'American Idol' Recap: Paula Abdul Returns, Janelle Arthur Goes Home - Rolling Stone
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‘American Idol’ Recap: Paula Abdul Returns, Janelle Arthur Goes Home

Former ‘Idol’ judge shows up to praise Candice Glover, rejoin panel

The most interesting thing we discovered on last night’s episode of American Idol is that Paula Abdul won’t return Randy Jackson’s phone calls or tweets, but will come when Idol itself calls. Randy had reached out to his former panel colleague after Candice Glover sang Paula’s “Straight Up” on the show, but she never bothered getting back to him. While Randy whinged about Paula ignoring him and was about two seconds away from singing “She’s a Cold Hearted Snake,” Abdul walked on stage to surprise Candice.

After Paula made the obligatory oohs and ahhs over Candice’s talent and her version of “Straight Up,” Ryan Seacrest insisted that Abdul take a seat at the judges’ table between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Randy and Keith Urban smartly cleared out of the way and let the divas take center stage. Seeing Mariah, Nicki and Paula holding host on stage was a sight to behold.

‘American Idol’: Rolling Stone’s Complete Coverage

Of course last night was not just about triumphant, if somewhat awkward returns. It was also about sad farewells. The writing was on the wall for Janelle Arthur after her own country mentor, Keith, told her, “Your voice is angelic, beautiful, you were hitting all the notes . . . it was perfect . . . but I didn’t feel it.”

America must not have felt it either, because Janelle had to sing for the save. While Randy claimed it was a split decision, the judges opted not to use the save. You can’t blame them, either. Janelle will undoubtedly have a long and prolific career, but she’s not even close to the level of Candice or Kree Harrison. If the judges had saved her, she would probably have gone home next week. At least she has the knowledge that Dolly Parton watched her performance Wednesday of “Dumb Blonde.” Afterward, Parton wrote a letter that Ryan read on-air telling Janelle not to feel bad about the poor reception she got because, “We know you’re not dumb and we know you’re not blonde.” 

Idol‘s Season Two runner-up Clay Aiken returned to the stage to talk up the good work of UNICEF and to sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” for no apparent reason other than that he wanted to. Also on deck was Fantasia, the winner of Season Three, who reminded us that when she was good, she was very, very good. The judges were on their feet before her she even finished performing her new single, “Lose to Win.”

As for the remaining contestants – Candice, Kree, Angie Miller and Amber Holcomb – they are all strong competitors. While Candice will probably reign supreme, it’s truly anyone’s game. 

Most Nicki Moment: After Jimmy Iovine gave Angie’s performance of “Halo” a mediocre review, Nicki announced, “Jimmy has no idea what he’s talking about.” 

Previously: Candice Glover Steals the Show Again


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