The show started without Nikki who was allegedly tied up in traffic. But I have to wonder about her call time. Don’t they have to be there a couple hours ahead of time for hair and makeup? Aren’t they supposed to be there far in advance of the show’s start time to avoid this sort of snafu? And yet, if anyone had to miss the show, I’m glad it was Nikki.
At least ten times each season, I seem to criticize contestants for singing songs by former winners because they always pale by comparison. Tonight’s theme was my hell, past Idol winners’ songs. They mostly chose songs the winners sang while they were on Idol and not songs from their post-Idol catalog. Given my position, it was probably the safe choice to make.
Curtis’s song was I BelieveFantasia’s victory song. Until last season’s Home, victory songs tended to be tepid, cheesey overblown piffles. Curtis didn’t do the generally lame song justice but with the paisley sportcoat and background singers walking onstage in the background, he managed to bring back the cheese. And this is not the kind of cheese I like, Sydney. He was an out of tune caricature of himself and roundly applauded for it nonetheless. Randy wanted him to try something new instead of singing the same type of song while Mariah was happy he kept the church in his performance. I side with Randy. And I didn’t miss Nikki.
Jannelle revealed that Jimmy Iovine really knows his stuff. She’s smart. Her song was Gone which Scotty McCreary sang on the show. Luckily she didn’t sound like Scotty. She didn’t sound like Skyler Laine either. She sounded way more radio-ready than Curtis, that’s for sure. Nikki didn’t like her song choice. Neither did Randy or Mariah. Given the limited song selection, I thought she did OK although she could have chosen a Carrie song and then they would have blasted her for not being as good as Carrie.
Devin chose a Carrie tune, Temporary Home. He wanted to show us he could do something other than ballads so he chose a country ballad that had all the country flavor stripped from it. It was just barely OK but nothing I’d ever want to hear again. Keith said it wasn’t one of his better performances blaming song choice. Nikki liked it and liked he didn’t do Spanish. Somehow singing in only one language, to her, showed he was multifaceted. Randy thought he played it way too safe. I’m not sure what Mariah was trying to say.
Jimmy told Angie she reminded him of a beauty pageant contestant. But it’s her look and not her performance. It’s all in her all-American, blue-eyed, gentile, cheerleader style. It’s her hair and makeup and clothes. But she’s far too pretty to need a makeover. Angie chose a Celine Dion song I Surrender that Kelly sang in season one. She sang it beautifully. Keith liked it. Nikki liked her legs and the way she walks in heels. She also raved about her voice.
Paul chose the second Scotty-sung song of the night, Amazed. Jimmy advised him to not oversing and it sounded like Paul took that advice to heart. While it might have taken some of the emotional peaks out of the song it worked. Keith also felt Paul followed Jimmy’s voice and was happy about it. Nikki was happy and horny about the way he sang. Randy liked the song choice but also noted the holding back of the emotions. Randy advised him to let the song carry him without going overboard on the theatrics. I’m not a fan of Paul but this was his best performance so far.
Candice brought the crowd and three of the judges to their feet with I Who Have Nothing a song Jordin Sparks sang. For once the judges’ lavish praise was actually well-deserved.
Kelly’s hit Breakaway was too much of Lazaro. His voice sounded weak and lifeless. He was overpowered by the band and backup singers. It was a pretty miserable performance. Borrowing a cliché from Randy, Keith didn’t think the song was in his wheelhouse. Nikki thought he looked like Ricky Ricardo but didn’t like the performance. She thought he was too nervous. Randy thought the song was too big for him. Mariah said people are falling in love with his courage but wasn’t crazy about this song for him. That’s a nice way of saying his fans don’t care for his singing primarily but he’ll get the pity vote. I hope he doesn’t get enough to last very long.
Kree, whose appearance improves each week, chose Crying which Carrie did 8 years ago. She did it fabulously but it was so understated compared to Candice it seemed almost sleepy. She displayed incredible tone, musicality and vocal control but it wasn’t the wow moment I wanted her to have. Nikki compared Kree’s performance to Aunt Jemima buttermilk toaster waffles with buttermilk pancake syrup.
Ruben was represented by Burnell singing Flying Without Wings He fluctuated between sounding good and annoying. Mostly he fell on the annoying side of things. What I find annoying, Keith finds magnetic. The judges more or less liked him. Randy said he vindicated the boys tonight. That doesn’t say much about the rest of the boys.
For me, for you A Moment Like This, Kelly’s victory song, sort of cast the mold for cheesy victory songs and yet Amber chose to sing it anyway. On top of poor song choice, she was also saddled with the wind machine so she wasn’t allowed to move off her tiny platform. It was pageanty and yet it got the judges on their feet minus Mariah whose dress was too short and tight to allow standing. Keith thought it was effortless. I don’t agree but it was effortless for a bad cause. Nikki thought it was the best of the night and said it reminded her of Whitney. I assume she meant Houston not Cummings. Randy thought that song was the best victory song ever. Really? He actually wondered where the boys were tonight. Well, Randy, you sent the good boys home during the Hollywood and Las Vegas rounds so the girls wouldn’t have any competition. That’s where the boys went.
The worst girl was better than the best boy. Looking at the recaps at the end of the show, the boys looked even worse. Candice, Kree and Angie belong in the top three.