American Idol: Who Got Into a Shouting Match?
Angie Miller | Photo Credits: Ray Mickshaw/ FOX
The judges' critique of Candice's second performance Wednesday was hijacked when a shouting match erupted between the panelists and Jimmy Iovine over Amber Holcomb — whom some are calling this season's pre-ordained winner. As Candice stood by awkwardly, waiting to hear the judges' thoughts on her performance, host Ryan Seacrest brought Iovine out from backstage to explain his comments that the judges "missed the point" of Amber's take on "MacArthur Park." Just prior to that, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson rushed through their critiques of Candice to take Jimmy to task and clarify why they had given Amber a standing ovation. Though Iovine eventually got Minaj to admit that it was actually Candice who had given the stronger performance, the whole thing culminated with Minaj and Jackson rushing the stage to confront Iovine head-on — with Minaj mock-strangling him before finally giving him a hug. Jackson tried to play the middleman, insisting that Candice and Amber "were both great. [Jimmy] hated the song." Mariah Carey called for the cut-to-commercial music, and Iovine speculated that Minaj had a crush on him.
What a mess. Hopefully the fracas won't have an impact on Candice come tomorrow. Now, for the rest of the performances!
-"The Power of Love" (Celine Dion): Amber borrowed a page from Kree's playbook and started this number a cappella, showcasing the full range of her vocals once the band kicked in — and proving that all those "young Whitney Houston" comparisons have some merit. While it wasn't the most exciting performance she's given all year, the technical aspects of the song, which Keith Urban called "tailor-made" for Amber, were nearly flawless. The Best Dressed award of the night also went to Amber, in sleek white pants and with a bangin' perm that was a nice departure from her typically straight style. (Nicki Minaj called her a "big, sexy glass of milk.) The staging was a little strange, as Amber stayed put at the top of a staircase throughout the song, but judging from her wobbly descent at the end, her shoes may have been to blame. And the judges' love of Amber continued, with Jackson saying she's the contestant who's shown the most growth throughout the competition. Grade: A
-"MacArthur Park" (Richard Harris/Donna Summer): Much like her performance of Carey's "Without You" last week, Amber sounded a little flat for the first part of this song (and on sporadic notes in the middle), but once she found her groove she seemed as comfortable as if she was singing into her hairbrush in her bedroom. And again, A+++ for her styling, with a form-fitting orange dress, bright pink lipstick and that killer perm. "It's like the sun has come out," Urban told her. "You're dominating tonight." Minaj called her "Angie" by accident, but said that out of the four girls Amber would be the one she'd like to be friends with. Grade: A-
-"Find Your Love" (Drake): Here's the bottom line: Candice is (probably) never going to deliver a bad vocal performance, but in this instance, she probably could have benefited from choosing a more widely known song. With the final four not able to afford even a single misstep in these late-in-the-game weeks, it would be nice to see Candice surprise everyone with an up-tempo number. Minaj and Jackson said as much, with Minaj saying she was going to start focusing on each contestant's future real-world appeal. "What I don't want to happen to you is for people to start seeing you as an old-fashioned artist," she said. Jackson cautioned that she should be wary of pigeonholing herself as a "church girl." Mariah Carey disagreed, telling Candice: "There were certain moments where you took me to a place I needed to be. ... Please don't veer from taking those musical chances." Grade: B+