Season 12 of American Idol has officially become a sausage free zone, with the remaining five contestants all being of the female persuasion - it's almost enough to make me watch! This being the case, or not (I don't know how far in advance they pick these themes), yesterday's episode was Divas night! In honour of that, each singer was asked to pick a song by a famous female to perform in front of the judges. But how many were heroic enough to pick a Mariah Carey
(I've also posted each of their second performances of the night, which were supposedly chosen from their year of birth. Might help those of us who don't watch the show get a better grasp on the contestants.)
Candice Glover: Straight Up/ When You Believe
I was not expecting the jazzy arrangement for Straight Up, but it worked quite well. Honestly, it didn't blow me away and I really missed the playfulness of the original, but no one can deny Candice made it her own. It was also a sweet nod to previous judge, Paula Abdul. Now when I heard her other choice was the Mariah/Whitney Houston colab When You Believe, I was excited. But the actual performance just didn't hit the mark. Part of the strength of the original was that it was a duet, so interest could be maintained by the two voices playing off of one another. With Candice not being able to do that, the song became strangely boring to listen to after the intro. It was still vocally a strong showing, but it didn't click with me.
Amber Holcomb:Without You/What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life
Now, Without You isn't actually a Mariah orginal, but Amber was clearly following her remake of the song, so props to her for having the guts to sing it in front of the Diva. It seemed a little too low for her voice and the top notes didn't have the nicest sound to them, but hey, girl tried. Her next choice was a better fit for her voice and range, but since it's been covered by Diva's such as Barbra Streisand and Sarah Vaughan it was another brave choice! Her take on What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life had some iffy notes, I can't lie, but the overall performance was enjoyable, with her mid-range belts and softer tone getting a chance to shine.
Angie Miller: I'll Stand By You/ Halo
A pleasant enough rendition of The Pretenders' classic, but at times she had a little of the Kermit the Frog thing going on in her voice, which I didn't like. Overall it was a tad dull. Next, a near enough note for note recreation of Beyonce's Halo. They tried to give the song a rockier edge (with the drums) to match the coarser texture of her voice, but it wasn't doing anything for me. The melody was switched up in the closing half, however those held notes sounded too forced to be impressive. I was just waiting for her voice to crack, but thankfully she made it through. My least favourite singer of the night.
Kree Harrison: Have You Ever Been In Love/She Talks To Angels'
Kree has a beautiful tone to her voice and I was surprised at how well it worked with this rendition of Celine Dion's Have You Ever Been In Love. She totally made the ballad sound contemporary. I wasn't feeling the second song as much, but it showed the versatility that her voice is capable of.
Janelle Arthur: When I Call Your Name/ You Keep Me Hangin' On
Playing to her country roots, Janelle gave an authentic performance of Vince Gill's When I Call Your Name. I have to admit, initially it came across as a weak song choice, especially when put next to the more obviously impressive vocals of the other contestants. However, if you really focus on the nuances to her voice, and what she's doing with it, there is a fair bit of technical singing going on here. It just takes a deeper listen to appreciate it. Similarly, her take on The Supreme's You Keep Me Hangin' On brilliantly, and effectively, brought the song into her own musical arena, making me appreciate the meaning of the lyrics for the first time. And believe me, I have listened to that song countless times. Genius!
After watching this week's performances, as much as I kinda enjoyed them, I'm left with the distinct feeling that I'm not missing out on anything by not watching Idol- bar maybe getting to watch Mariah Carey every week. Perhaps if I'd have had the chance to become emotionally involved in their requisite sob stories, I might have felt differently. But ain't nobody got time fo' that! Also, whoever is uploading these videos (Fox, I assume), why do you cut off the judges comments?! I really want to hear their opinions!! Argh!