Candice Glover up first as the "American Idol" finalists sing their second song, picked by the judges. First they show her visit back to her hometown -- St. Helena, S.C. Bit rainy but hundreds show up as she visits her old workplace, rides a red moped; then starts crying as she visits her family.
"When she rolled up in a limo that did something to me," says her mom. "I could not believe it, Candice, our daughter."
Off to a community center, another big crowd. I think everyone on the island pretty much turned out. Then a parade; "this is the best day of my life, ever," she says. Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, says a few words before she starts her concert.
Back to the stage, she'll sing Emeli Sande's "Next to Me." Can't imagine the four judges agreeing on anything -- kind of an odd pick, bit slow and old-fashioned (which they've criticized her for being.) She sings it well, like she does everything, but it didn't really highlight anything for me.
Mariah Carey calls it "A+ amazing, like it always is," like she always says. Then gushes about her hometown visit. Keith Urban liked her passion.
Then an emotional Nicki Minaj, who obviously relates to Glover's story of making it from an unexpected place, says "you have come out swinging in this competition -- I am so proud of you." She has to stop speaking, overcome by emotion.
Randy Jackson says "this is one of the greatest things about 'American Idol,' that you can come from nothing and make it."
A tearful, passionate Minaj then says at the end that she loves how confident Glover is on the stage, and how she's a role model for girls all over the country. A teary Glover says she used to be insecure, but the show has helped her overcome that.
One of the most genuine few minutes I've ever seen on the show -- not melodramatic, not fake. Just real emotion -- Glover is not central casting's idea of a pop star, but with her voice and drive she's got a chance to make the final two, and that's a great story.