You know who should be voted off "American Idol"? Ballads.
In what's apparently a trend this season, Tuesday's episode was heavy on slow songs. This season's top 10 women performed on the live show, which was filmed in Las Vegas.
Did we see a potential "Idol" winner? Maybe. Nobody emerged as an undeniable frontrunner, but four singers impressed me: Candice Glover, Amber Holcomb, Kree Harrison and Angie Miller. Yes, in that order.
Zoanette Johnson, who has divided audiences with her often quirky performances, has likely reached the end of her "Idol" road. Even Nicki Minaj couldn't find too many kind words to say about her cover of a Tina Turner song.
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The top 10 men will perform on Wednesday's show, which airs 8 p.m. on Fox. Viewers' votes will decide this season's top 10 finalists, which will be announced Thursday. Consider yourself warned: There's a good chance we'll have a "wildcard" 11th singer this year. Randy Jackson hinted at it Tuesday night.
Here's a full recap of Tuesday's show.
Zoanette Johnson, arguably this season's most polarizing contestant, kicks off the show. No "Lion King" songs this week. She opts for "What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner. Zoanette also has a new hairstyle. This performance doesn't have the intrigue value of "Circle of Life" and Zoanette's vocal limitations are much more apparent. Sure, she has good energy and she's having fun on stage. Nonetheless, this week's performance just seems like a cheap knockoff.
Keith: "That was an interesting song choice...I do love the ferocity and the power and the exhibitionism of the way you perform."
Nicki: "That wasn't it...I still am rooting for you."
Randy: "You are the spirit leader...Honestly, that was a mess, babe."
Mariah: "This wasn't my favorite performance that you've done, either."
Breanna Steer hails from a small town in Louisiana. She sings "Flaws & All" by Beyonce. Did they just bleep out the b-word in the second verse? Yes, I believe so. My initial reaction? It's a strange song choice. I wanted a repeat version of the angry Breanna we saw last week. This is a little too...nice? Ultimately, I adjust to the performance. Vocally, it's fine...and I still see Breanna's potential as a contemporary recording artist. But I think she should've picked a better-known Beyonce song that allowed her to show more personality.
Keith: "You find the right songs that show who you are as a singer."
Nicki: "I think this was the absolute wrong song for you."
Randy: "I think it was a safe song choice."
Mariah: "The package of you says star quality."
Aubrey Cleland says she's wanted to appear on "Idol" since she was 8. She opts for Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry" and seems to struggle a bit on the opening verses. Maybe nerves? Either way, things pick up a bit on the chorus and Aubrey settles into her groove. She hits some pretty nice notes toward the end. Overall, it's a good performance but maybe a bit safe. Still, Aubrey has the same contemporary appeal as Breanna. I'd like to see her stick around in the competition.
Keith: "You look fantastic...I wished it allowed you to soar more at the end."
Nicki: "I just overall love you."
Randy: "I think we all love you."
Mariah: "You so obviously have multi-platinum potential."
Janelle Arthur is a former Zumba instructor. She better rock the mike. I really hated that Lady Antebellum cover she did last week. She covers "If I Can Dream" by Elvis. Janelle definitely seems more in her element with this performance and her vocals are pretty solid. But as hard as it is to admit, this performance bores me a bit. Yes, I understand that Janelle is supposed to have a throwback vibe. Still, this song borders on being too old-fashioned. Sorry, folks...maybe I'm in the minority this week.
Keith: "I love that you have this really classic country voice."
Nicki: "That's my girl. You're back...Best vocal of the night so far."
Randy: "We like you...I like the old throwback thing in your voice."
Mariah: "You did a very good job."
Tenna Torres didn't change her hairstyle too much, despite being criticized by Nicki during an earlier round. She sings "Lost" by Faith Hill. The performance is dominated by big notes, most of which Tenna hits successfully. That said, I seriously question Tenna's ability to connect with viewers. She's not a bad singer and she doesn't have an abrasive personality. But her performances have a certain disconnect. Maybe it's a lounge singer vibe? Either way, she doesn't have the appeal of the night's earlier singers.
Keith: "I thought you did a really good job with it."
Nicki: "I like your hair like that...I like your boobs, too...I don't know if your personality jumps out, but I really love hearing you sing."
Randy: "The beginning of that was so beautiful and so amazing...That was very nicely done."
Mariah: "You really are so consistent when you sing."
Angie Miller is now apparently "Angie" instead of "Angela." Whatever. She sits at a piano and covers "Never Gone" by Colton Dixon. Remember him from last season? Initially, the song choice worries me...but it's actually a really great choice for Angie. She delivers a strong, controlled vocal. It's not my favorite performance in "Idol" history, but it's probably my favorite performance of the night so far. My only issue? The judges' excessive, over-the-top praise of Angie. Scale back, guys. Don't try to force a favorite singer on us. It'll backfire.
Keith: "That was beautiful...I loved that song."
Nicki: "Can I just get your album? I love what you do."
Randy: "America, a star is born on that stage right there."
Mariah: "This was such a great choice."
Amber Holcomb wants to convince us she's "more than just some legs." She makes an ambitious choice and covers a Whitney Houston song: "I Believe in You and Me." This isn't perfect, but it's an incredibly strong performance. Amber is confident...she seems like a pro on stage and she hits the majority of the big notes. I really, really like her tone. She gets a standing ovation from the four judges. My only (minor) criticism? If Amber advances, I hope she escapes ballad land and shows us she can handle uptempo songs, too.
Keith: "You had no shortage of confidence and rightly so...Your tone is exquisite."
Nicki: "Your vocals are surpassing even this competition...Nothing that came before you is even on that level."
Randy: "Amber is definitely in it to win it right here."
Mariah: "I loved you tonight."
Kree Harrison has been one of my favorites so far. Will she top my list tonight? She sings "Stronger" by Faith Hill. I think I've hit my ballad limit for the night. But I guess that's a personal problem. Anyway, even though I'm a little nervous at first, this is a pretty good song choice for Kree. She delivers strong, compelling vocals. I love how she doesn't mess with flashy apparel and lets her vocals stand alone. Keith gives her a standing ovation. If she advances, I'd like to see her change up her song choices a bit.
Keith: "You fit right in there (country music)...you really do."
Nicki: "Your sexiness level went up another notch again tonight...Your tone is so rich and so beautiful...It's my favorite tone out of all the girls."
Randy: "I had no idea your range was that big...To me, it's country and then some."
Mariah: "How can you top that? ... I just feel like there is an undeniable thing that you have."
Adriana Latonio hails from Alaska. She sings "Stand Up For Love" by Destiny's Child. Groan. Another ballad? Really, ladies? Maybe it's just my ballad exhaustion, but this performance has a serious pageant vibe. Adriana's long gown doesn't help the situation. It's just a bland, boring effort that seems too mature for someone who's 17. Adriana had a fairly forgettable performance during the previous round, so I really doubt she'll sail through to the next round. Never doubt Alaska's voting power, though.
Keith: "I'm a little nervous about that song choice for you tonight."
Nicki: "I think the song was too big for you in the beginning."
Randy: Says it was pageanty..."It was actually kind of a little boring."
Mariah: "I hope everybody saw your previous performances. Keep it going."
Candice Glover is trying to get out of South Carolina and pursue her music career. You guessed it: She's singing a ballad. I give up. But wait...this is actually a kind of creative song choice. She covers John Legend's "Ordinary People." Candice wins back some of my favor with this performance. Lots of confidence and big notes. Even though she's still in ballad territory, this seems like a riskier move than what she delivered in the previous round. She has a really great voice and she deserves to advance.
Keith: "Tonight was superb."
Nicki: Doesn't say anything, but apparently she liked it.
Randy: "You're one of the best singers in this whole competition...We might need a wildcard or something."
Mariah: Loved it