Judges in reality singing contests are always going on about singing each song as if your life depends on it, and on Tuesday evening (March 5), as "American Idol" Season 12 finally went live, it looked like they were doing just that. Well, most of them anyway. But knowing that only five of them will be voted through by viewers, all to be revealed on Thursday night's results show, the female side of the "Idol" Top 20 equation continued to show what they've been displaying all season: The talent this season is stacked against the guys.
Still, it didn't look that way at first. Zoanette Johnson, she of the left field personality, led off with what can only be described as a very poor performance. Judge Randy Jackson told her that her rendition of Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It?" was a "mess." Nicki Minaj reinforced her earlier support, but said, "That wasn't it." Mariah Carey tossed in that Zoanette was a "bundle of festivities" in her usual non-helpful critiquing style.
But Zoanette was the worst of the lot, the other nine finalists giving voters a difficult choice. Breanna Steer performed Beyonce's "Flaws and All," Aubrie Cleland did Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry," and Janelle Arthur nailed Elvis Presley's "If I Can Dream." Tenna Torres was solid on Failth Hill's "Lost," Angie Miller performed "Idol" alum Colton Dixon's "Never Gone" like she wrote it, and Amber Holcomb put a smooth spin on The Four Tops' "I Believe In You and Me." Kree Harrison proved she was still the country singer to beat, knocking out Faith Hill's "Stronger" and Adriana Latonio did a passable version of Destiny's Child's "Stand Up For Love."
But they all paled in comparison to returning contestant Candice Glover, who powered through a stunning rendition of John Legend's "Ordinary People." In fact, it was such a mesmerizing performance, it completely shut up the always loquacious Nicki Minaj. She simply saluted Glover. Judge Jackson said: "That was ridiculous because you sang notes people don't even understand."
Maybe not the mechanics, Mr. Jackson, but people understand talent...
So there's no doubt Glover, Miller, Holcomb, and Harrison will get into the Top 5. The only other performance that might have been too weak for contention was Latonio's. Still, that leaves a four-way fight for the fifth spot between Arthur, Cleland, Steer, and Torres. And unfortunately for Torres, voters might have been turned off to her simply due to her association with having attended a Mariah Carey singing camp as a young girl.
Regardless, the only way America could get it wrong would be for Zoanette to make the top five female finalists. It's really that simple.
And no matter who America chooses, it is beginning to look as if there very well could be a finale between girls. If so, it would be only the second time in the show's history. The only time it's happened thus far was way back in Season 3 (2004) when Fantasia Barrino defeated Diana DeGarmo for the win. The last time a girl won "Idol" was in 2007 when Jordin Sparks took the title.
And even though the guys have some strong voices (like Curtis Finch Jr. and Vincent Powell), the girls seem to have built a momentum in the early shows (good editing?) and oddsmakers like them for a win this year as well.
The Top 10 guys face off Wednesday evening. The "American Idol" Season 12 Top 10 will be revealed on Thursday evening. The shows will be live from Las Vegas, beginning at 8 p.m. (EST) on Fox Television.