The 'Starships' hitmaker isn't there when Curtis Finch Jr. kicks off the show, where all contestants sing songs originated or covered by past 'Idol' winners.
The Top 10 of "American Idol" season 12 performed in a live show Wednesday night, March 13. One person was missing from the judging panel early that night as Nicki Minaj arrived late and skipped the first performance.
"Which one of you judges gave Nicki the wrong directions to the studio today? Who drained the fuel from her car?" Ryan Seacrest jokingly asked Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson. The Harajuku Barbie herself blamed the traffic for her tardiness. "Stuck in traffic *sighs*," she tweeted, "F--k u Malibu!!!!!!!!!!!! *moves to Beverly Hills*."
Back to the show, the ten finalists sang 10 songs originated or once covered by previous "Idol" winners. Curtis Finch Jr. was the first performer, covering Fantasia Barrino's "Believe". Keith loved the song choice, but noticed there was some pitch issue. Randy wanted Curtis to try something different, but Mariah wanted "to hear more fo that gospel-tinged, even more raw" performance.
Nicki arrived in time for the second performance of the night by Janelle Arthur. She chose Montgomery Gentry's "Gone" which was covered by Scotty McCreery in season 10. Keith liked her "Lee Ann Womack-y" runs, but Nicki wasn't "a thousand percent about your song choice." Randy thought "the song didn't lead anywhere," and Mariah wanted "to hear maybe a ballad or something mid tempo that lets you sing or do your thing."
Devin Velez's delivered a rendition of Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home". "That was not one of your better performances," Keith said, adding that it might have something to do with wrong song choice. Nicki, however, said, "I disagree with every single thing... Wow, I was going to say the complete opposite." Randy agreed with Keith, commenting, "I thought it was way too safe."
Angie Miller took on Celine Dion's "I Surrender", which Kelly Clarkson performed during "Idol" first season. "You're just to me perfection, on any level," Nicki praised Angie after complimenting Angie on her looks. Keith loved the highest register of her voice, and Randy thought she could sing anything. Mariah called the performance "stellar."
Paul Jolley went with Lonestar's "Amazed" which Scotty McCreery sang in season 10. "I really feel like you've been listening to Jimmy [Iovine], and the advice is really taking hold," Keith praised Paul. Nicki then delivered a raunchy comment, "This is the first time you've stimulated my sexual."
Candice Glover nailed a cover of Ben E. King's "I (Who Have Nothing)", which was sung by Jordin Sparks in season 6. Keith liked the performance, as Nicki raved, "You just destroyed and annihilated.... That was actually my favorite performance you've ever done." Mariah said, "Every time you are on stage, it's mesmerizing. I am transfixed," adding that she didn't stand for the ovation because "my skirt is too tight." Randy called it "perfect."
Lazaro Arbos chose Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway", but Keith thought the song didn't suit him. Nicki noticed that Lazaro was nervous, while Randy added, "The pitch was a little all over the place. This was not really the right choice." Mariah agreed that it wasn't a good song choice.
Kree Harrison sang Roy Orbison's "Crying", which was once covered by one of her favorite Idols, Carrie Underwood. Saying that she could sing anything, Keith gushed, "If you made a record tomorrow, I would go and buy that record." Mariah praised her "enormous range," as Randy loved her "amazing vocal." Nicki added, "It was smooth, it was delicious, it was just fun."
Ruben Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" was Burnell Taylor's choice despite Jimmy Iovine's advice not to get stuck doing only R&B ballads. Though so, the judges appeared liking it, with Randy saying, "Very, very nice, Burnell." Nicki commented, "Good job."
Amber Holcomb wrapped up the night with a stellar performance as she covered Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This". "That was the best performance of the night, seriously," Nicki declared. "Hashtag POW. That's all I can say," Mariah added, as Randy summed up that night's performances, "Guys, the girls are killin' you all tonight!"
"Idol" will return Thursday with the results show. Phillip Phillips and Bon Jovi are set to perform.