American Idol Season 12 Review “Finalists Compete”

Only two weeks from the “American Idol” finale and darned if the four remaining girls aren’t soft-pedaling it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, some of the performances were pleasant enough, but it was all a bit lax to be this close to the finish line. It’s almost as if they’re trying not to outshine each other on purpose, as some sort of weird show of solidarity.

The first round revolved around songs from 2013, so the opportunity to keep it current was firmly in place. Well, you’d never know that from listening to these songs, let me tell you. I didn’t dislike Angie’s take on Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” She certainly made it her own, and stuck to her strengths by playing the piano, but the fact is, it’s just not that interesting of a song in the first place, and without the atmospheric electronics that give the song more of an ebb and flow, it really exposes how truly static the song truly is.

Oddly, Angie seemed fully connected to the audience while at the same time feeling utterly disconnected to the song she chose. That’s kind of an odd trick there, and I’m not sure what to make of it. Thankfully, she fully redeemed herself in the second round with a cover of the standard “Someone to Watch Over Me,” which did indeed sound Disney Princess worthy, as per Nicki’s suggestion. I’m not a standards kind of guy, but I thought it was lovely.

On the Amber front, she started out with a nicely bouncy take on Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” that was literally the only thing on the show that was upbeat, save the big closing number. In retrospect, it was okay, but kind of meh, to be honest. At least she was trying though, and Pink is naturally awesome. Maybe “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” would have been a better choice, if a bit risqué for the goody-two-shoes Amber and I don’t mean that as a dis. She’s just more sweet than sexy, you know?

Once again, she fared better on the standard front, with a reprise of a song she’d done previously, “My Funny Valentine.” This was a much better, more assured version than before, if a bit of a slow-burner. All in all, she was good, but not quite up to the level of the others.

Candice took a risk doing a gender-reversed song, Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” Most would have changed it accordingly, but she left the songs alone and the risk paid off. I thought it was the best performance of the night. Her passion for the material shone through and though, once again, the song was a bit snoozy, at least it had a climax.

Her take on Billie Holiday’s “You Changed” was even better. Though, as with last week, her performances were uniformly laid back and subtle, this week’s was nonetheless a step up overall. She should be fine if the votes from last week don’t mess her up, which is entirely possible. Hopefully, that won’t be the case, though.

Kree at least improved on her performances from last week, with a much more in her wheelhouse take on Carrie Underwood’s “When I See You Again.” Keith thought it was a bit disjointed, but everyone else seems to like it. I liked it, too, but to quote Randy, “I wasn’t jumping up and down.” Ditto her take on “Stormy Weather,” which was way too restrained.

I did quite enjoy the aforementioned group number, distracting dancing girls notwithstanding. All in all, this does not feel like we’re heading into the finale in a few short weeks though. Time to step it up girls!

What did you think of “American Idol” this week? Let me know in the comments

About The Author

Mark Trammell is the resident entertainment critic at UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is also a Graduate Student and does a vid-cast movie review show. His impossible dream is that "Twin Peaks" will one day be resurrected and pick up where it left off. Until then, he drowns his woes in anything remotely similar, from "Buffy" to "Lost" to "Pretty Little Liars." This has not always been a good thing-cough, "Ringer", cough- but now at least it can help pay the bills.