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April 13, 2013 - 2:36pm

'American Idol' Season 12 RECAP: Top 6 deliver some of the best (and worst) performances in 'Idol' history



On a night with two themes — songs from the Burt Acharach and Hal David Songbook and “Song I wish I had written” — the Top 6 on “Idol” delivered some of the best and worst in “Idol” history. In case all of America wasn’t already convinced, last night proved yet again that Lazaro Arbos has long outstayed his welcome. Even more so than Sanjaya and Jasmine Trias in years past, Lazaro has been completely outclassed by the other contestants more times than Mariah says dahling in one night. At the same time, though, Candice Glover proved once and for all that she is essentially in a different league than the rest of the remaining finalists.

Angie Miller started off the night with “Anyone Who Had A Heart” and delivered one of her best vocals of the season. That being said, the performance as a whole left something — I’m not sure what exactly — to be desired. It’s unclear whether it was the old fashioned song choice or just a general lack of emotion, but Angie was missing something in this opening performance.

Next came Amber Holcomb with “I Say A Little Prayer.” Between her denim pants suit and the cabaret arrangement of the song, Amber’s performance felt dated. Like Angie, her vocal was near-flawless and she delivered it with overwhelming confidence, but Amber had been making so much headway up until this point so it came as a disappointment that she didn’t make the song feel more current. Not that the judges noticed — they, especially an over-animated Nicki, overpraised the performance.

Lazaro Arbos’ performance of “Close To You” was arguably the worst performance ever delivered in the finals of “American Idol.” It was off-key, dreary, emotionless and showed absolutely no effort or investment in the song. Not only that, but he straight-up didn’t follow the band in the key change. He continued in the previous key. Trying to describe the performance, Mariah proclaimed, “What is the word, dahling, help me out Lord in Heaven.” Nicki refused to comment. Way to go, Lazaro!

I loved how Kree Harrison started her performance of “What The World Needs Now” a capella but, for me, the rest just felt pretty one note. Like the girls before her, technically Kree sounded great but she failed to take it to the next level. Similarly to their reaction to Amber, the judges’ response felt like they were overpraising her.

Janelle continued the trend of the performances for the outdated Burt Bacharach theme with her cabaret performance of “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.” She looked the best that she’s looked in weeks and her infectious smile when performing makes her much more fun to watch than Kree, but the theme was just never really going to suit Janelle.

With by far the best performance of the first round, Candice Glover delivered the goods on “Don’t Make Me Over.” Her low notes are so money they give me the goosies every time she hits them and the whole performance just had so much feeling. In her reaction, Nicki said, It “made me feel like I wanted a women’s revival up in here.”

Angie redeemed herself with her rendition of some song called “Love Came Down” by Kari Jobe. The white piano with the giant white birds on the screens behind Angie was a classic “Idol” move and it worked perfectly for this performance. Randy put it well when he said that Angie seems to just “feel it more behind the piano,” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What is a bad thing though is that the rest of the judges seem to think Angie is only capable of delivering great performances on the piano, which isn’t true (see: “Bring Me To Life”).

While Amber’s look improved for her second performance, her vocals did not. Singing one of my top three favorite Beyoncé songs “Love On Top,” Amber sounded shaky and off-key at various points throughout the song which is a shame because she had a fantastic energy and worked the stage like a pro. I wanted to love it, but I just didn’t.

“Angels” was a bit better from Lazaro, but it was still the second worst performance of the night behind that first thing he did earlier in the night (I’m not sure you can truly call it a “performance.”). Yet again, Nicki refused to comment.

Kree’s rendition of “Help Me Make It Through The Night” was definitely pretty, contained and classy, but those are words that can pretty much describe every single one of Kree’s performances. The judges commended her for the “ease” she exhibits when she performs, but for me, there is so much “ease” that she forgets to show any emotion or charisma on stage. I just don’t really get it.

It seems like Janelle has everything that Kree doesn’t and vice versa. Janelle’s “The Dance” wasn’t the perfect vocal, but she shows so much more character that, to me, her vocal imperfections didn’t matter to me. If only we could combine Kree and Janelle ... then we’d have, well, Carrie Underwood?

Not only did Candice Glover’s take on Adele’s version of The Cure’s “Love Song” win the night, it won the season. It was a true “Idol” moment. And those are happening way less often these days. The whole thing was controlled, but still showed off the intricacies of her voice, and it was truly her own take on the song — not Adele’s. Keith bowed down and Mariah sauntered up onto the stage and threw glitter onto Candice. That’s right, Glitter. Randy was spot-on when he said it was one of the best performances in “Idol” ‘s 12-year history.

Nicki’s quote of the night: “Those stallion legs be poppin’. You gave me everything I wanted in life, honeychild. WORK.”
Best performance: Candice Glover’s “Love Song”
Who should go: Lazaro Arbos
Who will go: If there’s any justice in this world, Lazaro Arbos