Charlie Askew next on "American Idol," singing "Rocket Man." Oh wow, such a stripped-down, vocally impressive performance. Conveys emotion, is sincere, even throws in some flair with the mike. He's nervous and is shaking a bit and it gets a bit rougher the longer it goes on, but he's highly likeable, you find yourself pulling for him.
He celebrates afterward by jumping about, basks in the applause -- it's all a bit crazy and wonderful to watch. Audience is just randomly yelling for him.
Nicki Minaj gives him a heartfelt standing ovation; I really like her, she's kind and always feels for the underdog. Keith Urban says "I love your originality, your fearlessness, your unpredictability." Minaj says "your awkwardness, your weirdness excites me." She says, "you remind me of my little brother, I love you so much."
Randy Jackson says, "I don't where I am right now, I don't know what's going on." He doesn't quite get why everyone's so riled up by the awkward kid who's found a home on stage. Mariah Carey praises his originality, rambles as usual.
Jimmy Smith has to follow Askew, singing Urban's "Raining on Sunday." Typical lyrical country performance, nothing wrong with it but forgotten the minute it's over.
Urban says he did "a good job," with Minaj saying she was "bored." Jackson calls it "boring" as well.
Judges' favorite Curtis Finch closes out the show with "Superstar." It's slow, soulful, passionate and well-sung. Gets the judges falling out of their chars as he nails the high note at the end.
Urban calls it "really beautiful," even if some parts were "over-performed." Minaj says he "raises the bar" for everyone else. Jackson calls his voice "unparalleled," tells him to keep his performances "young." Carey rambles, winds up saying "it moved me to tears."