TV Watch American Idol
American Idol took it back to the beginning on Wednesday with the Top 9 performing the songs of season 1 winner – and this week's mentor – Kelly Clarkson.
Some contestants stuck close to the original versions (as Nick Fradiani did with "Catch My Breath"), others gave Clarkson's hits an interesting twist (as newly engaged Joey Cook did with "Miss Independent"), but it was Clark Beckham, 22, who gave the performance of the evening.
"I have goosies from head to toe," judge Jennifer Lopez told Beckham after giving him a standing ovation for his rendition of Clarkson's "The Trouble with Love Is," which was featured in the 2003 film Love Actually.
Thirteen years after being crowned the first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson is returning to where it all began.
The "Heartbeat Song" singer will serve as the guest mentor on Wednesday night's American Idol, and Clarkson recognizes that she is uniquely qualified to advise the season 14 contestants.
"It's cool be able to kind of mentor a kid that basically is me 13 years ago," Clarkson tells PEOPLE. "And it's nice for them to see that you can have longevity and a career from a show like this. I know a lot of people get flack for coming from shows like this. I know I did. It's a talent show, but at the end of the day, it's not how you get into the industry, it's what you do once you're there."
You'd think a musician as successful as Keith Urban would have been able to shake some of the criticisms he's received since starting out, especially because he's been doling out advice of his own on American Idol for so long.
You'd be wrong, though. Urban explained to Conan O'Brien Tuesday night that there's one bit of criticism that still haunts him from the days when he was first starting out, and – surprise, surprise – it came from a televised talent show judge.
Keith Urban has proven he can pull off skinny jeans.
Or, at least, he rocked them in the '80s, as seen in a throwback photo posted on Twitter on Wednesday to celebrate American Idol's Totally '80s-themed evening.
So … about that proposed Empire concert series …
Empire costars Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Gray (aka Yazz the Greatest) stopped by American Idol on Wednesday night to give the idea a test run of sorts in a performance of their song "No Apologies."
If you've ever wondered what Iggy Azalea would sound like if she were transported to the 1920s – and even if you haven't – American Idol's Joey Cook had the performance for you on Thursday.
Cook, 23, is known to Idol fans for her quirky image and accordion-accompanied performances but on Thursday night the Woodbridge, Virginia, native wowed the crowd with her own rendition of the Aussie rapper's hit song.
Based on an arrangement by Postmodern Jukebox, blue-haired Cook wowed the crowd with her performance and had judge Jennifer Lopez dancing in her seat.
Here they are America, your Top 12!
After weeks of auditions and hard cuts by the judges, American Idol has revealed final 12 contestants.
But who has what it takes to actually become the fourteenth winner of the Fox reality series?
PEOPLE breaks down the contestants: