It’s Classic Rock Night here at “American Idol” — if Kree Harrison doesn’t do some Heart, we’re going to be upset. Oh, and Orianthi is there to play guitar with the Idols. That’s cool, she’s terrific.
1. Burnell Taylor, “You Give Love a Bad Name,” Bon Jovi
Huh. Not what we were expecting from Burnell. And this is … not working for us. It’s almost as though Burnell has too much soul for this. Too much soul, not enough rock, you know? Burnell would be stronger on maybe some Lenny Kravitz? That sound would suit his voice much, much better.
Either way, this left us really cold. Yikes. And case in point, Keith Urban’s first comment is, “I’m going to assume rock ‘n roll’s not your thing … I’ve never seen you look more uncomfortable.” Yeah, that about sums it up. Nicki babbles some stuff about Teddy Ruxpin — this is not a contest for who we want to hug the most, Minaj.
2. Angie & Lazaro, “This Thing Called Love,” Queen
This is an unusual duo, we’ll say that. The song is way too low for Lazaro, his verse is breathy and hard to hear. Angie is better, though she’s not perfect either. There’s also another lyrics issue. Oh, Lazaro. We tired of the Lazaro experiment weeks ago, so can we all agree it’s his time to go home?
All the judges praise Angie, while not being too hard on Lazaro, just pointing out the lyrics mistake. It was definitely dominated by Angie, but Lazaro can’t really keep up with her, talent-wise.
3. Kree Harrison, “Piece of My Heart,” Janis Joplin
OK, well, we wanted Heart, but we’ll take Janis Joplin, though we were kind of hoping for “Me and Bobby McGee” when Seacrest teased Joplin. Anyway, this is nice. Sultry, a nice mix between Joplin and the Faith Hill country version. She just sails right up to those big notes without getting too shouty, which is a fine line to walk. Kree could definitely release a song like that. Weirdly, she seems stilted on the stage — maybe it’s those crazy boots, they’re like 11 inches high.
The judges are very complimentary and Keith Urban is once again in our head when he asks if Kree had a hard time walking in his boots, but it turns out she has a pinched nerve. Ouch, bummer.
4. Candice & Burnell, “The Letter,” The Box Tops
This arrangement suits Burnell’s voice a lot better than his first song and Candice is spectacular, as usual. They even do well on the harmonies, which is not something all Idols can handle. Great attitude, too. Thumbs up to this one, Burnell definitely redeemed himself. Hot stuff, and love how her necklace matches his shirt.
5. Janelle Arthur, “You May Be Right,” Billy Joel
Love her hair that way, just by the by. But anyway, this is kind of insane. Between the fringey vest, the sparkly boots and the milquetoast “rock” of Billy Joel (and we say that as a huge Joel fan) — it’s like, what is going on right now? We’re going to mark this down as another week Janelle makes a poor song choice. She’s certainly giving it 110 percent, and the ending kiiiiind of saves it, but … hmm. Not our favorite Janelle, not by a long shot. We would’ve liked to hear her do some Bonnie Raitt, maybe? Or Linda Ronstadt? “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” or “You’re No Good”?
Keith is a big ol’ dork who loves her boots. He also loves the way she worked the stage, but says it wasn’t the best song choice. No, it wasn’t.
At this point, Seacrest teases Lazaro singing more Queen, which — dear lord. Lazaro does not have the chops to sing Freddie Mercury.
6. Lazaro Arbos, “We Are the Champions,” Queen
This is arguably not an uptempo song. We mean, it’s not a ballad, per se, but it’s definitely slow. Anyway … what do we even say about Lazaro? The verses are not good and then he is completely overshadowed by the band on the chorus. Also, what is he doing with the audience? He’s trying to interact, but it’s like fake interacting. He just kind of waves his hand down there and barely touches anybody. Weird.
Anyway, this actually gets stronger toward the end, to his credit. Lazaro still can’t hang with the big dogs (read: the girls), but he pulled it out. The judges point that out, too. He did OK.
7. Amber, Janelle & Kree, “It’s Still Rock ‘n Roll to Me,” Billy Joel
Despite having “rock ‘n roll” right in the title, this isn’t much of a rock song. Anyway, it works pretty well having one girl sing the main line and the two others echo, though Amber seems a little uncomfortable on the song. Admittedly, it’s not exactly her style. Kree and Janelle are much more suited for the sound of the song. Overall, not the strongest trio we’ve seen, but they didn’t saddle them with an easy song.
Randy gushes about how good they are, which — hmm. We don’t agree. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t fantastic. Nicki hilariously calls them Jem and the Holograms and then says the song put her to sleep — hey, we agree with Nicki. Not the best, very cheesy.
The girls say that in rehearsals, Amber was nervous about how she was going to sound. She was right to be — this wasn’t her song. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t uber-talented.
8. Candice Glover, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” The Rolling Stones
Huh. We would not have picked the Stones for Candice and she’s actually kind of cheating on the really low note in the beginning few lines. When she gets into the higher stuff, it’s definitely better, but this is not our favorite Candice song by a long shot. She’s a powerhouse, but this is just kind of boring.
Mariah calls it “mesmerizing” and Keith lauds her power in the upper register, how effortless it sounds, which is true, but we’re with Randy and Nicki — not her best, a little boring.
9. Amber Holcomb, “What About Love?”, Heart
Now, if we were going to pick one of the girls to do Heart, Amber would’ve been our fourth choice (after Kree, Angie and Candice). However, this is absolutely superb. She sounds exquisite on the verse — so pure, so beautiful, so restrained. She’s really conveying the meaning here.
The first chorus is a little quieter than we’d like, but it turns out to be because she’s gonna hit some big ol’ high stuff and then do a great key change. Love the small runs she’s throwing in, too. Way to make it just a little bit R&B without bastardizing the song. Loved it. Total standing O from the judges, and rightly so. Best of the night so far.
Nicki praises her emotional connection and also her sound, while Keith says it was a great song choice and “killer” key change. Randy also says she didn’t lose Amber in there, which is definitely true — her Houston-isms were definitely showing.
10. Angie Miller, “Bring Me to Life,” Evanescence
Great, great song choice. Love to see her at the piano, however briefly. We wish she had stayed a little quieter on the verse so that the rock of the chorus was more pronounced. Like, they could’ve laid off the drums and backing music for the whole duration of the verse, maybe? Either way, she sounds beautiful on the verse.
However, the chorus goes a little flat. Angie is singing this several steps below the original key, so her chorus is lacking that punch that Amy Lee has by being in such a high register. We really wish Angie had gone for a little more gusto on this one. We feel like she’s got the chops to do it. On the bridge, we just don’t feel the desperate yearning that the song should have. It’s too … wholesome? Pop star? It’s just not hitting the emotional notes that it should
then she goes way, way up on the last phrase, so we KNOW she could’ve sung that song in the original key. Hmm. It was still good, but an Angie-Evanescence pairing should’ve been better than that.
The judges loved it, but Keith also says that she needs to make sure she feels it. He wants her to lose herself in that song, which is 100 percent correct.
It’s interesting tonight — the judges were very, very careful not to criticize Lazaro too much. Maybe that means his voters won’t go crazy and we’ll be rid of him. Either way, we think a boy will go home — probably Burnell, the way this season has been going.
What do you think, “Idol” fans?