SHOWBIZ: Charlie vs Aubrey for Idol tour

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Nine and counting. Philip Lim wonders if this season’s American Idol has more unpleasant surprises

IT was Top 10 only a week ago. Curtis Finch Jr bowed out since the four judges couldn’t make it an unanimous decision to keep him.

The Save Vote was perhaps too early to call at this stage when number was double digit (10). When it came down to Devin Velez and Curtis, my gut feeling told me that Devin would squeak through.

In past Idol seasons, it has become a trend that you are only as good as your last song. For Curtis, it wasn’t a good week. Somehow he couldn’t raise the benchmark he set for himself. Certainly, he was one of the better singers among the guys. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson were clearly his supporters.

However, since Top 10 race began, it was up to the United States. The axe fell and it was just like watching a keenly contested chariot race in the Coliseum during the days of the Roman Empire.

But the highlight of last week was not only the first elimination from Top 10 but also who gets to go on tour with the Top 10 when Season 12 is over.

It was socially awkward Charlie Askew versus pretty Aubrey Cleland. After watching both also-rans performed, my objective vote would be in Charlie’s favour but there’s nothing fair about this competition, so Aubrey might just get the vote.

Most men would vote for Aubrey. Women and young girls would be neutral. Right now, Aubrey is the prettiest among the girls. But some men forget that this is a singing competition.

For the sake of justice and fair-play, I hope Charlie is picked. If not, better luck next time, Charlie!

Coming back to Curtis, the judge who was most upset was Nicki. She said aloud that if her boy (Curtis) got kicked out, she might as well leave.

When it was announced that it was really Curtis who got the boot, Nicki got up and walked. Well, she didn’t get very far because she soon was back at her seat.

Host Ryan Seacrest didn’t want to make it predictable and boring this season so he changed the selection process slightly and named the Top 3 singers who got the most votes.

The Top 3 were all girls — Angie Miller, Kree Harrison and Candice Glover. If this is any indication of future results, the ultimate winner may just very well turn out to be a girl. First time in six years too.

 The contestant who claimed fourth place was not a big surprise. Lazaro Arbos is a favourite among many Americans. He is such a nice bloke that many are rooting for him even though he is not such a great singer.

That being said, Lazaro’s physical handicap has turned out to be his biggest advantage. Who among us can kick a stutterer to the curb? Lazaro will probably hang around for a few more weeks.

As for Angie, she is presently in a league of her own. She is an excellent composer, plays the piano well and she has a voice that can make your jaw drop. Angie is a frontrunner and she knows it.

The judges are in love with her, so is Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine but he doesn’t want his professionalism to be questioned at this stage.

Among the Top 3 girls, Candice has the vocal ability to remain in the final Top 3 if she continues to pick the right songs and belt them out like she did with I Who Have Nothing.

An impressed Randy “kow-towed” several times in front of Candice to show his deep appreciation of her performance.

When it came to Kree’s turn, she went with Roy Orbison’s Crying. I really didn’t expect her to sing that old number by the man-with-the-dark-glasses who made Pretty Woman and Only the Lonely gold standards in the American music industry.

Kree sang Crying so well that I almost choked up on hearing it again after so many years. It always reminds me of the singer who was famous for his “dark emotional ballads”. It seemed that Roy sang Crying in his own inimitable way to reflect personal tragedies that cast a long shadow on his life.

Among the group of nine now, Amber Holcomb can be described as a dark horse. Her rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s winning song A Moment Like This had such an intensity that the judges were pleasantly shocked.

 All the judges gave Amber a standing ovation. The only reason Mariah didn’t stand up was because her dress was a bit tight, which she admitted with some embarrassment.

That was clearly one of those moments in Idol Season 12 when I thought I saw the ghost of Whitney Houston singing along with Amber. The tone, quality and clarity of Amber’s voice matched that of Whitney’s. It was singing at its best and nobody would dispute that.

This week, the number will again drop by one. Who will leave next is of lesser importance than who will make it to the Top 3. Frankly, most people only remember the champion but don’t tell that to Adam Lambert.

American Idol Season 12 airs every Thursday and Friday. Live off-satellite at 6pm and repeats at 8pm on Star World (Astro Channel 711) and Star World HD (Astro Channel 722).

The remaining Top 9 in Season 12

Amber Holcomb is as good as Whitney Houston.

Curtis Finch Jr had to say goodbye.

Kree Harrison sings Roy Orbison’s Crying.


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