American Idol's version of the NCAA Final Four is underway and our four remaining contestants were singing for the Final Three last night.  It was a night of big voices, even bigger disappoinments and an odd shift in judges' opinions.  What did WBKR's Idol expert, Steve Thompson, think about the show?

Take a listen to our Idol Chatter from this morning's Waking Crew . . .

From Steve Thompson:

American Idol: You Have the Right Not to Believe What the Judges Say
by Stephen Thompson (Notes) on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 11:41pm

To paraphrase something I wrote last week, how much freedom is a contestant given when The Powers That Be have proven themselves to be deceitful tricksters worthy of the devotion of Harley Quinn and politicians everywhere?  (Yes, I invoked Gotham.)  It's really hard for me to comprehend that of the thousands upon thousands of songs that should be applicable here, Free Choice might as well have been Hobson's Choice.  (For those of you who may have not been taught that phrase in Humanities-- Hobson's Choice is "take it or leave it.")

Free Choice

4. Candice Glover sang Find Your Love by Drake.  Who?  Drake?  I hear what you're saying People of My Generation!  You think Drake was some kin to the Donald Duck family don't you?  Yeah, I hear you.  I was totally bored by this interpretation or whatever you might refer to this snoozefest.  This was the first time in weeks that I thought Candice might lose out to any of the other girls.  Heck, I thought this was tepid enough to bring Lazaro back from The Talking Dead.

3.  Amber Holcomb sang The Power of Love.  No.  Not the Huey Lewis ditty...  The song that Celine Dion stole from the Jennifer Rush catalogue.  (Irony: when the song you choose for your first theme potentially could have been a song in the second theme.  After all, Jennifer's only other chart action in America was a duet with Elton John that didn't exactly take the crown from Kiki Dee.)  Seriously, folks...  Go to youtube and find the Jennifer Rush version.  Original flavors are usually the best because they are original.

2.  Kree Harrison sang Hurts So Bad by Susan Tedeschi.  I don't get the judges trying to throw Kree under the bus all night.  I absolutely loved this version of the song and thought she brought all the emotion anyone (but Keith apparently) could ever need in this number.  It must be nice to live there in that alternate universe where things that Uncle Nigel decrees are done and Mariah Carey is an astute vocal judge.  Kree would've been an easy mark for number one except for...

1.  Angie Miller sang Who You Are by Jessie J.  Frankly, I would've preferred the Pearl Jam song.  However,you must give the folks at Castle Lythgoe their due.  Angie is light years better as a singer when she is at the piano and this song was no exception to that rule.


2.  Amber/Kree sang Rumor Has It by Adele.  I love Adele.  I've purchased music by Adele.  This was not Adele.

1.   Candice/Angie sang Stay by Rhianna.  Frankly, I'm not one of those people who is especially drawn to Rhianna's vocals.  (It speaks volumes that I liked her best on the Eminem song.)  If we had a song called Stay. I would've preferred the one written by Jackson Browne.  Yes.  I'm a dreamer.

One-Hit Wonders

4.  Amber Holcomb sang MacArthur Park  and for the sake of my sanity we'll say the one hit wonder is Richard Harris.  The original version of this song goes on in four separate movements over nearly eight minutes and Amber decides this is the song she should cover.  (Those of you who have watched this show as long as I have will recall Carrie Underwood sang this and I voiced the same complaint.)  Jimmy Webb was one of the best writers of the 60s, but this song is not his best work.  (Research proves that Jimmy Webb talked about the same relationship in his song By the Time I Get to Phoenix.  He was dating Linda Ronstadt's cousin (who was not a singer.)    Great Googly-Moogly! The Donna Summer disco bridge on a one hit wonder that was a ballad.  Get real, producers!

3.  Candice Glover sang Emotion by Samantha Sang. This song just didn't seem to have the usual Candice pizzazz and maybe her cold was the reason.  Odd that a song by this title would seem to be lacking in emotion.  The Samantha Sang version?  Really bad.  Time has not been kind to my memory of the song.  The Bee Gees version was quite good-- but they had so many hits they could farm them out to unknown singers.

2.  Kree Harrison sang A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum.  First, a confession.  I absolutely love this song.  I even liked the Annie Lennox version on her album of cover songs.  However...   Procol Harum had two hits.  This should not have been allowed in the one-hit wonder category.  (The other hit was a song called Conquistador which had absolutely nothing to do with Bach.)  As for Kree?  I thought she did a nice job on this song and I found myself wondering if she was familiar with the Willie Nelson version since she sounded more country on this song than her first.  Once again, this would have been my favorite except for...

1. Angie Miller sang Cry Me a River by Julie London. (That's nurse Dixie McCall for those of you who are my age and grew up in the 70s.)  I couldn't believe that this was Julie's only hit-- but since she was classified as a jazz singer, it's true.  Her biggest hit was her first song.  She was married to Jack Webb and later to Bobby Troup.  In an example of hiring the people you know, Jack Webb produced the series Emergency and hired his ex wife and her second husband as stars of the show.  As for Angie?  This is a torch song that still brings the heat.  I was impressed by how well Angie performed it.  Probably her best vocal without being hidden by her piano.



So who goes home?  I'm sticking to my guns and saying no one.  I think the producers will keep these four around for another week and carry over their vote totals to next week's show.  (I think this is the "twist" Seacrest hinted about.)

Next week's themes?  Standards.  We get to hear our ladies sing songs that will either be dynamite or duds-- I don't think there will be any middle ground.

The other theme?  Songs from 2013.  That's about as current as humanly possible.

We'll see Thursday night.

@April 24, 2013   Stephen W Thompson