It was "rock week" on "American Idol" as the top 7 took on rock 'n' roll classics, with varying results.
It also happened to be injury week, with top talents Kree Harrison and Candice Glover singing through their pain. Harrison had a pinched nerve that limited her arm movement. Glover had an April Fools' prank-related injury: She broke a toe when Burnell Taylor persuaded her to try to fool Lazaro Arbos into thinking the house was on fire. Yes, fake house fire, real backfire.
"That's what you get for trying to play a trick on Lazaro," Nicki Minaj chided. "Lazaro got special powers. You ain't know that?"
We do know that – or at least we know the Ricky Ricardo-alike has mysterious staying powers. Will he stick around another week? Time will tell.
Arbos forgot his words (again) while dueting with Angie Miller on Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Glover and Taylor got their revenge, in a way, on their duet, the Box Tops' "The Letter"; Keith Urban said Taylor sounded like a "shining star" and Glover like "a whole galaxy." But the best group number of the night was probably the trio made up of Harrison, Amber Holcomb and Janelle Arthur, whose blend on Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" Randy Jackson called "unbelievable."
As for the solo performances …
Burnell Taylor turned into a different guy, as Minaj pointed out, on Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name." Rocker Burnell didn't impress the judges as much as crooner Burnell, though Mariah Carey enjoyed him from a nostalgic perspective and Minaj said it still made her want to hug him.
Kree Harrison, herself a hugger, we learned in pre-performance video footage, sang through her pain and delivered Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart," albeit with somewhat limited mobility. (Even though the pinched nerve was to blame, like Urban, I worry about Harrison moving around in super-high boots, especially after she fell in her heels the other week.) The judges loved it, hailing her warmth, genre-flexibility and professionalism. "In it to win it!" Jackson hollered, for the first, though not the last, time of the night. Ryan Seacrest prompted Harrison to share an interesting tidbit, as well: She was born at the same hospital as Joplin, and her grandmother knew the singer in school.
Janelle Arthur looked super-comfortable strolling the stage, singing up a storm and kicking up her sparkly cowboy-booted heels with Billy Joel's "You May Be Right." The judges complimented not only her voice, stage presence, likability and growth, but also her outfit. Minaj snagged her boots; Jackson her vest. They couldn't take away her broad smile, though.
Lazaro Arbos didn't do nearly as poorly as the judges – and many of the rest of us – predicted he'd do with Queen's "We Are the Champions." His downright defiant performance earned him props, especially from Minaj, who said he had a "Ricky Martin sexiness." Lazaro-loca fans may agree.
Despite her injured toe, Candice Glover kicked things up a notch, as she always does, with the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." Everyone loved Glover, but one judge didn't love the song. Minaj said it put her to sleep. Then she beat the audience to it by enthusiastically booing herself.
Amber Holcomb earned a standing ovation from three of the judges – and high praise from all of them -- with Heart's "What About Love." They admired her vocal inflections – "Whitneyisms," Jackson called them, in a rare moment of freshness -- and her shoes, her hair, her legs. If Holcomb doesn't get the vote this week, it won't be for lack of judge support. Thanks to her sister, sitting in the audience in her military uniform, she may also get some patriotic support.
Angie Miller -- whose excited little flutter-clap, revealed in her pre-performance video lead-up, left a disgusted look on Urban's face – pleased the judges by beginning Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life" on the piano, then got up and stood on a raised platform and struggled to keep a wind machine from blowing up her top. It was her best performance in weeks, and most of the judges thought her performance was spot-on, but Urban seemed to have a little residual distaste, advising Miller to let herself sink into the song more and "not be so conscious about the way you look."
I'm guessing the judges would use their save on almost anyone except Arbos this week, though it's hard to say for sure. Who do you think is in danger of going home?