idol-24

The judges finally used their save last week, so all four of the contestants (Kree Harrison, Amber Holcomb, Angie Miller and Candice Glover) got to compete again tonight. Ryan jumped right in, announcing the two themes: Songs from 2013 and Standards (what’s that?). Then, he introduced the guest mentor, Harry Connick, Jr, who basically just messed with the girls as opposed to actually guiding them.

First to perform was Angie, who played the piano and sang a stripped version of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”  It’s the best the song has ever sounded, which says more about the awful song, but still, Angie made it at least enjoyable enough to listen to. Keith said he felt like it wasn’t the right song for her, because she didn’t really make it her own as much as she could have. Nicki said, “You performed more with your body and less with your heart. It was bland, it was lackluster. You can do better.” Randy said, “It just didn’t go anywhere. Once you hit the chorus, that was it.” Mariah said, “I expected you to change it, and you did try to take it to a better place. But there was a bit of a sense that you were playing more to the camera.”

Amber was up next, singing Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason,” which she didn’t know the words to during rehearsal. As usual, she didn’t do anything to the song, which leaves to reason: Why is she still here? There’s no creativity there, just some occasional unique song choices. Nicki said, “The voice is there, but this particular performance, it didn’t feel like you were connected all the way through.” Randy said, “You looked like you were out-of-your-mind nervous. That was not stellar.” Mariah said, “We need to see that confidence Amber that we’ve been seeing.” Keith said, “It takes years of getting comfortable with yourself to get to this point. What I love is the clarity in the bell in your voice that I’m hearing time and time again.”

Then, Candice sang Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” another terrible pop song. But, as always, she delivered, adding some of that soul and flavor to a bland, boring tune. Randy said, “If you can sing that, you can sing anything. This girl right here, this is how you sing a song. Congratulations, that was amazing!” Mariah said, “Candice knows how to take any song and has the musicality to take and it make it suit her.” Keith said, “When you sing that good Candice? That’s a winning performance right there.” Nicki said, “That performance deserved a standing ovation,” and all of the judges stood up.

Kree was the last to go for the first round, singing “See You Again,” by Carrie Underwood. Harry said he liked it better than the original version; I’ve never heard it, but I don’t doubt that Kree’s at least matched the famous former American Idol’s. Mariah said, “I enjoy you so much because of how authentic you are, so thank you for that performance.” Keith said, “I feel like there’s a conflict going on between what I’m seeing and what I’m hearing. But your voice is faultless, it always is.” Nicki said, “I loved my Kreedom performance. I literally wrote down that you sang with your eyes. I feel you absolutely connected to every lyric in that song and you stayed true to it and you sang it from your heart. I felt that you believed what you were singing.” Randy said, “That was a great vocal. I felt you. I loved that.”

Round two, Standards, began in the second hour. That means any classic hit, apparently. Angie sang “Someone to Watch Over Me,” which has been sung by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand and Willie Nelson. Keith said, “The song choice for me didn’t matter because the tinder in your voice, the clarity…it was beautiful.” Nicki said, “It definitely was better than the first performance. Every time you sing your higher notes, you just get into it.” Randy said, “I did not love the arrangement in the middle, but this girl can sing, and that was an amazing vocal!” Mariah said, “I do feel like you’re very comfortable with a theatrical-based performance. There were moments of this song that were beautiful.” Then she and Nicki started another one of their diva bickering moments.

The classic “My Funny Valentine” was Amber’s choice, but she had no idea about what the song was about, so Harry schooled her in that. She was fine, but it was still pretty clear she wasn’t super invested in the meaning within. The judges seemed to like it though, giving her a standing ovation. Nicki said, “That was so beautiful, Amber, oh my god. You’re a superstar, you have fans everywhere. Please believe in yourself!” Randy said, “I think you made a believer out of a lot of people tonight. You should be so proud of yourself. You slayed it this time!” Keith said, “All you needed was a little bit of confidence.”

Candice sang “You’ve Changed,” which has been sung by Billie Holiday, Diana Ross, and Joni Mitchell, among others. It was the perfect mixture of soft and strong, and of course, beyond beautiful. She got a standing ovation, and Randy said, “Candice is in it to win tonight, y’all! It’s about feeling what you sing. Speak your truth girl, that was amazing!” Mariah said, “There is no critiquing. I’m going to download that ASAP. I love you on any type of song…and the subtleties, and the texture.” Keith said, “Your power and your control, that was a great performance.” Nicki said, “I’m not going to add anything else.”

Finally, Kree sang “Stormy Weather,” and Harry did his first real mentoring by coaching her to handle the melody simply. It was pretty, but a little boring. Mariah said, “I thought you’d do something that could be more full out bluesy. More gritty. It’s not to say that you didn’t do a beautiful presentation.” Keith said, “I would have chosen a different song. But I will say one thing, never lose the things that are natural about your stylistic way of singing. Don’t over think that, or let others get in your head.” Nicki said, “You just have to know what’s organic for you. I wish you guys would have paid more attention to the song choice.” Randy said, “Always stick to who you are. But I think you still did a good job.”

Oh, and then the four girls sang “Wings,” by Little Mix, because they needed to fill more airtime. Tomorrow, someone really WILL go home, and my prediction is Amber, possibly Kree.