March 14, 2013 02:00 AM by Melissa Stavarski
As the American Idol finalists prepare for the show, Ryan Seacrest fills us in on all the need-to-know details for the upcoming Top 10 performance show. First, this week’s nonsense theme is “Music of the American Idols,” which means any song ever covered by any winner is fair game. Also, Jimmy Iovine‘s brilliant advice is in the house this week. Finally, Nicki Minaj is stuck in traffic, but the live show must go on without her.
Curtis Finch Jr. wants to be a modern-day Luther Vandross; Jimmy suggests that Curtis to learn the difference classic and retro.
Sporting a red paisley jacket, Curtis sings Fantasia‘s “I Believe” and alternates between flat and seizure. Keith Urban thinks adrenaline causes Curtis to sing “above” the song. Randy loves the “fly jacket” but wants to hear something a little less churchy. On the other hand, Mariah Carey loves what Curtis did tonight. And I love that Mariah covered up her chest tonight.
Ryan receives word that Nicki has arrived, and he rushes off stage like he’s the host and the door man. I have a feeling this is going to be a weird (and long) night.
Jimmy asks Janelle Arthur what sets her apart from the other (countless) attractive, blonde country artists. Janelle disses the “watered down” and “pop” sound of today’s country, adding, “I definitely want stay more true to its roots.”
Janelle sings Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone,” which was performed by Scotty McCreery, and it’s neither horrible nor fantastic. I have a hard time hearing Janelle’s voice when she “works” the stage. Nicki wants to hear more of the “pretty part” of Janelle’s voice. Randy Jackson doesn’t like the song choice because it didn’t lead anywhere. Mariah says, “I felt like your aura is giving us star.”
Devin Velez tells Jimmy that ballads are his sweet spot; Jimmy warns him not to limit himself to one style of song.
Devin’s rendition of Carrie Underwood‘s “Temporary Home” leaves a lot to be desired. Keith is completely underwhelmed, adding, “I ddin’t feel like you had confidence with the song at all.” In response to Keith’s criticism, Nicki says to Devin, “That is so crazy. To me, this is you, and I loved the song with your voice.” Randy thinks Devin plays it too safe, adding, “The top 10 is still a competition. You gotta go for broke!” In a long winded and read between the lines kind of way, Mariah, too, tells Devin to up his game.
Jimmy thinks Kree Harrison has an “incredible shot” at winning this season and goes on to compliment her tone, range, and confidence.
Following in Carrie Underwood’s footsteps, Kree sings “Crying” by Roy Orbinson. I have no words for what happens next. “Sometimes, when I wake up, sometimes, if I’m not working, I’ll eat waffles. Like, buttermilk waffles. And I’ll have to have Aunt Jemima syrup on it. I’ll toast it, but never burn it, and then I’ll put it in the microwave to warm it up a little bit. That’s what that performance felt like to me,” Nicki says. “It was smooth, it was delicious, it was just fun.” Keith takes this opportunity to sniff Nicki’s drink. Rightfully so.
Randy compliments the amount of emotion that Kree puts into each note, and Mariah compliments Kree’s range. I crave waffles.
When Angie Miller sings, Jimmy “sees” beauty pageant. Angie is like, Um, no.
Angie takes on Celine Dion’s “I Surrender,” which Kelly Clarkson sang in season one, and impresses the judges. Keith loves the highest register of Angie’s voice. Nicki adds “Your legs are giving me everything I need in life today” and “I love the way you walk in heels” for absolutely no legitimate reason. Randy screams, “America! The competition starts now! This girl is in it to win it!” Is it too late for him to get stuck in traffic? Mariah’s sole contribution is the word stellar.
Once again, Jimmy tells Paul Jolley that he over-sings, and Paul says he has no idea where it’s coming from but hopes it goes away.
Paul sings Lonestar’s “Amazed,” which Scotty McCreery covered during his season, and stimulates Nicki’s sexual appetite I can’t make this stuff up, seriously. While Mariah respects Jimmy’s advice, she doesn’t want Paul to hold back. Randy agrees, saying, “If you feel it, go for it. If you don’t feel it, don’t force it.”
Jimmy simply tells Candice Glover that she has a fabulous voice.
Candice’s take on “I (Who Have Nothing)” by Ben E. King, which Jordin Sparks once sang, brings the judges to their feet. Well, Keith, Nicki, and Randy stand, while Mariah excuses herself from such exertion because her skirt is too tight. Keith points out the fact that Candice never allows the audience to pull her out of her zone, adding, “You’re incredible, baby.” Nicki hopes no one ever attempts to perform that song on American Idol again. Randy adds “incredible” and “perfection” to the review.
To Lazaro Arbos, Jimmy says, “You have a lot of fans. But, if you don’t get the right songs, they won’t stick by you. When you’re not sure, you can’t hide it, and then the audience is not sure.”
Lazaro’s rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” is very weak, and I’ll be shocked if he isn’t in the bottom two tomorrow night. Keith doesn’t think “Breakaway” is in Lazaro’s his wheelhouse. “Today, you seemed very nervous,” Nicki says. “Don’t let anybody knock you off your square.” Is Nicki throwing shade at Jimmy Iovine? Randy tells Lazaro that his pitch was all over the place.
Jimmy straight up tells Burnell Taylor that his American Idol dream will end if he relies too heavily on ballads.
Burnell sings “Flying Without Wings” by Westlife, which was Ruben Studdard’s coronation song, and (unpopular opinion alert) bores me to tears. Keith speaks about the “burnellisms” that he finds “magnetic.” I have no idea what he’s talking about. Nicki says she was once obsessed with Ruben’s first album. Wait. Ruben had a second album? Anyway, Nicki seems to be inwardly comparing Burnell to Ruben, and I’m pretty sure Ruben wins in her mind. Randy believes that Burnell believes and that American believes. Once again, I have no clue where this is going, so I shall move on.
Amber Holcomb admits that Jimmy intimidates her, stressing, “He could make me or break me!”
Amber sings Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” despite Jimmy’s advice to sing more uptempo songs. I am not feeling Amber, at all, though I cannot pinpoint a specific reason why. Compared to Kelly? Fail. The wind machine? Just no. That said, the judges pimp Amber so hard, it gives me whiplash. Amber gets a standing ovation from everyone but tight skirt Mariah. From Keith, effortless. Nicki compares Amber’s style to Whitney Houston’s first album. Randy says, “You blew it out of the box tonight! Guys! Where are you at?” Mariah adds, “Hashtag pow, and that’s all I can say.” Then she rambles on about nothing for (what feels like) two more minutes.
Your thoughts? Who impresses you? Who needs to go? Sound off in the comments below!
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