On Tuesday (March 5) night, after approximately 7 million hours of auditions and "Sudden Death" shenanigans, 150,000 Nicki Minaj hair touches, and 5 minutes of Mariah Carey screen time, "American Idol" finally went live, rolling out the Top 10 girls and letting viewers have their say.
And, after a pretty sleepy first hour, things really got cooking towards the end of hour two, with a run of powerhouse performances that probably means voters have their work cut out for them ... after all, only five females will advance to next week. And what better way to sort through it all than with our first "American Idol" Report Card of season 12? So who soared, and who sunk? Read on to find out!
Candice Glover: For the record, I think she's awesome and I want to stay at whatever summer camp she's an "excursion coordinator" for. She made the most of the night's "Pimp Spot," turning in a version of John Legend's "Ordinary People" that was slick, soulful and inspired much stank face at the judges' table. It was unquestionably the vocal highlight and it only took two hours to get to it. Also, Randy let it be known that the field of female singers was so strong, "we may need a wild card." Producers were probably sending electric currents through his seat at that exact moment. Grade: A
Kree Harrison: She's incredibly likeable — seriously, who else would credit the "Idol" band and vocal coaches? — and equally talented. Harrison took Faith Hill's "Stronger" down to the river, received a standing ovation from Keith (come on, other guys). Nicki continued to alienate Middle America by proclaiming Harrison to be her "wife." On any other night, this performance would have stolen the show ... but tonight, Kree will have to settle for second best. Still, she's probably the early frontrunner. I don't know her back catalog, but for whatever reason, I'm willing to bet she does an Alanis Morissette song at some point this season. Grade: A
Amber Holcomb: Was determined to prove she's "more than legs" by tackling Whitney Houston's "I Believe in You and Me," which was a risk, to say the very least. Still, damn, did she deliver the goods, earning a four-wide standing ovation from the judges and no shortage of praise, though I'd still like to see her come out of her shell a bit more. Nicki urged her Barbz to vote for her, meaning we're probably 24 hours away from our first controversy of the season. Randy proclaimed she's "In it to win it," and I'd have to agree. Grade: A-
Angie Miller: Human Wooldoor Sockbat doppleganger got back behind the piano, continued her hot streak with "Never Gone," which was written by former "Idol" Edward Gorey illustration Colton Dixon (gee, you couldn't tell). It was soaring and spirited, not to mention one of the highlights of the night. Maybe one day we'll stop talking about her original song, whaddya think? Grade: B+
Janelle Arthur: The bubbly country girl barely squeaked into the Top 20, but backed up the judges' decision last night with a take on Elvis' "If I Can Dream." She was praised for its throwback-edness, and there was certainly a nice twang to it, but watching at home, her performance seemed a bit all over the place. "You are a little marshmallow that I want to eat," Nicki said, which led to Arthur deadpanning, "I like to eat marshmallows," and a Seacrest pun so cheesy even he seemed to regret it. Oh, the performance? Um, Grade: B Grade: B
Tenna Torres: Hey, at least she took Nicki's hair advice. Torres strained her way through Faith Hill's "Lost," and I mean that in the best possible way: You felt all the highs and lows (and there were plenty of both), though probably not enough of the former to get her through to the Top 10. "I liked your boobs," Nicki says, which certainly made Randy's night (settle down, Dawg). Oh, and there was also a pre-performance, product-placement buffet gift from Siegfried and Roy. This. Is. "American Idol."Grade: B-
Aubrey Cleland: She did Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry," never really managed to make it shine. Sure, it was bright in parts, but it was definitely middling in others. In other words, it was exactly the kind of performance you'd expect from an Oregon farm girl. Cleland's got a good voice, but may have not allowed to shine through enough last night. Nicki praises her humility, which, you know, is a defining trait of all mega-stars. Grade: C+
Breanna Steer: The supremely confident small-town girl slightly terrified judges last week with "Bust Your Windows," but turned in a sultry, sorta-psychotic take on Beyonc&233;'s "Flaws and All" this week. In doing so, she may have also frightened the judges into faint praise. Note to everyone: Don't cross Breanna. Grade: C (Please don't kill me)
Zoanette Johnson: She kicked the night off with Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It," which led Nicki to proclaim "That wasn't it." Really, what was it? Shouty? Scary? Shameless? Probably. Mariah awoke from her slumber long enough to call her "a bundle of festivities," which led Seacrest to channel his inner creepazoid telling Johnson he wanted to "hug those festivities." I love her for many reasons — she's crazy, she's ebullient and she's basically unintelligible — but it'll take a miracle for her to get to the Top 10 after this. Grade: D
Adriana Latonio: "The pride of Alaska," Seacrest beamed (how quickly we forget). Latonio turned in a sleepy, award-show performance of "Stand Up For Love," which got cooking a bit in the second half, but even that last big note couldn't pull it all the way back. The judges basically buried her, especially Nicki, who all but cut her promo video for Season 13. It's gonna be a long flight back to Anchorage. Grade:Zzzz
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