American Idol's man show is coming into focus.
A night after the always taxing group round decimated the field, the remaining 43 male contestants had one more chance to sell themselves for the live show.
Thursday's solo round saw each guy take the stage for about a minute to prove he's got the chops to compete in front of a bigger audience—and can handle increasingly pointed criticism from the likes of Nicki Minaj (and her British accent).
"You walked out so defeated and that really irritated me," she told Paul Jolley, point-blank. "That is such a turnoff. Give us one minute of professionalism!" (Made it.)
"When you came out today, I felt like every time you performed you were making reference to your height," Nicki said to Matheus Fernandes. "Things can go from being inspiring to becoming you wanting a pity party...You don't have to milk that ever again." (Didn't make it.)
And, to quirky Papa Peachez, the soulful black woman trapped in a little white boy's body who so charmed Nicki right off the bat: "I'm pretty sure that flame is now completely burnt out. I'm so disappointed. I don't know why you would choose that song [Lady Gaga's "You and I"]. I can't believe you allowed this competition to just suck that amazing quality out of you." (Out.)
Luckily, not everyone was disappointing Nicki right and left.
"Charlie, I am obsessed with you," she told 17-year-old Charlie Askew appreciatively after he revived the alt-folk punch of Gotye just in time for the Grammys. "Today you became an artist in my eyes."
And the teen joined other lucky ducks such as Nick Boddington, Johnny Keyser, Jimmy Smith, JDA, Lazaro Arbos, Curtis Finch Jr., Devin Velez, Burnell Taylor and Marvin Calderon.
Not making the final cut, surprisingly, was Micah Johnson, the velvety-voiced lad who suffered nerve damage in a botched tonsillectomy but could still sing rings around most of the competition.
After the ladies sing, eight more guys will be cut next Thursday to bring their numbers to an even 20.
How are you feeling about this season so far? Excited to see the girls go at it next week?