Instead of some poorly conceived duets filling time during American Idol's two-hour Top 6 performance show, the finalists — Janelle Arthur, Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Amber Holcomb, Angie Miller and lone dude Lazaro Arbos — will sing two songs each. One comes from the lengthy Burt Bacharach and Hal David songbook, while the second theme, "Song I Wish I'd Written," is much more expansive. Hollywood.com chatted with the finalists on their final rehearsal day and got the scoop on why they chose each tune.
"My song that I wish I had written is 'Love On Top' by Beyonce," Holcomb tells us. "I just actually got done rehearsing and it’s coming together really well. It's not like a wind blowing, 'wooo' [crazy moment], but it's fun. I love that song; it's upbeat and it shows my voice."
Glover is tackling another diva, the incomparable Adele — specifically, the British singer's cover of The Cure's "Love Song." "I am so excited because this is the kind of music I see myself doing in the future," she explains.
In a slightly more obscure move, Miller chose her favorite worship song, "Love Came Down" by Kari Jobe. "It’s definitely not a well known song but I’m so excited for people to hear it," she says. "She is an incredible singer. It’s more like a worship song, but I’m taking the song and making it relatable to everyone."
Like Miller, Harrison is a songwriter herself. She took the assignment very seriously, finally settling on "How Do You Make It Through the Night." "It’s written by Kris Kristofferson, but so many people who influence me have covered it, like Tammy Wynette to Elvis, so I’m really excited about it," she says. "It was kind of hard for me to choose because as a songwriter, you have [tons of] people who have influenced your writing. This song in particular I thought would give me an intimate moment I haven’t had yet — more country rather than Aretha and everything else I’ve been doing."
Country girl Arthur is also excited to stick with her roots and sing "The Dance" by Garth Brooks. "It was actually in a show that I did when I was 11 years old," she says. "It was one of those songs that really opened up my mind to how deep lyrics can be and how there’s more meaning to it than what you think."
Robbie Williams' "Angels" might not have been Arbos' first pick, but it's a song that's still close to his heart. "It’s not my all-time favorite song, but it’s a song that I do love and I felt it was right for the show," he says. "I do know it well. Hopefully I don’t forget the words since that has been becoming a recurring problem!"
The second theme was slightly more problematic for many contestants, but not Harrison. "For a lot of them it’s like the Dionne Warwick catalog," she jokes. "I’m singing 'What the World Needs Now,' which I love. I’ve always loved that song. Have you ever seen My Best Friend’s Wedding? It’s basically that soundtrack, what we’re doing. I’ve always loved that song and from the list of that catalog this was the one I could make my own more than any other."
Holcomb, however, hasn't seen the Julia Roberts rom-com, despite the fact that she chose the movie's iconic ditty "Say A Little Prayer." "I've seen Date Movie, and that's, like, a spoof of that movie," she says. "The song's in there! Listen, I did watch the scene of the song when the guy sings at the table."
Glover chose "Don't Make Me Over" by Warwick, and although she doesn't want to change the classic too much, "I still want to put that Candice in there," she says. "I never want to have anyone to change me, change my opinion. That's what got me sent home the first couple of times. I want to definitely be myself."
Staying true to her country vibe, Arthur's pick, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," was covered by country greats like Bobbie Gentry, Sheryl Crow, and Trisha Yearwood. Arbos, on the other hand, just went with the producers' suggestions and chose The Carpenters' "Close to You." "I heard it and I loved it," he says.
Miller is going obscure on her second song, too. "Anyone Who Had a Heart," which she didn't know before she chose it, is "really intense and dark, which I like," she says. "It doesn’t have an old-fashioned sound; it has more of a modern sound so that’s good."
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Once upon a time in a kingdom far far away (well, not that far if you live in California), there lived the queen of all the Dwarves and she lived in a granite quarry. Her name was Heather, and she had long black hair and was cursed at birth with a ladybeard that she shaved every morning. In the quarry she had all the little workers carve out a huge palace of burnished stone. One day an Evil Queen (who will once and forever be played by Andy Cohen) declared that Heather must throw a party for all the princesses in the realm so that they could come and do battle and only the victorious should leave. Heather's palace was the perfect place, because while it is hard to get blood out of a stone, it is very easy to wash blood off of one.
The occasion for the party was that Heather was changing her last name to Dwarf, which was the last name of her husband Terry, the king of the Dwarfs. They lived happily in their rock quarry with their little rock-eating children for many years, but finally she decided to change her name because the Evil Queen told her it would break the curse and make her beard disappear forever. The key ingredient for this bit of hocus pocus was a very grand cake with her new initials "H.D." inscribed on it which all the guests would eat in unison and then her curse would be broken. However, if even one person eat even a tiny bit of the cake before midnight all would be spoiled.
OK, enough of this fairy tale, at least for now. Let's start talking about Heather's party and all the crazy nonsense that was swirling about. The first guests to arrive are Tamra and her new fiance Eddie the Honeybear (doesn't he look like the clear plastic bear that honey comes in?). Heather is very happy that she is there with her gigantic diamond ring that covers up a literal scar from her last relationship. Everyone was happy for Tamra about her engagement except for Vicki who thinks they are moving too fast. When did Vicki turn into a troll turd of the highest order? Well, I guess she always has been, but she's been especially stinky this past year. She's talking about how Tamra got engaged only "six months after her divorce got finalized." Um, yeah Vicki, but she's been seeing the guy for two damn years. Isn't that long enough? You started dating Brooks while your ex was still living in the same house as you (and may have even been emailing with him while you were still married). Who do you think is moving fast. Argh.
Next to arrive is Alexis "Fun Bags" Bellino, the world's only tit boxer. She actually knocks people out with her titties while she's in the ring. That is why they call them "knockers." Alexis brought Sara the Striver with her. We've seen Sara twice before this season, and she is one of those women (like a Kim G. or a Dana Wilkie) that wants on the show real bad but is sort of too bland and awful to get a full-time gig so they just trot her out when they need some exposition or conflict and let her dig her own grave without getting paid for it. Sara the Striver is officially the worst. Possibly even worse than Jim Bellino who is the Guinness Book of World Record holder and Olympic Gold Medalist in The Worst. Since Jim won't come to the fancy party, Alexis brings Sara who I thought was Gretchen's friend. When did she go from Gretchen's friend to Alexis' friend?
Anyway, we learn at a dinner that Alexis is still pissed off about what happened to her in Costa Rico and that she feels ganged up by the women. When she got back, she called up all her friends and asked if she was phony. "No!" her equally phony friends said to her. Duh, of course they did. As Dionne Warwick said, that's what friends are for. "For good times, for bad times, for times when you are on a reality show and they accuse you of being a materialistic liar to your face and you need people to continually rationalize your self-delusions, I'll be on your side forever more. That's what friends are for." Alexis actually says this thing: "They're mistaking kindness for phony." Excuse me, my ears just fell of and melted into a pool of warm gazpacho. What? I cunt hear you. How does that even make sense? Alexis seems to think that because all the women are awful screech monkeys (which they are, except for Heather) that when someone isn't a screech monkey they think she's not being "real." Oh, Alexis. That has nothing to do with it. It's the fact that you lie about how many Bentleys you have and how much money your The Worst husband makes on his trampoline park that makes them think you're phony. It's your big tits and your fake wedding ring that make them think you're phony. It's your convenient Christianity that makes them think you're phony. It's your fake Louis Vuitton blinged out phone that make them think you're phone-y (get it?)! It's basically everything about you.
Then Sara Striver (no relation to Maria) says, "I have one word for you: jealousy." OK, I am going to set the record straight once and for all, Housewives. No one treats you like shit because they are jealous. Period. This is not a motivation for meanness because all of these women are so self-involved that they all think that who they are and what they have is the best. They are incapable of jealousy (unless they get kicked off the show and you don't). Saying people are mean to you because they are jealous is just another sick symptom of your own narcissism. So, Alexis says she wants some backup at the party and Jim won't going so Sara says, "I'll go if you go." Um, yeah, Sara, that's how it works because you aren't invited! You can't show up at the door and say, "Oh, I'm Alexis' plus one, but she's not coming." You're only along for the ride.
Alright, next up is Gretchen and Slade who pulled up in a Stage Coach from Petticoat Junction. Gretchen had a pink dress with ruffles with black piping and a flower in her hair and her tits spilling out, and she looked like she just got off her shift serving sassparilly at the saloon in Deadwood. But then Slade pulled up in the Delorean from Back to the Future and the door opened skyward and a little puff of smoke emerged and he came right from the '70s where he was wearing a black blazer and turtle neck like he was trying to be the white Shaft. They walked into the Granite Palace together and Gretchen said, "Ooooh. Pretty flowers" (they were quite nice) and then a waiter offered her a "Vanilla Pomegranate Martini" and she spontaneously vomited all over him and her dress, but luckily her bright pink emission was the same color as her dress, so it just blended and she walked into the party.
Gretchen and Slade really didn't do anything last night. That's when I like them the best. When they're doing absolutely nothing. Gretchen and Slade could sit on a couch for the rest of their lives watching reruns of SVU and I'd be totally fine with that. Once a year we could check in and say, "How you guys doing?" and they'd say, "Oh, just fine. Can you get us some pretzels?" and that would be absolutely perfect.