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Review: Rock ‘n’ Roll Night on American Idol [Video]


No ballads!  That was the order from the producers of American Idol last night as the Top 7 too the stage and belted out some of the biggest songs of rock and roll.  Who raised the roof and who was pulling up the rear?  WBKR’s Idol expert Steve Thompson was tuned in and shares his weekly rankings!

Steve called into the WBKR Waking Crew this morning and chatted with Moon and me about last night’s performances.  LISTEN!

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From Steve Thompson:

I look forward to a day when all of God’s children know the difference between rock and pop.  In fairness, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has had a few head scratchers installed over the years as well.  When is a ballad not a ballad?  When the tempo changes 2/3 of the way into the song, evidently.

Group Songs

3.  Angie Miller/Lazaro Arbos singing Crazy Little Thing Called LoveIf Freddie Mercury wasn’t dead already, this alone would’ve killed him.  I was never a huge fan of the country version of this song– and that version would’ve been preferable to this mess.  Angie tried to save the song, but Lazaro had already murdered it with his barely understandable lyrics.

2.  Kree Harrison/Janelle Arthur/Amber Holcomb singing It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.  Not the worst idea to hand off each set of lyrics to a different singer, but the execution suffered because it made the entire song sound way too Vegas showroom and not especially a dynamite rendition.  Individually, the girls were great.  Frankly, there’s a reason the girls sing solos.

1.  Burnell Taylor/Candice Glover singing The Letter.  I think Burnell suffered more than anyone because he was paired with the one force of nature in the competition.  Candice outsang Burnell in such a way that I had to applaud Keith’s metaphor that called Burnell a star and Candice the whole galaxy.  I noticed the background singers were doing the Joe Cocker arrangement and not the original Box Tops version.

Individual Performances

7.  Burnell Taylor singing You Give Love a Bad Name.  This rendition was so bad Richie Sambora could’ve left Bon Jovi in complete disgust.  Oh, wait…  Granted, Burnell is not a rock singer but he also performed first and as we have said on several different nights already this year– you’ve got to hit that first song out of the park in order to be remembered.

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6.  Lazaro Arbos singing We Are the Champions.  This was not the complete train wreck I had been expecting since last week.  In fact, there are many who may have thought Lazaro deserved to finish higher than some of the girls tonight.  I found it interesting that the judges tried not to attack him like they have been doing.  My guess was that Uncle Nigel told them to soft pedal the criticism and maybe his tone deaf fans wouldn’t still be voting.

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5.  Amber Holcomb singing What About Love.  As I have stated previously over the many years I’ve been doing these reviews, I have always been a fan of the group Heart.  Amber pretty much missed the Ann Wilson template and opted instead for a diva-centric rendition.  This is a power ballad and not a true rock song.  If your theme says “no ballads” I would think you have to adhere to the rules.  Oh, well…

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4.  Candice Glover singing Satisfaction.  I actually liked her singing with Burnell better than her solo here by a few light years.  I hate to agree with Nicki, but I just didn’t seem to enjoy her version at all.  Maybe I’ve just heard this song sung a few million times over the course of reality contests– but I wasn’t very impressed.

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3.  Kree Harrison singing Piece of My Heart.  This was my early pick as the best of the evening, but there were two others just a bit better.  Kree did an excellent job not trying to do an impression of Janis Joplin– and she even avoided any comparison with Faith Hill.  Kree isn’t going anywhere– it’s just that the competition is getting tougher.

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2.  Angie Miller singing Bring Me to Life.  This was one of Angie’s best performances in weeks.  I was amused by the judges either not realizing or not aware that the original song begins at the piano and ends in an uptempo rocker.  Interestingly, Wind-Up Records (home of Evanescence) is running a poll on Facebook asking their fans if they thought it was a good version.  Last I checked it was a 60 vote margin in favor.

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1.  Janelle Arthur singing You May Be Right.  I never thought about it before, but if Garth Brooks could make a country song out of Shameless, maybe there were other songs in the catalogue that could be countryfied as well.  I thought Janelle did a great job of staying true to her country roots even when singing a lyric like “I walked through Bedford-Sty alone.”

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So who goes home?  Chances are that Burnell will be shown the door because he went first and because he seemed to melt under the glare of Candice Glover during their duet.

We’ll see Thursday night.

@April 3, 2013  Stephen W Thompson

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