Top 4 Again
Original Air Date: May 1, 2013
Patricia Morris Buckley — Sr. Staff Writer
A lot is on the line this week. Not only will the person leaving the show Thursday not be in the Top 3, but she misses out on the hometown visits, usually complete with parades and concerts. So the contestants strove to do their very best. Some did, others didn’t.
Each sang a song from two themes: Songs From 2013 and Standards. As a mentor, they had Harry Connick Jr., who especially brings an expertise in standards. I really liked how he spoke his mind, including coming down hard on several performers. Which ones? Read on…
SONGS FROM 2013
ANGIE MILLER: “Diamonds” by Rihanna
She plays piano, which by now is mandatory for her, according to the judges. And she does her “Angie thing.” She misses one big note, but just by a little. She slowed down the original and added a few runs.
KEITH didn’t feel this was the song to change because he kept waiting for something to happen.
NICKI felt it was different from her other piano performances because she felt a disconnect and she played to the audience. “You can do a lot better.”
RANDY said once she hit the chorus, there was nowhere to go. But he did compliment her on her leather shorts.
MARIAH felt she was playing more to the audience and it’s hard to do such a big recent hit.
AMBER HOLCOMB: “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink
It’s an OK song, but it does hit all her sweet spots. I still miss a strong emotional connection from her, but she is a dynamic package artist.
KEITH pointed out that it wasn’t an easy song to do and she needs more time to get completely comfortable on stage.
NICKI noted that on the video with Harry, she seemed free but she wasn’t that girl when she performed.
RANDY asked if she was having fun because he thought she looked nervous. “That was not stellar and it needs to be stellar at this point.”
MARIAH felt it was hard to sing a song that’s so new.
CANDICE GLOVER: “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars
I loved her contemporary look in a black leather jacket. This is a man’s song and she didn’t change the pronoun (which sounded better as a final note, anyway), but she nailed the emotional core.
KEITH said she could have said, “When I was a Giraffe” because it was a winning performance.
NICKI called for a standing ovation, which they did late. She made it feel as if the song had been written for her. (She also praised her look.)
RANDY said that was how you sing a song and it was amazing.
MARIAH agreed and said she knows how to change a song to suit her.
KREE HARRISON: “See You Again” by Carrie Underwood
This is a song Carrie did a few weeks ago. Harry said he would help her with an album. She definitely practiced some facial expressions, which has been lacking from her performances and the judges slammed her for last week. But I still contend you don’t see facial expressions on the radio and her emotional sound has always been fine.
KEITH said it’s a power ballad and it was strange that the band played off stage and a guitar player sat with her. But he said her voice was faultless.
NICKI said she loved it and said she sang with her eyes, singing from her heart.
RANDY said she has an amazing voice and she really connected.
MARIAH felt she was very connected and she delivered the soul in her.
Harry came out after and congratulated her.
ANGIE MILLER: “Someone to Watch Over Me”
She did a pretty good job. Once again, she screeched on a few of the high notes, but overall it sounded great.
KEITH said she sang it so beautifully.
NICKI thought she sounded Broadway but it was better than her first performance.
RANDY loved her vocal, but not the arrangement in the middle. He pointed out it was a difficult song.
MARIAH pointed out her theatricality but felt she had to build to the top register.
AMBER HOLCOMB: “My Funny Valentine”
She performed this song in Vegas and the judges have been using it as a benchmark for her ever since. Harry brought her to task for not knowing what the lyrics were about. Her pitch is a bit wobbly in the lower register. But once again, it was a memorable performance, the judges all stood. Amber cried at the end, especially during Nicki’s comments.
KEITH said it came to life when the audience started to respond.
NICKI said it was so beautiful, and went on to rave more and more.
RANDY said she made a believer out of many people and the second half was unbelievable.
MARIAH loved it before and felt she did an even better job this week.
CANDICE GLOVER: “You’ve Changed” (Billie Holiday)
I’d never heard this song before. It was beautiful. All the judges stood with Mariah leading.
KEITH said her power and control was flawless.
NICKI said she couldn’t ask for anything else.
RANDY said it was truthful and amazing.
MARIAH planned to download it ASAP and praised the subtleties.
KREE HARRISON: “Stormy Weather”
She looks stunning in a one-shoulder short black dress with a sheer panel to the ground. She ignores Harry’s advice not to add extra runs. The crowd gives her a standing ovation, but not the judges. It was good, but not great. She could have selected a better song to go with her voice.
KEITH agreed with Harry, but warned that she shouldn’t lose the things that are natural to her. So maybe she should have chosen a different song.
NICKI said she needed to know what is organic for her and felt she should have focused on song choice.
RANDY thought she should have stuck to Etta James version vs. the Lena Horne version, the opposite of what Harry advised.
MARIAH thought she should have chosen sometimes bluesy and less loungey, something she could go more raw with.
Harry came up to argue with Randy.
Just as I thought they had avoided the duets, the Top 4 did a prerecorded medley of recent hits. Ugh—filler. The choreography was terrible – so frenetic in a song that was upbeat, but not frenetic.
So they’ll combine the votes from last week and this week to come up with who will not get a parade and a key to the city next week. David Cook and Harry Connick Jr. will perform on the results show. Here’s my list of my favorites.
Who is your favorite? Who are you fine with going home? Did you agree with Harry? Give us your TwoCents…