This season of "American Idol" has been heavy on the judges' drama and light on the actual contestants' talent, but that all changed on Wednesday night when the Top 3 contestants -- Candice Glover, Angie Miller, and Kree Harrison -- went back to their hometowns. The homegrown visits rejuvenated all three singers, with one of them bringing tough-girl judge Nicki Minaj to tears.
The hometown montages featured a peek at the contestants' homes as well as the obligatory welcome home parades and concerts, and after watching Candice Glover's emotional trip to South Carolina, Mariah Carey said, "I feel like I went home with you. You got re-energized when you went home."
Glover sang a triple shot of powerful songs, picked for her by the judges, show producers, and in-house mentor Jimmy Iovine, belting out U2's One," (Glover had never heard U2's or Mary J. Blige's version of the song before last week), Emeli Sande's "Next To Me," and the "West Side Story" classic "Somewhere."
Glover, who has tried out for "Idol" three times, got this positive prediction from Randy Jackson: "I think the third time is going to be a charm for you."
But it was Nicki Minaj who had the most emotional reaction to Glover's home video and performances.
"That video was so emotional and so hard for me to watch," a teary-eyed Nicki said. "You have come out swinging in this competition. I just am so proud of … I have to tell you that I am so proud of you." (And yes, the hardcore judge's voice even cracked a bit as she said this.)
The rapper added, "You are going to inspire so many women around all the world -- and it's not black, it's every woman, no matter who they are, what they look like. You come on that stage and you just own who you are and it's reflected when you sing, every time you sing."
Boston-area native Angie Miller, who is typically strongest with her piano in front of her, stunned the judges by not playing it for two piano-worthy songs. Jimmy Iovine saddled her with Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," a song that has been a death sentence for past "Idol" wanabees. When an incredulous Randy Jackson asked Miller why she didn't play piano for the number, the 19-year-old admitted she didn't think she'd be able to learn it in time.
Later she sang Pink's "Try," also sans piano. (Nicki Minaj's spot-on quote of the night: "You are Miley Cyrus' long-lost twin," she told the toothy contestant.) But when Miller took on Emeli Sande's ballad "Maybe" (Sande was getting some airplay this night!), she did play the piano, prompting that wacky Keith Urban to tell her to try singing a song under the piano next time, because she's that darn good. Oh, Keith! (Hey, what do you expect from a guy who's from Down Under?)
And after a very emotional trip to Texas, Kree Harrison sang Pink's "Perfect," an odd choice for the country singer, but Jimmy Iovine wanted to force her to sing a pop song. The 22-year-old also sang "Here Comes Goodbye" by Rascal Flatts, and The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two," setting Nicki Minaj up for her second excellent line of the night: "Whoever picked that song for you should be stoned."
But Nicki also told Harrison -- who tragically lost both of her parents before she was 18 -- "I don't think people realize how much strength you need to have to be this young and have no parents...I just want to say again I am so super proud of you."
In the end, the judges seemed to have deemed Candice Glover this season's winner. Nicki told the singer "See ya next week," while Keith said, "If you don't want to vote for Candice, call your doctor, you don't have a pulse."
By the way, while the judges behaved this week, did host Ryan Seacrest deliver the strangest line of the night? He opened the show with, "Somebody hasn't had many carbs this week. Looking good, Mariah!"
The "American Idol" Top 3 results show airs on Thursday, 5/9 at 8/7c on FOX.
More From This Contributor:
Note:This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network here to start publishing your own articles.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Nicki Minaj
- American Idol
- Candice Glover
- Jimmy Iovine
- Kree Harrison
- Angie Miller
- Emeli Sande