idol-18

Last week, Curtis Finch, Jr. was voted off the show in a quite a surprising pick. This makes the remaining contestants: Lazaro Arbos, Amber Holcomb, Paul Jolley, Janelle Arthur, Kree Harrison, Devin Velez, Burnell Taylor, Angie Miller, and Candice Glover. Because he was in the top 10, Curtis will be a part of the American Idol Tour. Speaking of which, there was a sing-off competition last week to determine who would take the 11th spot on the tour, chosen from the top 20. It was narrowed down to Aubrey Cleland and Charlie Askew, and Aubrey was ultimately chosen by the fans.

But back to tonight: the top 9 chose songs by The Beatles to perform. First up was Kree, who sang “With a Little Help From My Friends.” Keith said, “I love that no matter what song you’re doing, you’re Kree. All the cool things about Country is what you are.” Nicki said, “The choices that you make are always the perfect choice for your voice. You’ve just started to become this superstar before our eyes. You are the whole entire package.” Randy said, “I think it was the bomb, too! You came out and you blew the vocals out of the water. The confidence is just amazing.” Mariah said, “I didn’t think it was good. I thought it was fan-freaking-tastic! It was Kree-ly amazing.”

Next up was Burnell, who is the one person on Earth who doesn’t know the lyrics to “Let It Be.” Somehow he managed to sing it well, and, more surprisingly, without stumbling over the words. He even managed to add a bit of his own sound to it. Nicki said, “You didn’t even sing the song: You caressed it. I felt like I was in church! You are keeping your own artistry, even when you’re doing this humongous song.” Randy said, “This is the mark of a great singer, and a great artist: You made it your own!” Mariah said, “When you gave such a heartfelt, genuine performance, I was so proud of you. There’s just a realness about you that never goes away.” Keith said, “You are the most instantly recognizable tone out of everyone in this competition for me. I’m so glad that America loves that, too.”

According to Jimmy Iovine, Amber was prepared to “murder” her song “She’s Leaving Home.”  Randy spoke first, saying, “It started a little slow and unsure for me, but you found your rhythm halfway through. All things considered, I think you ended it well.” Mariah said, “For someone who didn’t know this song to come here and perform it in such a fearless way, you got there. I was really with you!” Keith said, “That song was recorded 46 years ago, and you came out and made it sound as fresh as if it was recorded last week.” Nicki said, “Your vocal is unmatched, you know that. That twinkle in your eye, it makes us all happy. Just toughen it up.”

Lazaro apparently struggled a bit with the tempo of  “In My Life” in rehearsal, but it was the key that the judges had a problem with when he got on stage. Mariah said, “I really have to commend you for your bravery. It was a little bit low for you, in my opinion.” Keith elaborated on what she said, telling him he got it right only part way through when the key changed. Nicki said, “Your confidence is different now! When you used to come on the stage, you used to own it. You need to pick the right key that’s going to show your voice.” Randy straight up said, “I think that was your worst performance ever.”

One of my favorite songs and one of my favorite pairings came together with Candice and, you guessed it, “Come Together.” She added so much of her own flair to it, it could have been written for her. Keith said, “This rock chick side of you is so cool! I thought that was absolutely killer.” Nicki said, “Your vocal is insane, crazy, out of this world. I just want you to always have that attitude on your face!” Randy said, “I was so happy to hear you doing up tempo. I love to see this playful side of you! Own it, ’cause you’ve got it.” Mariah said, “You decide to get even more creative and jazzy and go places that no one else can go. Please, please don’t stop doing that!”

Paul couldn’t be his usual jolly self this time, as his song choice was the dark “Eleanor Rigby.” Nicki said, “I did not like your performance. Very, very safe, very bland and forgettable.” Randy said, “I thought you were disconnected. You never quite got into it.” Mariah said, “I think it’s a great song choice. When you hit your sweet spot, it’s undeniably good, always. You have to be able to give as much emotion when you’re singing softly as when you’re at the top or middle of your range.” Keith said, “What I did like about the song is there were parts in the middle where you have this more pop-rock edge to your voice.”

The advice for Angie for the past couple weeks has been for her not to be too dramatic and over-sing it, and Jimmy was there to make sure that didn’t happen when she performed “Yesterday.” Randy said, “That was a stellar performance and you emoted from your heart! You have that rock kind of edge. You don’t care who says what.” Mariah said, “I feel like you did a very respectful version. And yet you really showed your voice, you showed simplicity.” Keith said, “What I love about it is you’re in there, the whole time, and I see that through you.” Nicki said, “Unbelievably amazing. You will absolutely be doing soundtracks for movies. You could be doing anything! You are amazing.”

Devin sang the classic “The Long and Winding Road” whilst channeling Brian McKnight and Stevie Wonder. Mariah said, “I don’t have words for this. You’ve sung so many different types of music for us, and I don’t feel like you’ve disappointed us ever!” Keith said, “The only thing I feel like I’m missing is a little  emotional connecting. Your voice carries along way, but I need your heart to be in it as well.” Nicki said, “I find that you don’t try too hard. I feel like it’s very truthful.” Randy said, “I think Devin is back tonight! I’ve been wondering where that swagger was. That was great tonight!”

Last, but not least, that comely southern belle Janelle sang “I Will.” Keith said, “You have this country thing in your voice that’s always present. You know who you are- you’re pure, you’re true.” Nicki said, “You look like a beautiful swan goddess. You are great! You pulled us in with such a subtle performance. It’s so authentic to country.” Randy said, “I think that’s one of the best performances of the night! I thought it was A-MAZING.” Mariah said, “I feel like you really have been listening to what you’ve been saying. You’re just so sweet and gorgeous. It was a beautiful, elegant performance.”

Tomorrow, the rankings will be revealed once again, and one person will be eliminated from the competition.