Janelle Arthur Sings Vince Gill’s ‘When I Call Your Name’ on ‘American Idol’
Up-and-coming country singer Janelle Arthur paid tribute to one of her earliest influences on ‘American Idol‘ Wednesday night (April 17), performing the Vince Gill classic ‘When I Call Your Name’ to effusive praise from the judges — except one.
Arthur chose the song as part of the theme of the evening, which required the top five contestants to pick songs from the year they were born. In an interview clip, Arthur said the song was the only thing that could get her to stop crying when she was a baby.
She sang it in the understated way that has set her apart many times during the competition, not trying to out-power her competitors, but instead delivering a restrained version that was more about getting to the heart of the song, though she did engage in more vocal gymnastics than Gill did on the original recording. Arthur accompanied herself on acoustic guitar, buoyed by a genuine country arrangement that included pedal steel and fiddle.
Nicki Minaj thought that was the right approach. “When you have your guitar, you’re so much more comfortable,” she noted, adding that she loved the key and Arthur’s voice, which she described as “pretty and angelic.”
Randy Jackson exclaimed, “Janelle’s back where she belongs!”
Mariah Carey also praised the performance, saying, “You were singing with your whole heart.”
Ironically, country star Keith Urban was the lone holdout from the judges, saying that he thought she sang it well, but he just didn’t feel that she conveyed the emotion of the song as she could have, and he felt that she over-sang instead of letting the melody carry the song as Gill’s version had.
Arthur will learn her fate on the results show on Thursday night (April 18).