The Top 8 “American Idol” finalists took the stage in Hollywood Wednesday evening (March 27), performing the classics from the Motor City, collectively known as the “Motown Sound.”
If there was one week where the guys might rally just long enough to get rid of at least one female performer before they’re all gone, Motown Week looked to be the one. And as they each performed, they did a great job — but then they performed together. It was so awful, Judge Nicki Minaj ordered them from the stage.
Anyway, Candice Glover kicked off the night, performing Marvin Gaye’s “Heard It Through The Grapevine.” She took complete control of the song, making it a bit bluesy. A nice arrangement with the sax made it stand out but she’s first up and might get lost in the crowd. Still, she won’t be lost enough to find the bottom three on Thursday’s results show and that’s what matters.
Second, Kree Harrison and Janelle Arthur put in a duet performance of Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.” The shows two country singers took the audience on a country gospel journey. Nicely done.
The second solo performance came from Lazaro Arbos. Far, far better than his last two performances, Lazaro crooned Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life.” He most likely saved himself from worrying about going home, especially in light of what was to come a little later. But first…
Janelle was the third performer. She performed The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” completely laid back and with an acoustic guitar accompanying. Oh, this girl’s not only got the vocals, she’s also redeemed herself for that godawful song choice two shows ago.
The fourth finalist was Devin Velez, who has had a problem getting votes even though he’s put in pretty solid performances. And his rendition of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Tracks Of My Tears” probably won’t win him a ton of fans, either. Well performed but there’s nothing behind it.
The second group performance highlighted Candice, Angie Miller, and Amber Holcomb with “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (Diana Ross and The Supremes and The Temptations).” It looks as if Angie has completely ignored Jimmy Iovine and gone in the opposite direction: She’s more theatrical and expressive than ever. Still, it doesn’t hurt her singing. Amber shows control and a simmering grace. Candice anchors the middle and the song, taking the lead and nailing it with nice counter vocal runs. The performance is so good they get a standing ovation from the entire judges panel.
The fifth solo performance was Burnell Taylor’s nod to Stevie Wonder, “My Cherie Amour.” Fairly well done but Burnell clips the ends of his lines in a manner that is beyond annoying.
Sixth up: Angie Miller. Her solo performance is lacking in overall theatrics, but the girl is trying to get her sexy on — and it doesn’t work. Vocally the song, “Shop Around” by The Miracles, was well done for the most part. Still, Angie’s got nothing to worry about. Not as long as the guys are still in it…
Amber Holcomb went next-to-last and again hit the audience with a slow song, this time another tune by the incomparable Stevie Wonder, “Lately.” Again, Amber does a great job on vocals and the live audience is responding, but you get the feeling that she’ll wind up in the bottom three again on the results show.
Well, you got that feeling until the guys performed next for their group number. Singing The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” they started off well, got through the first few lines and then disintegrated. They forgot the lyrics, missed their cues, and looked disjointed in their simple dance steps. As mentioned, “Super Bass” singer Nicki Minaj was super annoyed and said was “going to act like I didn’t even see it or hear it!” She then ordered them off the stage.
To make matters worse, in subsequent conversation with the guys, Burnell started mumbling about his partners, while Lazaro looked as if he was about to play chicken with a train. His embarrassment was understandable as Devin simply threw him and Burnell under the trainwreck that was their collective performance. Devin said he tried to cover for the others — and might have sealed his fate with the voters.
The last performer, Kree, did Ben E. King’s “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied).” A nice mid-tempo tune, Kree handled it with consummate skill.
Now it’s up to the voters. But it really isn’t too difficult to see that two of the bottom three for the results show will be guys — if not all three. Despite giving adequate solo performances, their group number was horrendous. And then the lack of grace afterward, where Lazaro was the only one that actually looked as if he really wanted to apologize for everything.
The only girl that might see the bottom three is Amber, and that is only because she hasn’t been connecting with the viewers. Still, it’s doubtful.
But Devin’s insensitive move to act as if he was the only one of the guys that knew what he was doing during the group number will likely get him booted. As far as performances go, the top three were Kree, Candice, and Janelle. Janelle might be looking at an end run to the finale, because she’s certainly come on strong in the past two weeks. Angie did well also, but she really does need to can the dramatics.
The Top 8 results will air on “American Idol” on Thursday at 8 p.m. (EST) on Fox Television.