If you’re an “American Idol” conspiracy theorist, you were handed some solid ammunition for your arguments Wednesday night. But one guy isn’t playing along with the script.
The judges certainly seem to be setting up an Amber Holcomb-Angie Miller finale, drowning them both in praise. They love how much Amber has grown since the early shows, and in fairness to them she’s the clear winner in the Most Improved category. But the praise over the past few weeks has been overwhelming, and that continued Wednesday.
“You’re just like this blooming flower, Amber. You’re blooming for the world to see,” Nicki Minaj said.
Keep in mind that that comment came after Amber’s version of “MacArthur Park.” You might ask why anyone would ever choose that song in a singing competition, even if America suffered a massive brain cramp and demanded a one-hit-wonders theme this week. Put it like this – in “Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs,” the humorist names it the absolute worst song ever for a reason.
Jimmy Iovine disagreed with the level of praise, because there’s only so much anyone can do with a song that schlocky. In response, Nicki decided to use much of the time allotted to her after Candice Glover’s performance to instead bring up Amber again and critique Jimmy’s critique. After the other judges were done, Ryan Seacrest brought Jimmy onstage to defend himself.
“She can’t sing corn like that. Just my opinion. But I think you guys were smoking a little bit of the green icing on that MacArthur Park cake, because it was just so far from what she should be doing,” Jimmy said. Which … well, duh.
But he continued by calling the panel out. “What you don’t want to do is say that Candice was better than Amber on that particular round.”
That hit home.
“Candice was better,” Nicki agreed, while Mariah was outraged that Amber was to be blamed for the song choice as though singers have not been blamed for song selection since season one.
“Then say it!” Jimmy responded.
And for some reason the judges got mad. Nicki got up out of her seat as if to charge the mound, with Randy Jackson close behind. But no punches were thrown, and Candice finally got to go offstage and mutter about how Nicki had told her an hour previously “What I don’t want to happen to you is to have people see you as an old-fashioned artist” after she sang “Find Your Love” by Drake, released way back in 2010. And how Keith had just complained “Man, are there any one-hit wonder songs from at least the last decade?” after her version of “Emotion.”
But at least Candice could take solace that she was treated far better than Kree Harrison, who heard Randy complain that “I guess I was waiting to hear something else from you this week,” when she finished Susan Tedeschi’s “It Hurt So Bad.”
"That performance is not going to give you what you need for next week. That is not a top-four worthy performance," Nikki agreed, then doing her part to making sure the Fox censors pay attention in concluding, “I don’t want to blow smoke up your –--“
Nicki was even harsher after Kree's second song, insinuating that she was going home. But Kree had much better luck that time with both Randy and Mariah. The latter promised to download her “Whiter Shade of Pale” right away because she needed it on her phone.
The singer everyone agreed on was Angie Miller, who went back to her strengths early with Jessie J’s “Who You Are.”
“I'm standing up in spirit, my train is caught on the bottom of my chair!" Mariah said. She therefore extended her own record for number of excuses for not joining the other judges in a standing ovation.
“You made me forget that was a Jessie J song. You made believe it was an Angie performance,” Randy said.
And after her version of Julie London’s “Cry Me a River?”
You came out tonight to snatch some wigs off some heads,” Nikki said. “Tonight was your night.”
“Angie wins the night, hands down!” Randy said.
Think they all want her in the finale?