Only two things can happen on Thursday night's edition of American Idol
. Either Amber Holcomb goes home, or we'll all be surprised. For basically the first time since the judges whittled it down to 10 (and yes, there were some surprises before America got involved, all in the name of stacking the deck with talented ladies). And if we're shocked, I think the finale suffers.
It's very clear what the judges want, because they have been not-so-transparently campaigning for Ms. Holcomb all season. And not in a nice "friendly competition" sort of way. They've been on the trail, swinging the influential clout of the Nickeith Marandy Super PAC, slinging mud at the other candidates and hopelessly supporting even the lamest of policy ideas.
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The obvious rock bottom was two weeks ago, when all four judges praised Amber's performance of "MacArthur Park," then tried to claim that song choice didn't matter, all while lambasting the other three singers on song choice. It backfired, landing Amber and an undeserving Candice Glover in the bottom two and propelling Kree into the upper echelon. It's like when those candidates said those awful things about women, and their party still backed them. Well, those candidates all lost. And last week's votes are still in play.
No one except Candice really stood out during Then and Now week, with the real star being Harry Connick, Jr., who offered excellent advice and became the second person in two weeks to call the judges on all their BS. Candice likely did enough to pull herself out of the depths, and I'll let the late great Captain Jimmy Wilder sum up her chances:
"Don't worry about it,
Big Man Candice ... Or, as the Good Reverend would say: Why we are on this particular mission, we'll never know. But I do know, here today, that the Black Knights will emerge victorious once again."
Thank you, Harry, for everything you've done.
So that takes us to Angie Miller, who has just gotten stronger with some stellar performances, even though she didn't stand out much Wednesday. Still, she was in the top two and would need a big shift to lose any edge she got with her Jessie J song. And you can't be too worried about Kree Harrison, who was in the top two AND got a big boost from the judges' criticisms. You know it's a backfire when the Vote for the Worst crowd has adopted Kree, even though she's not the worst, just because it's clear she's the one the judges want out.
That leads us to Amber, who probably comes in with the fewest votes and needs the biggest boost to overcome the deficit, and she just didn't have enough to deliver. Sure, the judges poo-pooed everyone, perhaps in an effort to un-inspire everyone not to vote except those who knew Amber needed help. Still, I just don't see it happening. It's her time. It's okay though, she'll still be on the American Idols Live Tour. And speaking of which, YOU can be there too! You just have to enter by May 10!
We've got a few live performances on tap, including some at-long-last-emotionally-connected music from Harry Connick, Jr., will.i.am and former Idol winner David Cook. That leaves us with only four winners who haven't yet taken the stage, including Kris Allen, Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard and the last female winner, Jordin Sparks. I imagine they are saving her for the finale, but do you think we'll see the other three? If not, who is getting the shaft?
And along those lines, let's find out which of the top 4 is getting the same tonight, and which three girls are headed to their hometowns. I know I already used it (and another Independence Day reference above), but let's kick the tires and light the fires, big daddy! RIP Jimmy Wilder. You just can't bank at those speeds.
A Group Number to Kick Things Off
My first thought as the judges walk out is that Mariah Carey looks really skinny. The top 4 are singing Beyonce and Jay Z's "Crazy in Love," but apparently the The Great Gatsby version. Which is the same, just apparently on a different CD. Do people download the same single just because it's from a different album? Or do they buy the whole thing and just get stuck with a duplicate of a song they already have? I'm told Jay Z did all the music for the film, in an effort to modernize it, but it's the same storyline.
I do love it immensely when they parade out these backup dancers, but I eventually had to look away to avoid having a seizure. Man, that was a lot of quick camera cuts!
The Ford Fiesta Mission of the Week and Jimmy Iovine
Also known as crapfest filler 2013. This time it's the Music Design Mash Up with Tristan Eaton. They design some cars inspired by their musical styles by picking some stickers and some colors, and Tristan makes them into real cars. It's actually pretty cool, but a complete waste of time for all parties involved. Or maybe just us. Let's get into some results! (which we all know means "no results.") It's just Jimmy Iovine, and Angie's up first.
Jimmy thought Angie had the opportunity to shut down the competition, but "Diamonds" didn't cut it. The bones of the song didn't have enough meat. For "Someone to Watch Over Me,' it wasn't great, but not bad enough to send her home.
As for Amber, "Just Give Me a Reason" was karaoke. "My Funny Valentine" was magnificent and Amber crushed it. He doesn't know if this was enough to save her, but he hopes so.
Candice won the night with both songs. It wasn't her best, but it was the best of the evening.
Kree just hasn't lived up to her full potential the past two weeks. She did well on both songs, but he would've preferred for one to be great and the other suck, if he had to divide up the level of goodness between two songs. Ummm, what?
Super glad Jimmy is getting in on the praise-Amber movement while bashing Kree AND saying she did well on both songs. So many contradictions. Guess it doesn't matter at this point.
David Cook Gets Us Fired Up
Season 7 winner David Cook is, like me, a fan of the rock and roll. I fully expect this performance to be more energized than anything we've seen in awhile, and we sorely need it. David is also involved with the annual Race for Hope to raise money for brain cancer, which he lost his brother to in 2009. I ran that race in 2011 for a friend whose father died of a brain tumor. Awesome experience. David also assures the contestants they'll cry during hometown week. Enough with the tears. Let's rock!
David's new single is called "Laying Me Low," and I predict this will be a radio favorite in the coming weeks. Unlike Lee DeWyze's bi-polar blend of genres last week, this guy knows what he likes and what he's good at. Nice catchy riff, too.
The mic that dropped from the ceiling that the entire band circled in powwow style (like Gangnam Style but without the awesome dance moves and pistachios) and chanted and stomped was a bit much, but at least he pulled it off. He's got a house, a yard and some dogs, and he's all growed up.
Will.i.am Keeps the Music Going
Two straight songs? Kieran apparently forgets to bring up the lights, because Ryan Seacrest is the the dark for the first part of his intro. Will.i.am is singing "Bang, Bang," ALSO from The Great Gatsby. Those guys are sponsoring everything these days. I hope Harry Connick's song isn't in the movie, too. If it is, I guess I'll really have to go see it.
Unlike the first performance, Will and friends really go all out with the high society costumes. The song basically consists of saying "Ba ba bang bang bang ba ba ba bang bang" over and over again, and who knew will.i.am could tap dance? Not me. Didn't dislike it, but I don't think it will be lingering on my radio. I'm always hit or miss with anything Black Eyed Peas-esk anyway, even though they often stick in your head like a, well, Black Eyed Peas song.
Don't Cry For Me, Constantine-a
The Broadway superstar that is Constantine is back to pimp Jekyll and Hyde, which is headed back to The Great White Way. Only he's not actually there, it's just a quick and cheesy PSA. Make him come and sing to earn his promos! Weak.
Harry to the Rescue (Again)
Harry Connick, Jr., breathed some new life into the mentoring process, which I guess isn't hard to do where there's only like two of them all season. Still, now it's his turn, so he is again gracing us with his presence and his new single, "Every Man Should Know."
He's has such a unique sound, even though I prefer him behind the piano. And while I can't say that this is the greatest vocal performance I've ever heard from him, he totally nails the whole "connecting with the song" thing. I hope the girls are playing close attention. Now I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the rest of this.
The Moment of Truth
It's results time! But first, Nicki commends America for getting the top four to the final four. And I commend the judges on a nearly masterful devious plan to ensure that. The results are in no particular order. And remember, the votes from last week are combined with the ones from this week.
Angie Miller is safe
Candice Glover is safe
No surprises so far. So will it be Kree or Amber?
The third person who is safe is ... Kree Harrison.
Kree is safe. Amber Holcomb is going home
Yup, another predictable week on American Idol, but this one I am happy about. This is the final three we deserve, and I think Kree has her work cut out for her next week. Still, I'm sad to see Amber's tears and to see her go, even though I was never on board like some were. I wish we didn't have to hear Mariah say Hashtag Pow, but I do love me some "Gone, Gone, Gone."
Amber is singing us out with Whitney Houston's "I Believe," and it's pitchy as all hell. But that's understandable because she's finally putting some emotion into it. Yeah, that may have been a bit too harsh. Still, they bring up her dad, and she breaks down and can't finish. It's all very sweet and touching, and on to the top three hometown dates! (wrong show?)
What did you think of the results? No real surprises, but were you hoping for something different? Who do you think is headed home next, and who do you WANT to see in the finale? Come back next week, and we'll find it all out together! The themes are expected to be Jimmy's Choice, Judge's Choice and Singer's Choice. Any song preferences?
You can watch American Idol every Wednesday and Thursday at 8pm on FOX.