The remaining eight contestants of "American Idol" season 12 returned on Wednesday, March 27 to sing songs by any artist who is from Detroit, with Motown legend Smokey Robinson serving as a guest mentor. In addition to their solo performances, they sang as a group or duo that night.
Candice Glover kicked it off with a bluesy take on Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through the Grapevine". "You raise the bar, exponentially," Keith Urban said, as Randy Jackson raved, "You're so good in your own skin now, I think you believe that you belong in this competition. ... I thought it was an amazing job, effortless." Mariah Carey, meanwhile, believed that Candice would survive in the competition for a long time.
After a duet of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" by Janell Arthur and Kree Harrison in which the latter outshone the former, Lazaro Arbos took the stage to sing Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life". "I don't know if you completely redeemed yourself, but this was far better than last week," Randy commented. Mariah noted there was pitch issue during Lazaro's performance, but loved his song choice. Keith, meanwhile, suggested him to find song that not just musically, but also rhythmically, comfortable for him.
Janelle belted out "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by Diana Ross for her solo performance, putting a country spin on it. "That was you at your finest!" Mariah gushed. Nicki Minaj added, "I think you always shine when you have your guitar in front of you. That's kind of how I see you at your shows," while Randy called it "incredible" and "one of your best performances on the show."
Devin Velez went with a song by this week's guest mentor, "Tracks of My Tears". "Devin is back tonight, y'all," Randy exclaimed, as Nicki said she liked "the falsetto choices that you made." Mariah gushed, "I loved it from the second I heard what was going on in the studio... This was flawless from you."
Candice later returned to sing Diana Ross & The Supremes' "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" with Amber Holcomb and Angie Miller. "Hashtag wow!" Mariah commented as the judges gave standing ovation.
Next, Burnell Taylor sang Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour". Nicki said his performance was "very artsy to watch." Randy said, "The choices that you make are so smart," while Mariah thought he "did a really good job." Keith added, "You're so original, Burnell, that it's really hard to critique anything, because it's your style."
For her solo performance, Angie went with a rocker-chick version of The Miracles' "Shop Around", which Randy found "strange." He added, "It's the first time ever that I've seen you on this show have such a pitchy performance." Mariah admitted it was "very sexy," but said, "I would have rather heard you at the piano." Keith thought Angie had a problem with the melody, but Nicki thought, "You came out and tried to show a different side of Angie that didn't need to be shown."
Amber showed up later to sing "Lately" by Stevie Wonder. Smokey said during the mentoring session that Amber's "going to annihilate it" and his prediction was right. The judges gave standing ovation as Mariah called it "a tour de force." Randy chimed in, "Yo, by far, for me, the best vocal of the night!"
Following Lazaro Burnell and Devin's performance of The Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself", Kree covered "Don't Play That Song" by Aretha Franklin. Randy thought it wasn't perfect, but added, "To take on the Queen of Soul is a very tough thing. You're one of the best in the competition... You definitely are here to stay." Mariah said, "I commend you for doing this song... Bravo."
On Thursday, one of these Top 8 will be sent home.