Welcome back to American Idol! For those of you just joining us, America voted last week to eliminate all but ten contestants. This includes the top five men and top five women who remain to duke it out in this nationwide popularity contest, guided by the influence of the expert judges, of course.
This lovely, trustworthy panel is made up of Keith Urban, Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. While they give feedback after each performance, ultimately, the fate of the contestants is in the hands of America. For anyone who’s ever been to jury duty, that sounds beyond terrifying. Good luck, contestants.
The judges step to the stage and…where’s Nicki? Wait, I’m suddenly distracted by how dapper Keith looks in his blazer. Ryan Seacrest plops into Nicki’s seat and blames her absence on traffic on the 405. Hmm. Sospechosa, but whatevs. The show kicks off without Nicki. The contestants look radiant. Good lord, Curtis Finch Jr. is making a statement in that paisley blazer. And that statement is, “I made this from a tablecloth.”
Mariah looks gorgeous in her sparkly, nude-toned dress and super annoyed that Ms. Minaj deigns to be late. I am, of course, eating this up like a giant bowl of ice cream.
Cut to Curtis chatting with Jimmy Iovine about his vocal style. Unsurprisingly, Curtis cites Luther Vandross as his main influence. Jimmy tells CJ that he should modernize his retro style.
For tonight’s performance, the first of the night, CJ selects a song from Season 3 Idol winner, Fantastia Barrino. Armed by a gang of gorgeous back-up singers, the church leader sings “I Believe,” and I am shocked that the stage manages to be busier than his jacket.
Keith loves the song choice and CJ’s new style. His only warning is to not sing too high. Randy, as we all knew he would, loves the jacket. (He’s totally stealing it during the commercial break.) Mariah digs the choir and wants him to continue giving the gospel. Good lord, they cut her off already! On the first contestant? Rude.
After the commercial break, Janelle Arthur is the second contestant in line to sing. She has some gushing, down home banter with Ryan. Janelle’s meeting with Jimmy Iovine has her asserting that her classic country style will be what sets her apart.
The Would-Be Next Carrie Underwood steps out in a denim vest and cowboy boots for her performance of Montgomery Gentry‘s “Gone.” It’s upbeat with Janelle pointing, stomping and giving lots of love to the audience. Of course, the critique I’m most interested to hear will be that from Keith.
Keith enjoyed the performance and suddenly, Nicki is sitting in her seat looking like a hungover Beverly Hills housewife in sunglasses and hoodie pulled over her blonde wig. She says she liked last week’s song selection better and gets booed. Hmm. Randy wasn’t totally on board with the song choice. Mimi critiques her aura, giving Janelle props for her confidence in her performance. It is possibly the most concise critique she’s given since the Las Vegas auditions.
Devin Velez loves scarves and is from Chicago. Jimmy compliments his vocal chops and cautions Devin to not limit himself to ballads. Devin sings Carrie Underwood‘s “Temporary Home,” and he looks sleek in his black suit and man makeup. Go on with your curled eyelashes. It’s well executed, but I like when Devin’s performances are more on the sassy side.
Keith was not a fan of the song choice and I agree. Meanwhile, Nicki’s eyes have since adjusted to the light, but she still looks dazed. From the fumes of the 405 traffic, I presume. *Side eye.*
Nicki gives Keith a look as she tells him she has the exact opposite opinion and really loved it. I love the looks of complete amusement Keith gives her back. Randy wasn’t into it, either, thinking it was too safe. Mariah agrees with Randy that Devin should have picked out a song that showed off his skills better. She’s on-point tonight.
Miley Cyrus clone Angie Miller gets the note from Jimmy that she can come off as “beauty pageant.” She launches into Celine Dion‘s “I Surrender” in a leather dress that would be cute, except for some weird chains dangling around her arms. Dude, look at those chicks on the violins! I’m voting for them. Her voice is beautiful but she does exactly what Jimmy told her not to, which is be pageant-y, dangling chains or not.
Keith compliments her versatility. Nicki looks lost but tells Angie she loves the look. She also calls Angie “perfection” and likes her ability to walk in heels. Randy pulls out his trademark “America, the competition starts now!” followed by “this girl is in it to win it!” Mimi golf claps and calls it simply “stellar.” Mimi really is my favorite tonight.
Jimmy tells Paul Jolley to stop over-singing. Paul doesn’t get it and clearly wishes everyone would stop telling him to tone it down. Paul sings Lonestar‘s “Amazed,” which I deem to be a great choice for Mr. Jolley. It was definitely an improvement and Keith agrees. Nicki says this is the first time Mr. Jolley “stimulated [her] sexual appetite.” Ha! She loved it, as did her lady parts. Randy makes a lame joke and agrees with everyone that Paul has improved. Mariah wants Paul to keep it real, but not forget who he is and why they fell in love with him.
Candice Glover is next. Jimmy doesn’t even seem to have any criticism for her and I’m not surprised. Her hair and makeup look flawless as she takes to the stage for her performance of “I Who Have Nothing.” Goosebumps! This woman tears it up! The judges, rightfully, rise to their feet and the crowd goes wild. Dayum, girl.
Keith tells her, “Gosh, I love you so much.” Nicki looks like she may fall asleep before it’s her turn to talk. She snaps to and tells Candice it was her favorite performance of hers thus far. Randy calls it a “perfect” performance. Mariah says she is consistently “mesmerized.” She tells Miss Candice the only reason she didn’t stand was because “my skirt’s too tight.” Love.
Sweet Lazaro Arbos, in his tight pants and pink shirt, meets with Jimmy Iovine, who cautions him to be consistent with his song choices. He wil be singing “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson. He’s handsome in his retro suit, although I’m not feeling the shoes. And I do love him as a person, but he never really seems totally comfortable in this performance.
The minute he stutters, I want to put him in my pocket and protect him from the world for the rest of his life. Keith likes the choice but didn’t feel like it was totally Lazaro. Nicki didn’t like it and tells him so in Spanish. She wants him to hold onto his confidence. Randy didn’t feel it. Mimi kind of says the same but in a way that prevents boos from the audience.
Next, Jimmy’s simple advice to Kree Harrison is to maintain her restraint when singing. She tells him she is going to sing Roy Orbison‘s ”Crying.” Ooh, Kree is looking beautiful in her simple black and white suit and eye makeup. It’s subdued and gorgeous and I love it all.
Keith is such a fan of Kree’s. Nicki launches into some speech about waffles and the moral of the story is that she loved it. And now, of course, I want waffles. Randy says her voice “makes me feel good all over.” Mariah loved the choice and the fact that Kree “can’t help but emote.”
OMG, Jeff Bridges sounds about 100 years old in this Hyundai commercial. Anywho.
Burnell Taylor is next and he will be singing Ruben Studdard‘s “Flying Without Wings” (originally done by Westlife). He popped in the contacts for tonight, and either they’re cranking the smoke machine or Nicki’s car just pulled up to the stage and opened its doors. Burnell gives classic Burnell. I do truly enjoy his performances. And, guys, remember Ruben Studdard?
Keith praises him for being “magnetic.” Nicki confesses to being a big fan of the song and Ruben’s entire first album. She likes that Burnell makes every song his own. Randy agrees with Nicki. Mariah, as always, is Team Burnell. Also, I love her flawless manicure. Ryan makes a Pope joke before commercial break and I am off to make myself a sandwich in lieu of waffles.
The last performance of the night is Amber “Dimples” Holcomb. Jimmy had nothing but nice things to say to her because she really is great. She tells him she plans to sing Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This.” I am already looking forward to it.
Amber looks gorgeous with her red lipstick and her voice is just as fabulous. She really is channeling some classic Whitney Houston tonight. I wonder if they’re borrowing Mariah’s wind machine for the occasion? Again, the judges take to their feet (except Mimi, of course, who brought a note from her skirt to excuse this).
Keith loves how she makes performing look so easy. Nicki says it was the best of the night and she feels the same Whitney vibe I mentioned earlier. Her only critique is about Amber’s outfit. Randy loved everything about her performance. I agree with him when he says, “The girls are killing it tonight.”
Cut to Mariah, who effectively steals the entire the show in the last five minutes when she simply utters, “Hashtag Pow.” She then makes a joke about the wind machine! Her banter with Ryan is to die, and I’m voting for her tonight. Also, Happy Birthday, Amber! She is too damn cute.
And with that, Hashtag Till Tomorrow!
Place your vote now! Who’s going home tonight?