The top 10 guys of "American Idol" 2013 hit the stage on March 6 to sing live for America's votes for the very first time. Although some faltered, St. Louis gospel singer Curtis Finch Jr. soared to the top with an emotional rendition of an R. Kelly mega hit, and in the process, cemented his status as a celebrity favorite.
In an attempt to score a spot in the "AI" 12 top 10, the affable Finch sang an emotional and powerful version of "I Believe I Can Fly" that awed all four judges. Country star Keith Urban gushed over the effort, which he called "a sermon in Vegas," and went on to praise the singer himself for his good character, telling Finch "you just ooze everything good and light and Godly and whole and positive."
Nicki Minaj added her own rave review, insisting that his voice isn't something that can be judged on the number of votes he receives during the competition. She encouraged him to use his talent to "do so much good" in the world. Randy Jackson agreed, and said that Finch's performance, which was eighth in the running order, had finally gotten the evening started for him. Mariah Carey simply thanked him for the performance and said it was what she needed to hear.
Following the show, a handful of celebrities expressed support of Finch via Twitter. Comedienne Sarah Silverman wrote "CURTIS FINCH JUNIOR is a viable argument that God exists and is good." The Wanted's Nathan Sykes tweeted "Oh wow. American idol. Curtis. #soul." Actress Jackee Harry also shared her appreciation, writing "Curtis Finch, Jr. Takes #Idol Viewers To Church EVERY Week! *praise dance ensues*"
To see if Curtis Finch Jr.'s impressive top 20 performance was good enough to advance him to the top 10, watch the "American Idol" 2013 results show March 7 on FOX.