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Kimberly Caldwell’s American Idol Blog: Why Zoanette Deserved to Stay—and Why Nicki Minaj Is the Best New Judge

Kimberly Caldwell Jeff Vespa/Getty Images

Editor's Note: Season two American Idol finalist Kimberly Caldwell is this week's guest Idol blogger. Read on for her exclusive reactions to last night's "sudden death" round and behind-the-scenes insight!

Wow, was Nicki Minaj right on point when she said that Zoanette Johnson would be the standout girl we remembered after last night's performance! Whether you get her or not, she is unforgettable. She laid it all out there in every aspect. From her bleach blond afro to her queen-of-the-jungle spirit, I could not take my eyes off the screen! Definitely not the most controlled vocalist out of the girls, but damn, she can give you chills up your spine. Good choice to keep her around.

Other lucky ladies blazing into next week are Candice Glover, whose confidence and powerhouse vocals cannot be shaken; Aubrey Cleland, the 19-year-old hot little thang that just looks the part, along with having those saucy chops; plus Breanna Steer, whose bodysuit was just as sexy as her vocals. The good news for these three sultry singers is that they are all crazy talented and totally deserving of this highly desired spot in the next round. The bad news is I think they will wind up canceling each other out at some point down the line. They are all going to have to step out of the box and find who they really are as artists to make them frontrunners. It's hard enough in this phase of the game to keep your nerves under control when you know that millions of people are watching and judging your performances, but now they have to reach deep and start taking big risks. Work it, girls! 

Read season nine alum Didi Benami's Idol blog from Hollywood week

The judges decided to only keep one cowgirl to move on to the next round, and Janelle Arthur, the blond, blue jean-wearing girl next door triumphed over Rachel Hale, the previously shy little firecracker with the contagious smile. Janelle was fortunate to win over the judges with her prior performances because they thought it wasn't her best this week. Nicki was right on when she said she didn't need to overdo it in the future. There is a difference between giving it all you got and forcing all you got. If she takes Nicki's advice, I definitely think this adorable little chick is going to stick around for a while.

Besides our little country girl Rachel, four other songstresses waved goodbye to America, including Melinda Ademi, Juliana Chahayed, Jett Hermano and Cristabel Clack. I really thought the judges let them down with heartfelt explanations, and a lot easier than Mr. Ryan Seacrest does on most occasions. I know how hard it is to get up there and feel only human, and I respected the way the judges handled their farewells.

I also have to say I enjoyed Nicki and her strong opinions. I will forever miss Simon Cowell and his brutal honesty, so I appreciate Nicki and her controversial statements. Something I learned from this show is that, post-Idol, the music industry is a lot more real than the television judges, so they are really doing the contestants a favor by preparing them for the honest truth. We have a fabulous bunch of girls that are making their mark on Idol this year—now it's all about who can take the pressure in stride and stand out in the pack! Good luck, ladies! 

Without Regret, Kimberly Caldwell's debut album on Capitol Records, is available now. You can follow her on Twitter @_kimcaldwell. 

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