This week on American Idol, the contestants were mentored by Motown legend Smokey Robinson as they took on the songs of Motown. Overall, it was a night filled with okay performances.
The top three performances of the night for me were Amber, Kree, and Janelle in that order with Burnell coming a close fourth.
Amber sang Lately by Stevie Wonder-- She was the only contestant of the night to receive a standing ovation from the judges. Her vocal was honestly in a class by itself. I think so much has been made of Candice throughout this competition, and everyone has kind of forgotten about Amber. To me, she has a voice like Whitney Houston. Mariah called it a tour de force. Keith told her that she sang it and felt it beautifully. Nicki told her that her vocals are unmatched. Randy said she was the best of the night and continues to grow every week.
Kree sang Don't Play that Song by Aretha Franklin and even got props from the Queen of Soul herself. Kree's voice was strong in this, and she just proves every week how much she wants to be here. Randy told her that she is here to stay in this competition. Keith loved that she sounded like herself but sang an Aretha song. Nicki called Kree a "Queen".
Janelle sang You Keep Me Hangin' On by The Supremes-- I absolutely loved the way she reinvented this piece. She breathed new life into, and made it sound like something we could hear on country or pop radio today. Mariah thought that the performance was Janelle at her finest. Keith loved her fearlessness and the arrangement. Nicki didn't like it very much and thought it wasn't like it normally was. Randy felt quite the opposite and thought it was one of Janelle's best performances on the show.
Burnell, my honorable mention of the week, sang My Cherie Amor by Stevie Wonder-- Beautifully phrased and always original, Burnell leads not follows with each song choice and performance. It's not what he sings, but how he sings it.
The rest of the story: Love Lazaro, but sooner or later, the votes are going to catch up to him and not be enough to keep pushing him through and allowing him more chances in the competition. He sang For Once in my Life, but it wasn't believable.
Candice played it safer than I like. She sang I Heard it Through the Grapevine which was rather predictable, but what wasn't was the rock twist she put on the song. It wasn't her. She remains one of the strongest contestants though.
Poor Devin was sacrificed this week after turning in his best performance to date with Tracks of my Tears. When you look at the entire picture, it was probably right for him to go this week. If you're looking at contestants in terms of improvement, then he didn't deserve to go because he has consistently improved. He took criticism well, and it wasn't always pretty. Overall, Lazaro probably should have gone home.
Angie sang Shop Around; this was super strange. It was not Angie's style. Luckily, she's stronger than a number of contestants and this performance wasn't her last, but she needs to forget about everyone in her ear telling her to do something different. People like Angie because of who she is, and that should never be compromised. She needs to take a cue from Burnell and remember to be herself at all times.
That's my take, and with Devin gone, we're down to seven, and only two of those seven are guys. I also wanted to comment on Nicki's comments on Twitter after Devin was voted off. This article says it all; read away! Nicki is the one who needs to be gracious and grow up, none of the other judges are acting like this, and it's all a testament to her tastelessness and tackiness. It's so cheap of her to take shots at the contestants, and I get critiquing them, but embarrassing them? Nicki is purposely not using the save because Devin is a male; it's just not right. And when exactly did the young man not act gracious? When Nicki chided him on national TV? Also, Nicki's hatred for Mariah Carey is reflecting onto the contestants and that's wrong too; Nicki do your job and save the hate for later. I want Devin to succeed as a result of her hate because at 30, she just doesn't act it. I definitely do not want to see her on Idol next year.