The ladies had one last chance to shine before American Idol made its most brutal cut yet.
And a fair number of them fully took advantage!
Keith Urban was practically in tears watching Angela Miller belt out an original song called "You Set Me Free"—and he was first to give her a standing ovation. "Wow! If that was recorded right there, I would play that in my car. That's just a beautiful song," he raved.
So, in the course of a minute, Angela went from meh to wow. Who else followed suit?
Candice Glover, Janelle Arthur, Shubha Vedula, Juliana Chahayed and the jazzier-than-ever Zoanette Johnson, who accompanied herself on the drums, were among the first ladies picked for the top 20.
Like Angela, Kez Ban attempted an original number, the performance of which she compared to children taking their first steps, "walking the earth with words and measures," but Nicki Minaj immediately informed her, "Your journey ends today."
Following Ashlee Feliciano's performance of the Breaking Dawn Part 1 weeper "A Thousand Years," Randy Jackson amusingly pleaded with the ladies not to be so darn serious—which, of course, segued into a montage of contestants talking about their rough years and bad breakups.
But then along came Melinda Ademi with Jessie J's "Price Tag" to liven up the place, and all was upbeat again.
She made the cut, along with Kree Harrison, but Ashlee's Christina Perri impression didn't cut it.
When the group had finally been whittled down to 24, Randy unceremoniously cut three more, and then asked Stephanie Schimel and Rachel Hale to sing for their lives. Ultimately, it was yes to Rachel and no to Stephanie to round out the top 20 ladies.
Then it was time to cut eight guys from the 28 that made it through the men's half of Hollywood Week
Josh Holiday really tore into "Georgia on My Mind," literally! The hopeful, asked to sing for his life, was practically on his knees with emotion when all of a sudden a loud rip sounded over the music.
"We won't forget that one, Holiday," Nicki deadpanned.
Despite the embarrassment, he made it! The luck ran out, however, for eight of his fellow contestants, including teen David Leathers Jr., cut at almost the exact same point as last season.
Meanwhile, The remaining 40 guys and girls, semifinalists all, are going to Vegas for the official sudden-death round—one song, one shot.