It’s time for the “American Idol” Top 10 women (and men tomorrow night). We say it most years, but we’ll say it again — it’s a real shame that the Top 10 finalists have to be five from each gender, because this year, we can think of at least six women who should advance and there might even be more depending on how tonight goes.
1. Zoanette Johnson, “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” Tina Turner
Thank goodness she is performing first, let’s get this ridiculousness out of the way right at the start. And then she starts and it turns out she has no idea what the words are. If you vote for her, you are dead to me, readers. Moving on.
The judges really need to stop indulging this brand of crazy. Thankfully, they don’t have a say tonight. Keith Urban, who we have come to like as a voice of reason, lauds her ferocity and some other stuff. Thankfully, Nicki Minaj tells her how bad it was and so does Randy.
2. Breanna Steer, “Flaws and All,” Beyonce
Is it just us, or is she really hard to hear? We appreciate starting quietly and building, but she’s really biting off her words and singing very softly. She has gorgeous tone — when we can hear her, but we need a little more oomph behind the quiet stuff. Quiet doesn’t equal weak. This was very pretty, but we have a feeling by the end of the night, it will be very forgettable.
Urban wants to see her be more of herself, while Nicki says this was the wrong song for her. Nicki is right, it wasn’t a strong choice. Randy cites the lack of moments, though he liked her “tenderness.” Hmm. We think her tenderness could have had more chutzpah to it. Mariah calls that a unique song choice, which … doesn’t really make any sense.
3. Aubrey Cleland, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” Fergie
Hmm. We aren’t sold on this song choice. It’s a little safe and boring, at least on the verse. The chorus gets better — Aubrey has a great instrument, she sounds so much older than her 19 years. There are a few bum notes here and there, plus this song just doesn’t have much “wow” factor. It doesn’t really go anywhere. We are a little fearful for Aubrey’s chances of advancing.
Urban says she looks fantastic, which — yeah. She’s gorgeous. But he’s right that the song really didn’t let her show off. It’s a song with a very limited melody. Randy’s Rihanna comparison is not wrong. Aubrey is very current.
4. Janelle Arthur, “If I Can Dream,” Elvis
Interesting song choice. We figured she’d go for her wheelhouse and pick an iconic female country song. This might be a little obscure for the target audience, honestly. She certainly sounds 100x better than last week, this is really letting her show off some nice big notes. But the lower stuff is getting lost a little. The ending is great. But again, nobody has nailed their song choice yet. We’d like to see Janelle advance, but we don’t know.
Urban is right that she has a very classic country voice. It’s why we kind of expected some Dolly or Loretta or Crystal or something.
5. Tenna Torres, “Lost,” Faith Hill
OK, here’s another one who is very hard to hear. What’s up with that? We can barely understand her on the verse. She really lets loose heading into the chorus, but it’s just a touch shouty and then her higher register stuff isn’t that strong. Hmm. This isn’t terrible or anything, but it’s not great.
We disagree with Urban — we don’t think America is going to vote for her. She’s too much of an unknown and that wasn’t good enough to grab votes. Also, the judging has devolved into Nicki and Randy being 12 year-olds about boobs. Seriously, Minaj is riding our last nerve with her judging sometimes. But when he finally says something, we have to imagine the judges could hear her a lot better during the verse because he said it was so beautiful, while we felt like we could barely hear it.
Honestly, at the halfway point, we are very underwhelmed with the women. We expected better from this group, though we do still have Kree, Amber, Angela and Candice left.
6. Angela Miller, “Never Gone,” Colton Dixon
This song may be by a former “Idol” contestant, but we still think it’s too obscure to choose at this stage of the game. That being said, Angela sounds amazing. Love the piano, love her dynamics, love her tone. The night finally started here. Not crazy about the song choice, but if you are so good, it generally doesn’t matter what song you choose.
The judges loved it. Nothing more to say.
7. Amber Holcomb, “I Believe in You and Me,” Whitney Houston
She’s got a Whitney quality to her voice, for sure, and her runs are gorgeous. She gets a little carried away with them at times — we prefer when the runs are used more judiciously (we’re looking at you, Aguilera). But honestly, this is pretty great. The ending is beautiful — that last note was pure Whitney. She has such a beautiful, pure tone. Very, very good. We will say, get that girl a stylist, stat. But who cares, she was great.
We completely agree with Urban — lay off the runs sometimes, because your voice is so beautiful, you don’t need them.
8. Kree Harrison, “Stronger,” Faith Hill
Kind of a boring song choice, but she sounds fantastic — at least at first. The song gets away from her a little as she gets into it, but she gets it back by the second “we’ll both break down” — she really hits some big ol’ high notes. Not our favorite Kree performance, but should still be enough to advance. She has such a rich tone, gorgeous. She could definitely have a country niche.
Urban is just over the moon about this girl, it’s rather adorable. And Nicki cites her rich tone, which we completely agree with.
Watch Kree’s performance here.
9. Adriana Latonio, “Stand Up for Love,” Destiny’s Child
Regardless of how this girl does, does anyone smell a Jasmine Trias situation? Where her home state of Alaska votes like crazy and she gets all the way to the end? Anyway.
This is another song choice we aren’t in love with. The song is A) a little big for Adriana and B) it works better as a group number. It can be done as a solo, but it gets so full and rich when the three ladies sing it. It’s not like she does a bad job, but it just feels a little forced at times. It did not seem effortless for her at all. And that last note won’t save it. It was also a little pageanty.
Urban doesn’t love the song choice, while Nicki says it was too big for her, which it was, and then she says “pageanty.” Wow, Nicki Minaj is in my head. That’s scary.
10. Candice Glover, “Ordinary People,” John Legend
There’s a reason she got the pimp spot. This is darn near flawless. She seems so contemporary, which was something we wondered about with Candice. A big diva voice is timeless, but it’s nice to hear her blow it out on something current.
The judges have nothing but compliments. The fact that Randy can’t believe they can only pick five just underscores our point about the stupid gender equality. It should be the 10 best singers who
advance, which this year would be like eight women and two men.
So, clearly four of the spots are sewn up — Amber, Angela, Kree and Candice. Who sneaks in there in the last spot? We’d honestly like to see Janelle again, but Adriana’s home state may keep her around. Aubrey Cleland is also strong. It could be any of them. We feel like only Tenna and Breanna are the ones who definitely won’t advance (discounting Zoanette completely, because — please).
What say you, “Idol” fans?