American Idol Top 10 recap: Nicki Minaj is late, Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb top the night

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 13, 2013 

Wednesday's episode of "American Idol" wasn't all about Nicki Minaj, but it's possible she was the most memorable name of the night.

First, there was her late arrival. She wasn't in the building when the show started -- apparently the result of a traffic jam, which Nicki confirmed on Twitter.

Then, there was the strange getup Nicki flaunted when she finally appeared on camera about 20 minutes into the show. She wore sunglasses and a hoodie, but eventually removed the sunglasses.

Finally, let's not forget the usual batch of strange comments to the contestants. She compared one performance to eating waffles. That was a compliment.

Why haven't I mentioned the singing yet? Well, there's not too much to talk about.

The top 10 "Idol" contestants on Wednesday sang songs performed by past "Idol" winners. Predictably, the women out-sang the men. Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb were my favorites.

Who's going home? I'd put Curtis Finch Jr., Janelle Arthur and Devin Velez in the bottom three. I think Curtis will go home. What do you think?

Here's a full recap of Wednesday's show.

***

Curtis Finch Jr. sings "I Believe" by Fantasia. Jimmy Iovine is back to mentor the singers this year. He wants Curtis to avoid appearing too old-fashioned. First...some fashion commentary. That suit jacket = YIKES. Not sure how to describe it, but it is a red hot printed mess. Unfortunately, the singing isn't too awesome, either. Curtis sounds a little off throughout most of the song and he lacks the genuine emotion that made this a "moment" for Fantasia. Even with full-on gospel choir treatment, it's pretty underwhelming.

Keith: "You always pick the right songs, in my opinion...You look great."

Randy: "Show me some other sides of Curtis."

Mariah: "Please keep doing what you do."

Janelle Arthur sings "Gone" by Montgomery Gentry, a song that Scotty McCreery performed on "Idol." Jimmy wants Janelle to focus on her uniqueness and song selection. I'm happy Janelle chose an upbeat song this week. I like this better than some of her earlier performances, but that's not saying too much. The dynamic between Janelle and the band seems a little off. It seems like throughout the performance, she's either over-singing or getting overpowered by the band. Overall, this performance doesn't scream "unique."

Keith: "I like that you did that song."

BREAKING NEWS! Nicki is back, wearing sunglasses and a hoodie. It's 8:21 p.m.

Nicki: "I want to hear you sing songs that show the pretty part of your voice a little bit more...I'm never 1,000 percent about your song choice."

Randy: "The song didn't lead anywhere...I didn't love the song for you."

Mariah: "My favorite thing about you is the raw quality that you have."

Devin Velez sings "Temporary Home" by Carrie Underwood. Jimmy suggests Devin shouldn't limit himself to ballads. I'd argue "Temporary Home" is a ballad, but whatever. I'll answer your burning question right away: No, Devin doesn't sing in Spanish this week. Is he changing up his routine? Not necessarily. This performance is dull and predictable. The funniest thing is how much Devin talked about stretching himself during his pre-performance interview. It doesn't happen. Very disappointing.

Keith: "That was not one of your better performances."

Nicki: "To me, this is your comfort zone...I loved the song with your voice."

Randy: "I thought it was way too safe, I didn't really like it."

Mariah: "Keep that confidence because you deserve to have it."

Angie Miller sings Celine Dion's "I Surrender," which Kelly Clarkson covered. Jimmy warns Angie against coming off as a pageant queen. The song choice surprises me a little bit...I didn't expect Angie to have this much power in her voice. But she handles the song well, delivering an incredibly solid performance. It's easily the best effort of the night so far. Is it the greatest performance I've ever seen on "Idol"? Hardly. Still, Angie has star quality and she deserves to stick around.

Keith: "You are such an artist...I thought you knocked that out of the park tonight."

Nicki: "Your legs are giving me everything I needed in life today...You're just to me perfection...You personify perfection."

Randy: "America, the competition starts now...This girl is in it to win it."

Mariah: "Stellar."

Paul Jolley sings "Amazed" by Lonestar, which Scotty McCreery covered on "Idol." Jimmy warns him against over-singing. This is yet another unsurprising song choice. I feel like I've already seen this performance 1 million times on this show. Does his voice sound good? Sure. I'd best describe this as "sweet." There are no major vocal flaws. That said, there's nothing about it that screams uniqueness or artistry. It seems like another safe choice. But the judges apparently disagree.

Keith: "I really feel like you've been listening."

Nicki: "This is the first time you've stimulated my sexual appetite...I really thought that you did the song justice."

Randy: "I think it was a great song choice for you."

Mariah: Mumbles incoherently

Candice Glover sings "I (Who Have Nothing)," which Jordin Sparks covered on "Idol." Jimmy's a big fan and Candice promises she'll surprise America. Wow...this performance is awesome. Candice delivers her signature big notes, but she also showcases a lot of personality, emotion and attitude this week. I think some of her earlier performances lacked a certain humanness. It's a really, really solid vocal and Candice should easily sail through to next week. All the judges except Mariah give her a standing ovation.

Keith: "I love you so much...You never let the audience pull you out of your zone."

Nicki: "That was actually my favorite performance that you've ever done."

Randy: "You really worked that song out...That was incredible."

Mariah: "Every time you are on stage...it's mesmerizing." Says she wanted to stand up, but her skirt is too tight.

Lazaro Arbos sings "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson. Jimmy tells him to practice, practice, practice. Uh-oh. I'm nervous about this one. Things start off a little rough and Lazaro seems to struggle with the opening verses, which are very shaky. I'm not a huge fan of his lower register. Things pick up a bit on the chorus, but Lazaro is obviously a little (a lot?) nervous this week. Ultimately, he doesn't really pull this one off. The best part is the big power note at the end.

Keith: "I hope we get to hear another song from you."

Nicki: "I like that you look like Ricky Ricardo tonight...This was probably my least favorite from you."

Randy: "It just wasn't the right song for you."

Mariah: "I think a lot of people are falling in love with the courage that you have."

Kree Harrison sings "Crying" by Roy Orbison, which Carrie Underwood performed on "Idol." Jimmy cautions her against over-singing. My first reaction? Really good song choice. Kree delivers a strong performance -- she's definitely one of this season's most consistent singers. She hits some really nice notes throughout the song. Might critics say it's a little sleepy? Yep, and I understand that criticism. But Kree demonstrates a certain technical mastery that makes her ballads more tolerable. Maybe even enjoyable.

Keith: "You could sing the phone book...If you made a record tomorrow, I would go and buy that record."

Nicki: Compares her performance to eating waffles: "It was smooth, it was delicious."

Randy: "I love you, I love your voice...You have one of those infectious voices."

Mariah: "You can't help but be real when you sing."

Burnell Taylor sings "Flying Without Wings," which Ruben Studdard performed. Jimmy warns him against performing too many ballads. I totally second that emotion. Burnell has a new look this week. He's ditched the glasses and the quirky '80s apparel. Not sure if I like the transformation. I'm divided on this performance. It's not awful, but I'm not sure Burnell has the soulful vibe that made this song successful for Ruben. Some of this song sounds a little whiny. I still think he's the best guy in the competition.

Keith: "That was great tonight."

Nicki: "I think that you're well on your way."

Randy: "You put your own twist on it."

Mariah: "I love the choices that you made tonight."

Amber Holcomb sings "A Moment Like This," which Kelly Clarkson performed. Jimmy wants her to make the song upbeat. She sort of ignores the advice and doesn't really change the melody that much. Perhaps it's for the best. Anyway, Amber does a great job with this song, even though I wish she would've done something else from Kelly's time on the show. She hits lots of good power notes and showcases tons of confidence on stage. I love the big note at the end. All the judges except Mariah give her a standing ovation. I assume Mariah is having another skirt issue.

Keith: "I love how effortless you sing."

Nicki: "That was the best performance of the night."

Randy: "I love you...You blew it out of the box tonight."

Mariah: "Hashtag 'pow.'" Says she would've given a standing ovation -- you know, if the whole skirt thing wasn't a factor

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