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American Idol: The Final Four Compete . . . Again [Video]

(from AmericanIdol.com/Fox)

It is like a case of deja vu.  For the second week in a row, our American Idol Final Four took the stage to compete for spots in the Top Three!  And WBKR’s Idol expert Steve Thompson was tuned in and shares his thoughts about who won the night and who’s in trouble.

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

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From Steve Thompson:

In many ways, last week’s judging seemed to turn the tide away from how talented the final four were and toward just how clueless the judges and the producers could be.  Case in point: last week’s category of one-hit wonders.  According to Candice Glover, the girls only had fifteen songs to choose from.  (By the way, I’m still waiting for someone at Idol to admit they need a fact checker on their show.  I knew Procol Harum had two hits in America because I owned both of them when I was a kid.  So far, no one has owned up to their veiled stupidity.)

So how were things tonight?  Well, I wondered how many of these songs from 2013 were openly available to our four girls.  According to Mj’sbigblog.com, the Bruno Mars song could only be used if they didn’t change the gender in the lyrics.  The show presents that as if it was Candice making the choice– in reality, however, they wouldn’t let her consider it at all.

Have I mentioned lately how the judges and producers seem to be clueless?  The clear winner of tonight’s show should be obvious to every right thinking person in America.  Harry Connick is your next American Idol judge…

Oh, you want the critiques of the performances.  If you insist…

Songs from 2013

4.  Amber Holcomb sang Just Give Me a Reason by Pink.  I don’t listen to pop music, but this song didn’t even remotely interest me.  I’ve heard Pink before– I watch enough reality competition shows to have heard others try to sing her songs.  This seemed rather dry and soulless to me.  Harry pointed out Amber’s biggest flaw as a singer–  she doesn’t understand what she sings about.

3.  Angie Miller sang Diamonds by Rhianna.  I was expecting a home run from Angie with this song simply because I had already heard she would be behind the piano again.  Unfortunately, Rhianna herself is not exactly the best singer on the planet.  You can only take a song so far when covering a singer whose best work was a vocal afterthought in an Eminem song.  One of those notes clanged like an iron bar hitting a blacksmith’s anvil.  Oddly, that was the same note the producers chose to remind the viewing public of her number to call and vote.

2.  Candice Glover sang When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars.  There’s a long history in music of women singing from a man’s point of view.  This is especially true of folk music, but I’ve also heard many a country female sing from the perspective of a male.  (The first song that crossed my mind was The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down which was told by a narrator named Virgil Caine even though Joan Baez had the most famous version.)  I had no qualms about Candice singing this song.

1.  Kree Harrison sang See You Again by Carrie Underwood.  I wasn’t totally uh…  blown away by this song when Carrie sang it on the results show a few weeks ago.  (Honest to Pete, there was no pun intended– my thought process just works in mysterious ways.)  Therefore, I thought Kree had more latitude than most when it came time to cover the song.  I have to agree with Harry– she may have had a better take on this song than Carrie did.  Reinforcing that idea to a degree, I noticed on my Facebook page that Carrie had tweeted her support for Kree’s performance.

A quick note about a certain word that became a touchstone for the Idol judges tonight…  If, A Streetcar Named Desire had been set in Boston I imagine Stanley Kowalski would be screaming at the top of his lungs: Stellar!

Never before in Idol history have I grown so tired of a word so fast.  If you look up stellar in the online dictionary, the eleventh definition is “slang for very good.”

Standards

4.  Amber Holcomb sang My Funny Valentine (again.)  As Harry pointed out, Amber just had no idea of what or why she was singing.  Speaking as someone who hears lyrics over music, it always pains me to hear people sing without understanding what they are singing about.  (Or just not basically understanding what a song is about.  I recall a restaurant that had karaoke music that used to be in Owensboro.  The owner complained about the song Feel Like Making Love but Fancy was met with his approval.  I laugh loudest when I’m supposed to be silent.)

3.  Angie Miller sang Someone to Watch Over Me.  For those of you who recall when Katherine McPhee was a contestant on Idol, she sang this song and just tore the roof off the joint.  I’ve been a fan of this song since the Ridley Scott movie of the same name that came out in the 80s…  Angie was much better with this song than she was with her 2013 choice.  Hard to go wrong with Gershwin.

2.  Kree Harrison sang Stormy Weather.  Funny, but for all this talk about Lena Horne and Etta James singing this song, history shows that the first recording of this tune was doneby Ethel Waters.  I thought Kree was dynamite with her version and she looked like she might’ve arrived from a 1940s film noir to the stage.  I don’t really care whose version she preferred– just sing the song!

1.  Candice Glover sang You’ve Changed.  I really should know more Billie Holliday songs than God Bless the Child, but I was not as familiar with this song as I should be.  This was the only song of these standards I didn’t know the lyrics to (hey, Lawrence Welk didn’t have Billie Holliday songs on his program when I was a kid.)  I agreed that Candice delivered the best performance of the night and by all rights solidified her position in the top three.

So we have votes from last week added to this week…   Last week, Angie and Kree were the top two vote getters, so I think both get the benefit of those votes.  I think tonight’s show was evenly balanced between the top three– so Candice by virtue of my placing her as the “winner” of round two should be safe for next week.

Which means Amber goes home.  I think she’s the obvious choice.  I hate to agree with Nicki, but Amber has a solid career ahead of her.  She just needs to develop an understanding of what she’s singing.

We’ll see, won’t we?

@May 1, 2013   Stephen W Thompson

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