American Idol 2013 Recap: Top 8 Performances — Nicki Freaks Out! (VIDEOS)
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American Idol

American Idol 2013 Recap: Top 8 Performances — Nicki Freaks Out! (VIDEOS)

In our 2013 American Idol recap tonight, the Season 12 Top 8 take on the ‘Music of Motor Town’ or ‘Motown’ for short — a roller coaster song theme so often repeated on this show, we are starting to get a little nauseous.

Will the finalists end up with whiplash from the harsh critiques of Nicki Minaj and the other American Idol judges tonight? Or will they somehow manage to make an overdone song theme feel fresh and new? Join us for our live American Idol 2013 recap blog and watch the performances with us!

Frankly, we could have done without a repeat of contestants doing Motown American Idol performances on Season 12. Seriously, this has to be the most worn out and tired theme choice in the show’s history. None of the finalists were even born when this music was in its heyday. Not to say it isn’t all amazing music, but if producers really want to keep the interest of a younger audience (and they are losing it), they need to retire some of these old school themes for good.

That being said, we can only hope that a contestant like American Idol Angie Miller will be able to take even an old, overdone classic like “Shop Around” and give us a new reason to love it. We watch American Idol every week in hopes the contestants will “wow” us and make their songs shine despite when they were written or how well known they are. Let’s hope that will be the case on American Idol tonight, because most of these songs have been performed so many times on the show at this point, superfans could recite the lyrics in their sleep.

Who will put a fresh spin on a dusty classic? Join us for our live 2013 American Idol recap of the Top 8 performance show and find out!

[Please refresh this page frequently for the latest updates and YouTube American Idol videos from tonight’s show right here once the show begins!]

Host Ryan Seacrest makes it clear the ‘Songs of Motor City’ theme for tonight didn’t just cover music from the Motown record label. He also says the Top 8 finalists will be performing some duets tonight. The guest mentor for tonight is Motown legend Smokey Robinson.

American Idol Candice Glover Top 8 Performance – “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye

Judges: Keith Urban says this was her best performance so far this season and she has truly raised the bar for the rest of the finalists. Nicki Minaj says she was proud of Candice for having her face alive throughout the song. Randy thinks Candice obviously knows she deserves to be here and her confidence is brilliant. He says she is one of the best singers left in the competition. Mariah Carey says Candice was great, but she’d love to hear a more soulful sound from her.

Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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Our first duet of the night is between country girls Kree Harrison and Janelle Arthur on Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” They claim they’ve wanted to sing together for quite some time. Probably so they could each try to trounce the other and claim the supreme title of American Idol country finalist.

Janelle Arthur and Kree Harrison – “Like a Prayer” by Madonna

Judges: Keith thinks Janelle and Kree could have maybe moved around a little more, but all the judges agree they did a solid job with their duet. Randy says Kree did outshine Janelle tonight though. The pitch for Janelle was just a bit off, but they both sounded fabulous.

American Idol Lazaro Arbos Top 8 Performance – “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder

Judges: Randy Jackson says last week they gave him a bit of a rough time, but this week was “far better than last week” even though it wasn’t perfect pitch wise and he seemed a little disconnected. Mariah Carey says she thinks the song choice was a good one for his “sweet spot” and that his courage and guts were “back” this week. She tells him he just has to take the critiques and either use them or not. Keith Urban gives props to Smokey for great mentorship this week. He says tonight was exponentially better this week. Nicki Minaj says “Ricky Ricardo” is definitely back this week and that Smokey needs to be her sugar daddy because he’s a sexy piece of specimen. Then she calls Lazaro “Fonzi” and says he does a great job when he stops listening to Jimmy Iovine.

Our Rating: 5 out 10

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American Idol Janelle Arthur (on guitar) Top 8 Performance – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by The Supremes

Judges: Mariah Carey says that was Janelle at her finest ands he was amazing! Keith Urban says the arrangement was beautiful and Janelle was terrific. Nicki Minaj says Janelle always shines best when she has her guitar in front of her. Nicki also Janelle has been smiling more though and somehow she was not quite herself today. Randy Jackson disagrees and says it was absolutely great and one of her best performances on the show. “Watch out for this Janelle, y’all, she’s in it to win it!”

Our Rating: 8 out of 10

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American Idol Devin Velez Top 8 Performance – “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson

Judges: Keith Urban says Devin has such great style that he just needs to not think about things so much and just relax into it. Nicki Minaj says Devin looks like a ripe banana up there and that’s a good thing. She thinks he did an amazing job tonight and she loved every single choice he made. She says it felt good, smooth and comfortable. “Yes sir!” Randy Jackson says he thinks Devin is back tonight too and it was one of his best performances in weeks. Mariah Carey says she loved it too, although she wouldn’t have minded if he’d sang “Ooo Baby Baby” if he was going to do a Smokey Robinson song. (Wink wink.)

Our Rating: 7 out of 10

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Next up we have a trio performance from Candice Glover, Angie Miller, and Amber Holcomb on “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” by The Supremes.

Judges: All around the judges say the girls sounded great. Not a lot of critiquing here.

American Idol Burnell Taylor Top 8 Performance – “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder

Judges: Nicki Minaj is in love with the performance and thinks Burnell slides right into the Motown sound. Randy Jackson says, again, for the millionth time, he’s “in it to win it.” Mariah Carey thinks Burnell was looking stylish and gave an awesome performance. Keith Urban says it is hard to critique Burnell because he’s just him and that’s what he does. Okay.

Our Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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American Idol Angie Miller Top 8 Performance – “Shop Around” by The Miracles w/ Smokey Robinson

Judges: Randy Jackson says it was the first time ever he’s heard Angie had such a “pitchy” performance. He also apparently seems to forget that Angie actually has hearing loss as he says repeatedly ‘maybe you couldn’t hear in your ears or something.’ Not well said Randy, not wells aid. Mariah Carey wasn’t loving on the song choice so much either and thought she could have picked something else that was more suitable to her style. Keith Urban says he could hear the issues with the pitch too. He thinks the melody dragged her down and that’s why she would go sharp. However, her talent is undeniable and he has no doubt she’ll be back next week. Nicki Minaj says Angie came out today to try to show a different side of herself that she didn’t need to show. She doesn’t have to show she is sexy, or fun, or whatever. “Don’t try to come out here and try to give us another side, we haven’t asked for another side yet!”

Our Rating: 7 out of 10

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American Idol Amber Holcomb Top 8 Performance – “Lately” by Stevie Wonder

Judges: Mariah Carey says “that was a tour de force!” She says it was impeccable, especially the ending. “So good, I loved it. Beautiful!” Keith Urban says it was a “tour de force” and that’s why they all got on their feet. She sang it beautifully and she felt it beautifully. Nicki Minaj says if Amber wears pink lipstick, she’ll get more votes. Nicki says “when God created those vocal chords, he was showing off.” She wants Amber to not even think about how she was in the bottom three last time and she is loved by millions. Randy Jackson says it was the “best vocal of the night” and Amber has grown so far in this competition. Crazy vocals and unbelievable!

Our Rating: 9 out of 10 (but the judges being so bloody crazy about it earned one of those points...)

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Devin, Lazaro and Burnell are up with the final group performance of the night on “I Can’t Help Myself” by The Temptations. OMG. Wow in a bad way.

Judges: Nicki totally freaks out and says thank God all of you already had your solo performances because that was horrible. She commands them to just go, get off the stage! Don't ever do that again! Confused and horrified... they flee. Lazaro does the whole “I didn’t know the words that well” excuse again.

American Idol Kree Harrison Top 8 Performance – “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” by Ben E. King/Aretha Franklin

Judges: Randy Jackson says taking on the Queen of Soul is a tough thing but Kree is one of the best in the competition. This wasn’t perfect, but she is definitely here to stay. Mariah Carey says she loves her and just like Randy said, she’s here to stay in this competition. Keith Urban says he loves how she keeps reminding everyone about the soul at the heart of country music. Nicki Minaj calls her ‘Kreedom’ and says her confidence never wavers and she is a Queen.

Our Rating: 8 out of 10

Vote: 1-866-436-5707

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That's all for our American Idol recap of the Top 8 performance show tonight. Join us tomorrow for our elimination results recap!

03.28.2013 / 08:07 AM EDT by Laura Vess
Related: American Idol, Spoilers, American Idol Season 12

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