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American Idol Review: The Top 5 Divas [Video]

For the first time in the history of American Idol, there’s an all female Top 5.  And, last night, they tackled two songs a piece: a song from the year in which they were born and a song from a diva!  So, how did they’d do?  WBKR’s American Idol expert Steve Thompson shares his review of last night’s show!

Idol Chatter from this morning’s Waking Crew.  LISTEN!

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From Steve Thompson:

Honestly, with these five ladies singing two songs a piece I think if you know folks who gave up on Idol earlier in the season, now may be the time to rejoin the show.  Regardless of who might leave this week, this promises to be a memorable finale.\

Songs from Your Birth year.  We’ve had this theme several different times in the past.  Funny how more and more of these birth songs remind me of being in college (the second time.)

5.  Candice Glover singing Straight Up.  OK.  I’m going to side with Jimmy Iovine on this one.  I’ve always thought this song was a bit of a piffle– and no matter how well you try to sing a song, weakness still comes through as weakness.  Candice did the best she could with it, but that wasn’t the song that would make me cast some of my fifty votes for her.

4.  Amber Holcomb sang Without You.  Dear, dear Mariah Carey…  You try to come across as intelligent and the results are always less than that.  Harry Nilsson covered Without You– he did not write the song.  Those of you who know me know that I have told the story many times– the lyric “I can’t live if living is without you” is startlingly prophetic as the writer Pete Ham later committed suicide.  I always thought Mariah’s version was the epitome of overwrought. So was Amber’s.  For an excellent take you need to look at Heart’s cover version from their third album.

3.  Janelle Arthur singing When I Called Your Name.  What a sad song to sing to a kid.  That would seem to be similar to “let’s get the kid to calm down– put in that copy we have of Old Yeller.”  Not nearly as effective as the Vince Gill version, yet I can find no true fault in Janelle’s cover.  Somewhere in the middle of tonight’s performances.

2.  Angie Miller singing I’ll Stand By You.  First of all, kudos to Angie for keeping her stuff together while singing a song dedicated by her to her hometown of Boston.  Oddly, one of the first things I thought of (and this was during Tom Bergeron’s serious talk during Dancing with the Stars Monday night) isn’t Angie from the Boston area?  Turning this song into a power ballad, as Jimmy described it, is really an excellent way of explaining what she did.  The original song is powerful, but not a pop sounding song.  Angie’s version sounded like pure pop.

1.  Kree Harrison singing She Talks to Angels.  I thought Kree knocked this one completely out of the park and into the nearest body of water.  This song features one of the most striking lyrics of the 90s “The cross is someone she has not met–not yet.”  Loved the way Kree sang that song and especially that line.  Easily my favorite of this round.

Divas.  Thankfully, no males were injured trying to sing diva songs.

5.  Janelle Arthur singing Dumb Blonde.  Of all the songs in the Dolly Parton pantheon, why choose this song over dozens and dozens of better and more accessible songs?  This reminds me a bit of an old cartoon where they give someone an anvil and they fall through the boat.  I mean– seriously?  This is a girl who once worked at Dollywood and she chooses this song?  I think Janelle may have put herself in jeopardy tonight.

4.  Amber Holcomb singing What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?  Hopefully not having to listen to Amber sing Barbra– that would be my answer.  If Simon were still in the building, he would’ve lambasted Amber for not trying to sing something age appropriate and current.  Ironically, Amber is the only one of the five who sounds like she could be just as forgettable as any other female singer currently carving out a career like a prison inmate carves a gun out of soap.  Not a fan.

3.  Candice Glover singing When You Believe.  I’m not as enamored of this song as the judges seemed to be.  In fact, I tend to think that Candice coasted tonight (and has that right after last week.)  For all the talk of oh gosh oh golly gee she’s singing Mariah in front of Mariah– that was meaningless.  It was an excellent copy of the original song.  That’s all

2.  Angie Miller singing Halo.  I must admit that I must have heard this song somewhere before– and I only listen to rock and country.  I’m guessing it was something that they danced to on either Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance.  Seriously, guys…  I’m not a fan of Beyonce.  However…  I thought Angie had one of her best performances of the entire series between her two songs this evening.

1.  Kree Harrison singing Have You Ever Been in Love.  Everyone who knows me knows that my idea of divas tend to run toward Stevie Nicks or maybe even Kate Bush.  I’m not a proponent of Celine Dion by any stretch of the imagination.  (Back during the Titanic craze, I once suggested going into the street and yelling ‘make her stop! make her stop!’.)  Anyway…  Imagine my surprise when I heard Kree do this excellent cover of yet another song I have despised with a cold-hearted vengeance not seen since the heyday of Chuck Norris.  Maybe Kree actually can give us sunshine on a cloudy day.

I’m afraid that Janelle may be in a world of hurt after tonight’s program.  I’m not sure Amber did enough to escape the bottom two– but I think Janelle may have had the poorer song choices of the night.

That said…  FOX still has an extra week.  You think we might get the patented Uncle Nigel shuffle?  The contestants are told that everyone is safe and FOX is back on schedule for the rest of our journey.  I’m not saying that’s the way it plays out– I’m just suggesting that since the save is supposed to be done, how to stretch this show an extra week?  I think they need to keep everyone another week and apply this week’s votes to next week’s totals.  If I’m right about this, my next decision may involve lottery numbers.

We’ll see Thursday night.

@April 17, 2013   Stephen W Thompson

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