Wednesday, April 3, 2013
AI Season 12- Top 7 Performance
We open with amps being plugged in, and knobs being cranked up to 11. It's Rock 'n Roll night. It's raucous. It's raw. It's powerful. Sure show, you just keep telling yourself that.
Mariah and Nicki are color twinsies again, this time in teal. Mariah is in a sheath with toga-closures at the shoulders. Her hair looks kind of unkempt and her makeup is nearly invisible. It's not a good look for her. Nicki's dress looks like a 50's pinafore over a transparent shirt. Keith is in a blazer over a print tee (there's a face on the tee but I don't recognize it) and Randy is in all black except for a gold chain something on the breast pocket, and a very wide-banded red watch.
Ryan promises that tonight will feature no ballads and no slow songs. This does not bode well since all of these kids are slow-song balladeers. And tonight's the night when the kids all make fun of each other. This oughta be interesting.
#1. Burnell- the general assessment is that Burnell has a strong accent, that he mumbles a lot, that he flings his hands around while he sings (Me: no kidding), and that his laugh is distinctively loud.
He's wearing a black studded leather biker jacket over a red plaid shirt. He's singing Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name. And whaddya know? He's actually moving around the stage. The kids' ribbing has made him self-conscious because he keeps both hands down throughout the performance. The singing? It's okay at best, but the band and backup singers are doing all of the heavy lifting.
K: says Burnell was uncomfortable, not a rock 'n roll singer
N: Burnell needs hugs
R: Was behind the beat throughout
Once again, we're killing an entire two hours, so we need filler. Lots and lots of filler, in the form of duets and trios. First duet is Angie and Lazaro. Together. They're singing Queen. Seriously? Lazaro is in a black leather jacket and tight red pants with embroidery down the leg seams. We need to talk about Lazaro's pants- there is no way that every single pair accidentally accents (enhances? emphasizes?) his manly parts. Obviously (and I do mean obviously), he's doing it on purpose, and it's very hard to ignore (trust me on this- I am an old lady. If I notice, it's noticeable). Angie is in a black leather mini skirt and a black top. They're singing Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and nothing- absolutely nothing- about this is good. Lazaro is hesitant and sometimes inaudible, Angie is screechy and smiles constantly.
N: exact quote: Hi Ken and Barbie...that was...um... nice
R: uh... Angie was good, Lazaro got better later in the song
M: that wasn't a good song for a duet
K: not great, variety show quality
#2 Kree- the general assessment is that Kree is the Mom of the group, she irons everyone's shirts, she's the Guardian Angel, she knows everyone, and is very huggy.
She's wearing a pretty white shirt with black shoulders, black pants, and stiletto knee-boots. She's singing Janis Joplin's Piece of My Heart. She's hitting the notes with the right grit, but she's over-enunciating. It's good, but not as good as it could (or should) have been.
R: show finally started, in it to win it
M: excellent song choice
K: wondered if the boots constricted Kree's performance (Kree's answer: she has a pinched nerve and cannot move her arm well)
Kree says that her grandma went to school with Janis Joplin. And now, I am really and truly and officially old.
Next duet: Candice (Chanel-ish black and white tweedy jacket over black pants with an electric yellow necklace) and Burnell (electric yellow shirt, black leather jacket- not the same one he wore earlier). They're singing The Letter, and it's really good. Candice is on fire, and Burnell is so very much better than he was on his solo song.
M: complains about the song choice, forgetting that the kids aren't allowed to sing ballads tonight
K: loved it and Candice was amazing
N: Candice is clearly superior
R: Burnell much improved and Candice: OMG
#3. Janelle- the general assessment is that she's a country farm girl who is into soap-opera style drama at all times. The show makes an genuinely funny joke about Janelle and the Restless. Way to go, Show!
She has soft curls with coppery highlights, a short shiny copper bolero/vest which has 3' fringes, over all black, except for the cowboy boots, which are rhinestone and jewel encrusted. She starts on the steps with Billy Joel's You May Be Right. Hmmm- something is off about this, but I don't know what. It could be in the wrong key for her, and she seems like she's behind the beat throughout.
K: loves the boots and how Janelle worked the stage, but it was not the best song for her
N: wants to borrow the boots, thinks Janelle is relatable and Middle America will vote for her
R: loves the fringey vest
(Me: note how no one actually talked about the singing, which wasn't very good)
When we come back from the commercial, Nicki is wearing the boots and Randy has the vest fringes draped over his shoulders and Janelle is in her stocking feet (boring black socks, btw).
#4. Lazaro- the general assessment is that none of them have ever met a guy who was so in love with bright colors, and they all do a very good imitation of Lazaro's dramatic closing moves
For all the talk of loving bright colors, he's wearing a burgundy shirt with sparkly black stripes under a plain black leather jacket, and jeans that do what his jeans usually do. He's singing We Are the Champions (which Lazaro prounces: Sham-pee-owns). This is better than last week's performance. If we were only grading on the Lazaro Curve, it would rank pretty high. But on the Actual Singing Curve, Lazaro is a cute guy who is trying really hard.
N: lovin' it, did it justice
R: concerned about song choice but did okay
M: echoed Randy
K: good song choice for his style
The trio tonight is Amber (very spiky red sleeveless leather vest, with a plaid flannel shirt tied around her waist, jeans consisting of more hole than fabric, and stiletto platform booties), Janelle (black sleeveless vest and red jeans), and Kree (black top with copper collar and black pants). They're sing Still Rock 'n Roll to Me, and man... it's ordinary. Not quite Karaoke but not quite Not Karaoke. Of the three, Janelle seemed most out of her element, but maybe that's because she's so much shorter than the others.
R: unbelievable, so good
M: likes Billy Joel and talks about that a lot
K: they sound great together
N: Jem and the Holograms. Says that Amber was mesmerizing but that the song was cheesy
(Me: Yay Nicki!)
#5. Candice- the general assessment is that everyone resents that Candice gets her own room. Burnell cruelly says it's because she's going home this week and the show feels sorry for her. The others mention that Candice and Burnell have a love/hate brother/sister relationship, and Candice says she'd like to punch him. I think she means it.
In a pre-song interview, Ryan establishes that Candice broke her toe during an ill advised prank she and Burnell were playing on Lazaro which backfired (something about telling him that the house was on fire). She's wearing a black blazer with silver piping, a heavy gold necklace and black pants with red and gold sparkly embroidery down the seams. She's singing Satisfaction, mostly stomping one foot (presumably the one without the broken toe). Boy, I am not loving this. I mean, it's well done, and Candice can sing the phone book and her showmanship always on point. But I'm just not feeling it. At all.
K: voice so freaking good, effortless power
N: Booed herself first and then says that the song was boring though she loves Candice personally
R: brought the Tina Turner grit
Ryan mini-interviews Orianthe, who is famous I guess, and who plays the guitar, and who is accompanying every song tonight. She says she had to learn ten songs in a single week, which is what the house band does every week on this show.
#6. Amber- the general assessment is that Amber talks to herself a lot, and takes many many posed self-portraits with her phone. Burnell is totally creepy about Amber, who is, gorgeous, but she's also 17 years old. Creepy- really really creepy.
She's wearing a black zipper jacket with narrow sparkly gold diagonal stripes, leather shorts, black hose, and possibly the same platform bootie stilettos as before. She's singing What About Love, and like many of the younger kids on this show, she confuses stomping across the stage with attitude. That said, she's connecting with this song better than she usually does, and she sounds great until a totally unnecessary key change moves into her upper register, where she sounds thin and sort of screechy. Even so, this is her best performance to date, and the best of the night so far. Keith, Nicki, and Randy agree with a Standing O.
K: great song choice
N: pulled everyone in emotionally
R: look and sound amazing, makes a special point to mention the long legs (Note: if it's creepy for Burnell, who is in his 20's to be leering at Amber, it's creepier still for Randy to do it. Ick).
M: great job with the rock element
Ryan talks to Joshua Ledet (last year's Curtis Finch, in a red and blue gingham shirt and flowered bow tie) and Hollie Cavanaugh (white shirt, gold vest, tall brown boots). Both are working in the studio (though neither says which one) and Hollie just moved to LA. She gets to meet Mariah.
#7. Angie- the general assessment is that Angie is very very excited about everything, that she has a signature squeal and claps frequently and rapidly (which is proven by a montage of her doing just that), and that she uses her eyes to seduce the camera (there is a very specific term for that which I will not repeat here).
She's wearing all black- a loose-ish top with shirt-tails and drapey chains across the bosom, and low slung jeans. Her hair is big, as always. She's singing an Evanescence song with which I am not familiar (like I am familiar with any Evanescence song). She begins slowly at the piano but shortly moves to a dais where smoke swirls around her feet. The wind machine is cranked up maybe a tad too strongly because Angie has to hold her shirt down for the rest of the song. But her hair blows around prettily. This is her best performance since she sang her original song back in Hollywood (or was it Las Vegas?).
N: loves the all-black look and the long pants
R: loves the theatrical edge
K: loves her voice but Angie needs to connect more
Tonight was a very mixed bag- the only performance that I actually enjoyed was the Candice/Burnell duet. My rankings are Amber/Angie (equally the best), Kree/Candice (close behind), and then Lazaro/Janelle/Burnell in that order but not by much. But I don't think any of them are safe- tomorrow night will be interesting.