idol-17

Last week on American Idol, the top 20 were narrowed down to 10: Lazaro Arbos, Angie Miller, Candice Glover, Paul Jolley, Janelle Arthur, Curtis Finch, Jr., Amber Holcomb, Burnell Taylor, Kree Harrison, and Devin Velez. Tonight, they performed songs sung by past Idol winners for the judges (all except for Nicki, who was apparently tied up in traffic) and for your votes.

First up was Curtis, who was advised not to get “too caught up in the past.” He sang “I Believe,” which was the winning song of season three idol Fantasia. Keith said, “You always pick the right songs, in my opinion. You know who you are. You look great tonight!” Randy said, “A couple things were great. I would caution you to now try something a little bit different. I know there’s more in your bag.” Mariah said, “I wanna hear more of that gospel tinge, even more. Just be you! That’s what I feel from you. I love what you did tonight.”

Janelle sang “Gone,” by Montgomery Gentry, which Scotty McCreery sang when he was in the Top 5 during season ten. This country girl has the likability, talent and beauty to win this season. I’m calling it now: She makes it to the top five like Scotty. Keith said, “You were burning it up up there. I thought that was great.” Nicki (who showed up during the break) said, “The song that you sang last week, I thought it suited your voice better. I wanna hear you sing songs that show the pretty part of your voice more. You are electric and exciting, but I’m never 1000% about your song choices.” Randy said, “The thing for me is that the song didn’t lead anywhere. It’s good to see you perform and work the stage. I didn’t love the song for you.” Mariah said, “I felt that your aura was definitely giving us “star.” My favorite thing about you is the raw quality that you have.”

Devin has often chosen to sing a verse in Spanish in his songs, much to the joy of the judges (namely Mariah). Tonight, he opted to go another direction, singing season four winner Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home,” which he relates to a bit from growing up in a single-parent household. Keith said, “My feeling is that was not one of your better performances. I thought it played to a great place in your voice, but I don’t think you had confidence with the song at all.” Nicki went the other direction, saying, “To me, this is you! You look like a professional, you sound great. You are multi-faceted.” Randy said, “I thought it was way too safe. I thought you underplayed yourself. You have to go for broke every time on that stage.” Mariah said, “You have the ability to do so much vocally. Because of that, we expect so much from you. Please keep doing what you do, and keep that confidence because you deserve to have it.”

Next up was “beauty queen” Angie, who sang Celine Dion’s “I Surrender,” which season one winner Kelly Clarkson sang on the Top 4 episode. Keith said, “You’re such an artist. You can take a song from seemingly any era and make it seem very current. I thought you knocked it out of the park tonight.” Nicki said, “You really look like a billion dollars today. You’re just, to me, perfection. On every level. You’re just a superstar.” Randy said, “The competition starts now! I think you could sing anything. I loved every part of it.” Mariah simply said, “What do I think? Stellar.”

According to Jimmy Iovine, Paul “perpetually over-sings.” I don’t really know what that means, but I guess it’s a bad thing. Paul sang Lonestar’s “Amazed,” which Scotty McCreery sang during season ten. Keith said, “I feel like that was one of your better performances as far as just doing you.” Nicki said, “I think that you have this uncanny ability to pick songs that I just happen to like. I really think you did the song justice.” Randy said, “I think it was a great song choice. I think you’re taking it all in. If you feel it, go for it!”

Candice sang “I (Who Have Nothing)” by Ben E. King, which was sung by season six winner Jordin Sparks on the show. Keith said, “I love you so much! You never let the audience pull you out of your zone. You’re incredible, baby.” Nicki said, “It would be in everybody’s best interest to never, ever perform that song again. Because you just destroyed and annihilated it.” Randy said, “You really worked that song out. This was one of the greatest performances on this show of season 12. That song had everything, and it was perfect.” Mariah said, “All I can really say is when you’re on stage, I’m mesmerized.”

Apparently Lazaro struggled with his song last week, but we wouldn’t have known if they hadn’t included a clip of him telling the sound guys back stage about it. Tonight he sang season one winner Kelly Clarkson’s hit “Breakaway.” Nicki said, “This was probably my least favorite from you. Don’t let anybody break your confidence. Today you seemed nervous.” Randy said, “The pitch was a little all over the place. I really believe that song was way too big for you.” Mariah said, “I think a lot of people are falling in love with the courage that you have. I wasn’t really mad at the song choice. We feel you singing from your heart.”

Country girl Kree chose to sing season four country girl Carrie Underwood’s “Crying,” by Roy Orbison. Keith said, “When it comes to you, you could sing the phonebook. If you made a record tomorrow, I would go and buy it.” Nicki said, “It was smooth, it was delicious, it was just fun.” Randy said, “From note one, I am in. It just makes me feel good all over. You have one of those infectious voices. Very subtle, very subdued. I love you!” Mariah said, “It’s obvious that you have an enormous range. You can sing any kind of song. You can’t help but be real when you sing.”

Burnell sang season two winner Ruben Studdard’s first single “Flying Without Wings.” Keith said, “There’s a timber about your voice that’s so unique. You have a sort of eccentricity that’s pure and magnetic.” Nicki said, “I think that you’re well on your way. You always put your own twist on it. We’re looking at an artist being born right before our eyes.” Randy said, “This kid believes. And I think America believes!” Mariah said, “It just makes me very emotional to hear you sing. I love a lot of the choices that you made tonight with this song.”

Finally, Amber sang the song that Kelly Clarkson sang when she became the first American Idol: “A Moment Like This.” She got a standing ovation from all of the judges. Keith said, “That was beautiful! I love how effortless you sing. The way that you perform is always how I feel watching it.” Nicki said, “That was the best performance of the night, seriously. That last note was giving me Whitney (Houston). I’m so impressed with your beauty, your voice. I just can’t wait to see you spread your wings and fly.” Randy said, “You blew it out of the box tonight. I feel like you’ve arrived!” Mariah said, “Hashtag, POW! That’s all I can say. You have a natural gift. It’s something that can’t be explained.”

That’s all from the top 10! Tomorrow, the results.