Candice Glover really belonged on a different show last night.
Her jazzy interpretation of The Cure’s “Lovesong” was both emotionally and technically stunning, showing off a connection to the lyrics during “Songs I Wish I Wrote Week” that didn’t just make it seem like she wrote the British new wavers’ hit, it seemed like she lived it. Her risky, well-executed version (man, that controlled run at the end was amazing) was better than Adele’s. Yeah, I said it.
At the end, Mariah Carey walked onstage and showered her with glitter. Keith Urban leaped out of his chair and fell to his knees to bow “we’re not worthy”-style at her feet. Randy Jackson called it “one of the greatest performances in the history – 12 years! – of ‘American Idol’” and then later changed it to “one of the greatest performances on any talent show ever.”
For once, Randy’s hyperboles may be right.
Glover’s “Lovesong” may not have been as passionate as Fantasia’s “Summertime,” but it was certainly more controlled. It may not have been as clever as David Cook’s “Billie Jean,” but it was certainly more poignant.
She channeled Billie Holiday, but she created something of her own, as well as truly giving people a reason to watch “Idol” again. In fact, they would have been better off just letting her singing the whole show, since her fierce version of “Don’t Make Me Over” was the best of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs as well.
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Only Amber Holcomb came close to challenging her on the Bacharach and David side with a warm, sweet version of “I Say a Little Prayer.” And Holcomb did well with the vocal deathtrap that is Beyonce’s fun-to-hear, difficult-to-sing “Love on Top,” though in all honesty, she only did one of the key changes and started a bit wobbly. Of course, Nicki Minaj also helped to explain Amber’s success by saying, “The stallion legs are poppin’!”
The other female competitors are starting to fade a bit. Kree Harrison’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” was lovely and polished, which is what we’ve come to expect from her, while “What the World Needs Now Is Love” was just good. Harrison may still be the one to beat, considering voting demographics and past performances, but Glover’s unforgettable performance will shake that completely.
Both Angie Miller and Janelle Arthur were passable, but unremarkable. And then there’s Lazaro Arbos, who looks more and more bewildered as the weeks go by. His version of “Close to You” was awful, off-key even before he missed the key change in the song. Why is Nicki Minaj the only judge who has caught on? Criticizing Arbos only gets him more votes because his fan base is made up of those who love “his story” and, oddly, those vote-for-the-worst folks who hate the show. The judges need to find a way to build up the others, not tear him down.
He’s practically guaranteed safety tonight, leaving poor Janelle Arthur to be cut.
Candice Glover, “Lovesong”
Candice Glover, “Don’t Make Me Over”
Amber Holcomb, “I Say a Little Prayer”
Kree Harrison, “Help Me Make It Through the Night”
Amber Holcomb, “Love on Top”
Angie Miller, “Love Came Down”
Kree Harrison, “What the World Needs Is Love”
Janelle Arthur, “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”
Angie Miller, “Anyone Who Had a Heart”
Janelle Arthur, “The Dance”
Lazaro Arbos, “Angels”
Lazaro Arbos, “Close to You”
BOTTOM THREE: Lazaro, Amber, Janelle
SHOULD BE ELIMINATED: Lazaro
WILL BE ELIMINATED: Janelle
ACTUALLY ELIMINATED: Lazaro