‘American Idol’ Top 5 Night: Who You Calling a Diva?
photo: Ray Mickshaw/Fox
photo: Ray Mickshaw/Fox
Here's how everyone did:
It seems longtime "Idol" viewers are missing the classic judging lineup featuring Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul; even show producer Nigel Lythgoe has admitted that the current panel doesn't share the chemistry of past casts. So maybe it was Candice's way of evoking a bit of early-"Idol" nostalgia, even on a subconscious level, by covering Paula's "Straight Up" for her birth-year song. Smart move. But of course, Candice didn't just do a straight-up cover version; she made it current. Just as she completely retooled the Cure's "Lovesong" last week, she once again proved she's a true song stylist--as much so as previous guitar-slinging boys like Phillip Phillips or David Cook--with this bossa nova-inflected performance. (Hey, you don't have to strap on a six-string or sit at a piano to be a real "artist," you know!) Candice just always impresses with her creative choices. Keith Urban was certainly impressed, saying, "Baby, that was so good, such a great version of that song. I never realized that was such a great song!" Said Nicki, "You showed you're the boss." Randy Jackson raved, "You're so in the zone. Can't nothing go wrong for you right now." Mariah called Candice a "genius" and said, "Nobody can do what you do." This performance was not on par with last week's "Lovesong," which was declared one of the greatest "Idol" performances ever by the judges, but it was a solid start to the show.
For her diva song, Candice tried to go all double-diva, taking on both parts of the Prince of Egypt duet Mariah did with the late, great Whitney Houston, "When You Believe." Meh. This was dull. While Candice sang the ballad with ease, resisting the temptation so many other contestants would've had to pack the performance with a ton of superfluous runs, this effort didn't quite have the wow factor for me. The judges were wowed, however. "That is how you do a Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey song!" declared Nicki, before going off on some weird speech about how she used to lock herself in a room and listen to this song over and over when she was a little girl. (I couldn't tell if she was complimenting or insulting Mariah with this tale, and judging by the blank expression on Mariah's face, I don't think Mariah could tell, either.) Said Mariah, "Rest in peace to the late Whitney Houston. I think you did her justice." Keith declared, "Jimmy Iovine said you had to pull out all the stops. Well, you just ripped them out and annihilated them." And Randy went into his usual howling hyperbole and shouted, "Best vocal of the night! You got one of the best voices in the known world!" Sheesh. I thought this was good--but not THAT good. But, as I mentioned, over-the-top praise was a recurring theme this Wednesday, and Candice was far from the only contestant who received such lavish treatment.