After “American Idol” producers gave the top four a reprieve last week — since the judges never felt the need to use their save — it was back to business on Wednesday night, as the girls tackled songs from 2013 and a standard of their choice.
And though the decision to liven up season 12 with contemporary songs was inspired, it didn’t exactly work out as planned; if anything, Wednesday’s show gave us more of the same — this may be the most evenly-matched final four in “Idol” history — only with bonus befuddlement from guest mentor Harry Connick, Jr. Still, there were some highlights … and we’re not just talking about the rapidly-escalating Nicki/Mariah feud , either. So, who soared, and who bored? Here’s our “American Idol” report card.
Candice Glover: She continues to be the class of the competition, and last night she dominated both Bruno and Billie. Her take on “When I Was Your Man” was soulful and simmering, while “You’ve Changed” got the judges on their feet — and left Nicki speechless (finally). Of course, she needs a ton of votes to avoid going home tonight — and sadly, it wouldn’t surprise us if she did — though perhaps Candice can take solace in the fact that Jennifer Hudson didn’t win “Idol” either. And, yes, she’s definitely earned that comparison. Grade: A
Angie Miller: Since Candice and Amber ended up in the bottom two last week (let’s hear it for America!), Miller is basically the frontrunner at this point, though she seems to be the only person who doesn’t realize it. She continues to make odd choices, like her dour version of “Diamonds,” which was called “bland” and “lackluster” by the judges (we didn’t think it was that bad, but whatever), but she fared better with her second song, putting a Disney-fied spin on “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Of course, most folks will probably remember it for being the song that inspired Nicki to offer Mariah a Q-Tip. Season 12, everybody! Grade: B
Amber Holcomb: Our favorite A-Hol (no, wait) got off to a rocky start on Wednesday night, as her version of Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” was sharply criticized by the judges, and justifiably so. It was all over the place, and it set the stage for what could have been an epic meltdown on her second song, “My Funny Valentine” (especially after hearing her describe it to Connick as being about “a guy who’s being, like, really funny and weird.”) But somehow, she righted the ship, and delivered the night’s most memorable vocal. She ended the song in a flood of tears, thereby displaying more emotion than the rest of the top four combined. It’ll be close tonight, but we suspect she’ll survive. Grade: B-
Kree Harrison: Hey, someone had to be the worst tonight. Harrison wasn’t terrible by any stretch; she was just rather sleepy, though she deserves some credit for singing Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” in front of what appeared to be the Eye of Sauron. She decided to take Connick’s advice on her second number, Lena Horne’s “Stormy Weather,” which got her slammed by the judges, but inspired Connick to defend her at the judges’ table (his evisceration of Randy Jackson’s “critique” may very well end up being the highlight of season 12). Again, the problem with Kree seems to be that she’s incapable of coming out of her shell, though we suspect she’ll slide by for another week. Grade: C
Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page, where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.