American Idol: Which Contestant(s) Were Told to "Get Off the Stage"?
Burnell Taylor, Devin Velez, Lazaro Arbos | Photo Credits: Michael Becker / FOX
Have the guys just given up on American Idol? After all, judge Nicki Minaj has said publicly that the guys have no shot at winning, and Randy Jackson has hinted as much during the shows. And a group number by the three remaining guys in the competition — Lazaro Arbos, Devin Velez and Burnell Taylor — to close the evening could only be described as an act of resignation.
The American Idol Top 8 tackled "Music from the Motor City" Wednesday night, performing songs done by artists from Detroit. (Though the theme is often referred to as "Motown Night," host Ryan Seacrest stressed at the start of the evening that any song by a Detroiter — i.e. Madonna — was fair game.) For their week of preparation, the contestants were mentored by both Jimmy Iovine and special guest Smokey Robinson. Question: If contestants weren't familiar with The Beatles last week, how were they supposed to know who Smokey Robinson & the Miracles were? Just saying.
We'll get to the individual performances in a minute, but the real story of the night was the group numbers, namely the aforementioned guys' take on The Temptations "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch." In a classic case of the whole not being greater than the sum of its parts, it seemed like each of the guys was performing his own song. (Or not performing at all in the case of Lazaro, who blatantly missed a line cue during the bridge.)
"I felt like this was back in Hollywood Week," Minaj said to them afterwards. "I don't know what that was, but I'm gonna act like I didn't even see it or hear it. I'm going to thank God that all three of you already had your solo performances. Lazaro, you fell as flat as a pancake. ... All three of you, get off the stage."
They did ... but not before Seacrest gave them a chance to respond to Minaj's criticisms. And that's where things really started to go downhill. Burnell and Devin proceeded to throw each other (but really, mainly Lazaro) under a bus, each emphasizing that they had learned their individual parts and Devin adding that he "tried to save a couple people." Burnell's comments were made worse by the fact that he followed them with an obviously insincere, "Not to throw anybody under a bus, but this is a competition." Minaj signaled to him from the table to cut it off right there.
With that disaster being the last performance of the night, we can't help but wonder how it will impact voting, since the guys (even Lazaro!) all did fairly well in their individual performances. Speaking of which, here's our rundown:
Candice Glover — "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (Marvin Gaye): She peppered her rendition with bluesy runs and more than a few hip shakes, and definitely took Minaj's advice from the previous week to have the attitude in her face match the attitude in her voice. Though she initially seemed restrained (perhaps intimidated by the notion of going first), by the song's midpoint Candice was once again owning the stage. Jackson complimented her "effortless" singing, while Mariah Carey told her, "You epitomize what this competition is." Still, it didn't top her performance of "Come Together" the week before. Grade: A-
Lazaro Arbos — "For Once In My Life" (Stevie Wonder): Perhaps realizing it was do or die time after two horrendous performances in a row, Lazaro somewhat redeemed himself by going with an upbeat number that he picked himself. The song was the strongest vocal effort from him in a few weeks, and he even managed to work the stage a little bit, interacting with the audience and the judges and looking more comfortable than he's seemed in a while. "I don't know if you completely redeemed yourself, but this was far better than last week," Jackson said. Keith Urban agreed that it was "exponentially better." And Minaj noted, "You're definitely back. ... See what happens when he stops listening to Jimmy?" Grade: B+