in love with Burnell in the first place
R: loves that Burnell is from Louisiana. Also the singing.
M: loves the suit and the modern flavor
K: so original that it's hard to critique.
Me, once again: Huh?
#6. Angie is singing Shop Around
Smokey: have fun with it
JI: don't over enunciate
Angie is wearing a blue dress that looks like it was cut from a surfer's wet suit. It has some odd front and side cut-outs that are filled in with black lace, and underneath that, she's wearing a very visible black bra. Her hair is slightly less big tonight but she still looks like Miley. Angie is prancing and stomping all around the stage, and no matter what she does, she looks like she's in a pageant. I don't love this the exact same amount that I do not love anything Angie does.
R: pitchy (Randy Cliche #1)
M: would have preferred Angie to be at the piano rather than clomping around the stage. (Note: this is the most coherent comment of the night from Mariah).
K: heard pitch issues, bad song choice
N: Angie tried to show a different side that didn't need to be shown
#7. Amber is singing Stevie Wonder's Lately
Smokey: do exactly what you just did
JI: doesn't know why Amber doesn't get more votes
Amber is tight black knit underdress and a white overdress that has been shredded in an interesting pattern. The whole thing is compressing her chest into an uncomfortable-looking lump though. Amber's hair is very pretty, and she's finally wearing pink lipstick. This performance is slightly more connected than usual, and the notes are spot on, but it's still Pageant. A pageant performance that gets a four-way Standing O.
M: tour de force. Tour. De. Force. Does anyone know what tour de force means? It means BLEEEEEEEEEP (and I think Mariah actually said *effing*) incredible
N: Yay pink lipstick, but missing that eye twinkle
R: Best vocal of the night
For our final time-waster of the evening Burnell (brown velvet jacket, brown tie), Devin (black velvet jacket, white tie, red shoes), and Lazaro (black velvet jacket, red tie, red shoes) are going to sing Can't Help Myself, which they do, standing at their microphones. Aieeee- these guys are missing notes and missing cues, and forgetting lines. During the few moments when they appear to remember what they're doing, it's incredibly dull. It's not even up to Karaoke standards.
N: bluntly tells them that it was bad, disaster Hollywood Week Bad, and that she's going to pretend that she didn't just hear that
Ryan gives the guys a chance to defend themselves, and Devin promptly throws the others under the bus by declaring that he learned HIS part, and that he tried to cover for others.
#8. Kree is singing Aretha Franklin's Don't Play That Song
Smokey: when someone sings an Aretha song and I think it's great, then it's great.
Kree is wearing a short silver jacket over black. Her hair and makeup are both lovely. I don't know this song at all, but this is a great performance: smooth and bluesy and spot on throughout. I'm nearly in GOOSIE territory. This is the best performance of the night.
R: not a perfect performance but the best (Note: yeah, makes no sense to me either)
M: babble babble Aretha babble
N: taking on the Queen and becoming one herself
My Top 3 (in this order): Kree, Janelle, Candice
My Bottom 3 (in this order, but not by a large margin): Lazaro, Devin, Burnell
By rights, Lazaro should go home. But he has a strong fan base, so it could be one of the other guys. Actually, I'm a little worried about Candice- her song choice was off just enough that voters might hesitate. We'll see tomorrow.