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In the world's ultimate talent search, where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Ryan Seacrest
Judges Mariah Carey
Randy Jackson
Nicki Minaj
Keith Urban
Mentor Jimmy Iovine
Announcer Mark Thompson
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Nigel Lythgoe
Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Trish Kinane
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Wed & Thurs, Fox
@American Idol

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Round of 5: Year of Birth & Divas
April 17

Not since Jordin Sparks in season 6 has a woman won "American Idol". This season, that will change. One of these five women that will take the stage tonight IS the American Idol. We'll find out who gets closer based on what you think of tonight's show.

The themes tonight: YEAR OF BIRTH and DIVAS.


Candice Glover is the oldest lady in the competition, born in 1989. She grew up very "bossy" according to her parents. Will she start out being the boss on "Straight Up" by... someone who used to be on this show. She's offering a bit of a jazz twist to it.

THEY SAY: Keith thought that the bar was set high to start the night. Nicki thought that Candice was "boss". Randy thought that the arrangement made the song "current". Mariah thought that the song choice was "genius".

WE SAY: Jill Scott called. She wants her swag back. That was a study in arrangement meeting stage presence meeting song choice. The gauntlet has been thrown. Then Candice says that Janelle helped pick that song for her. She just might have handed her the night.

JIMMY SAYS: She needed to do a full range vocal for her to have the impact that she had last week.

Next up, Janelle Arthur, born in 1989, loved frou-frou dresses. And she was always a belter, particularly of Vince Gill. She'll be singing "When I Call Your Name", saying that when she hears the song, she stops crying. Perhaps it'll have a similar effect here.

THEY SAY: Nicki says that she's more comfortable with her acoustic guitar. Randy thought that "Janelle's back" and that she was "completely honest". Mariah says she was singing with "her whole heart". Keith is going to be "that guy".... He says that the song was pure emotion... but he didn't feel a connection due to thinking her way through the song.

WE SAY: Janelle knows what she wants to do. The thing is that we've seen her do it already. This is the top 5. If she wants to make it any further, she needs to show us what ELSE is in her arsenal.

JIMMY SAYS: He's in agreement with Keith. She needs to do something "REALLY REALLY emotional."

Speaking of women in the middle, let's go to Kree Harrison, born in 1990. They called her "Snow White" for having jet-black hair and extremely fair skin. Tonight, she'll talk to her parents with "She Talks to Angels" by The Black Crowes.

THEY SAY: Randy loves her "naturalness" with her blues vibe. Mariah says that this was one of her favorite Kree moments. Keith agrees with Mariah. Nicki agrees... with Randy, saying in her Cowell voice that this was the performance of the night SO FAR.

WE SAY: If we're doing like-genre battles, then Kree has it all and then some over Janelle, from range to emotional depth (remember her backstory, kids).

JIMMY SAYS: This song wasn't strong enough for Kree's vocal.

Jimmy's not feeling any of the love tonight. We'll see how he feels about Angie Miller, born in 1994, who looked like either an elf or a Vulcan or a Hylian or something. She was so "loud & obnoxious". She'll have to turn it down a skotch for the Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You", dedicating the performance to "[her] home... Boston". It would be cruel of us to judge this particular performance.... we're not even going to bother with what people think...

THEY SAY: Mariah thought it was a good song choice. Keith is looking forward to seeing her on the road. Nicki thought that the dedication was "smart". Randy agrees with the rest of the panel.

WE SAY: Now THAT's a connection. She hits most of the notes, and the tone just made absolute sense. And yes, the song choice was perfect.

JIMMY SAYS: "Powerhouse" and "the best performance of the night."

This trip down memory lane ends in 1994 with Amber Holcomb. She had the cutest dimples when she slept. She also wanted to be a news reporter. This just into the Brainvision News desk, Mariah's cover of "Without You". This could be bad...

THEY SAY: ... you know, let's talk to Mariah... She wants to hear more of the upper register, but she loved the ending and how Amber went up on it. On the other hand, Nicki thought that there was no feeling.

WE SAY: Daring choice to take on the master in front of the master. And... it didn't work. It was flat at some key points. She has the tone and the power, but it was structurally flawed compared to a) the others, and b) Mariah herself.

JIMMY SAYS: The low register killed her.

After round 1

Million Dollar Baby: Angie
Cute Babies: Kree, Candice.
PUT HER BACK IN!: Janelle, Amber

In the audience tonight, former "Australian Idol" runner-up Jessica Malboy. She lost to Damien Leith in season 4.


Candice said that she would NEVER do a Mariah song in front of her... That said, here's "When You Believe".

THEY SAY: Nicki said, "That is how you do a Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston song." Randy once again calls this the best vocal of the night. Mariah says she did the late Whitney Houston justice. Keith is stopped in his tracks.

WE SAY: Liar! Heh. Anyway, by stark contrast, this was subdued and stripped to basics. So we know that Candice is able to sing pretty much anything. We also know that the judges will probably vote to save her given the chance. So let's see how America votes. As it is right now, there's nothing that stands out for either that song or for Candice.

Next, Janelle picks (and grins) on Dolly Parton's "Dumb Blonde".

THEY SAY: Randy thought it was a fun song, albeit a bit lacking vocally.  Mariah thought it was cute. Keith didn't like the song choice. Nicki says straight out that she's in jeopardy of going home tomorrow.

WE SAY: "Dumb Blonde"... DUMBER CHOICE. That is all.

Kree is in the middle with Celine Dion's "Have You Ever Been in Love?".

THEY SAY: Mariah thought it was a smart choice. Keith thought it was a smart choice. Nicki calls her "iconic". Randy says she can sing anything.

WE SAY: Shows the fragility of Kree's voice (it got sharp in the end), but it's a play for fans outside of her country-blues-rock fanbase.

Angie Miller is next with a modern-day diva, Beyonce's "Halo".

THEY SAY: The judges call top three.

WE SAY: You and I obviously have a different definition of the word "diva". If by "Diva" you mean "egoistic soundalike", then congratulations.

Amber... please show the class how it's done with Barbra's "The Reason You Keep Me Alive".

THEY SAY: Nicki says "Young Whitney Houston." Randy says she "sang the I-don't-know-what out of it." Mariah says it was classic, beautiful, and elegant. Keith thought it was beautiful.

WE SAY: If you're going to be a cat, be a lioness. She manages to bring a jazzy fire to this song.

Diva-licious: Amber
Diva-tastic: Candice, Kree
Diva-struction: Janelle, Angie

OVERALL: I expect the chaos trigger to be pulled this week. As good as Janelle and Angie were the first half, they were that bad the second half. As boring as Amber was the first half, she was that good in the second. That leaves Candice and Kree, the two women most likely to be on stage at the Nokia Theatre. Also the two women who didn't do anything memorable or worth voting for.

Candice and Kree are your bottom two. But expect the save to be used. We'll see if I'm right tomorrow.

To see extras from this episode, go to www.americanidol.com.