Thought that feud between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey had simmered down to the actual respect they’ve been saying they have for each other? Well, all that relative quiet between the two “American Idol” judges lately (not to mention the absence of Minaj’s eye-rolling) was just that — the two divas being quiet. The feud endures, sometimes erupting. It did just that Wednesday night (May 1) during the Top 4 redux performance show.
But first: “Idol” brought in Harry Connick Jr to mentor the remaining contestants for the singing challenge for the week, “Songs from Now and Then.” (Connick’s easy tutorship and insightful coaching makes one wonder just why “Idol” producers never tried harder to get the popular crooner to be a judge on the show. There’s always next season…) The “Now” part of the challenge would come from songs from 2013; the “Then” would be songs taken from the Great American Songbook. Eight songs, four singers, three spots to fill.
So how did they do?
First up: Angie Miller. She’s been a favorite from the start of the season and putting her in the death spot probably won’t hurt her (besides, her Twitter presence is nearly twice that of the nearest finalist). Rihanna’s “Diamonds” was her choice. And the judges panned it. She did a stripped-down, acoustic version with piano and conga drums and the judges said she wasn’t connected and played to the audience. Oddly enough, it might have been her best performance of the entire competition.
But this is where the Judges Nicki and Mariah decided to have a little word war. Since the panel mostly agreed, it was a strange exchange, but Mariah mentioned the fact that the song was a No. 1 song (for some reason they felt that it shouldn’t have been rearranged like Angie did it, but her vocals and the melody seemed far warmer and less mechanical than Rihanna’s synthetic beat and clipped vocals), something that she implied Nicki didn’t have. (And she was correct; Mariah Carey has 18 — the most of any solo recording artist — career No. 1’s on the Billboard Hot 100.)
This exchange would carry over to Twitter later as Judge Nicki decided that Judge Mariah would not have the last word…
Second: Amber Holcomb. She was in the bottom two last week with Candice Glover and most likely the one with the least votes. She most likely will have to hope for a miracle or one of the other three gets caught up in a scandal and gets kicked off the show within 24 hours. Still, she sang Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason.” The judges panned her, wanting “stellar,” telling her she wasn’t connected. Except for Judge Keith Urban, who thought it was “fantastic.”
Third: Candice Glover. By far the best overall singer in the competition, but she found herself in the bottom two with Amber during Part I of the Top 4 performance round. She performed Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” and got the judges on their feet again, something she’s done all season.
Fourth: Kree Harrison. She’s been a bit boring of late, although one would have never been able to tell by most of the judges’ remarks for the past few weeks. She chose Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” and does a great job with a mediocre song.
Fifth: Angie’s up again. She reached back to 1926 for a George and Ira Gershwin classic, “Someone To Watch Over Me.”
Sixth: Amber’s second number was a strategic move. Calling on the same muse that got her a standing ovation for doing Barbra Streisand’s “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?,” she channeled the diva again (1967) for the third time (or maybe it was Chaka Kahn or Vanessa Williams’ version?) in Season 12 and performed the 1937 song “My Funny Valentine.” Still, a third time might have been stretching it.
Seventh: Candice will not be denied best singer status. She got the judges on their feet again for “You’ve Changed,” a 1941 standard performed by the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Nat King Cole.
Eighth: Kree resurrected the oldest tune in the Great American Songbook, going all the way back to 1933 for “Stormy Weather.” In the tradition of Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Etta James, and others, Kree did the song justice.
All the girls got together to perform the uptempo song “Wings,” a song popularized by the “X Factor UK” champs, Little Mix. After the classics, it just didn’t compare…
Eight songs, four finalists, and only three get to go home and come back. So who will go home for good?
Probably Amber. If not for Janelle Arthur’s awful song choices half the time, Amber probably wouldn’t have made the Top 4. And with Candice’s effortlessly knocking out her song choices week after week, she’ll most likely also get a backlash vote surge from many who don’t think she should have been in the bottom two last week.
Your Top 3 will most likely be who everyone thought they would be when the Top 10 was named: Angie, Kree, and Candice.
But does America have a surprise left to spring? We’ll find out on Thursday’s results show.
“American Idol” airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox Television at 8 p.m. (EST).