American Idol recap: The Lion Queen

Zoanette Johnson is a crazy hot mess. So why did I just watch 'Circle of Life' five times?
Ep. 13 | Aired Feb 27, 2013

FAR TOO MUCH TO TAKE IN HERE As Zoanette finds her place on the path unwinding, her fashion sense moves us all.

Michael Becker/Fox

Janelle Arthur -- Don't get me wrong, I still think Candice is Top 5 material. But Janelle is another one who didn't need to give the performance of a lifetime this week to plop into the season 12 Top 20 pool. I'd go so far as to say she was NOT GOOD on her meandering cover of Lady Antebellum's "Just a Kiss." It was mostly a song choice issue -- the overall effect of listening to her try to get out in front of the melody was much like riding a Tilt-a-Whirl. It just never went anywhere and at the end you're dizzy, annoyed, and want your two minutes back.

I find it weird that if she's such a sure thing, there's not a vocal coach who would gently suggest she try a song that'd be more of a showstopper for Janelle. Then again, the judges did have their "it didn't give you room to soar" and "you know that you are a star" and "you don't have to try hard" comments all keyed up, so I guess it's just a plot technique. BAD PLOT.

Zoanette Johnson -- There's something about Zoanette, isn't there? I'm not mad she's in the Top 20. I get it. She's crazy. I'm sorry; it's good TV. There may be magic involved. I actually have no idea what she'll "sing" next. I wouldn't even call her style singing -- it's more like the unregulated channeling of power. She might hit a note, but it's not in English. Or she'll miss a note, and then…well, nothing. She'll miss another one. But I don't know! Maybe I sound absurd, but I like to think I haven't been brainwashed here. Something about her whole janky-ass circus show draws me in.

Actually, "Circle of Life" is more of a religious experience than a song, so in many ways Zoanette's performance wasn't even fair. I mean, watch this s--- on YouTube. It is impossible to not feel things!

Look, I'm really sorry if Zoanette ruined the song for you. I admit that listening to just the audio was a TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE. But are things really that bad? You just watched the best part of The Lion King at work! Any trigger is a good one.

I'd say this is a unique song choice she won't be able to replicate. I mean, the point of "Circle of Life" is to be crazy and guttural and just shake it all out. What Zoanette did here was only forgivable because of the song. Eh, I just assume if no one can stand her, she'll leave first and we can go back to complaining about something else. And at this point, I like the idea that she escaped from a war-torn Liberia at the age of 2 so that she could one day muscle her way into American Idol and FREAK EVERYONE OUT.

Your thoughts? Am I way off on The Strange Magic of Zoanette? Which five would you have picked to go through?

Read more:
All 'American Idol' recaps on EW.com
Zoanette Johnson: Really, 'American Idol'?! -- VIDEO
Mariah Carey gets the Nicki Minaj phone call: A dramatization
'American Idol': 12 Wishes for Season 12

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