Candice: "Straight Up" - This arrangement is pretty cool, and I would say that 85% of the time her alternate melodies/riffing and scatting worked - but sometimes it wasn't there. And I got dizzy from the camera work. Over the time of the song though, it didn't really go anywhere - but the place it already was was pretty amazing.
Janelle: "When I Call Your Name" - This is a perfect song choice for her, and the chorus is in the sweet spot for her voice. She may not win, and is likely to go home tomorrow just based on the overall competition, but this pick is her, being the best that she can be, with the best music for her voice and personality.
Kree: "She Talks to Angels" - This almost worked. It seemed like she was unable to really enter the song's lyrics - her brow was furrowed quite a bit which I had never noticed before in previous songs. Great last note, but ultimately, I think this might be a problem for her - it wasn't quite there for me.
Angie: "I'll Stand By You" - This was fantastic - probably the most mature performance I've seen her give. Obviously the emotion of the Boston dedication makes it extra special, but beyond that the performance was fantastic.
Amber: "Without You" - I know this is building to that big chorus, but it's a pretty big risk, because so far, prior to that point, this is just boring. And when she got to the high notes, she was pushing. I am a fan of hers, but this was not her best moment. Just tried to take to big a bite of the piece of pie.
Candice: "When You Believe" - I love this song, and it was a perfect song for her to Diva out on. Fantastic. Send her to the finals.
Janelle: "Dumb Blonde" - I don't really know this Dolly song, but wouldn't it have been better for her to do Dolly's arrangement of "I Will Always Love You" - since she wrote it, and then you get the Whitney love too. Well, strategy aside, this unmemorable song seemed like a country version of Pat Benatar, and it didn't really work for me. Great ending though, good spunk. Probably going home.
Kree: "Have You Ever Been in Love" - This was very good for her, even though the style wasn't anything like what we're used to with her. I think this week ends up being pretty uneven for her, even in the midst of some good performances.
Angie: "Halo" - What she is doing with this lower register part of the song is exactly what the judges were wanting from the earlier competitors. It's great and with feeling and emotion even though she can't really hit the notes. Here's why this pick is brilliant - she's basically telling the world, hey, don't be fooled by my piano playing and the color of my skin - I have a voice that's just as rich and R&B ready as Candice or Amber or even Kree. I was really impressed with this one.
Amber: "What Are You Doing With The Rest of Your Life" - This is so much better for me than her first song. Great offspeed pitch - only question is, will the song itself be as memorable as Funny Valentine was, as a song? Tough to be memorable with this tune up against Halo and When You Believe.
Random notes and thoughts:
The key to a tighter close up shot for the judges: ridiculous cleavage. Take note, Keith.
Nicki to Mariah: "Simmer down... sir" - classic.
Jimmy Iovine needs a spot at the table for Pete's sake, he's been the surrogate Simon for a few seasons now.
I know that Mariah is for the most part a non-contributor in the judging department, but I did enjoy the diva-love that was sent her way with the back to back song tributes, and her performances over time are worthy of such celebration. So it was nice to see her get her props, even accidentally from Nicki.
The judges really liked Kree's choices a lot more than I did. When Keith said again that she was country, it was a reminder - if you just started watching tonight, you'd not have a clue that she was country. That may not be a bad thing, but I don't agree with the judges that it's a good thing.
I don't think Kree's missteps will put her in the bottom two. Mainly because without them, Amber's been in the bottom before. So I think the bottom two are Janelle and Amber, and Janelle's going home. But if Amber goes home, everyone on the judges' table will be outraged, and Janelle will become the new Lazaro.