'American Idol' Recap: The Fab Nine Tackle the Beatles ... Watch
The Beatles have a fairly sizable song catalog that ranges from up-tempo, high-energy tunes to slower, more intimate selections. "American Idol" is often known for its singers tending to choose the latter when it comes to song selection; apparently, singing a ballad pays far more dividends than a barn burner that gets the crowd moving.
The 2013 season of "Idol" has been a figurehead for this. Some singers have chosen the slower variety time and time again, while only a few have jumped out of what may or may not be a comfort zone to deliver something with a little more bounce or pep.
That may not sound like a bad thing at first, but the more it happens, the more these episodes drag, especially when it's seven out of nine doing it. Even though Janelle Arthur delivered her best performance of the season on the episode's final song, the show had been so sleepy that it almost didn't matter, or at least feel like it mattered.
Of course, I could be no fun -- or I like to have fun when serious faces should reign. Let me know what you think a little later on. For now, here are the evening's performances, ranked from favorite to what on earth was that.
1. Candice Glover - "Come Together" | I'd feel worse about putting Candice at the point again if she didn't blow the other singers out of the water with her performance. Not only was "Come Together" one of the only songs of the night with a real heartbeat to it -- Glover showed her fantastic range once more, going from low, low, low to a fantastic falsetto. She was great last week, too, but this topped that. Folks who watch the show for the rocker performance? Here you go.
2. Kree Harrison - "With a Little Help from My Friends" | Unsurprisingly, Harrison took on the Joe Cocker version of this song. Also unsurprisingly, she slayed it, giving a smoky, bluesy rendition that also had some country-style moments. Plus, she was spot-on all throughout, maintaining the vibe instead of killing it with weird attempts at moments that didn't really work. Only thing that could hurt her is this week's placement -- first -- in the show order.
3. Janelle Arthur - "I Will" | The moment I realized Arthur would take the pimp spot of the episode, I wanted to yell at the TV that "Idol" should stop trying to make Janelle Arthur happen. Well, I ended up being super off-base, because Arthur herself really made herself finally happen Wednesday, putting in her best showing of the year by far on "I Will." Though a sleepy arrangement, it suited Arthur perfectly, retaining a great bit of intimacy while highlighting her soothing voice. Nicki called her a 'swan goddess' too, which was also great.
4. Burnell Taylor - "Let it Be" | As usual, Taylor was the best guy of the night in a pack of strong ladies. "Let it Be" was in his wheelhouse stylistically, which is to say it was a slow, kinda R&B/gospel mix. Problem? He does it every week and I can see it starting to wear thin. But some of his raspiest notes on the song are reason enough to keep him going, because those were what really sold the performance (particularly the second 'be' in the chorus).
5. Amber Holcomb - "She's Leaving Home" | Amber couldn't quite match the best parts of her "A Moment Like This" rendition, but she turned in a fairly solid "She's Leaving Home" that may keep her around as long as she doesn't get lost in being slated third of the evening. I think the problem was that it didn't go as many places as I'd've liked, never a big moment that I was waiting for the entire song. But she was on point pretty much all the way through, and that has to count for something.
6. Devin Velez - "The Long and Winding Road" | Nothing superb here from Devin, but after last week's yawnfest and near elimination, he had to step it up. I don't think he stepped up enough necessarily, but his performance was still above average. Velez seemed comfortable, and the song and vocal were very pretty altogether. Nothing flashy, but certainly can't call it bad.
7. Angie Miller - "Yesterday" | Angie Miller and Devin Velez had the same issue this week. While both performances were good, there was little too flashy about them, which you HAVE to do on a ballad, else you're forgotten. This was Miller's first showing of the year where I had a tough time recalling her after the fact. Instead of taking on the song like Janelle Arthur did hers, Miller had a tendency to over-sing a bit on a few notes, to the point where it felt out of place.
8. Paul Jolley - "Eleanor Rigby" | In the show's necessary "Eleanor Rigby" of the night, Jolley was great when he went high but incredibly forgettable otherwise. Good thing is that the arrangement was closer to what I could see him becoming -- more of a pop-rock guy. So he certainly didn't seem out of place with it; he just couldn't get to the level of most of his predecessors and successors.
9. Lazaro Arbos - "In My Life" | Not knowing a lot of these songs very well is starting to really catch up with Lazaro. He's great when he knows the tune well, but very, VERY hit-or-miss otherwise. Wednesday was a big, big miss. Though things sweetened during the chorus, it was still a little off the right key, and the verses were just dreadful. The judges weren't feeling it either, and Minaj mentions how she wants his confidence back. But with critiques like theirs, I don't know if we'll be seeing it anytime soon.
Should Go Home: Lazaro Arbos
Will Go Home: Arbos, Jolley or Velez (probably the latter)
One Last Note: Aubrey Cleland got the most votes in the sing-off last week and is going on the "Idol" tour in place of Charlie Askew. In other news, I mad, bro.