This week's theme is the music of Detroit; not just MoTown, but any artist from Detroit.
The guest mentor is Smokey Robinson.
Both Nicki and Mariah are wearing red dresses for this show. I also heard it is Mariah's birthday. for some unknown reason, Nicki looks like she wants to hurt someone tonight. Such a sour expression on her face. On the other hand, Mariah is carrying a sparkling wand.
Ryan tells us we get both individual performances and group numbers this week.
Candice- "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (One that's been done a lot before on Idol.)
Smokey tells Candice that on e of her previous performances made him cry.
This is a nice performance. More original than past Idols performances. I like it a lot.
Keith says "Fantastic . This was your best performance."
Nicki says it was "Very exciting and you stayed in it completely."
Randy says "Amazing. Effortless. Crazy good."
Mariah says "You epitomize what this competition is."
First group- Kree and Janelle- Madonna's "Like A Prayer"
They used a Jennifer Nettles version for inspiration. This has a nice country flair to it. I wish there wasn't so much fog and so many backup singers on the stage. Nice job though.
Nicki says "Kree looks like she flew in to do a duet with an Idol contestant. Janelle pushed too much and didn't sound good."
Randy says " the pitch got away from you at the start."
Mariah mentions "The Powers That Be" like to cut off her comments, but tells the girls she thought the performance was like a sisterhood, helping each other out. She notes that Janelle covered a line Kree forgot. They were both good.
Keith says "It feels silly to say who was better because you are not a duo. You both did good."
Lazaro- Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life"
Smokey tells Lazaro to sing what he likes and do it like he wants to.
Lazaro seems more comfortable tonight with this song. A couple of little pitch problems but overall so much better this week.
Randy says it was far better than last week. Not perfect, but better.
Mariah says it was a smart choice to pick this song.
Keith says Smokey's advise was perfect for him. Vocally he was so much better.
Nicki rambles on about how good Smokey looks for his age. Calls Lazaro "Ricky Ricardo" and "Fonzie" but says he is definitely back.
Janelle- The Supremes "You Keep Me Hanging On"
Janelle tells Smokey she did an arrangement of this song on her guitar when she was 14 and that's what she is performing.
I like this version of the song. It's different. Nice. I think we have found our WGWG for this season, but it's a girl not a guy.
Mariah says this is "Janelle at her finest."
Keith says "this just goes to show that you should be a solo act. That was beautiful. the arrangement really brought out the angst in the lyrics."
Nicki says "You always shine with your guitar. You"re smiling more today and maybe not thinking as much because your pitch is still not as good as normal."
Randy says he "absolutely loved it. It was incredible. One of your best performances. America, She's in it to win it."
Janelle tells Ryan this was her very first time to play guitar with a full band. Ryan tells Keith she was nervous to perform in front of him.
Devin- The Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears"
Smokey tells Devin the history of him writing this song.
I thought it would be a good choice, but I don't like the falsetto in it. It just sounds off. This is my least favorite performance from Devin.
Keith says it is a challenge for the contestants to learn new songs so quickly and Devin needs to relax into the song more. Get more comfortable with it.
Nicki says "You up there looking like a ripe banana right now. (I'm not sure what that means- he's wearing a red jacket.) That was an amazing job. It felt comfortable and smooth and I liked the false-etto choices you made."
Randy says "I believe Devin is back tonight y'all. One of your best performances in weeks."
Mariah says she loved it but she thought he was holding back because Jimmy wants him to.
Smokey thought he was awesome.
Amber, Candice and Angie- the Supremes "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me"
they sound good together. Amber is dressed in Supremes song style.
Mariah says "#(hashtag) Pow. I loved it. A+mazing.
Burnell- Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour"
During recording, Smokey tells him to hold back more at the beginning to avoid sounding like he's straining.
Burnell is dressed all in white. I wonder what weird analogy Nicki will come up with?
He sounds weird on "amour" and "for" like he is putting in a "m or n or d" sound. That is very distracting.
Nicki- "Hi Bernie, looking like a sexy doctor in all white or a priest or something. Very very good."
Randy says he loves his choices and the little inflections instead of big runs all the time. "The man is in it to win it."
Mariah says he did a really good job with the performance.
Keith says he loves everything about Burnell's voice and that he does his own thing.
Angie- The Miracles' "Shop Around" (David Archuleta comparison for me)
Smokey tells her he wrote this song in about 30 minutes and it is just a fun song so just have fun with it.
Jimmy tells her not to worry about enunciating every word like its "My Fair Lady." Angie thinks that's funny because she was in "My Fair Lady" in high school.
This is a rockish version of the song. I'm not really liking it much. She sounds off, like maybe the key is too low for her.
Randy says "Very strange for me. This is the first time I've seen you have a pitchy performance. Not great tonight.
Mariah comments that her dress is a little risque and she would have preferred to see Angie at the piano singing "I'll Be There."
Keith says the melody, while good, kept pulling her down when she went up.
Nicki says "You tried to show a different side of you and you didn't need to do that."
(I predict the judges will need to use the "save" on Angie this week.)
Amber- Stevie Wonder's "Lately"
This is a pretty performance. Nothing wrong with it, and I like Amber, but I don't think America will really vote for her. I hope I'm wrong.
Mariah says that performance was "a tour de force" and she loved it.
Keith says she picked the right song and sang it beautifully.
Nicki says she needs to wear pink lipstick to get more votes, but the performance was out of this world.
Randy says this was by far, the best vocal of the night.
Devin, Lazaro, and Burnell- "I Can't Help Myself" (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)
This is a dumb arrangement. They are jumping between lines too much. Lazaro missed a line, or two, or more. Devin is trying to hold it together by covering the other guys lines. Ouch
Nicki- "I felt like this was back in Hollywood Week. I don't know what that was but I'm gonna act like I didn't see it or hear it. Lazaro, you were as flat as a pancake. All three of you, Go. Get off of the stage. (She is actually yelling at them.) Ryan comes out and tries to help the guys defend themselves from that tirade of Nicki's. It's a lost cause.)
Kree- Aretha Franklin's "Don't Play That Song"
Smokey says he is calling Aretha to tell her to watch for the performance.
This is not a bad performance for a white country girl trying to sing a song from the Queen of Soul.
Randy thinks "this was not perfect, but you are here to stay."
Mariah commends her for doing this song and agrees with Randy that she isn't going anywhere.
Keith likes that she keeps reminding people of the blues roots in country music.
Nicki says "You did Queen with this song and with the Madonna song earlier, too.
Well, that was definitely more painful and weird than I was expecting.
Here are my thoughts on best and worst.
Top 3- Candice Janelle, Amber
Bottom 3- Angie, Devin, Burnell
Of course, I could be totally wrong since I didn't agree with the judges on several of the performances. We'll see in a few hours.