The judges got on their feet for Candice, a 23-year-old from St. Helena Island, SC, who sang "I Who Have Nothing" by Jordin Sparks and Amber, an 18-year-old from Houston, TX, who brought the house down with Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This."
The theme of Wednesday night's Top 10 performance broadcast was music of the American Idols in which the finalists could sing any song from any winner either previously performed on the show or in their post-Idol collection.
Candice first set the bar during last night's episode.
"If we were allowed more time, we'd still be standing and clapping right now ourselves. Gosh, I love you so much. There's so many things I love about you... When you hit notes and you do them so effortlessly, beautiful, Randy and I were just like, 'Whoa!' skiing downhill with you. But you never let the audience pull you out of your zone... You're incredible, baby, amazing," Keith told the contestant.
"It would be in everybody's best interest to never, ever perform that song ever again. No, I'm being dead [serious], like they should ban that song from ever being able -- you shouldn't be able to ever perform that song again on Idol, because you just destroyed and annihilated it," Nicki explained.
Added the judge, "That was actually my favorite performance that you've ever done... You always do the vocal gymnastics and all that stuff, but to me tonight, this took that and fused it with something very current and a feel that was fresh and new and crispy and your own style and just ill and refreshing."
"You really worked that song out. I'm telling you what, I'm telling you that this was one of the greatest performances on this show this Season 12 of Idol. That was incredible, yo! And all of this about runs and no runs or emotion or whatever, that song had everything and it was perfect! Congratulations," Randy said.
"At this point, all I can say is that every time you're on that stage, it's mesmerizing. I am transfixed watching you because a singer of your caliber can do pretty much anything -- choose to go jazzy, choose to go straight, choose to have your rifts with the fluidity that you have. I listen and I take it and I just -- it's in my heart after you do these performances... The only reason that I did not stand up is because my skirt's too tight... You deserve standing ovations always!" Mariah added.
Amber eventually closed out the show and thoroughly impressed the panel of judges.
"Wow Amber, that was beautiful... I love that song for you. I love how effortless you sing and even when you get up to that big, crazy note in the end, it's just so easy. And the way that you perform is always how I sort of feel watching it. You have an effortlessness about performing and I listen to it that way. I thought that was really, really beautiful tonight, baby," Keith said.
"Ber, that was the best performance of the night, seriously. Your voice and aura reminds me of Whitney Houston's first album. That last night was giving me Whitney baby and I'm so impressed with your charisma, your beauty, your grace," Nicki explained.
Added the rapper, "And the voice is just -- I keep saying it because that's the only thing I can think to say -- it's on another level. It's so simple for you that it's like I just can't wait to see you spread your wings and fly, especially when I think of how you've auditioned three times. I like it better when you style yourself... and I'd pay to see you wear some pink lipstick someday."
"I love you. There are so many great things that happened here... I feel like you have arrived and you now believe that you belong here and can do it. And you're competing tonight, and dude, it was so beautiful. Everything was so perfect. I'm like dude, 'Where are all the guys at? The girls are killing ya'll tonight!' Very good Amber, very good!" Randy said.
"Hashtag 'pow.' That's all I can say... You really sounded magnificent. I don't care what you wear, I don't care if there's a fan there or you were sitting on the steps or whatever. You have a natural gift and it's beautiful and it's just something that can't be explained. Really, to critique it, is almost unnecessary because when you're just performing, we get goose bumps and we feel you and we know that you're just giving us everything. So thank you," Mariah told her.
At the beginning of the episode, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest revealed Nicki got the wrong directions to the studio, jokingly addressing how she was late. "Who drained the fuel from her car? Who was it?" Seacrest asked the other judges while briefly sitting in her seat on the panel.
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