Another week of double duty on “American Idol,” as the remaining five females performed a song from the year they were born and a tune from the diva of their choice. This, of course, made for a night that had us feeling unspeakably old (seriously, people born in 1994 are doing things now?!?) and left us with a serious Mariah Carey hangover, as a full 40 percent of the performers chose a song of hers to sing.
Still, Wednesday also gave us a few memorable moments … and we’re not just talking about the Nicki/Mariah meltdown, either. The usual favorites delivered the goods, but there was a rather dramatic reshuffling atop the leaderboard, and, as we head into the home stretch of season 12, the pressure is starting to build.
So, with just weeks left in the competition, who continued their march to the title? And whose “Idol” journey may be coming to a close? Here’s our “American Idol” Report Card.
Candice Glover: We learned from her father that she’s apparently “a great wrestler,” which is fitting, considering she’s basically had this competition in a Camel Clutch for weeks now . Last night, she put a jazzy, coffee-house spin on Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up,” which was solid in spots — not to mention as controlled and effortless as ever — but didn’t really seem to go anywhere, an opinion I apparently share only with Jimmy Iovine (so take that for what it’s worth). Of course, she more than rebounded with her second performance, positively slaying the Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston duet “When You Believe,” and reminding us, once again, that she’s the best singer in the competition by a mile. Can we just give her the title now? Would anyone object to five less weeks of this season? Grade: A
Angie Miller: After a few weeks adrift , Miller stormed back on Wednesday night, thanks to a pair of powerhouse performances (not to mention some rather cunning song choices). She dedicated the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You” to “my home, Boston,” which made for a mighty moment, but also rankled the cynic in me — since, said dedication all but guaranteed she wouldn’t receive an ounce of criticism from the judges (I am a terrible person). Lo and behold, she got a standing O for that one, and then kept the momentum going with her Diva performance, when she put a charge into Beyoncé’s “Halo.” Like Nicki said, “she’s back,” even if that Bey number probably had lots of folks at home doing this. Grade: A
Amber Holcomb: A weird night for the usually unflappable A-Hol, who chose to tackle Mariah’s “Without You,” but couldn’t quite make it work. She seemed to be battling nerves, which is why the song wasn’t perfect, but hey, she still powered through, and caused Keith Urban to declare an “Amber Alert” (uh, dude?). At least Carey was polite with her criticisms. Her Diva song was a definite risk, as she inexplicably chose Barbra Streisand’s “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life,” and bummed everybody in the universe out. This one didn’t seem to fit her personality — you were born during the Clinton Administration, how depressed can you be? — and, perhaps sensing this, the judges spent every last breath praising her and urging America to vote her through. Not the best look … though she’ll survive. Grade: B
Kree Harrison: Even her newly discovered tanning abilities couldn’t make her interesting. I still think she’s a great singer, but seriously, this season has been going on since January … is Kree ever going to step out of her shell? Case in point, her version of the Black Crowes’ “She Talks To Angels,” which was technically great, but entirely bereft of emotion. Oddly, at the time, Nicki said this was the best vocal of the night, which made Mariah upset for some reason (who even cares at this point?), and the two went back and forth until Ms. Minaj completely shut it down with a “simmer down, sir.” That was probably the highlight of the night, to be honest. Oh, and then Kree did Celine Dion’s “Have You Ever Been in Love,” which was more of the same: well sung, solid, but not a whole lot of sparkle. Sadly, Kree’s probably living on borrowed time. Grade: B-
Janelle Arthur: Without Lazaro to kick around anymore, the judges had to criticize someone last night, and it ended up being Arthur. Of course, her song choices didn’t help her any, as her straightforward take on Vince Gill’s “When I Call Your Name” was pretty sleepy — and earned her the ire of the only country judge on the panel, Urban, who took umbrage with her lack of connection to the song — and her punchy, pyro-heavy performance of Dolly Parton’s “Dumb Blonde” was a little too campy and way too obscure. Hey, somebody’s got to go home, and odds are, it’ll be her. Grade: C
Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page, where you’ll find all the latest “Idol” news, interviews and opinions.