The top ten female finalists sang live in Las Vegas last night, March 5, on “American Idol.”
We heard it during the sudden death rounds and it’s a fact that bears repeating: The vocal talent pool among the ladies is huge this year and it looks like a woman could win.
America voted for the first time last night, so it’s anybody’s guess which five girls will stay and which ones will leave the competition on Thursday.
If the quality of the performances and the judges’ opinions has any merit with the viewers, Angie Miller, Amber Holcomb, Kree Harrison and Candice Glover delivered standout performances that earned high praise from the judges and could very well earn them one of the five female finalist spots.
In the first sudden death round, the judges loved Angie Miller’s performance of “Nobody’s Perfect,” but continued to pine over her original song that she performed in Hollywood. She returned to the piano last night and played a song from last year’s top ten finalist Colton Dixon called “Never Gone.”
The song showed lyrical brilliance from Dixon, the ‘Idol’ alum whose 7th place exit seemed to come too soon and as a big shock to his large fan base.
Miller hit it out of the park with the song, reaffirming to the judges that she's not just an excellent singer, but a true artist.
Nicki Minaj, who seemed to be in rare form last night, felt Miller’s safety should be sealed after her performance. She said, “The trumpet should sound when you walk in the room little girl. It’s safe to say that there’s one vote that is already counted for as far as the five girls going through after that performance. The fact that you already have your own signature sound already, can I just get your album?”
Randy Jackson continued predicting Miller’s future, saying, “America, a star is born on that stage right there. Angie has left the stage, she’s going places. You are born to do what you’re doing and you’re doing exactly the right thing in the right way.”
Miller definitely deserves a place in the female top five, but, America has sent many great contenders home, including Jennifer Hudson, who came in 7th place in season three and has since gone on to win a Grammy and an Oscar and appear on both the big and small screen.
Amber Holcomb wowed the judges during sudden death with her brilliant delivery of a classic song, “My Funny Valentine.” This week, Holcomb sang R & B legend Whitney Houston’s “I Believe in You and Me.” This song showcased more of Holcomb’s vocal skills and her sparking, yet humble, personality shined through.
All four judges got to their feet in a standing ovation following her performance. Nicki Minaj told Holcomb her vocals were surpassing the competition and nothing that came before her even compared to her level. Randy Jackson proclaimed Amber is “in it to win it.”
Kree Harrison has a very down-to-earth style that Nicki Minaj finds sexy—so much so that she brands Harrison her wife and says Harrison’s tone is her favorite among the girls.
As unassuming as she is in appearance, Harrison has an unforgettable, powerful voice that reminds Keith Urban of some great country singers like Faith Hill (whose song Harrison sang last night), Trisha Yearwood, Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride.
Harrison sang “Stronger” and the title really fit the flow of her performance, which became stronger and stronger, building to a very powerful ending. Harrison’s natural talent is evident and like Miller and Holcomb before her, she seems totally at home on stage.
Candice Glover delivered the last performance, which was an amazing and soulful rendition of John Legend’s “Ordinary People.” Keith Urban dubbed it as “superb” and Nicki Minaj saluted her.
Randy Jackson paid Glover a huge compliment, saying, “That was ridiculous because you sang notes that people aren’t even gonna understand how they can fit into a chord. I’m learning from listening to you and I love that you’re one of the best singers in this whole competition.”
This praise has to be extra sweet for Glover, who is returning to the competition for the second time, after getting cut last year.
The Other Ladies
Unfortunately, after a passionate and memorable performance last week, Zoanette Johnson fell short with a very pitchy rendition of “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” If America judges heavily on vocal ability, it doesn't seem likely Johnson will survive the cut. However, her sunny spirit and bubbly disposition remains intact. One can help but feel Johnson belongs entertaining somewhere -- perhaps acting -- and if she goes home, her larger than life personality will be missed.
Breanna Steer and Aubrey Cleland continued to deliver amazing stage presence and strong vocals. However, neither of their performances brought the “wow factor” that they did in sudden death. The judges continued to dub them both as very current and marketable artists, who bring “the whole package” to the stage. If one had to choose between the two to join the four ladies previously mentioned in the top five, the scales should tip toward Steer, who put more passion into her song.
Tenna Torres has great vocal skills. But, she seemed to struggle with Faith Hill’s “Lost” and it just didn't feel like the right song choice. Similarly, Janelle Arthur chose “If I Can Dream,” and it’s impossible not to think of the passion and the conviction with which the legendary Elvis Presley sang this song. While Arthur is a strong country singer, last night’s performance totally lacked the passion and power we've come to love in this iconic song.
Finally, Adriana Latonio is another great vocalist who failed to deliver any shining moments in Destiny’s Child’s “Stand Up For Love.”
As previously noted, America has delivered some surprising votes over the course of “American Idol’s” past 11 seasons. It’s really hard to say how many people will vote along with the judges or if many people will have an entirely different opinion.
The top ten guys will take the stage tonight to sing for America’s votes. Five girls and five guys will leave the competition on Thursday.
What do you think? Could Angela, Amber, Kree or Candice win “American Idol” season 12? Or, do you have another favorite? Also, do you think 5 contenders of each gender should be eliminated, or should more of one gender stay, if they are more talented (e.g., 7 girls and 3 guys in the top 10)? Feel free to leave comments below.
“American Idol” airs tonight on WSMH FOX66 in Flint at 8 p.m. EST. Click here for a local channel guide.