Angie: "Anyone Who Had a Heart" - This is kinda Milquetoast to me - not really tranforming the song to her own style, feels really adult contemporary and not great. Good thing she has another song.
Amber: "Say a Little Prayer" - Half of this song really worked, and half of it fell to the same adult contemporary dilemma - she attacked it with more passion, but seriously, whose idea was Bacharach songs? If you needed more ammo for the charges that AI was fading into obscurity... just listen to the "locked in the 70s" songs...
Lazaro: "Close to You" - a little flat on one of those notes... apparently Kristi knows every word to this song and insisted on singing with Lazaro so I couldn't really hear his performance. Oh and also it was totally boring, and he didn't hear the key change at all, so that was a little scary. Lazaro is like Sanjiya was except that we all feel bad for him because he stutters.
Kree: "What the World Need Now Is Love" - She is handling the style better than anyone else so far, mainly because she chose to start the song acapella - once the horns kicked in, though, it was back to dated and old fashioned. What are they doing to this show?
Janelle: "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" - She was running this like she was at her concert or at her own variety show - but still, in an arrangement that doesn't cater to her strengths. Still, she sounded good. But man am I getting jaded on Burt Bacharach - and I like his music! But how about Elvis Costello's arrangement of this song instead?
Candice: "Don't Make Me Over" - This was good, mainly because she's amazing, and she picked a song that was performed previously by Dionne Warwick in a style that matched what Candice does really well. This was the best version of any of the Bacharach songs, but I'll speak to that issue later after this is all done. It was very good.
And now we shift to "songs the singers wish they had written"...
Angie: "Love Came Down" - a song she wished she had written is a worship tune by Kari Jobe, and wow - that's pretty gutsy. The mix was a little off and I wanted to hear more of her vocal and less of the BGVs, but this is definitely in her wheelhouse. Great stuff.
Amber: "Love on Top" - A bit of a shaky start, but she is getting into the groove - a surpising uptempo song for this theme. The pre-chorus really sold it - she has a great range that is super-confident. I think this played much better live and in the room than it did toward the end of the number on TV. Didn't end well.
Lazaro: "Angels" - After the train wreck of the first song, the judges are likely going to praise this song as being much better than it actually was - the chorus was good, but he spent way too much time in this arrangement in his lower register. Please America, let it be a top female five...
Kree: "Help Me Make It Through The Night" - She really tapped into to her inner K.D. Lang with this one. This was just okay for me - the arrangement kept it moving when I would have wanted it to feel more intimate, more private and emotional. I think that this was more of an emotional pick for her, and she probably needed a more strategic pick for a song that would really push her past her very capable competition.
Janelle: "The Dance" - This was a good honest performance for her. Tough to have to follow Kree, but I think that she held her own really well. All except for the very last note - it got a little shaky at the end. Overall though, I thought it worked.
Candice: "Love Song" - this was fantastic. Granted, she's aping Adele's arrangement of this song, but still, it's so unique to her in her performance - fantastic. She should win - they should hand her the award right now and close up shop.
Okay - here's the thing - with a style so specific as "songs by Burt Bacharach", the show needed him there, like they have had in the past. Or at least we need to see these young singers paired with someone who is going to teach them about the style, about the era, about what it takes to pull off these melody intensive songs, and show us, through video, that they are taking this seriously and that, yeah, they should be cut some slack because they're stepping into an arena that they are unfamiliar with, but that because they are great vocalists, they can do it. But instead, we got no video, no set up of who Bacharach even is, absolutely nothing to prepare the audience for "hey this is some old-timey stuff, but you're still going to like it." - I knew almost all of the songs, but with no setup, almost all of them fell flat, and it really made this show look like a "phone it in" moment, which, given the general lack of pop culture conversation about AI, plus the surge of "The Voice", well, this is not good for this 12 year old franchise. Yes, AI is super-influential, but the goal is an entertaining show - and what they did with this phoned-in theme was lackluster and not entertaining.
Lazaro must go... And if he doesn't, then the save gets used for sure, so either way, the ladies are staying put for another week.