There are only eight contestants remaining, and even though American Idol is still in Hollywood, the spirit of Detroit is in the air with the arrival of Motown Week. Ryan Seacrest informs us that this means the contestants can pick from any artist originating Detroit. I am so sad Charlie Askew isn’t around to perform an acoustic version of “The Real Slim Shady” at the piano.
There are some surprises in store, as Lazaro Abos delivers his first decent performance since Las Vegas and usual judges’ favorite, Angie Miller, falls flat for the first time on the big stage. Given the sympathy vote Laz has been rocking as of late, this could spell big trouble for lil’ Angie tomorrow during the results show. Also, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj reveal they still enjoy poking at one another whenever possible. That, and tweeting.
OK, well, let’s start sanging, y’all!
Per usual, I’m noticing the outfits on the lovely judges. Nicki and Mariah are both ladies in red. At some point, Mariah pulls out a sparkly wand and starts waving it around. Is this her turn to be loaded? Also, did Keith Urban get a haircut? He’s looking predictably dreamy.
Let’s get reintroduced to our top eight. Everybody looks lovely and I am especially enjoying Burnell Taylor‘s all-white suit. He’s looking very mid-’90s Boyz II Men, circa “Water Runs Dry.”
Candice Glover is up first to chat with Motown legend, Mr. Smokey Robinson. He tells her that her version of “I Who Have Nothing” brought tears to his beautiful green eyes. The two of them vibe adorably during her coaching sessions with Jimmy Iovine. Candice whips out a super bluesy version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” She is sparkly with some lovely waves in her hair. As usual, Candice is killing it. I’m shocked that she manages to make it such a unique version of a song that’s been played to death. Go Miss Candi!
Keith tells her she raises the bar every time. He loved it and calls it her best performance. Guys, I would love to look in his closet to see the miles and miles of perfect fitted tees that he surely has hanging in there. Nicki looks simple and elegant and tells Candice her emotional commitment to the performance was apparent. Randy Jackson calls her effortless. Mariah loved the old school rendition of the tune. Also, where did Mimi’s wand go? She is such a delightful mystery.
Kree Harrison and Janelle Arthur are the next up for a duet of “Like A Prayer.” It’s a very interesting choice and I love the choir that emerges. Sadly, for Janelle, I think this juxtaposition of their two voices really showed how much better of a singer Kree is. Nicki says almost exactly same thing. She and I are so often on the same page. Randy says that Janelle’s pitch was off during the performance. Mimi kicks off her critique by noting that “the powers that be” cut her off when she starts to ramble. Of course, she then proceeds to ramble idly for about a minute. Ha! Cue the Idol music. Keith loved their interpretation of the song but would have loved to see more movement.
Lazaro is surprisingly still here. He sings “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder. I have to say, he looks a lot more comfortable since Vegas, and he isn’t sweating bullets for once. I ain’t mad at’cha, Laz. He’s looking very Latin pop star.
Randy says it was a much better performance, despite some pitch issues, and Laz sasses something to him under his breath. Ha! Mimi was happy with the song choice and tells him, “Great job.” Keith gives Smokey props for his good advice and calls it greatly improved. Nicki briefly asks if Smokey will be her sugar daddy. She’s not even asking if he has a girlfriend. She don’t care! Unanimously, the judges tell Lazaro he did much better this week.
Janelle is next and sings “Keep Me Hanging On.” Her version will have her playing her guitar during the performance. They bust out the smoke machine for her country rendition and Mariah screams, “Janelle at her finest!” Keith was a fan of the arrangement. Nicki liked the fact that she brought her guitar on stage with her. Randy calls it “incredible” and tells her “she’s in it to win it.” She is moved to happy tears in her exit interview.
Back from commercial break, Mimi can’t be pulled away from her Smartphone. She’s either texting or tweeting. Devin Velez tells Smokey he will sing “The Tracks Of My Tears.” I absolutely adore the story behind the song lyric. Smokey really is the effing best and this is probably my favorite song of his. It’s a beautiful version and Devin picked the perfect song for his style of singing.
Keith tells him he has style. Nicki tells him he looked like a “ripe banana,” which she clarifies is a compliment. “Yes sir!” she tells him. Randy calls it one of Devin’s best. Mimi loved it and calls it “flawless.” Smokey dubs it, “Awesome.” Can we have an episode just of Smokey?
Amber Holcomb, Candice and Angie are up for a trio next. The three sing, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.” This is the first time I’ve really liked Angie. The three ladies together really are quite fun. This evokes another “Hashtag pow!” from Mimi. “That was so pow!” she adds with an “A-plus-mazing.”
Next for a solo is Burnell doing “Ma Cherie Amour.” As soon as he says it, I feel it is a perfect choice. And look at that flutist off to the side! Love it. Burnell is my favorite of the guys. He really is such an interesting singer to watch. I love how he always emotes.
Nicki gushes about his voice, calling him a “sexy doctor.” Randy again reminds us the he and Burnell are both from Louisiana. He praises the subtlety of his voice. If I hear “in it to win it” one more time, though… Randy needs some new catch phrases. Mimi also praises the ice cream suit and the performance. Keith makes a Ron Burgundy joke, cleverly referencing the jazz flute, in his praise of Burnell. And that is why Keith is ma cherie amour. Commercial break!
Guys, “Temptation” looks terrible and I find myself very tempted to go see it.
Angie tells Smokey that she’s going to sing “Shop Around.” She gives us a rock and roll version, forgetting the words at one point. I think this might have been her worst performance, if only because she usually has no problem with hitting all the right notes. Curious to see what the judges say.
Randy picks up on it too, calling out her pitch, despite evoking boos from the audience. Mariah is up next and deflects by praising Angie’s look and then sneaks in a mention that she has also done her own version of the song, before ultimately saying it wasn’t great. Keith agrees with the pitch issues. Nicki “Keep It Real” Minaj wasn’t a fan, telling Angie to stay true to herself. It’s going to be interesting to see this week’s results, with Lazaro pulling out quite a “comeback moment,” as Mariah would say.
Back from commercial break with all judges tweeting like a bunch of teenagers. Amber will sing Stevie Wonder’s “Lately.” Both Smokey and Jimmy were as outraged with Amber being in the bottom three last week as I was. Smokey says, “I wanted to turn my TV off.” Preach.
Amber looks great with her short dress and her hair down. Unsurprisingly, she is amazing. Mimi shrieks, “That was a tour de force!” When nobody applauds because of her odd timing, she yells, “Does anyone know what that means?” She then proceeds to gush and tell the audience she is dumbing down her praise because they clearly didn’t understand “tour de force.” Keith loved the performance as well. Nicki keeps telling Amber to wear some pink lipstick but calls her voice “unmatched.” Randy calls it the best vocal of the night. VOTE FOR HER, DAMMIT.
We return from commercial for a serenade of “I Can’t Help Myself” from Burnell, Devin and Lazaro. Oh, shit! Lazaro totally spaces his solo and then kind of drops off. Uh, oh. The judges ain’t gonna like dis mess.
Nicki is pissed with their performance. The exit interview with the boys is AWKWARD. That’s right, in all caps. That’s how bad it was. Thank God for commercial breaks.
We return and again, Mimi is whipping her wand around like a real tour de force. Up next is Kree, thankfully. She is so endearing with how star struck she is in her rehearsals with Smokey. I want them to sing a duet. She takes on Aretha Franklin‘s “Don’t Play That Song.” After hearing her in the booth, Smokey dubs her the best that he’s heard so far.
This girl can do no wrong. I get goosebumps and love every single second of it, down to Kree’s blinged-out shoes. Randy says it wasn’t perfect but asserts that Kree is here to stay. Mimi launches into a story about singing this song herself and the audience starts clapping to get her to get to the point — which is that Kree is here to stay. Keith, as always, loves that Kree is true to her voice. Nicki loves her natural confidence, calling Kree “a queen.”
Thursday night, find out the results, but more importantly, Keith Urban performs. Get ready to swoon, y’all!