Tonight the girls were singing for their survival in the solo round. It's been six years since we've crowned one of the ladies as our American Idol, but with the talent we've seen, this may be the end of the streak for the boys and time for the women to shine.
Each contestant had a choice between choosing a song to cover or doing an original composition. First up and first to take the risk by singing her own song, "You Set Me Free," was eighteen-year-old, Massachusetts gal, Angela Miller. And then, a star was born baby! Angela and the band were more than ready for primetime as they wowed the judges with both the song and her gorgeous vocals. Keith literally could only muster "wow," Randy kept saying "Really?" Mariah was moved, and Nicki was overflowing, and bursting out with praise.
Next Candice Glover took the stage with "Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys. She made the song her own, and Keith and the rest of the panel were overwhelmed. Janelle Arthur then gave us "I Told You So," and Nicki love, love, loved it! The bar is set and damn is it set high!
And then, this happened.
Hold on to your hats and, well whatever you can, because, you are about to once again, witness the shock and awe of the one and only, Zoanette Johnson! She brought her multicolored nails, face, and fashion, AND her drums to the stage with a "song" she literally just made up. The judges were treated to "BaBaBaBaBa" or something like that. The Idol isn't that worried about getting tracked down by Zoanette's music publisher. Her tune turned out to be the freakiest musical homage to our judges in the history of the show! And a legend was born! A legend of what? We shall see.
The first judgments were passed, and passing on to the next round were Angela, Candice, Janelle, Jett, and the one-person demolition diva known as Lady Zoanette! After Zoanette, the show and the Insider had to go to commercial.
Shubha Vedula kicked it off after the break with a little Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, performing "When You Believe." Next Juliana Chahayed gave us Stevie Nicks' "Landslide" (in case you were wondering, one of the Insider's and Nicki's fav tunes, like, ev-er). And then it was time for dose two of our notable, Idol nonconformists, Kez Ban.
Kez knew she needed to shake up her outsider act a bit, so she went to the mall to create a less out-there outfit. Her shopping stylist? Well, who else do you turn to fort that toned down look, than, Zoanette. And the mall was never the same? Uh, let's call the outfit, uh, a dress.
Kez Ban gave us, get this, an original song! Yes, that was sarcasm. And it was, well, interesting. The judges thanked her, but they immediately punted her back to fire performing on the streets of Carolina. It was sad to say goodbye to a true original, but she stayed part of the Idol family for a bit, despite the fact that they, then she, lowered the boom!
The ladies kept it coming as East Hartford, Connecticut's Ashlee Feliciano took the stage with "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri. Randy noted that the song choices were all leaning toward the serious and that he wanted some fun. So a string of ladies then sang a bunch of tearjerker, "he left me", "I'm so sad" songs. Thankfully, the judging table was not on a cliff.
But then nineteen-year-old Melinda Ademi gave us "Price Tag" by Jessie J and she got Randy and the panel up with the up-tempo. Keith saw the light! Texan, Kree Harrison shared her tough story about the loss of her parents, and her tough time so far in the competition. Kree knew this was make or break as she sang "Stars" by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. She killed it. Keith had goosebumps and she turned her former critic, Randy, into a fan. Mariah was genuinely moved and Nicki said Kree "became a star right in front of me."
With so much talent, Randy and the panel had a tough time, but ended up sending Kree, Lauren, and Melinda on and sending Ashlee, Brianna Oakley, and some other hopefuls back home. Twenty-four ladies made it through. For now.
Now the judges must make another cut of four from a pack of solo female talent that is among the best in recent memory. Randy called out Lauren Mink, Holly Miller, and Ariel Sprague. These three will be making tearful calls home, as they are finished in the competition. Hmmmm, but that leaves one more cut to make!
Sudden-death singing time! Stephanie Schimel came forward to sing "Home" by the one and only, Phillip Phillips. Next, they asked to hear Rachel Hale, who had a tough time with the day's solo performance. The Arizona native gave it her all on "Undone" by Haley Reinhart. In the end, Rachel survived, Stephanie went home, and we had our Top Twenty ladies!
And finally, it was time for the guys. Eight must go. Time for another sing-off. Adam Sanders gave his San Antonio best on "I?d Rather Go Blind" by Etta James. Next we heard from Josh Holiday with "Georgia On My Mind," who sang so hard he split his pants! Idol historians out there, was this a first? The one thing Josh won't be splitting is from the show! While Josh and the others were elated, we said goodbye to Peter Garett, Marvin Calderon, Devon Jones, Kenny Harrison, Will White, Tony Foster, David Leathers, Jr., and our tenor Texan, Adam Sanders.
As the Top Forty jumped on stage, it was smiles all around, as we head on to our first live shows, in front of a live audience, in Las Vegas!