09:18 PM EDT 02/20/2014
Originally posted 04/04/2013 10:00PM
It's always interesting when American Idol brings back a former winner to perform on their stage. Older, wiser and much more polished, they often bear little resemblance to the contestants.
On Thursday's show, Carrie Underwood's performance showed how far she came from when she competed eight years ago on season 4. It was hard not to look at the final seven contestants and wonder if any of them would ever be able to duplicate her success.
Early in the show, Mariah Carey sized up the finalists, who performed Wednesday.
"There's so much talent on this stage," she said.
Carey has been an interesting judge this season, overusing words like "amazing" and "wonderful" while frequently dissolving into tears. Compared to her, Paula Abdul was a barracuda.
And then the lights dimmed and Ryan Seacrest began to announce the results. Would Lazaro Arbos survive after flubbing the words again?
Originally posted 04/04/2013 12:00AM
American Idol's top seven added their own flair to classic rock songs Wednesday night with mostly strong performances, despite another lyrics flub by Lazaro Arbos.
Burnell Taylor kicked off the night with a version of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" that didn't connect with some judges. "I've never seen you look more uncomfortable in a song," Keith Urban said.
Randy Jackson was booed when he said, "Everything was so behind the beat."
Although Nicki Minaj agreed with the critiques, she couldn't help but feel the love for the New Orleans native, declaring him "a little Teddy Ruxpin bear ... Even though rock is not your thing, I still want to hug you."
Originally posted 03/28/2013 09:00PM
It only takes one bad performance to end someone's dream on American Idol.
Back in season 5, Kellie Pickler "butchered" (her word, not ours) "Unchained Melody," and was unceremoniously sent home. In a previous season, frontrunner Constantine Maroulis left the competition after an unpleasant version of Nickelback's "How You Remind Me."
It's not always their fault – Jennifer Hudson was forced to sing a Barry Manilow song on the night she left the show. But the message is clear: no matter how fabulous you have been, you're only as good as your last performance.
And the guys' last time on the stage – for the cringe-worthy group performance of "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" – was enough to send any one of them home. In a season where the girls are head and shoulders above the men, they couldn't afford a bad performance – and they had one of the season's worst on Wednesday's Motown Night.
But after all the judges' criticism, it's still America's votes that matter. Did the guys survive this week?
Originally posted 03/27/2013 10:45PM
"We're down to the last eight contestants on American Idol – and all of them are very talented," said the legendary Smokey Robinson, who was on hand as a mentor for Motown week.
Candice Glover – who later admitted that she was sweating the pressure of having to sing first – didn't let the nerves show during her bluesy take on "Through the Grapevine." The judges' verdict: "You've got one of the best voices in the competition," Randy Jackson said, summing up the whole panel's response.
Later, Lazaro Arbos took the stage to sing Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life." The audience loved it and although the judges weren't 100 percent positive, Keith Urban shared his take, calling "exponentially better than last week."
Originally posted 03/25/2013 08:00PM
Keith Urban agrees with acid-tongued American Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine, who said the show's judges need to be tougher.
But the country superstar says being an artist critiquing artists is harder than it looks.
"He is right," says Urban, who sits on the panel alongside Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson. "It is not easy for us a lot of the time because we are just coming from a different place. We're artists talking to a young artist on camera in front of millions of people, trying to give constructive criticism in a way that doesn't humiliate them. I don't ever want to humiliate somebody."
Originally posted 03/21/2013 09:45PM
All season long, the American Idol judges have been saying a girl will win this season. If Thursday night's group numbers were any indication, they are probably right.
The five remaining females did a show-stopping performance of "Here, There and Everywhere" that showcased each of their voices. The four remaining men sang "Got to Get You Into My Life." It was a capable rendition, but strangely reminiscent of the musical numbers from The Love Boat.
Based on Wednesday's performances of Beatles songs, Lazaro Arbos was perhaps in the greatest danger of leaving. The judges and mentor Jimmy Iovine brutally criticized his rendition of "In My Life." But Arbos agreed with their assessment.
"They were right for the most part," he told Ryan Seacrest Thursday. "I have to do songs that I love and that I want to sing." But would he survive America's vote?
Originally posted 03/20/2013 10:45PM
Nine singers are still in the hunt on American Idol – and this week they were faced with the daunting challenge of putting their own spin on a song from the Beatles catalogue.
"If you sing these songs well they will deliver for you," music producer and Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine told the contestants. "If you don't sing them well, the whole world is going to know."
Country crooner Kree Harrison kicked things off with a booming version of "With a Little Help From My Friends," which had the judges trying to outdo each other with praise. "You're all the cool things about country," Keith Urban said. Mariah Carey dubbed Kree's performance "fan-freaking-tastic." And the always fashion-conscious Nicki Minaj had nothing but praise for Kree's suddenly pumped-up style and her unflappable confidence.
Originally posted 03/13/2013 08:40PM
Better late than never!
When American Idol's live performance episode started at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, Nicki Minaj was nowhere to be seen.
"We are coming to you live and on time," host Ryan Seacrest said, before asking the crowd which top 10 finalist could win this season. After the cheering subsided, Seacrest added, "Keep that energy going for three of your four judges who are here tonight."
Keith Urban, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey were all in their seats. But Minaj, it seems, was stuck in traffic.
Originally posted 03/07/2013 10:00PM
Meet the top 10!
American Idol cut its 20 semifinalists – 10 guys and 10 girls – in half on Thursday – with few, if any, surprises. In the 90-minute show, Seacrest announced the lucky ones in an offstage room and then led them to the stage.
The finalists, named below (guys first), walked through sliding doors to a surprised and adoring crowd to sing an emotional victory song and take in the judges' praise.
Keep reading to find out season 12's top 10:
Originally posted 03/06/2013 10:50PM
The time finally arrived Wednesday for viewers to weigh in on American Idol's top 10 guys – and they were faced with some big decisions. (Caution: spoilers ahead!)
Kicking off the night was the Bruno Mars-esque 18-year-old Elijah Liu, who immediately sought to seduce the show's key voting bloc.
"I love the ladies," he said, making it clear that he's also "single and available."
And his plan worked like a charm: His performance of Rihanna's "Stay" elicited a chorus of high-pitched shrieks from the audience. It also caused the judges to rave about his marketability.
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