‘American Idol’ Recap: Amber Holcomb Earns A Standing O

American Idol struck some highs and lows Wednesday night, when the FOX show saw its Top 8 contestants take their best shot at Motown.

Ryan Seacrest announces the night’s theme is Music of Motor City, which pretty much means Motown. Any artist from Detroit is fair game. The legendary Smokey Robinson is in the house as this week’s guest mentor.

Candice Glover is first with “Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye. Keith Urban says, “You raise the bar exponentially!” Randy Jackson says it was “effortless” and “crazy good.” Mariah Carey agrees, saying, “You epitomize what this competition is.”

Kree Harrison and Janelle Arthur are up next with a duet of Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.” Janelle has a lovely voice, but singing next to Kree? This could be a bloodbath. And… it is!

Nicki Minaj gets right to the point. “Ms. Kreedom! Kreedom almost made it look like she flew in to do a duet with an Idol contestant today,” she says. “She was so calm and so reserved and not trying hard, her voice sounded like butta! Kree definitely outshined you my darling.” Too bad the judges burst her bubble before she gets to sing solo.

Lazaro Arbos takes a slowed down approach to “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder. It’s the first time I don’t hate his outfit. I still don’t like it, but I’m not as offended as usual. He’s really on tonight. This genre is certainly more in his wheelhouse than past week’s selections. He looks like he knows he rocked it. Yay Laz!

Freshly bruised from the judges beating, Janelle Arthur is going to play the guitar while she sings her own arrangement of The Slippers’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” The judges love it.

“You always shine when you have your guitar in front of you,” notes Nicki. “You’ve been smiling more today… sometimes when you are so happy, maybe you’re not paying attention like you normally do. Your voice isn’t how it normally is, in my opinion.” The crowd disagrees, but I think she’s right. I was bored. Something is missing.

Devin Velez manages to ruin one of my favorite oldies, “Tracks Of My Tears” by guest mentor, Smokey Robinson. Pretty sure he’ll be on the chopping block by tomorrow. The judges really like it, but they’re crazy.

Candice, Amber Holcomb, and Angie Miller are performing together and it’s the best moment ever. They sing “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” and they do. These girls are so good, it’s just triple the talent. Love, love, love.

Burnell Taylor chooses “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder. Ah-mazing. His all white suit is a little weird, but I can get past that. Somebody sign this boy NOW!

“Yes sir! You reminded us why we fell in love with that voice tonight!” gushes Nicki. “It’s very artsy to watch and hear you sing.” Amen, sister!

Is it me, or does Angie look a LOT like Miley Cyrus in her pre-punk days? The judges don’t like her rendition of “Shop Around” by The Miracles. Nicki blames Jimmy Iovineagain. I’m sure she’ll survive. It wasn’t terrible; it just wasn’t her usual standout moment.

The guys’ group performance of The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) was a total disaster. It looked like a homebound Hollywood week audition. Nicki is pissed and pulls no punches when she says, “I don’t know what that was, but I’m going to act like I didn’t even see it or hear it!”

Amber is up next with another killer dress on. Her try at “Lately” by Stevie Wonder earns a standing ovation from the judges, even Mariah. “And THAT was Tour de Force!” Silence. “Does anybody know what that means?!” Her flattery falls on deaf ears, but the rest of the panel picks up the slack. Just another failed one-liner for Mimi. “The best vocal of the night!” declares Randy.

Kree kills it again with her show-closing version of “Don’t Play That Song” by Aretha Franklin. “You’re here to stay in this competition,” says Mariah. Talk about an understatement.

I think Devin Velez and Janelle Arthur should be nervous.

Who will go home this week?

Revisit Curtis Finch Jr.’s final song below.

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