Michael Becker / FOX
Michael Becker / FOX
We are now finally getting to know and really hear the contestants on American Idol this season.
With performances from only the first half of the top 20 girls getting spread out over two hours, there was plenty of time for back stories and heartfelt interviews—and vocals!
Here's how tonight's 10 measured up in Las Vegas:
We didn't think a whole lot of 17-year-old Jenny Beth Williams' maudlin take on Trisha Yearwood's "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love"—though Keith Urban apparently didn't get the memo that it's OK to not praise the first contestant to take the stage.
"You never got in sync rhythmically with the band," offered Randy Jackson, predicting "a little trouble" for Jenny later. Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj pretty much agreed, but Keith called it "a great way to start off the show." (He hasn't been there for the start of nearly as many shows as Randy, remember.)
The energy started to pick up when Tenna Torres, 28, took on Natasha Bedingfield's "Soulmate," with Randy calling it (sorry, Jenny) "the start of the night."
Adriana Latonio then restarted the night for Keith, who told the 17-year-old from Alaska, "Now that started the night," following her version of Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way."
OK, so by then the night had started three times.
"That was a pageant delivery of a song and it did not feel real," Nicki Minaj informed 26-year-old nurse Brandy Hotard, who first auditioned in Baton Rouge, La., following her slooow performance of Travis Tritt's "Anonymous."
"I would love to see you do an album of classics," added Mariah Carey, most helpfully.
Our night started, meanwhile, when Nicki told Shubha Vedula, 17, that her piano-ballad-turned-upbeat-pop-number rendition of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" was "almost...like a mashup of Christina Aguilera and that 'Gangnam Style' guy." Easily a winner for quote of the day.
Kamaria Ousley then depressed rather than impressed with Kelly Clarkson's "Mr. Know It All," with even Keith calling it "not a great song" for her.
Kree Harrison, 22, turned things around with a very fab take on the Patty Griffin tearjerker "Up to the Mountain." Nicki said that she "would be very afraid if I were any of these other girls here tonight."
Angela Miller, who practically had Keith weeping with the original song the 18-year-old performed during Hollywood Week's final solo round, kept her front-runner status with Jessie J's "Nobody's Perfect." Nicki called her a "top contender" and Mariah called her potential "just limitless."
Isabelle, 20, went old-school with "God Bless the Child," which Randy indeed found "old-fashioned." She charmed Mariah, however, with the emotion she brought to the performance.
Hoping to improve on her just-shy-of-successful Vegas round from last year, Amber Holcomb, 18, closed the show with "My Funny Valentine"—which Randy found "amazing," not old-fashioned. But did she do enough to make the live round this time?!