American Idol turned the amps up to 11 Wednesday night, with the Top 7 finalists performing classic rock songs. And the best part of the evening? No ballads allowed! The night also included cute, funny videos of the contestants describing ...
American Idol turned the amps up to 11 Wednesday night, with the Top 7 finalists performing classic rock songs. And the best part of the evening? No ballads allowed! The night also included cute, funny videos of the contestants describing each other, which gave us these fun tidbits: Kree Harrison is the mom of the group, Burnell Taylor's laugh probably damages his vocal chords, and Angie Miller may hold the world record for speed-clapping when she's excited. The contestants seem to be coming together like one big happy family, but of course this is still a competition at heart, so let's get to the performances:
Burnell Taylor - "You Give Love a Bad Name" (Bon Jovi): Finally, an upbeat number forced Burnell to get out from behind the microphone and actually move around a little (well, more than just his arms). Unfortunately, he looked pretty out of his element doing so. He wasn't afraid to get down and gritty with the vocals on occasion, but rock just isn't Burnell's strong point - and doesn't give him a chance to show off the core strength of his vocals. The judges said as much in their critique, with Keith Urban telling him "I've never seen you look more uncomfortable in a song" and Nicki Minaj comparing him to a Teddy Ruxpin bear she wanted to hug. Grade: C
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Kree Harrison - "Piece of My Heart" (Janis Joplin): This could have been a breakout moment for Kree, but she seemed to sleepwalk through the song. While her vocals were spot on per usual, Kree failed to take advantage of any of Joplin's big vocal moments. But wait - there's a good reason. As we learned when Urban asked her why she looked so uncomfortable on stage, Kree has a pinched nerve and can barely lift her arm above her waist. Given that information, Urban gave her a 10 out of 10 for professionalism, and Minaj called the performance "magnificent." Grade: B- (B+ if accounting for the injury)
Janelle Arthur - "You May Be Right" (Billy Joel): Janelle appeared to be having a great time putting a country spin on the Billy Joel classic. Her superstar attitude (and rockin' sparkly cowboy boots, which Minaj later stole) matched her vocal performance. Urban praised the way she worked the stage and noted that she's the one contestant who has shown steady improvement week after week, and Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey lauded Janelle for her relatability. "You feel like every girl's best friend," Minaj told her. Grade: B+
Lazaro Arbos - "We Are the Champions" (Queen): Lazaro wisely stuck with Queen for both his individual and group performances (see below). He also eschewed his typically fluorescent wardrobe for more muted colors. Though shaky at first, this was Lazaro's best performance in weeks, and the judges agreed. Carey and Jackson both said they were "concerned" at first, but that Lazaro pulled off the classic anthem. We'd be shocked if this didn't buy him at least one more week in the competition. Grade: B+
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Candice Glover - "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" (The Rolling Stones): The second injured contestant of the night (she broke her toe trying to play an April Fool's joke on Lazaro), Candice put her own sassy spin on the Stones' hit and somehow managed to make one of the most overdone rock songs seem fresh again. And that broken toe didn't prevent her from stomping her boot-clad feet around the stage. Carey called her stage presence "mesmerizing," though Minaj once again called the song choice a snoozer. "Rock is an attitude," Jackson told Candice. "You brought that grrr, that rock, that attitude to it." Grade: A
Amber Holcomb - "What About Love" (Heart): Amber was probably the contestant who benefited the most from the "no ballads" rule, delivering arguably the best performance of the night and finally showing a different side of her vocal abilities. She once again earned a standing ovation from the judges. Minaj - who said Amber was the best of the night - called her outfit, vocals and stage presence "stunning." Grade: A
Angie Miller - "Bring Me to Life" (Evanescence): Since when is Evanescence classic rock? Aside from that gripe, Angie gave Amber a run for her money for the night's best performance. The song allowed Angie to showcase both her soft, tender piano style and powerhouse belting. And, aside from repeatedly yanking her shirt down when the producers cranked up a wind machine, she looked great while doing so. Urban noticed too, and advised Angie to concentrate less on how she looks while performing to allow her to "fall into" the song more. Grade: A
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Lazaro and Angie - "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (Queen): After his disastrous outing with Burnell and Devin Velez last week, Lazaro redeemed himself somewhat on this duet, on a song that aligned with his vocal range for once. Until he once again forgot the lyrics, that is - a point Minaj called him out on during the judges' feedback. Angie sounded fine but the lack of chemistry between the pair took the entire performance down a notch. Grade: C+
Candice and Burnell - "The Letter" (The Box Tops/Joe Cocker): Burnell seemed more comfortable with this than he did with Bon Jovi, though he was inevitably outshined by Candice. All the judges agreed that Burnell couldn't hold a candle to Candice, but Jackson said that the collective performance was "brilliant." We especially liked the coordination of Candice's bright yellow necklace and Burnell's canary-colored shirt. Grade: B+
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Amber, Janelle and Kree - "It's Still Rock 'n' Roll to Me" (Billy Joel): Though Amber's strong R&B tone didn't exactly jell with the show's two country gals, the girls still managed to harmonize fairly well on the track, and all pulled off a fun, flirty demeanor that seemed completely natural. Jackson said the girls sounded like they were an actual group, but Minaj slammed the song choice, saying the it "put her to sleep" and she "hated the performance." She did, however, compliment Amber's spiky vest look and tattered jeans. Grade: A-
What did you think? Who was the best performance of the night? Who will be sent home tomorrow? Weigh in below!
View original American Idol Rocks Out at TVGuide.com
Other Links From TVGuide.com American IdolMariah CareyKeith UrbanRandy JacksonNicki MinajAmber HolcombAngie MillerBurnell TaylorCandice GloverDevin VelezKree HarrisonLazaro ArbosTV Guide iPhone App TV Listings New Tonight on TV