All hail the end of the ridiculous group songs on the performance shows. No more filling time, just a double dose of each singer.

In fact, we don’t have any time to spare. Let’s get to the recap:

Angie Miller’s First Song: “Anyone Who Had a Heart” by Dionne Warwick

Keith Said: You have such a great voice, but don’t rely on it alone. There were moments where I was waiting to hear that passion.

Nicki Said: Your voice is so amazing, but this felt old-fashioned.

Randy Said: You gotta sing the song like you wrote it.

The Verdict:

By the end of this performance it was like it hadn’t happened. It was just ordinarily good. Workmanlike as Angie sounded great but did nothing too memorable with the song.

She sounded just as good as usual but there were no moments created in the song. At no point did she unleash the Angie with a big note for a creative spike. She just plowed right through the tune without taking any time to breathe or really dig into it. Just a solidly sung song with nothing much to say about it.

Right in that zone of not bad but not overwhelming. Right in the forgettable area. Right were you don’t want to be when you lead off the show.

Grade: C+

Angie Miller’s Second Song: “Love Came Down” by Kari Jobe

Keith Said: When you get out and tour, you’re going to be doing a lot of that.

Nicki Said: This is Angie. Don’t stray from that.

Randy Said: So unbelievable. Thank you!

The Verdict:

My word.

I have no idea what this song is, but if Angie had actually written this song and put it out on Spotify, it would be filling my feed to the point that people would be scared I’d died and my computer just got stuck on repeat.

A total pantheon performance here from Angie and she finally outdid herself from Hollywood week when she became the favorite with her original song. That didn’t seem possible at the time, but here we are.


Grade: A+

Prediction: After the first performance, she seemed like she might require a judges’ save this week. After the second one, they might as well stop the competition with the mercy rule.

Amber Holcomb’s First Song: “I Say A Little Prayer” by Dionne Warwick

Keith Said: It was just floating and it never let me go the whole time.

Nicki Said: I am bowing down to you right now. You just became my favorite girl in the competition.

Randy Said: The competition just started tonight. Amber is trying to win, y’all.

The Verdict:

A pro vocal. An amateur performance.

At this point, Amber might sing the songs better than anybody else in this competition. It feels like an original every time the way she matches the song so expertly to her voice and then just effortlessly cuts through it like she’s been touring with the tune for years.

But the performance seemed like a kid bopping around at a karaoke Sweet 16 birthday party as she was all nervous smiles and awkwardly trying to figure out what to do with her hands while she sang. The vocal just didn’t match the person delivering it.

That could be because the vocal was coming straight from a 70s soul diva ready to record a string of number ones, and nobody’s going to do that without a little season. But it would have been nice to see her at least approach it.

Grade: B

Amber Holcomb’s Second Song: “Love on Top” by Beyonce

Keith Said: It was beautiful. It was a such a great song choice for you.

Nicki Said: You gave me everything I ever wanted.

Randy Said: This girl is in it to win it!

The Verdict:

A very muddled performance here. Amber just didn’t have it vocally in the way she normally does. She seemed to get lost in the pitch and arrangement at times as she struggled with her rhythm and phrasing.

There were times she seemed confused. Like she was about to tell the producers to stop the record so she could regain her place and composure and get back to her normal ownership of the song.

Here, she didn’t even lease the song. It ran away from her and she never caught up. Though she still sounded good and looked great doing it.

Grade: C-

Prediction: A couple of mediocre to forgettable performances from an early spot make her vulnerable.

Lazaro Arbos’ First Song: “(They Long to Be) Close to You” by The Carpenters

Keith Said: You choose a key of the song that’s way too low for you. You were sharp from the beginning.

Nicki Said: Let’s just pretend I already gave my comment because we’re gonna be here all night. (A shot at Mariah for taking I think at least 2 minutes to say absolutely nothing. No regrets cutting her out of the column. None at all.)

Randy Said: All I can say is, “No, no, no, no.” That was horrible. I felt like we were back at the auditions in some city and were about to say, “No. Next.”

The Verdict:

Every week, a new perfect comparison emerges for Lazaro. This week may be the mother of them all.

When you go to the Quad (nee Imperial Palace) in Las Vegas to play blackjack there are these really annoying people there called Dealertainers. What are Dealertainers you ask? They are celebrity impersonators who take turns butchering songs by famous artists when they aren’t dealing hands of 21. And if you think getting crushed by the deck with a regular dealer is tough, it’s much more amplified when fake Lady Gaga flips over an ace after just strangling a cat to the tune of “Born This Way”.

After this dreadful performance, Lazaro just cemented himself in the class of those Dealertainers. He could definitely wind up flipping cards at the Quad with the type of voice he just displayed in his obliteration of Homer and Marge Simpson’s favorite song.

Though, he might not even make the cut in the casino.

Grade: F

Lazaro Arbos’ Second Song: “Angels” by Robbie Williams

Keith Said: We just saw the difference between those in a talent show, and those trying to be real artists.

Nicki Said: What Keith said.

Randy Said: It’s a girl’s race right now to me.

The Verdict:

Making fun of Lazaro is probably the most enjoyable pass time in this column so far this year, but this even defies mockery. It’s just so bad that it starts to verge on pity.

This is such a brilliant song choice for anybody on this show. Why this isn’t in the “every year someone picks it” song rotation is a complete mystery: It’s so perfect for this show, yet it only gets trotted out a few times a decade.

Lazaro may have put it away forever here as those unfamiliar with it may think it was written by a high school boy who couldn’t sing and tried to win over his classmate with a tune he composed on a broken guitar.

Lazaro sure made it seem like that and sang it like a poor-man’s Aladdin. See! We could get back to mockery and the expert analogies eventually. Now bye-bye, Lazaro. We don’t need you around anymore.

Grade: F

Prediction: He should be going home, but he should have gone home several times already.