After American Idol saved the bottom two vote-getters, Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb, last week so the show wouldn't end a week earlier than planned, last night was a top four do-over, and who stays will be determined by a combination of votes from last week and this week.
While the reprieve was great for Candice and Amber, Kree Harrison and Angie Miller, who were safe, must be a bit bitter that they are once again facing off against such powerhouse singers. Last night the Idol contestants battled it out over two rounds: Now (songs from this year) and Then (standards), with mentoring, inexplicably, from Harry Connick Jr. While Harry is surely a great singer and songwriter, he is hardly one to bring in the young television-watching demographic to help Idol's sagging ratings.
After getting thwarted on her way to the top last week, Angie chose to repeat her winning formula with minimal variations. Once again she sat at the piano for a heartfelt and slowed down version of Rihanna's "Diamonds" with what sounded like a bongo accompaniment. Keith Urban didn't like the arrangement, though, and Nicki Minaj thought it was bland and lackluster. Randy Jackson could only manage that he loved her leather shorts. Her second round performance of "Someone to Watch Over Me," which was composed by George Gershwin, received better reviews that still fell short of raves. Keith was a little dismayed about the retro-ness of the tune asking, "Does then have to be so then?" After weathering two rounds of the judges' criticisms, Angie probably really wished it were last week again.
Amber chose to sing Pink's "Just Give Me a Reason," but her rendition earned a dismal "that was not stellar" from Randy. He blamed nerves for the bland performance saying it felt like she was working, not having fun. On the other hand, her version of Rodgers and Hart's "My Funny Valentine" was soulful and stirring and brought the judges to their feet and tears to her dad's eyes, which the cameraman loved, returning to the sight again and again. Nicki deemed it "beautiful," which it was.
Candice earned a very delayed standing ovation for her version of "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars. Randy blurted, "If you can sing, you can sing anything." While the judges seemed strangely confused by the fact that Candice chose to sing a song written from a man's point of view, Mariah Carey trilled, "She has the musicality to change it up to suit her." The judges were on their feet in a more timely fashion after her second round performance of Billie Holiday's "You've Changed." Mariah thanked Candice for the performance and said, "There is no critiquing." Nicki was apparently rendered mute, announcing, "I'm not adding anything else. Ryan, come on out."
Last week Kree had to withstand a wave of criticism from the judges who told her to shake things up. In response, this week she opted to sing Carrie Underwood's "See You Again." During rehearsal, Connick said he "would buy the crap out of that," adding that he preferred her version to Carrie Underwood's. The judges, while agreeing that her voice was faultless, had mixed reviews. Keith thought there was a disconnect, but Nicki loved it. Kree's second song, "Stormy Weather" (popularized by Lena Horne and Billie Holiday), got Randy in a tizzy as he insisted that Kree needed to "stick to who she is." Randy was so worked up that Harry came up on stage to defend Kree and Ryan Seacrest had to chide them for pulling a Nicki and Mariah. While Harry's efforts were commendable, Kree may not be able to survive two weeks of harsh criticism from the judges.
Who goes home? Who knows, but it seems unlikely that Candice will be in the bottom again.
Best Mariah-Nicki Moment: While critiquing Angie's performance, Mariah agreed with Nicki, but refused to admit it even with Nicki playground taunting her, "You agree with me!"
Most Nicki Moment: While Mariah was once again critiquing Angie's performance (the second one this time), Nicki offered Mariah a Q-tip to clean out her ears.
Previously: Judges Finally Use Their Save