Now that Idol‘s gotten rid of all those pesky males they never even wanted to let through security, it’s up to Angie, Candice, Janelle, Kree, and Amber (left to right) to prove that the winner of season 12 should be a woman even if the concept of blatant producer manipulation did not exist. So let’s hear it, ladies! Tonight the Top 5 will take on two themes: “Divas” and “Birth Year.” My Power List is below — leave your own in the comments….
5. Amber Holcomb Her wide-ranging voice can soar, but as a performer, the bottom-two-dweller has yet to make a real impact. I suppose there’s time left to emerge as the dark horse of the season, but with Candice so far out ahead, it’s looking less likely each week. “What Are You Doing With the Rest of Your Life” (Barbra Streisand’s version) is a standard that could give Amber a slow and moving moment like “My Funny Valentine” did during Top 20 Girls week. It could also be really boring.
4. Janelle Arthur The bottom line is that this sweet-as-apple pie country girl is technically not up to par with the rest. With her infectious energy and onstage presence, she could have been unstoppable if she had flawless vocals. If Janelle can find a way to offer a fresh spin on Dolly Parton’s “Dumb Blonde” (which she’s singing, according to Nigel Lythgoe) like she did a few weeks ago with “Keep Me Hanging On,” she could have a shot at the Top 3. But if she goes for straightforward covers tonight, she could go home.
3. Angie Miller Clearly the 18-year-old has no choice but to sit down and play Pretty Piano Pony if she wants the judges’ favor. But might she be getting America’s votes no matter what? This one’s a wild card for me. Her vocals are strong enough that I’m excited to hear what she’ll do with Beyoncé’s “Halo” (hard to believe she’s doing this instead of Amber!) — a slowed-down, piano-driven version could be lovely. In terms of visual presentation, I’m still put off by Angie’s extreme-drama-geek facial expressions. They can be a bit much…and often throw into question the authenticity of what she’s singing.
2. Kree Harrison It’s hard to get that pumped up about Kree, whose consistent vocals are much like her personality — warm, soothing, almost motherly. But it’s easy to appreciate how professional she already sounds, how many twists and turns she’ll make in just one lyric to make it sound unique. Not everyone can start a song a cappella, like she did on last week’s “What The World Needs Now Is Love.” We know she’s doing the Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels” tonight. Can she take it somewhere other than second-best?
1. Candice Glover She’s far and away the best vocalist and performer of season 12. I expect her to take Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston’s sappy duet “When You Believe” (which, ugh, really?) and effortlessly improve on it for Divas. For Birth Year, Candice is trying Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” — and based on her past ability to transform tunes (like last week‘s gorgeous “Lovesong,”) I’m practically drooling to see what she does with it. She hasn’t been the judges’ favorite, but to me she’s the only standout in the Top 5. I keep hearing “Accept me for what I am” — from last week’s “Don’t Make Me Over” stunner — running through my head as Candice’s season-long mantra.