‘American Idol’ review: Angela Miller, Kree Harrison, Amber Holcomb hit Las Vegas

American Idol“American Idol” kicked off their first performance show of the season in Las Vegas, and once again, it was ladies’ night! Ten out of the twenty remaining women in the competition his the stage, and it was an interesting experiment to make this move.

Were there some great performances from these ladies? Yes, and we understand the logic behind giving America an opportunity to hear full performances from the singers before the public votes. However, there were also a good three singers in here that we had no recollection of at all, and the over-use of ballads did at times cause the night to sag.

The performances

Jenny Beth Willis – We don’t really have any idea who Jenny Beth is. She certainly has a country name, and Mariah Carey loves her boots. As for the vocal, it felt a little like a “Toddlers & Tiaras” segment with the dress, and her country voice was drowned out at times by the band. Not a bad voice, but nowhere near the jaw-dropping vocals from a little later in the show, even when you include the big note at the end.

Tenna Torres – No, thank you. The get-up felt a little too dated and over-the-top, from the hair to the makeup. And that one magical glitter arm? Seriously? To us, Tenna is the sort of the singer that we can acknowledge is good, but we personally find it to be grating and a little nasally for our personal taste. Plus, there were a few instances where she went flat.

Adriana Latonio – Wait, when is Anchorage a small town? While it’s Alaska, it’s still a pretty big city. We’re stunned that there has never been a semifinalist on the show from America’s northernmost state, and after being the best singer out of the first three, it was apparent almost immediately that she could earn a ticket to the next round … though she does need to work on her breathing.

Brandy Hotard – What’s with all of these country singers that we’ve never met on the show before? We absolutely hate the fact that she promised sass in the introductory video, only to then step into a sappy ballad. What’s with all of the ballads, ladies? Have fun! We feel over time that the show has slowly turned into a competition of one big song after another, even though this is not really playing much on the radio right now. Brandy’s voice is better than Jenny Beth’s, but it was also boring.

Shubha Vedula – After listening to Randy Jackson openly mock her name again, we groaned; then, she totally rocked it out. Shubha looked like a pop star, sang really well, and we would much rather see a perhaps over-complicated take on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” than carting out the ladies and telling up to “stand here” and sing an emotional ballad.  She needs to work on her runs and trying to simplify, but at the same time there is way more potential here than with some of the other artists.

Kamaria Ousley – With her history of singing background for other artists, Kamaria’s story actually feels more like “The Voice” than “American Idol” … even if she chose to sing a Kelly Clarkson song in “Mr. Know-It-All.” Sadly, it did her no favors at all. With her edgy style on stage and the funky pants, why sing a mid-tempo song? This girl should have been rocking out instead.

Kree Harrison – There is just something about Kree that feels very organic, from her voice to her simple style to even her unique first name. We hope that the show doesn’t try to change who she is, since this performance of “Up to the Mountain” marked the beginning of someone very intriguing, and someone who we could really get behind in this competition.

Angela Miller – Going into this show, we proclaimed Angela to be the undisputed favorite for a number of reasons: not only is she a great singer, but there is a sense of artistry there that is not just a reality TV cliche frequently handed down by the judges. Nicki Minaj does have a point though: whenever you have a moment as big as Angela had with “You Set Me Free” during Hollywood Week, you run the risk of peaking a little bit too early. Just ask Andrew Garcia or Jacob Lusk. What she needs to do moving forward is allow herself to have fun, don’t let the expectations get to her, and stay inventive. If she does all that, she’ll be in this competition until the closing weeks.

Isabelle – Since we mentioned Jacob Lusk earlier, is it possible for anyone to really sing this song after him? It was one of the few things he did that we genuinely enjoyed. This performance was solid, but nothing altogether special, and we personally did not really like the fact about how she is using her past weight problems as a sob story. Is it sad that she didn’t get dates in high school? Sure, but the moral of this story seemed to be that being overweight means you are going to be depressed all the time. We’re sure that Isabelle talked about way more than that, so we’re blaming the editors for this one.

Amber Holcomb – Amber had a chance to close the show wtih “My Funny Valentine,” and while it was not enough for to stand up and scream “front-runner” loud enough to annoy the neighbors, it was pretty darn good. She has a natural coolness on stage, and let’s face it: we need some female R&B on this season after it was largely shut out last year save for when Jessica Sanchez went there.

The results

If we were picking the “unprecedented cut,” we would have chosen Amber, Kree, Angela, Shubha, and Adriana to all stick around. All of them performed well, and they showed potential to get better in the weeks ahead.

As it turns out, four out of five isn’t bad, right? The judges agreed on everyone except for Shubha. She went home, and Tenna Torres advanced instead. The worst part of this experience? Seeing contestants be rejected, keep it together for a few minutes, and then start tearing just when they were getting out of camera.

Which “American Idol” performance was your favorites? Be sure to share your thoughts below! Meanwhile, be sure to click here to see who we thought you should be watching out for prior to “American Idol” beginning.

Photo: Fox


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