Burnell Taylor kicked off the night with a version of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” that didn’t connect with some judges. “I’ve never seen you look more uncomfortable in a song,” Keith Urban said.
Randy Jackson was booed when he said, “Everything was so behind the beat.”
Although Nicki Minaj agreed with the critiques, she couldn’t help but feel the love for the New Orleans native, declaring him “a little Teddy Ruxpin bear … Even though rock is not your thing, I still want to hug you.”
Arbos and Angie Miller were up next to sing Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” and the judges called out Arbos for forgetting part of the lyrics, just as he did last week while singing “I Can’ t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” with Taylor and Devin Velez.
Nicki was much kinder about the mistake than last week, telling him, “That was a nice twist … You seemed to be comfortable up until the part when you forgot the lyrics again.”
Mariah Carey appreciated the way Miller was “supporting” her duet partner, which Miller also did afterward backstage.
“Even if there was a little lyric screw-up,” she said, “we still had fun.”
Kree Harrison, whom Ryan Seacrest dubbed the “den mother” of the group, performed in pain due to a pinched nerve. But she still got kudos for her version of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.”
“The show finally started tonight,” Randy said, while Mariah gushed that the performance “was possibly my favorite.”
Janelle Arthur earned praise for her twangy version of “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel. Randy declared it “authenticity at its best.”
Later, Arbos redeemed himself when he added a Latin twist to his solo performance of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
“You chose something that played into your dramatics in a good way,” said Urban.
And then Candice Glover hit the stage with a broken toe and belted out the Rolling Stones classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
The judges heaped on the praise: Randy liked the Tina Turner attitude she brought to the song and Nicki called her voice “amazing,” even if she “fell asleep” at the song choice.
Amber Holcomb earned similar kudos after singing “What About Love” by Heart.
“It was striking,” said Nicki, who added that the performance “has to be my favorite of the night so far.”
And then Angie Miller ended the evening with her version of “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence, which she began on the piano.
“I really loved the tender moments,” Randy said, while Mariah liked her “edginess.”
Keith had praise as well, but encouraged her to “feel it” even more in future performances.