Happy Valentine's Day!
I hope you're off doing something better and that this recap can save you an hour for romance...
Now let's get down to "American Idol" business...
8:01 p.m. ET. It's the final day of Hollywood Week. And everybody's getting an early wake-up call. Again. Nicki Minaj thinks it will be nearly impossible to narrow things down with the next cut, while Keith Urban adds that they're going to cut some good people.
8:02 p.m. Daring to perform an original song is Angela Miller. "This song is about being set free from baggage," Angela says. Not only is she going original, but she's also playing the piano. "Really?" an astounded Randy Jackson says as Angela begins. "My God," Keith Urban says, at becomes clear that Angela Miller may be way, way, way too talented for "American Idol." I'd like Angela in her earlier performances, but gracious... This is easily the defining performance of the auditions/Hollywood Week thus far. The judges stand for her and Randy just keeps repeating "Wow" over and over and over. "That is just a beautiful song," says an equally amazed Keith Urban. "It was amazing," Nicki says.
8:05 p.m. So... Ummm... Is there any point in watching the rest of this episode?
8:05 p.m. I mean... Candice Glover and Janelle Arthur are both really good, but... ummm... Candice is up first and she sings "On Fire" better than Alicia Keys sings that particularly mediocre song. "That sounded like a massive big record right there," a pleased Keith says. And it's another sturdy, big-voiced country performance by Janelle. Probably both of these two performances would be much more impressive if Angela hadn't basically ended this episode. "I love that you always keep it subtle. I think that you are a superstar, a country superstar," Nicki says.
8:09 p.m. And next... "The most shocking performance of the season."
8:12 p.m. Well, at least Angela Miller is trending on Twitter, so "Idol" hasn't become completely irrelevant.
8:13 p.m. Bring it on, Zoanette with your crazy cleavage and your crazy outfit and your crazy drum kit. It's shortly before her performance and she's rearranging the entire pierce she's performing. "Shhh... I made it up on stage," she whispers. Does Zoanette even play the drums? Wait. She made the SONG up? Not just the arrangement? This is... a bit crazy. The song is about the "Idol" judges and it is... Marvelously absurd. This is some crazy "American Idol" performance art going down and it may possibly be brilliant. the band has no clue what she's doing, but I swear that every second of what she's doing is part of the desired performance. She's insane, but I may be a fan of that insanity. "I am bowing down at your feet today," Nicki says.
8:16 p.m. They're going to deliberate on the first group we've seen, plus some other irrelevant people. Candice, Janelle, Angela, Zoanette and somebody named Jet all advance. That means we're saying farewell to... Kiara Lanier and some other irrelevant people
8:22 p.m. Frantic oversinger Shubha Vedula continues her streak of not-so-subtle wailing. "That was a nice moment for me personally," says Mariah Carey, loving that Shuba sang a Mariah song. I like Juliana Chahayed a lot.
8:23 p.m. Naturally, Kez Ban will be performing an original song, which she compares to a child. This is her very favorite original. The song is Kez Ban-y and perplexes the judges, especially when it ends abruptly after 20 seconds. "We appreciate your artistry and we salute the artistry," Nicki says. For some reason, Kez Ban doesn't get to stand in a line of performers. She's just sent home. "I'm a square peg in a round hole around here," says Kez Ban, who explains that her mother is a big "Idol" fan. Awww. She volunteers to do odd jobs for "Idol." Ryan Seacrest lets her hold the boom mic. I suspect this means that she just put a union worker out of a gig.
8:30 p.m. The last group of the day is led by Ashlee Feliciano. I'm not sure she hits a single note in her performance, but the high, squeaky ending is called a "surprise" by Randy. Now Randy is disappointed by how downbeat the ladies are being. Randy wants the women to remember that music can be fun. Melinda Ademi is a little peppier and Randy approves and Keith is inspired to sing along. "Thank you for an up-tempo. Light up the day," Randy cheers for Melinda. Keith praises her "good light."
8:34 p.m. Does anybody remember Kree Harrison? No? That's her problem, apparently. Poor Kree lost both of her parents before she was 20 and she's singing to make them proud. She's got a strong, richly textured voice, but she doesn't have the personality to pop on this particular TV show. I'd have no problem with letting her advance for a while, but America will send her home immediately, despite Keith's goosies. "Your voice is one of my favorites in the entire competition," Keith says, while Mariah calls her "genuine." "I feel like today you became a star in front of me," says Nicki.
8:37 p.m. Moment of truth for a few people. Kree, Melinda and somebody named Lauren (Mink?) advance. Brianna Oakley, Sarina Joy Crowe and Ashlee are all headed home. That's too bad about Brianna. She was good. But she's only 16. She can try again.
8:43 p.m. The ladies have done all they can and they've left it all out on the stage.
8:43 p.m. There are 24 remaining women, but Randy hasn't made a decision. Holly Marie Miller, Ariel Sprague and Lauren Mink are all abruptly sent packing. That's kinda cruel. One more singer has to be sent home. So we're going to have a sing-off. Stephanie Schimmel is put on the spot. I haven't really been impressed by Stephanie at any point that we've seen, so... Yeah. Dunno. She oversings Phil-Phil's "Home." It's not interesting and she isn't told if she did enough to make it through, because the judges have to hear from peppy Rachel Hale, who flubbed her earlier solo on this day. She's much better than Stephanie. I hope the judges recognize this, because it isn't even close.
8:47 p.m. The last spot in the Girls' Top 20 goes to... Rachel. Stephanie is finished. "You girls are the best of the best," Nicki tells them.
8:48 p.m. But we still have eight boys to dispatch. After the break...
8:52 p.m. On to the Men... Remember them? ANY of them? I sure don't.
8:52 p.m. The guys have been in the holding room "all night." But not all week, apparently.
8:53 p.m. The judges, once again, haven't made a final decision. Several dudes will have to do solos, starting with Adam Sanders. We already know the story with Adam: He's got the voice, but America will send him home immediately. Tonight, his solo is all icky falsetto and caterwauling. I wouldn't put him through based on this perpetually sharp mess of a performance. Next in the solo spotlight? Josh Holiday, an aspiring gospel artist who may not have Adam's range, but who will absolutely make teenage girls vote for him. He doesn't try as much as Adam did, but he succeeds, both musically and in splitting his pants.
8:57 p.m. Time for the final cuts... Peter Garrett, Marvin Calderon, Devyn Jones, Kenny Harrison, Will White, Tony Foster, David Leathers Jr. and Adam Sanders step forward. As soon as they say Adam's name, the guys know they're doomed. It's a second consecutive late elimination for David Leathers.
8:59 p.m. The full Top 40 assembles on-stage for hugs and tears. What's next? Las Vegas.
What'd you think of tonight's cuts? And which performances stood out for you?
Everything: American Idol
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