'American Idol' Recap: 'Simmer Down, Sir!' It's Ladies Night
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With the final five women remaining in the competition, American Idol went full-on diva with a nod to strong female icons for half its theme and what host Ryan Seacrest called “an Idol favorite” -- songs from the year the singers were born -- to round it out.
Despite an energetic and enthusiastic audience response on Wednesday night’s performance show, Seacrest took a moment to address the nation’s grief after the Boston Marathon bombing.
"Before we start tonight, we do want to send our support to everyone affected by this week's tragic events in Boston," he said. "With heavy hearts, we're going to put on the best show we can for you this evening."
The top five, which judge Nicki Minaj praised as having “superpowers,” certainly delivered on that promise with a few memorable performances — particularly Angie Miller, who dedicated “I’ll Stand by You” by The Pretenders to “my home, Boston,” and Candice Glover, who invoked the spirit of former Idol judge Paula Abdul with a jazzy take on the ‘80s hit “Straight Up.”
In yet another Idol change-up, Jimmy Iovine was brought on to give his critiques early on for the year-you-were-born-themed half of the show. It was kind of a shame when he went AWOL for the diva half of the show. I am curious how he scored that part of the show.
And in other Idol news, Kree Harrison managed to do the impossible on Wednesday night, getting Mariah Carey and Minaj to actually address each other in an exchange that Iovine comically quipped got the two divas to “communicate.” Hey, it was diva night, after all. But did Minaj really invoke her inner Marci from the Peanuts cartoons and say “Simmer down, sir” to Carey? Oh yes, she did.
The judges have one last chance to use the save, but will they use it on Janelle Arthur, whom Minaj predicted is definitely going home Thursday?
Here’s how it played out:
Candice Glover: Glover was born in 1989, so she picked “Straight Up” by Abdul. Glover took on the song with a jazzy arrangement, changing up the melody and injecting some soul into the lyrics. The self-described bossy Sagittarius earned across-the-board praise from the judges. Keith Urban told her she “set the bar high,” and Minaj liked that she put her own spin on it. Randy Jackson shouted out to Paula while he complimented Glover’s arrangement. “You are in the zone,” he said. Carey called it “genius." Iovine wasn’t as impressed. “This was a song made for a much narrower vocal range,” he said as he explained Glover “should have done is a song that shows the full range of her vocal.”
Glover’s second song was a gutsy move, as she tackled two divas in one with “When You Believe” by Carey and Whitney Houston. In Glover’s hands, the song was nothing short of inspirational, complete with a choir and some powerful crescendos in the chorus. The audience once again responded with overwhelming applause, and the judges loved it. Glover’s performance was strong enough to thaw out the judge’s table, prompting Minaj to give props to Carey. “I have to say, I remember having nothing and locking myself in my room crying watching that video because I believed every word. That kind of collaboration has never happened since.” Jackson declared it “the best vocal of the night," and Carey shed a tear for Houston and told Glover she could “sing in front of anyone, anytime.” Urban loved that Glover created “sister support” between Minaj and Carey.