Janelle Arthur up next as "American Idol" rocks out -- singing Billy Joel's "You May Be Right." She slows it down; I don't like it from the get-go, strips it of the raw, frenetic energy that's at the heart of the song. Almost whiny; nothing memorable about her performance.
Keith Urban praises her spangly, paisley, rhinestone boots; never a good sign when the first words are about the fashion. He says it wasn't the best song for her to do, then quickly shifts to talk about her growth week to week.
Minaj wants to borrow the boots; calls the performance "exceptional," which is so weird to me -- she's usually right on about things. Rambles about how Arthur's "every girl's best friend." Randy Jackson also likes her "authenticity," with Mariah Carey loving her vibrato.
They're all living in fantasy land; Arthur was not very good, I can only conclude they're trying to talk her up so she doesn't get booted.
Lazaro Arbos up next, doing Queen's "We Are the Champions." Good song choice -- shows off his tone on the high notes, and it's an easy song for him to just let loose on. First time in the finals I feel like the original Arbos is back, he's compelling and fun to listen to. Wish he put even more into it, but totally nails the last note, finishing with a jump in the air.
Minaj yells, "I was loving that!" Jackson says he wasn't sure about it at first, but "you did a good job." Carey says she was also "concerned," but calls it a good choice and liked how he seemed relaxed. Urban praises the song choice, liked how it "played into your dramatics, in a good way."
Arthur, Amber Holcomb and Kree Harrison next, doing Joel's "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me." Is he really the epitome of rock, that two of the last three songs have been his?!
At any rate, it's a flat, unappealing performance -- nobody shines, tempo is off, just all around forgettable.
"Wow," says Jackson, "that was so good." My gosh, what is going on with the judges tonight, everyone but Urban's been living in happy land. Carey applauds them, literally and verbally; Urban says "you girls look great together," and leaves it at that.
Minaj then says "it put me to sleep, to be completely honest." Adds, "none of you stood out, it was so cheesy."
Okay, good to have some reality injected back in.