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The Top 10 finalists performed on American Idol Wednesday night, and despite what the judges said to have been bad song choices, the finalists proved they are one of the more talented groups the show has had in past seasons.
The theme of the night is past Idols, so the contestants will sing any song from any past winner of the show, but before their performance they each got to sit down with music producer Jimmy Iovine.
Despite the fact that Nicki Minaj is missing from the judges table due to traffic, the show goes on without her. The first up is Curtis Finch, Jr., and the advice Iovine has for him is to not to be so retro and “not get caught up too much in the past.” Finch decides to sing “I Believe” by Fantasia Barrino and Randy Jackson tells him, “You definitely know who you are. You can really sing. I would caution you to not try to sing something different. I know there’s more in your bag. Show me another side of you.”
Janelle Arthur is the next to go, but Iovine first tells her it’s important for her to try to stand out considering how many blonde country signers there are out there. He tells her that her song selection is very important, and she sings “Gone,” which Scotty McCreery sang on his season. Minaj, who gets to the show before Arthur starts singing, says, “The song that you sang last week, I think suited you better. I want to hear you sing songs that show the pretty part of your voice more.” Jackson also says, “The thing, for me, is that the song didn’t lead anywhere. I don’t know if it was the right song choice, I didn’t love the song for you.”
Devin Velez is then the next to sit with Iovine, who tells him not to limit himself or label himself as one type of singer. Velez sings “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood, which has Keith Urban telling him, “My feeling is that that was not one of your better performances. It was a wrong song choice.” Minaj disagrees with Urban, saying, “To me this is you. This is your comfort zone. I loved the song with your voice, I really did.”
When Iovine sits down with Angie Miller, he tells her to avoid looking like she’s in a beauty pageant, which he says she has the tendency to do when she gets too passionate. She sings “I Surrender” by Celine Dion, who Kelly Clarkson sang on the first season. Urban loves it and tells her, “What I love about you is that you’re such an artist, you can take a song seemingly from any era and make it so right now. You hit it out of the park tonight.” Minaj agrees with Urban this time, saying, “You really really look like a billion dollars, your legs are giving me everything I need in life right now. You personify perfection. Your voice is flawless. You are a superstar.”
The advice Iovine has for the next contestant, Paul Jolley, is to tone down the over singing and not to be too theatric. Jolley sings “Maybe I’m Amazed,” another song that McCreery sang. Urban tells him, “I felt like that was one of your better performances as far as being you.” Mariah Carey adds, “I don’t want [the over singing] to hold you back, or to take away the real singer. I love that you’re aware of some of those things but now just forget them and go from here.”
Candice Glover is next, and Iovine tells her that she has a “fabulous, fabulous voice.” Glover decides to sing “I Who Have Nothing,” a song that Jordin Sparks performed. She gets a standing ovation and Urban tells her, “Gosh, I love you so much. You never let the audience pull you out of your zone, you stay in it. You’re incredible baby.” Minaj adds, “It would be in everybody’s best interest to never ever ever perform that song again. Nobody should ever perform that song on Idol because you just annihilated it.” Carey also says, “Every time you are on stage, it’s mesmerizing. I am transfixed watching you.”
Iovine then sits down with Lazaro Arbos, and he tells him that song choice is the key to keeping an audience. He sings “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson, but Minaj doesn’t like it. She says, “This was probably my least favorite from you. You usually sing very comfortable and calm and today you seemed very nervous. Go back to feeling you’re great.” Jackson also adds, “The pitch was just all over the place. That song was too big for you.”
Iovine then meets with Kree Harrison, and he tells her she has “an incredible shot to win the show.” She sings “Crying” by Roy Orbison, which was sung by Carrie Underwood. Urban praises her for the performance, saying, “When it comes to you, you could sing the phonebook, baby. If you released a record tomorrow, I would go and buy that record.” After Minaj gives a bizarre critique that had her comparing Harrison’s performance to a plate of waffles, Jackson says, “You have one of those infectious voices. Amazing vocals, I love that you put feeling into everything you do.”
Burnell Taylor then meets with Iovine, who tells him he has a great voice and could do a lot of things with it. He sings “Flying Without Wings”, which was sung by Ruben Studdard. Minaj tells him, “I think that you’re well on your way. Even when you sing other artists you always seem to put your own twist into it.” Carey also tells him that he’s very unique and “could take his gift even further.”
Amber Holcomb is the last of the night, and she decides to sing “A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson. The judges give her a standing ovation and praise her performance. Urban says, “I love that song for you, I love how effortless you sing. I thought it was really, really beautiful.” Minaj then says, “That was the best performance of the night. You voice and your aura reminds me of Whitney Houston’s first album. That last note was giving me Whitney. I just can’t wait to see you spread your wings and fly.” Jackson also says the song is his favorite finale song and Clarkson is one of his favorite Idols ever, and he tells her she “blew it out of the park.” Carey sums up her critique by saying, “Hashtag, pow.”
Thursday night’s show will have performances by Bon Jovi as well as last season’s winner, Phillip Phillips, while one contestant is being sent home.
Who do you think is going home tonight? Let us know in the comments below.