With Sir Anthony Hopkins in the audience, American Idol‘s six remaining contestants took the stage to perform two songs – one from the catalogue of legendary songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David and another one “they wish they had written.”
The best performance of the night – and according to Randy Jackson, “one of the greatest performances in the history … of American Idol” – came at the very end of the two-hour show.
Candice Glover, who first earned a standing ovation for her soulful take on “Don’t Make Me Over,” sang “Lovesong” by The Cure. The crowd exploded in a raucous uproar, Keith Urban literally bowed down in front of her and Mariah Carey walked up on stage and showered Candice in glitter. The enthusiastic response brought Candice to tears. Watch her performance below.
But back at the beginning … Angie Miller kicked things off with the ballad “Anyone Who Had a Heart.” Although she did her best to sing it with attitude, the judges just weren’t feeling it.
“You can make it look too easy and feel too easy and I’m missing the humanity in there,” Keith said. Nicki Minaj agreed, calling the performance “old-fashioned.” Mariah wondered if maybe Miller’s attempt to be perfect in her lyric pronunciation was holding her back.
For her second performance, Miller chose “Love Came Down” by Kari Jobe and sang it while playing the piano. The result? A standing ovation.
Amber Holcomb started her night with “I Say A Little Prayer.” Although a few notes probably went astray, she got excellent marks from the judges.
“I am bowing down right now for you, little girl,” Nicki said. “You have become my favorite girl in this competition.” For her follow-up, Amber took on the up-tempo Beyoncé hit “Love On Top,” which kept the judge (and audience) love-fest going.
Lazaro Arbos – a.k.a. “the only dude left in the competition” (as host Ryan Seacrest put it) – came out for his first performance wearing what looked like a blue-green lava lamp suit. He attempted the song “Close to You” made famous by the Carpenters, but it was overwhelmingly panned by the judges.
“No, no, no, no – that was horrible,” Randy said. “That was the worst performance you’ve ever had on the show.”
Although Arbos did a much better job singing his follow-up song, “Angels” by Robbie Williams, the judges all agreed that the female contestants were still leaving him in the dust.
Another favorite, Kree Harrison, continued her streak of delivering knock-out performances with her first song, “What the World Needs Now,” which started off slow but built into a powerful, full-throated anthem.
“It was perfect for your voice,” Mariah said. Urban thought it was the best performance she’d ever given. And Minaj said she seemed “hella cocky” and would be surprised if she wasn’t singing at the Country Music Awards next year.
For her second song, Kree picked “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” which proved to be another crowd pleaser. “That was a buckle polisher right there,” Keith said, which, for those of you who don’t speak country, apparently is a very good thing.
Janelle Arthur chose “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” as her first choice and earned middling reviews for her effort. Randy found it “lackluster,” and Nicki called it flat-out “boring.” Her second song of the night was Garth Brooks’s “The Dance,” which brought her more positive feedback but not exactly overwhelming praise.
Thursday’s show will bring the results – and someone will be up for elimination.