American Idol's judges were moved to tears tonight—and it wasn't because of the news that none of them are likely to return next season.
Rather, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban all had trouble holding it together thanks to an emotional night of performances from—and footage of hometown visits with—Top 3 ladies Kree Harrison, Candice Glover and Angie Miller. (Admit it: You had yourself a good ugly cry at some point, too.)
Backstage after the show, Candice was still obviously moved by Nicki's tender reaction after her performance of "Next to Me." (The oft-harsh judge had tearily commented that Candice's confidence onstage was an inspiration to girls nationwide.) The South Carolina-bred contestant told us, "I think Nicki knows better than anyone what it's like to come from nowhere basically and to have your career be so big. She's phenomenol. Going back [home], I remember driving down the same road I used to just stand on with my cousins and not have anything to do. Like working a job and then coming home and having to put all that money into bills and just being miserable. And I think she knows what that feels like so that's why she got emotional and was just so proud of me.
"I used to be the most insecure little girl in a corner [with] no personality," Candice continued, "but I've come so far on the show and I think she realizes that. So no matter what happens tomorrow, I think I've already won."
After an evening of strong performances that were well-received by the judges, Angie was hopeful she'd be one of two ladies competing in next week's splashy finale. "I'm really confident in my fans," she said, "and I feel like they will vote. If I don't make top 2, then there's a reason. But I really feel confident in my songs and support system so I feel like I'll make it."
Do you agree with Angie? Who do you expect to see battling it out next week? (Besides Nicki and Mariah, of course.) Hit the comments and let us know!