This week the Top 20 perform and it's down to the voting public to decide which five survive. That's a brutal cut, but better than previous years when they didn't really get that much chance to shine and many may have been left out when the judges played with the cards on a table. But were their off camera deliberations a better solution than the public vote will be?
Zoanette kicks off doing her Tina Turner impression. She certainly puts her all into What's Love Got To With It but I think I'd rather she hadn't. The makeover people had worked hard to make her look a lot more reasonable. She wasn't anything like as bad as I'd expected but it's still a old style act and she'd have to come up with something different to move on. She would have to be as extraordinary as she has been in the past to continue in this competition. As a cover, it didn't work and it wasn't original enough to make anyone rush out and buy it. And that has to be the key - we need an artist who will sell records and fill a stadium and this woman doesn't seem to be going that way.
Breanna gets another reference to busting the windows out of my car from Ryan who, currently starring in a soap opera on another channel where that may well be the sort of thing that's on the menu, is clearly intrigued by this girl. She was lucky to get through last week so has a lot to live up to. If we're to divide the pack in two tonight then she is almost certain to be in the lower half as things stand. So this is a pretty important performance if she is to stand any chance of unseating one of the stars who have stood out.
This is a nice performance. That's Why I Love You (I think that's the title) suited her voice and and her style. The makeover team hardly seem to have touched her - she's pretty already apart from the eyes. Great control and a very relaxed attitude. Nicky didn't like that at all. I did. Whether that was actually enough to appeal, though, I don't know. Randy and Mariah make the point that they could see that as one of the tracks she might do at a show but it hadn't got that instant grab factor that will make people pick up their phones.
Aubrey Cleland is someone else who doesn't need a makeover team. Hers is a gentle track, plenty more appeal to the guys watching. Me Myself And I is nicely commercial and she brings it across well, although not brilliantly, missing some notes on the way. Nice girl. She gets a better review than Breanna, who must be seen as her main competitor. Everyone comments on her beauty which is understandable but sometimes you wonder if they heard the singing as much as maybe they should. She stands a chance but will need to do more.
Janelle seems so experienced and this was a great choice for her. Blue jeans, simple clothes and straightforward delivery of If I Can Dream. Damn good choice but she's always up against Elvis with this one. Half of this was excellent but the other half was decidedly dodgy and serious notes missed. I'm surprised that Keith didn't mention that. The judges seemed very impressed and she has been one of the 'stars' so far and could well be one of the five. With that massive Country vote, she's in a good place.
Teena has transformed and lost a good many years. Apart from a badly designed dress she's looking good. A slow number by Faith Hill. Her voice is different, with a certain timbre that could be tinny but isn't. She can express emotion well and that hit more right notes than Janelle. Whether she's got the votes, though, is the question. Randy gives her due credit for not over singing. So many usually do and this evening has been mercifully clear of that. Well, let's not mention the first act! I wouldn't be confident of her survival.
Angela Miller is up there with the best. She can sing brilliantly, and play. I Was Never Gone is a strong song and she put everything into that. It was written by Colton Dixon, interestingly enough, from last year. There's something I'd still get the makeover team to fix about her hair and the teeth need taking down a few shades - she looks too cheerful when she shouldn't be. Only 18, but looking 25. For all that, she has been one of my tips to win from the start. The early betting odds didn't have her as the favourite - so she does need to keep up the pressure and we all know what happened to Carly Rose Sonnenclar! If she makes 2nd place then just who has the talent to come first?
Amber looks and sounds like a ready-made star as she starts on the stage. Unfortunately, something goes wrong after that and she is running up and down the scale in a way that seems totally unnecessary and of no value to the song at all. In fact, I have no idea what the song was and it certainly didn't make me want to go find out either. Now that's odd - the judges gave her a standing ovation! Weird. They must have heard something quite different. Apparently that was a |Whitney Houston song. Randy gives her the In it to win it line. Well, I wonder what the public will make of that?
I've already put Aubrey, Janelle and Angela in the Top 5 so adding Amber would leave room for only one more. But I reckon there are two definites to come so something has to give.
Kree is another very natural girl. From the very start this was a pure and totally accurate performance, becoming stunningly good. Stronger gets Keith on his feet, but only Keith. That was so much better than Amber's performance so I have no idea why the others didn't show that extra appreciation. Maybe they're not so fond of her Country vibe. She has to take one of the Top 5 spots and gets another Randy In It To Win It. She has the edge over Janelle but maybe not quite as Country-appealing as her. It'll be intriguing if they're both through.
This is the pretty little girl from Alaska. Husky, attractive voice but this performance starts all over the place - maybe nerves got the better of this girl. Stand Up For Love is not her song but she pulls it back and, reminiscent of Jessica Sanchez, ends well and may have helped her chances. However, it didn't strike me as Top 5 material. She is. The song wasn't. Nicky actually suggests she comes back next year and is probably absolutely right. The word pageanty appears again this week - a word I wish I'd thought of when reviewing Pia Toscano last year. Disappointing, as so far the girls have been going for the older, less interesting market and at this rate the American Idol 2013 will be more like 1983.
Candice is last on and there is, in my view, a space in the Top 5 remaining for her if she wants it. Last week she didn't live up to the earlier expectations we'd had from those excellent auditions and you wonder whether she's OK with the familiar, well rehearsed items but how will she do in the glare of the camera and maybe a less regularly sung track? If she's sensible, she'll deliver one major, well-known and not over-demanding song, play it safe and get through. Or maybe she will demonstrate something special after all?
Ordinary People was an excellent choice and she was pot on throughout. Definitely one of the best singers, if not the most immediately lovable, tonight. Standing ovation from three tonight for that.
Randy says that they might have to talk to the producers about getting a wild card or something! I guess he sees that there are more than 5 who deserve to be in the Live Shows. I think I agree with him.
Listening to the decent length playbacks and not watching, Breanna stood out more than first time. Tough to choose between her and Aubrey. Janelle was very off. Teena a bit desperate and not that impressive. Angela perfect. Amber still sounded odd to me, albeit a bit less so than before. Kree not as perfect as first time but still very good. Adriana no improvement. Candice excellent.
So my choice: Breanna, Aubrey, Angela, Kree and Candice.
My guess is that Janelle and Amber will be in, though, with two of my choices out. That'll be very tough as, logically that's both Breanna and Aubrey.