Welcome back friends and happy Good Friday or Passover, whichever you observe. Last week, Paul Jolley was sent home. This week, we open with Smokey Robinson talking about the music from Detroit, Motown, etc… He along with Jimmy will be mentoring the contestants tonight. Should be interesting, let’s get to it.
Candice Glover – I Heard It Through The Grapevine. Smokey says that he and the Miracles were the first to actually record that song but Motown thought it too bluesy so they gave it to Marvin Gaye instead. I’ll note that Gladys Knight and the Pips also recorded that song and I’ve always liked both versions. Well, Miss Candice introduced me to a new version and actually sang it as a funky bouncy type blues. Loved it. The judges liked it too of course. I’m not worried about her being first of the night but she was. I didn’t notice that. She set the bar pretty high and I doubt she will be forgettable.
There are also some ‘group’ performances tonight and the first up are Janelle and Kree. Supposedly, these are for fun, not for votes but, I’m sure the voters are ‘listening’. They have always wanted to do a duet but just didn’t think it would be with a Madonna song. They put their country twist on “Like A Prayer”. Madonna by the way, is not from Detroit, she is from Rochester Hills, a city you can live in all your life and never even see Detroit but I guess all of SE Michigan is fair game. They sing their song, I didn’t like it. Maybe that’s because I don’t like Madonna or her music. Even from my favorites though, I don’t think it helped them in the competition. Nicki says that it felt like Kree flew in (as a professional) to do a duet with an American Idol contestant, Janelle. Both she and Randy ‘judged’ this as though it were a competitive sing off. Mariah didn’t want to go there and Keith refused to judge them that way. I’m just saying that, for me, it didn’t work and I hope it’s one of those forgettable early performances. By the way, I guess it’s Mariah’s birthday because the girls wished her a happy one.
Lazaro Arbos- Last week, the judges and everyone else ripped this guy to shreds. This week, Smokey told him to pick a song that he feels comfortable with and can actually sing. Don’t worry about everyone else thinks and he’ll be fine. Sounds a bit like what Nicki told him last week. His song choice was “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder. After his rehearsal in the sound booth, even Jimmy gave him a ‘much better’. Lazaro does his song, it didn’t completely suck but I still don’t think this guy belongs on that stage. Randy says much better than last week and apologizes for he and Jimmy giving him such a hard time last week. It wasn’t great, pitch issues, but still much improved. Mariah says he’s back but she agrees with Randy. Keith, seems to agree with them. Nicki, wants Smokey to be her sugar daddy. She says to Ricky Ricardo, “see what happens when you don’t listen to Jimmy?”… Good job she says.
Janelle Arthur- She will be doing her own version of “Set Me Free Why Don’t You Babe” by The Supremes. This is a version she came up with when she was 14, with her own county twist on it. Janelle is in the sound booth and Smokey is helping with his suggestions on how to improve her performance of the song. After she has it nailed down and is on her way out of the studio, she quips to Jimmy’s assistant that she’s glad he’s still there. On the stage, Janelle is on a stool, with her guitar (that looks bigger than she is but it’s a regular sized guitar), and she sings her song. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. Certainly better than her predecessor on the stage, Lazaro. The judges comment that this proves she should be a solo act, Randy pulls his ‘in it to win it’ line, Keith likes her with her guitar but she needs a smaller one. In part, I agree because, again, it looks huge on her. I don’t think that’s going to hurt her though and besides, her uncle made that guitar for her (from what I could see and hear, very well done I would add). This is the first time she has ever performed, with her guitar, with a full live band behind her. Well done, Janelle.
Devin Velez- He has chosen to take on one of the greats from this week’s mentor. “Tracks Of My Tears” by the Miracles. He’s decided to sing it a little behind the beat and during the rehearsal in the studio, Smokey gives him some feedback and suggests corrections on the timing. Devin gets on stage, does his thing with it and it sounds like he took all of Smokey’s advice. Job well done. These contestants are following the advice of previous seasons and making the songs their own. No karaoke competition here. Simon would be proud. I’m happy I haven’t really heard a ballad tonight. That shit is getting old. The Judges. Keith liked it and the way he put his own Devin on it. Nicki, told him that he looked like a ripe banana. Which is a good thing. When she heard that he was going to sing it behind the beat (which is very difficult to do I might add), she was worried for her favorite Smokey song. He nailed it for her however. Randy say, he’s back. Loves the falsetto gymnastics he added and stuff like that. Mariah, wishes a bit that he had done Her favorite Smokey song, “Ooh, Baby Baby” and done it just standing there without the other stuff behind him but, he did a fantastic job at what he did do. Smokey says it was great.
Up next we have another of these group songs. Amber, Candice, and Angie will do “I’m Going To Make You Love Me” by the Supremes. Ryan wants to know which one of them is Diana.. Way to put them on the spot Ryan. Apparently Candice is a shy girl and Angie had to give her tips on how to flirt with the audience during the song. Just pick a hot guy and focus on him. Candice will focus on her friend that is in the audience. Okay, get to the song… I don’t know this song very well. None of these ladies is a group singer IMO, at least not with this song. The one who clearly shined was Candice. They all had their soloish bits but hers were better. If you can’t tell, again, I didn’t care too much for it. The judges however, standing ovation.. Most of them anyway, Mariah stayed seated. I wonder if her dress was too tight for her to stand up again. She was the only one to comment, had nothing but good things to say (they must be behind schedule to not have the other three comment). She said “Hashtag Wow”… Okay, Mariah.
Burnell Taylor will take on Stevie Wonder’s “My Sheri Amour” which was recorded when Stevie Wonder was 14. Smokey of course loves the idea. In the studio, he tells Burnell to soften it up a bit, the song after all, is a love song. Burnell hears him and takes his advice. He comes out on stage dressed all in white and sings the song. Not my favorite from him. It seemed to me that he kept beginning words, and stopping to take a breath. That’s just my take on it though I guess because, standing O from Keith. The judges didn’t have anything bad to say about it. It’s Burnell’s type of song and when he’s in his zone, how do you critique that? That’s what Keith says anyway.
Angie Miller – “Shop Around” by the Miracles. Smokey says that was Motown’s first million seller. It’s just a fun song so just have fun with it. She’s doing kind of a rock version of it. In the studio, Jimmy tells her don’t worry about enunciating every word, like it’s My Fair Lady. She tells us that’s hilarious because she did that play in HS theater. One word that appears a lot in the song is Now. After just about every line. Smokey tells her to shorten her time with that word to make the song flow better as she’s about to sing it. Okay, out on the stage, she’s singing the song with a full rock band and back up singers behind her. Ummmm, Sorry but I didn’t like it. This isn’t where she shines even though she wanted to show us her ‘fun’ side. There was a lot of off key singing it seemed and while she probably had fun with it, to me, it didn’t translate well. Holy crap, Randy agrees. Mariah would rather have heard her back at the piano. She says, “I’ll Be There” – Jackson 5, would have been a better choice. For the first time, Angie isn’t showing us her Marie Osmund smile. Keith, panned it as well. With all due respect to Smokey and the song, it just didn’t fit Angie’s style, missed notes aside. Nicki, says don’t worry about showing another side when no one has asked her to. She says even when Smokey was trying to give notes on the word ‘now’, they were trying to tell her that may not be the best choice for her. Here’s the thing, Angie is a theatrical singer. Not R&B, not necessarily rock, but the song she chose, and the way she did it, didn’t fit. Wow… I think this is the worse she has ever gotten from the judges but it shows, they aren’t just picking on the guys.
Amber Holcomb is doing Stevie Wonder’s “Later”. I don’t know this song but Smokey loves the choice. In the studio after she finishes practicing, Smokey and Jimmy tell her her critique from them is perfection. Not to worry about being in the bottom 3 last week, she doesn’t belong there (I still say Lazaro should have been there).. She sings the song for the world on stage, and gets a full standing from the judges. I’m not going to verbalize what they said, they loved it, nuff said.
I was hoping to escape this but it was too much to wish for. Final Group performance, Devin, Burnell, and Lazaro doing “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugarpie Honeybunch)” by The Four Tops. Oh My God. Did That ever suck. The only one to pull off any part of it in my opinion was Devin. I like that song too. Interesting bit of MTH trivia, a very good friend of mine is the son of one of the Four Tops. Burnell while he’s good at what he does, his modern type R&B ballad style just doesn’t fit this song. I don’t know what the hell Lazaro was doing. He kept missing cues and you could actually hear the lyric drop out. They finish the song, Devin says Something to Lazaro, don’t know what though. You know what I thought of it, let’s see what the judges thought of it. Nicki says it’s a beautiful day in Hollywood because she felt like this was back in Hollywood week. She doesn’t know what it was but she’s going to act like she didn’t see it, or hear it. Lazaro looks like he’s about to go back to that old weepy Idol trick. I think Angie Miller may have just been saved based solely on all of these performances tonight. Nicki actually told them, especially Lazaro, Never do that again and All three, get off the stage. Ryan asks them what happened, Burnell says he learned his part and did what he was supposed to do. Same question to Devin, he says he did his best to carry a couple other people. Lazaro, just admit it dude, you phucked it up and forgot the words…
Kree Harrison, in the pimp spot where she belongs. She is doing “Don’t Sing That Song” by Aretha Franklin. I can’t actually say I’m familiar with it but I do have faith in Kree. Smokey tells her that he grew up around the corner from Aretha (many many moons ago, dad and I did work for her ex husband) and she is his oldest ‘living’ friend. In the studio, he is simply blown away as is Jimmy. He tells Kree that he’s going to call Aretha and tell her to tune in and see how this girl does this Aretha song. She sings the song for the votes, and Idol has redeemed itself after that crapfest of a boy’s trio. Those three better pray that makes the fans forget all about them and what they did to that song. The judges, across the board loved it. Simply stated. Nicki says that with both performances tonight, Kree is the Queen because she can outshine those around her. Keith says that no matter what song she does, it’s Kree and that’s something special.
That’s it for the performances. Let’s get to the results.
The show starts with the usual fanfare. This is the 450th episode. One Republic with Kathryne McFee is there. Colton Dixon will be caterwauling one of his songs (Why?). Keith Urban will also perform. I may listen to Keith as I don’t think I’ve ever heard him but this show is still about the contestants for me. Ryan notes that the judges save is still in play and things could get interesting. Is he foreshadowing something? Let’s get to it and find out.
Okay, this is just too funny to me. Remember the crapfest trio of guys from the performance show? The annoying kidbop group song that refuses to die a deserving death, is Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock And Roll”. I don’t hate the song but hate these group sings. The song starts with the three remaining guys, and I’m reminded of what Nicki said to them. Never do that again. The ladies of course did much better with their parts. There were some one line solo spots for everyone, except, Lazaro. It ended, thank gawd. I won’t be recapping any more of these unless there is something spectacular about them.
Jimmy gives his reviews of the previous night. Getting to it quickly without really spelling it all out, he was pleased with all the girls and felt the guys were all in trouble. Especially after the crapfest of a trio group sing from them. He also questioned Angie Millers’ song choice and the way she handled herself on stage. He says that particular performance is what is wrong with letting the contestants choose their own songs. The producers may suggest, but the singers make the choice. He notes that Nicki once again told Lazaro not to listen to Jimmy but he says, the guy better start listening to somebody, at the very least, the songs he chooses. Jimmy predicts the guys will be in the bottom 3 and all the girls, will be on the show next week. He also predicts, Lazaro, is done.
In place of the corny Ford commercials this season, they are doing what they call a Fiesta Tour (I think). The contestants are shown driving to a location to do some sort of pay it forward give back. This week they traveled to a school where each contestant mentors a school kid (about 10 or 11 years old) in a song. Then the kids sing the song for them. The contestants get teary eyed, and move on. I guess it was nice. Didn’t completely hate it.
Next, they trot out the 3 ‘acts’.. I know I bored you with all my remote fast forwarding last year but it happened again. 15 minutes of actual show air time for One Republic, Colton Dixon, and Keith Urban. If you care to listen to them perform, hit the link at the bottom of this piece, choose tonight’s show (episode 23), and navigate to the middle of the playback. I didn’t care too much for Keith’s song. He’s going on tour shortly and you can find details at the American Idol website. I’m sure at some point, we will also be subjected to a performance by both Mariah as well as Nicki. Randy may also strut his stuff with his bass but that remains to be seen.
Now, it’s finally time for some results but First, there’s a surprise for Kree. Smokey made good on his promise to call Aretha and there was a voice mail message for her. Aretha told her that she was pleased with the way Kree did her song and that she’s got something special. I guess coming from the queen of soul, that means a lot to Kree. Finally time. Dim the lights, Here we go. Ryan says there were 26 million votes. Down from the top ten and certainly not as many as in prior seasons at this point. Are people over this show? Kree is given the first safe spot. Again in no particular order. She is followed by the other four girls to the safe couch. That leaves the three guys in the bottom three. First part of Jimmy’s prediction, True. Ryan asks Mariah given that it’s one of the guys, will they use the judges save. She says, regardless of which one, it isn’t likely to be unanimous so, no. It must continue anyway, I guess they could change their minds. Burnell is sent to join the ladies, he is safe. This next part gave me a splitting headache. The bottom vote getter of the week? Yep, You guessed it, Devin. WHAT? Really? Lazaro safe ahead of Devin and possibly Burnell as well? Remember, no particular order.
Remember what Mariah said about the judge’s save. It wouldn’t be unanimous regardless of which guy was in danger of going home. Code for they are saving it for one of the women? Devin sings his song. I think it’s the same one that won him his spot on the show. The judges
discuss their dinner plans deliberate while he’s singing. As Mariah said, Randy says it’s not unanimous. Ryan is a bit stunned by that and says Wow. I don’t know that I disagree with that decision but yes, Wow indeed.
You already know, if you’ve been reading, I don’t think Lazaro ever belonged on that stage. I am going to keep saying that until he is gone. I have also said in the past, I don’t believe these vote counts or their validity when it comes to the results. If the producers are pushing the girls ahead by picking off the guys, I guess I get it. I have a bad feeling that one of the women will be going home before he does though. I’ll say this.. If Lazaro gets weepy on stage one more time after forgetting the phucking song, I’m going to purchase a ticket, get on a plane for the first time in nearly 20 years, endure the strip search at the security gate if need be, show up in Hollywood, find Lazaro, put a glove on, grab his nuts and squeeze to give him something to be weepy about. Think I’m over this guy and his story?
This is the website where I’ve been watching the show while writing these recaps. Choose the box that does Not say Loading…. Close whatever ad is in the other one, and play the video.
That’s it folks. Have a great holiday weekend and I’ll see you next week.