Were the judges and producers shamed by the reaction of nearly every TV critic to the travesty that was last week's show? No, I think not. I think they are just engaging in a bit of psycho war on the viewers.
Tonight's theme is Then and Now. Harry Connick, Jr., a big favorite of mine, is a mentor this week to help guide the group through the *then* songs. The group comes out and for once you cannot tell the order of performance from the way they are standing. Psych ops trick #1.
Angie sings first. In her mentoring session on the hit song choice, Harry Connick says his family all loves her but he doesn't...something about her doesn't click with him. She pretends to walk out. She thinks he has a great sense of humor. He probably does. I'm not sure he was really kidding. I'm thinking he really doesn't like her very much and was trying to convey a message to her self-entitled ass that she isn't the sun the moon and the stars that her high school yearbook editors told her she was. Whoosh over Angie's polygamous hair head. She is singing another Rihanna song, Diamonds, and...big surprise...playing the PIANO (such a talent she is...no other contestant has ever played the piano but her and if they did well they were not ANGIE). The performance is typical Angie....coy looks at the camera (one commenter described her camera technique as *eye f...ing the camera*)...maniacal pounding of keys on the big notes... squirming and shoulder posturing to appear sexy...and in my opinion.... a vocal full of off-pitch notes. (I am not alone in this assessment...nearly every critic who actually has an ear for music has said she missed notes badly in this performance). She was really going for votes here. The judges did not praise her which I'm sure shocked her hair extensions to the stitches..as she basically repeated the same performance she did last week with a different Rihanna song and they considered that the second coming of Adele. Ryan questions here and she goes into pageant girl mode...I swear she should run for Miss Massachusetts when this is over. Nicki said *this wasn't like listening to Angie playing the piano in her room...you were performing to the camera*. Angie has never played the piano like she wasn't trying to seduce every living thing in sight. Oh well...
Amber, who was given one or two or maybe even three standing ovations last week for what were decent but not outstanding performances, is up next. Keep in mind that Amber is *current* according to the judges...the most *current* of all of them. So, she sings Pink's *Just Give Me a Reason* and it is one hot mess. She hadn't learned the words in time for her mentoring session with Harry but he is kind to her about it. She cannot really sing an up tempo song...or maybe she cannot really sing a current song. The judges say it wasn't *stellar* but Keith and maybe Mariah are full of excuses for her. (Its really hard to learn a song and perform in front of a live audience with TV cameras and stuff). So Psy Ops #2...feel sorry for Amber folks. Amber seems to know she wasn't that good even before they start judging. You get her away from *current* artists like Celine Dion and Whitney Houston and the girl just falls apart.
Candice comes out with a vengeance. She's singing Bruno Mar's *When I Was Your Man* and she is out to shove last week's critique up some judge's heiny-holes. This wasn't just smoke up the hole...this was fire in the hole and I hope those judges felt it. Well...according to the critiques they did. I admit that at one point, I got tears in my eyes. I had not had any wine either. Her voice just made me cry. The judges gave her lots of praise...probably because they really didn't want her to be in the bottom 2 and realize they almost messed up last week. Nicki says Candice took her advice and so within a week has magically transformed into a *now artist*. Nicki also asks her if she has lost weight which reveals what is REALLY bugging the producers here.
Kree is very gracious about the totally unfair critiques she got last week and said she was going to try to connect with the audience this week. She is singing the new Carrie Underwood single *See You Again.* Harry loves Kree. Kree sits on the stool with a guitar guy next to her and pours her heart into this one...and I start bawling because I realize that she is not singing about some guy she will see again but her dead parents. She almost loses it at one point. Keith...who is beginning to get on my shit list...criticizes her for not standing up and moving around (even though every time she does they tell her to stop trying to perform and just sing the song...Psy Ops#3). The other three judges give her rave reviews but since Keith is the country guy...will the audience just remember his? Do you suppose the judges drew straws before the show to determine who was going to have to follow Nigel's dictum that Kree be elimated and Keith drew the short straw? Something is going on there. Harry is backstage and I think doing a slow burn at Keith's remarks and he comes out and basically gives his *best performance of the night so far* blessing to Kree. Psy Ops #4.
So its time for the *Then* songs:
Harry says once again that he doesn't like Angie. He thinks she is mean. I'm beginning to think he really hates her even though its all posited as a joke. Or maybe I just cannot fathom someone as cool as Harry Connick, Jr. thinking Angie is anything but an averagely pleasant singer. Angie sings *Someone to Watch Over Me*. When Alison Arehata sang this song, I bawled like a baby. Angie left me cold despite her ball gown and visible boobs. I do remember thinking while watching it that she didn't give off one bit of a vulnerable vibe during that performance...in fact...I was thinking whoever is dumb enough to hook up with her is going to need someone to watch over HIM because she will eat him alive. She puts all sorts of runs and frills on the end because she cannot resist the glory notes. The judges say this was better than her first performance but are not effusive. I'm betting Harry really is hating her for screwing with the melody. At this point Nicki and Mariah get into a fight just to be fighting about something but I think Mariah got the best of it by saying that *as a singer* she knows what she is talking about! Take that Nicki rap talker!
Amber reprises *My Funny Valentine* and completely ignores Harry's advice and adds even more runs and trills and high notes where low notes should be than she did in her first peformance. Well, its time of Psy Ops #5 because she gets a standing ovation. In addition, we get another *poor Amber...its so hard being you* critique. Amber starts crying...this is getting ridiculous.
The only thing about the critique given to Kree that I thought was remotely valid was that she should have chosen a different song. That said, I thought her version of Stormy Weather was great...even if she too couldn't resist mucking with the melody too much. The judges aren't impressed at all...praising her flawless vocals almost as an afterthought. (Early in the show Randy was saying its all about singing...now its not so much... Psy Ops #6). The judges use this opportunity to bash Harry's mentoring and he is not having it and he and Randy get into it. I'm with Harry....don't mess with the standards. I am really sick of all the melisma and glory runs being done on these vocal talent shows. I know the audience eats it up but what do they know? These old standards are all about phrasing...a concept completely alien to young singers today.
So...I turned off the TV at that point. I didn't see the last group number....did they say everyone but Kree was wonderful?
I'm not sure I will watch the results show tomorrow...
I'm thinking that Amber should go home. I suspect she will but I may be wrong.