Hump Day Report: American Idol’s Female Power

Rants and raves abHump Day Logoout burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.

American Idol has been back for weeks, but I use the audition shows, Hollywood Week and the Las Vegas eliminations as research for when the time comes for America to vote. Therefore, today is my first official American Idol blog for 2013’s Season 12.

Before I begin to talk about the top ten ladies’ performances from last night, I do want to send props out to 17-year-old Sarah Restuccio, the Hammonton native who made it to Hollywood week. She was quickly sent packing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she returns at some point next year or beyond.

The American Idol universe is pushing hard for a female champion this season. If you’ve been watching you know the panel’s selections have been designed to eliminate the chance of a pretty boy stealing teen votes from the girls (I’m talking about you Johnny Keyser!).

Speaking of the panel, I’m loving Keith Urban, the sane one, and even though she drives me nuts sometimes with her “I want to eat you” comments, Nicki Minaj is keeping it real by telling the truth when a contestant has blown it. Randy is still Randy and Mariah Carey is determined to say almost nothing.

Now, back to the show. The Zoanette Johnson experience is officially over after she blotched a song that actually required a voice, Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” I know she had a great story and was full of life, but it is an insult to the fine singers who were eliminated that “The Queen of the Jungle” made it to the top 10 girls.

Breanna Steer

Breanna Steer

Breanna Steer is gorgeous and although her rendition of Beyoncé’s “Flaws & All” was a bit low-key to make an impression, I think she will be one of the five girls to make it through this round.

Aubrey Cleland is another youngster who should connect with Idol’s female voters and she is both sweet and pretty and yes, she can sing. Her version of Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” finished better than it started but with only five staying, she will need a judges’ wild card and I think she will get it.

Janelle Arthur, one of the two country ladies, was all over the place pitch wise with Elvis Presley’s “If I Can Dream.” Since a fan poll last week disagreed with the judges keeping her over Rachel Hale, I expect her to get the boot.

Tenna Torres, who performed Faith Hill’s “Lost,” is another contestant who should never have come this far. She has the chops to make it as a lounge singer, but that’s it and she will be eliminated this week.

Kree Harrison

Kree Harrison

The show finally showed us why the ladies are so strong this season with the next three performers. Audrey Miller, 18, who had already impressed us while performing a song she wrote, wowed the crowd and the judges with her take on Colton Dixon’s “Never Gone.” Dixon, of course was a top ten finisher last season. It was a strong vocal packed with emotion. Someone else pointed out that Angela looks a lot like Marie Osmond and damn, they are right.

Amber Holcomb was next and while she has an incredible voice, the judges have urged her to show more confidence. She took that advice big time, performing Whitney Houston’s “I Believe In You and Me,” with just enough attitude to declare with her amazing vocal that, yes, I did Whitney with my own spin and it was fabulous.

Kree Harrison was next, the country singer with the “effortless” style as Urban has noted several times. She killed it with Faith Hill’s “Stronger,” as she has done throughout the competition, brimming with emotion, confidence and just enough swagger. She has jumped to the top of the leader board.

Adrianna Latonio, the teenager from Alaska, had a lot of trouble with her vocal, “Stand Up For Love” by Destiny’s Child. She was off-key and Nicki nailed her for it, telling her she had just blown it and should think about how she can improve for the future, and by future she didn’t mean this competition.

Thank goodness the understated but talented Candice Glover was there to right the ship with her dynamic take on John Legend’s “Ordinary People.”  It was a powerful, heartfelt vocal and a great way to end the evening.

Here is my order for the top ten ladies from best to worst:
1. Kree Harrison
2. Amber Holcomb
3. Angela Miller
4. Candice Glover
5. Breanna Steer
6. Aubrey Cleland (stays as a judges’ save)
7. Janelle Arthur
8. Tina Torres
9. Adrianna Latonio
10. Zoanette Johnson

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