Meanwhile, Kree Harrison has a tough night as the final four perform duets

By Jamie Bufalino
April 24, 2013 10:40 PM
Michael Becker/FOX

Now that American Idol has whittled the competition down to its final four female contenders, it suddenly seems like one of the underdogs might end up on top.

After a season in which Kree Harrison and Candice Glover always appeared to be the frontrunners, on Wednesday’s show it was Amber Holcomb and Angie Miller‘s turn to shine.

Amber – decked out in a flowy white pants suit – started off the night with a personal song choice, Celine Dion‘s “The Power of Love,” and got a standing ovation from three of the judges (Mariah Carey remained in her seat but did blow a few kisses).

Keith Urban praised Amber’s poise and confidence and thought her vocal range was “crazy and effortless.” And Nicki Minaj, who said Amber looked like a “big sexy glass of milk,” also thought she no longer seemed like a contestant anymore but rather a full-on star.

Randy Jackson echoed that sentiment: “You came in as a baby – you’re now a pro,” he said.

The judges also heaped on the praise after Amber’s second performance (the theme this time was: one-hit wonders) of “MacArthur Park.” They even felt that Amber had shined brighter during a duet of Adele‘s “Rumor Has It” with Kree. “Little shy Amber was almost dominating Kreedom on stage,” Nicki said.

Angie Miller somehow managed to get even better reviews than Amber. Wheeling out a piano to perform Jessie J’s “Who You Are,” Angie’s dramatic performance – which brought tears to the eyes of her grandmother, who was sitting in the audience – also blew the judges away. That was “10 out of 10 out of 10 for me,” Randy said. “Sheer perfection. Best performance of the night.”

She fared equally well in her duet of Rihanna‘s “Stay” with Candice. And then she closed out the show with a strong performance of “Cry Me A River.”

“Tonight was your night,” Nicki said. And Keith had just four words: “Mystical and celestially powerful.”

Candice Glover – who was suffering from a cold – misfired in her first performance by trying to put her own gospel-y spin on Drake’s “Find Your Love.” Nicki worried that people were starting to get the impression that Candice was an old-fashioned singer, while Randy had issues with the fact that she takes the same approach to every song. You “can’t always sound like you’re in church,” he said.

Candice’s second song – “Emotion” (made most famous by the Bee Gees) – brought the judges back in her corner. That was “super-duper-superstar quality girl,” Mariah said. Nicki also called her a superhero.

Perhaps the most shocking turn of events during the show was the consistently middling reviews Kree received for all of her efforts. Her first song of the night – the bluesy number “It Hurt So Bad” – gave her a chance to show off her powerful pipes and her country twang but it didn’t connect with the judges.

“You gotta pour your heart out,” said Keith, who felt like Kree’s vocal chops weren’t enough to win her the title.

Nicki agreed: “That performance is not going to give you what you need,” she said. “That was not a top four worthy performance.”

Kree promised to bring more emotion to her second song, “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” and Randy felt like she followed through on her promise, but it still didn’t make either Keith or Nicki believers. In fact, Nicki predicted that Kree would wind up in the bottom two Thursday night.

Will Kree stay in the competition? The results – and a surprise twist, promised host Ryan Seacrest – will be announced Thursday.