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‘American Idol’ Recap: The Top 8 Go Motown

'American Idol'
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On ‘American Idol’ tonight (March 27), the top eight contestants were encouraged to show their Motown side in honor of guest mentor Smokey Robinson – and they were even treated to a master class by the R&B legend himself. Some of the singers thrived and were completely in their element, while others struggled with being removed from their comfort zone.

In addition to performing individually, the singers teamed up with fellow contestants to deliver duets and trios. Country girls Janelle Arthur and Kree Harrison belted out a country version of Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer.’ Later in the evening, Amber Holcomb, Candice Glover and Angie Miller joined forces to perform a stunning rendition of Diana Ross and the Supremes’ ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.’

Finally, Devin Velez, Lazaro Arbos and Burnell Taylor sang an extremely disappointing version of the Four Tops’ ‘I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).’ In fact, it was so bad that ‘Idol’ judge Nicki Minaj all but yelled at them to get off the stage.

Here’s the rundown of the night’s individual performances:

Candice Glover: Read about her performance here.

Lazaro Arbos: His delivery of Stevie Wonder’s ‘For Once in My Life’ wasn’t perfect, but it was a definite improvement from his performance last week. He seemed to take Robinson’s advice to heart, and the changes he employed really made a difference.

Janelle Arthur: With her guitar in hand, this country singer played a beautiful arrangement of the Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ that she crafted when she was only 14. “I think you always shine when you have your guitar in front of you,” observed Minaj, who went on to say that the vocal delivery wasn’t as tight as it normally was. Randy Jackson was blown away by her performance and exclaimed … wait for it … “She’s in it to win it!”

Devin Velez: He sang Robinson’s own ‘The Tracks of My Tears’ and had the pleasure of sitting down with the man who wrote the song in order to get a better feel for it. His delivery was passionate and heartfelt, leaving a mark on all of the ‘Idol’ panelists. Minaj said, “You’re up there looking like a ripe banana right now” but was quick to assure him, “that’s a good thing!” Jackson remarked, “I think this is one of your best performances in weeks, hands down.” Mariah Carey said, “I hope America really, really understand how good that was and how good you are.” Even Robinson was impressed by Velez’s delivery, saying that he did a “great job.”

Burnell Taylor: Read about his performance here.

Angie Miller: She sang Robinson’s ‘Shop Around,’ and was encouraged to loosen up and just have fun with it during rehearsals. However, her onstage delivery fell short of the judges’ expectations. Jackson called her performance pitchy and said, “You’re usually so right on, but it was not right on tonight … it was not great tonight.” Carey once again brought up her love for Miller’s piano-driven tunes and thought she strayed too far from the real Angie we all adore so much. Keith Urban remarked, “I think the melody kept pulling you down … but your talent is undeniable, and we’ll be seeing you next week.” Minaj was not pleased at all; she claimed that Miller tried too hard to be someone other than herself.

Amber Holcomb: She was bummed out about being in the bottom 3, but that didn’t stop her from delivering a jaw-dropping performance. Holcomb wowed the judges with her talent-packed version of Stevie Wonder’s Lately.’ “You have this way of laying in a song that’s just mesmerizing,” commented Urban. Minaj agreed, saying, “That was just out of this world. You are just something very, very special.” Jackson called her performance “the best vocal of the night” and praised her for coming a long way and continuing to improve each week.

Kree Harrison: Read about her performance here.

Stay tuned to ‘American Idol’ tomorrow (March 28) to find out who goes home. In the meantime, you can check out a bunch of videos from tonight’s episode below.

Get More ‘American Idol’ News

Watch Lazaro Arbos Perform ‘For Once in My Life’ on ‘American Idol’

Watch Janelle Arthur Perform ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ on ‘American Idol’

Watch Devin Velez Perform ‘The Tracks of My Tears’ on ‘American Idol’

Watch Angie Miller Perform ‘Shop Around’ on ‘American Idol’

Watch Amber Holcomb Perform ‘Lately’ on ‘American Idol’

Watch Kree Harrison and Janelle Arthur Perform ‘Like a Prayer’ on ‘American Idol’

Watch Amber Holcomb, Angie Miller and Candice Glover Perform ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’ on ‘American Idol’

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