Thursday, 2 May 2013

The one where we discover that Ryan Seacrest doesn't watch Top Gear

Songs from 2013. Well that'll be something different. And standards. OK. That won't be. Harry Connick jnr is the mentor. I am struggling to think of anything he's had in the Top 100 recently. The guy's had a string of albums and written a pile of stuff in the past so I guess that qualifies him for the slot but doesn't fill me with confidence.

Angie starts the evening, Nice bit of fun with Harry beforehand. Her choice is Rihanna's Diamonds. At the piano again and sounding excellent, She works the camera man well and seems comfortable on the stage. I think she would prefer to be moving around and showing off a little more but that was a great start.

The reviews were not so good. Interesting, as she was so far ahead of everyone last week. Having said that, the criticism is only about pretty minor aspects and nothing to do with singing, such is the standard this year at this stage. Any of these four could take on most of the previous winners and survive. Nicky spots that she's playing to the camera more than usual and Mariah agrees - one of the few occasions when they've said the same thing about someone (other than generally being complimentary).

If the votes are, indeed, carried forward from last week then my guess is that she'll have a big enough stash to get through this week. The real battle may well be between Candice and Amber. I think Kree's Country people will pull her out of trouble - provided, that is, she does actually keep them on board by picking some good ol' boy tracks.

Amber is the one in most difficulty, especially if Candice does the big gospel stuff. For now, she's doing a beautiful version of Pink's Give Me A Reason. Confident but a bit bash-bam-bash, emphasised even more by the drummer. Amber always looks wonderful but, as Nicky says, she's quite tense on stage compared to being so relaxed in preparation. Randy and Mariah pick up on this too - she's not enjoying herself as much as usual. Mariah does, however, hint at something to come next round! We'll see. Keith makes a fair point that Pink writes some pretty damn difficult songs so she did pretty damn well with that.

Candice is presenting Bruno Mars When I Was Your Man. That's tricky because the words relate to a bloke. It's a super track and her voice is great. This is a superb performance. She is totally in control and commanding the stage, the band and, unless Kree has something remarkable up her sleeve, it's Round 1 to Candice.

Good reviews too from the judges. Love Keith's suggestion When I Was Your Giraffe. She gets a belated standing ovation. But, what is it with Mariah? She seems to have trouble getting up. This week she seems to be in a sensible dress too and actually one that makes her upper half less wide and almost in proportion so why can't she stand up?

Ryan tells us that Kree will be doing a Carrie Underwood track. That's a good choice in many ways so maybe she will find a way to stop Candice stealing too far ahead of her. The track is I Will See You Again and she performs it immaculately. I don't agree with Harry that she sings it better than Carrie, And there's something about Carrie that is sensational that Kree simply doesn't get across. A nice performance - obviously perfectly in tune but Keith makes a good point about the ballad being a powerful track but it didn't come across that way. Nevertheless, that should have pulled in a good number of votes, And she gets Harry coming out on stage to congratulate her which the others didn't get.

In the second part of the show it's all about 'standards'. I do feel that they've already been pretty much done but it's a pretty broad range so hopefully they'll choose songs that they can really impress with. You just know that Candice will excel in this section, don't you? Why? No idea. Anyway, first Angie sings Someone To Watch Over Me. Beautiful red dress and they're finally getting her hair right. Just tone down the whiteness on the teeth sometime. This song suited the Broadway Angie so well. It's a bit boring and not likely to set the voters alight. It was a great way to show off her voice, if a little old-fashioned. Nicky talks about Broadway too! Whatever happens she'll be getting hundreds of offers. Nice work but she'll get through based on the overall tracks last week and this.

Keith is wearing an I Am The Stig T shirt and Ryan clearly hasn't watched Top Gear!

Amber is singing another oldie. Harry, fascinatingly, helped her (and me) understand the lyrics of My Funny Valentine. That helped in how she presented the song and she was made up perfectly for the period. Is that, though, where I'd have put her to garner votes this crucial week? She's lovely, and gets all four judges up on her feet (well done, Mariah). Some genuinely emotional reviews for this one. She is fearing that she'll go, which is a shame.

Candice is singing a Billy Holliday track. That was unexpected. Even older than some of the others. You've Changed. Fabulous. I was expecting a gospel church job but this was true classic and even beat Amber's period piece with marvellous notes picked out perfectly. Mariah is a huge fan. It now seems like Angie's track wasn't that old after all, and I would say they're all pretty even this Round, which gives Kree another great opportunity to steal this thing tonight.

Stormy Weather is probably the oldest of all. It's a tricky song and Harry tells her to sing it straight. She still seems to put a few bits in there that didn't belong but that was good. Odd choice, though, as if the others had picked the best tracks before her. So I'm not so sure she's advanced her cause tonight. The judges all respect her vocals and talent but wonder about the song choice too.

That all promotes a great debate with Harry Connick Jnr arguing well with Randy about wh and what Kree should be doing! Randy would do well to watch that back and learn!

All good stuff tonight, that's for sure. I would put Kree in 4th place but suspect the American voting public for this show will disagree and send home Amber or, shockingly some will think but still possibly, Candice.

My vote goes to Amber this week, for what it's worth and, in my view, it ought to be between her and Angie for the title this year.