It was a tough week for the girls on “American Idol.” Kree Harrison had to perform while suffering from a pinched nerve. Candice Glover broke her toe. Janelle Arthur had her boots stolen. Angie Miller had to sing a duet Wednesday with someone who forgot the lyrics.
Vocally, however, it was business as usual, especially considering that the ballad-free rock theme didn’t play to most of the contestants’ strengths. That means much of the drama on Thursday will center around which of the two guys gets sent home, and which of the five girls joins them in the bottom three.
Lazaro Arbos was the guy set up to fail. He was assigned to do a duet of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” with Angie, and his forgotten lyrics combined with the awkward blind-date vibe produced another dud of a group performance. It wasn’t as bad as his trio with Burnell Taylor and Devin Velez a week ago, but three different judges were compelled to point out the lyric misfire, albeit in a gentle way.
The panel was also gentle with his solo, praising “We Are the Champions.” While the song allowed Lazaro to play to his theatrical strengths, it was a tough song for him to handle lyrically. It’s clear that the judges are ready for him to go, but like him too much to be rude about it.
Perhaps Lazaro’s biggest botch, however, was his comment regarding Janelle. This week’s video background clips were the annual make-fun-of-everyone’s-quirks edition, and Lazaro noted that she looked like the kind of wholesome Southern girl you’d find in a cornfield, “except she hasn’t lost all her teeth yet.” Considering that the South tends to dominate the “Idol” voting, alienating that constituency with the stereotypical remark wasn’t the smartest approach.
But if he survives one more week, it’ll be because Burnell wasn’t any threat to set iTunes download records either. He didn’t do justice to “You Give Love a Bad Name,” looking like a guy whose friends put his name on the karaoke list and didn’t tell him in advance.
“I’m gonna assume rock 'n' roll’s not your thing. I’ve never seen you look more uncomfortable in a song,” Keith Urban said.
Burnell agreed afterward that he was uncomfortable, but he and Candice shared a fine duet, and he was among the funnier contestants in the video clips, which should help him.
Given the circumstances, each of the women did well, though each also had to watch out for their wardrobe. Janelle was in her stocking feet backstage, as Nicki Minaj swiped her boots after complimenting them after the hopeful finished “You May Be Right.” Nickie also gushed over Amber Holcomb’s jeans, as well as her song selection of Heart’s “What About Love?” (Nicki, seriously, if you’re looking for a bigger clothing allowance, just say so.)
Angie got the coveted slot at the close of the show, perhaps as compensation for having to do her group number with a guy who hasn’t come through with even a single solid group performance yet. She made a smart choice in Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life, which allowed her to start on the piano and close with a glory note to make everyone forget about the uneven vocals in between.
Kree was curiously stagnant onstage, which Keith tried to blame on her boots before she noted that the pinched nerve limited her mobility to somewhere near statuesque. And Candice had a similar problem, thanks to a practical joke that she and Burnell tried to play on Lazaro. They attempted to convince him that the house was on fire on April Fool’s Day – and who DOESN’T think burning homes are hilarious – but he didn’t fall for it and it somehow resulted in an injury anyway.
“Hi, Broken Toe Lady. That’s what you get for trying to play a practical joke on Lazaro,” Nicki said. “He’s got special powers. You didn’t know that?”
He’ll need all of those powers to earn another week on the show.
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