American Idol recap: Sudden Death Becomes Her

Ten girls sing, five get cut, and one of 'em is so good Mariah Carey wants to smack her
Ep. 11 | Aired Feb 20, 2013

OH, IT'S ALREADY BEEN BROUGHTEN "You know, I gotta, like, bring it," explained the fabulous Amber Holcomb.

Michael Becker/Fox

Kree Harrison – I loved how Randy's critique of Kree, dressed down in a huge button-up and jeans, was basically "You're so good you don't even have to slut it up!" It's true, though -- her "Up to the Mountain" cover was so effortless, so free of artifice, that I forgot I was watching American Idol. The judges nearly fell over each other trying to outdo themselves with different ways of describing Kree's authenticity as she just shook her head -- half due to humility and half, I'm sure, due to complete disbelief that she managed to survive the absurd numbers game so far and is now clearly a frontrunner.

I predict Kree will do her best to maintain wardrobe/makeup control…and then one week she'll blow everyone away by sauntering out in a gorgeous evening gown. You know it's gonna happen!

Angela Miller – Her '80s hair and 70 pounds of makeup were troublesome, but like the Jessie J song says, "Nobody's Perfect," you know? She definitely "gets inside" a song and knows how to twist and turn it (and her body) to full effect; I just wonder if the judges' clear favoritism and her tendency to over-perform could end up turning people off. Nicki and Mariah both focused their entire commentaries on Angela's original tune from last week -- Mariah going to far as to ask Angela to mention the title again. Hmm….

Amber Holcomb – Her "My Funny Valentine" cover was so good, Mariah Carey wanted to smack her. That's when you know you've made it. Another no-show up until this point, Amber was actually around last season and got cut in Vegas -- a sweet and retreating presence in the shadow of the majestic Shannon Magrane. I cannot believe I just remembered Shannon Magrane's name.

Anyway, to borrow a lyric from the song, and I do apologize in advance, Amber made me smile with my heart with the way she took on this classic. I don't know how much help she had in arranging it, but there was so many little choices -- when to soften up, when to smile, when to prompt Mariah's 'O' face with a series of high-pitched runs -- that set Amber apart.

Nicki buzzkilled all of this with her suggestion that Amber's "inner shine" might not shine through the TV for viewers. Eh, let them decide for themselves. Amber's "newfound confidence" story arc and early-season obscurity could definitely endear her to voters.

And now for the low point of the recap (congrats for making it this far)....

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 7.29.27 PM

I kept seeing a clarinet on Ryan's shirt.

Who was your favorite tonight? Is the new elimination process too awkward? Discuss!

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