Miguel: He didn't need this. Miguel's good, thanks, still feeling fresh and cool after the success of "Kaleidoscope Dream" last year and is about to set out on the Set The World On Fire Tour with Alicia Keys.
Carey, on the other hand, struggled to get any traction at all with her 2012 song "Triumphant (Get 'Em)." It didn't have her voice, nor her "voice," as guests Meek Mill and Rick Ross took the verses. Subsequent remixes -- including the superior retro dance drop -- diluted the initial impact and Carey couldn't seem to gain any long-term favor.
And her "The Great and Powerful Oz" credits song "Almost Home" thudded all the same. It was as though the vocal lines were a placeholder, and she delivered just the same as any recruit could for the same schlocky, plodding ballad.
Here, it's a pop song, and sweetly so, as Carey flaunts her heart-warming ability to blend with Miguel's creamy tenor in a duet and take the spotlight with gusto when it's her turn. It's a sparkling reminder of what she does, and what she does best.
The keyboards' countermelody reminds me of OneRepublic's "Feel Again" while summer-fun beat is sanded down to muffled low-end to clear space for Carey and Miguel's ageless voices to have their day in the sun. Carey applies her trademark high octave in unison in her first solo phrase, and there's a brightness as her voice combines with his. It's like she was smiling -- or told to smile -- when she hit the mic. It works, and may become a pleasant addition into the 2013 summer jam rotation, if it works out.
This, after a week of ugly press: Carey and her "AI" co-judge Nicki Minaj have been fighting on the show, with Minaj allowing the drama to spill over into her own press time, her Twitter account and, subsequently, onto the pages of the tabloids. Carey, smartly, has been largely silent but still: bad feelings abound. "AI" is currently struggling through its worst ratings in its 16 season history, and is it any surprise?
So forget about that: cue up "#Beautiful," which is cutely credited "Starring Mariah Carey and Miguel." What do you think?