Candice Glover up first as "American Idol" does music from Detroit; she's singing "I Heard It Through the Grapvine." It's a smokey, bluesy version; she's playing with the lyrics, showing off her spot-on vocals. We've all heard the song a million times, but rarely like this; audience gives her an extended ovation.
Keith Urban loves how she controls her vocals, calls it her best performance of the year. Nicki Minaj like how she showed off her "rocky, bluesy thing," with Randy Jackson calling it "amazing, effortless -- just crazy good." Mariah Carey calls her voice, "gritty when you want it to be, pretty when you want it to be."
Next, Kree Harrison and Janelle Arthur team up for the non-competitive portion of the program, doing a version of Madonna's "Like A Prayer." Starts off with pure vocals, nicely done; then it degenerates into something a bit hokey. They're trying to countrify the song, sand off its edges; doesn't quite work, even if their voices are pleasant to listen to. And neither of them can dance a lick.
Minaj tells them flat out it seemed like Harrison flew in to do a duet with an "Idol" contestant, and that she totally "outshined" Arthur. Jackson agrees, Carey thought it was a "sisterhood" moment, liked how they worked together. Urban wanted them to move around more.
Lazaro Arbos up next, singing Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life." Guest mentor Smokey Robinson advises him to just do "what you like." Mentor Jimmy Iovine, who's been hard on him, thinks it's a good pick.
He's still swallowing some of his words, but it's much better than the past few weeks; singing slower, not just trying to get through it and is more confident. Seems a bit out of breath as he speeds up; not compelling for me overall, but not horrible either.
Jackson calls it "far better than last week." Carey says "your courage, the guts that you have, were back." Urban liked it, too, wants him to also pick songs that "rhythmically" feel right, too. Minaj says "you gave it to me tonight," tells him he did a "great job." She also aptly calls him "Fonzie," referencing his slicked-back hair, leather jacket and youthful look.