Michael Becker / FOX.
American Idol's 12th season is finally in the hands of the fans.
Tonight in Las Vegas, the top 10 ladies performed live for the first time, knowing full well that only five of them will still be in the competition after Ryan Seacrest does away with half of them on Thursday's results show.
So, the heat was on! How did the talent-packed group of girls handle the pressure?
Zoanette Johnson's opening number was typical show-starting stuff...unfortunately.
She made it through Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It," which is a great song, but it's far more swagger and style than vocal showcase. There were pitch issues aplenty, and Nicki Minaj looked downright concerned.
"If we were giving an award for the most joyous, unbridled, free-spirited, confident girl, you would be it, hands down," Keith Urban offered, knowing full well that they most certainly are not giving such a thing away. "That wasn't it," Nicki said solemnly. "That was a mess, baby," Randy Jackson agreed. And it wasn't Mariah Carey's "favorite performance."
Breanna Steer's performance of Beyoncé's "Flaws and All" wasn't perfect, but it was a complete 180 from Zoanette's weird kickoff.
The judges couldn't agree, however, with Keith praising the song choice, Nicki announcing that she "completely disagree[d]" with everything Keith said and that Breanna's performance was "not it at all," and Randy choosing to agree with himself. "This is going to be an interesting judge thing today," the veteran judge said, eloquent as ever.
Aubrey Cleland had some nice moments with Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry," but were they capital-M, Randy-approved Moments?
Sure enough, Randy said he didn't know if she had enough Moments, but all four judges couldn't stop raving about how gorgeous Aubrey is. "I hope the people out there see it, too," Mariah said, possibly referring as well to the vocal talent that was sorta-kinda on display along with all the beauty.
Next up, we rather loved Janelle Aubrey's take on Elvis Presley's "If I Can Dream," easily the best vocal of the night at that point. Keith and Randy raved about her traditional country pipes, and Nicki welcomed her back to the competition.
"I like your hair like that. I like your boobs, too," Nicki informed Tenna Torres after her mostly convincing rendition of Faith Hill's "Lost." "It wasn't too much, it was just right. Classy," she explained.
Keith warned her about not playing too much to the camera so as not to lose the emotion of the song, but both he and Randy thought she pulled it off. Mariah applauded the song choice and thought Tenna's "power register" was very nice.
Angela Miller, or Angie Miller as the show is now calling her, made a vocal mountain out of "Never Gone" by Idol alum Colton Dixon. She played piano, sounded amazing and the judges were unanimous in how much they loved it.
"The trumpets should sound when you walk in the room, little girl," purred Nicki.
The requisite Whitney Houston song was tackled in "in it to win it" fashion by Amber Holcomb, who assigned herself quite the task with "I Believe in You and Me." Nicki said she surpassed all who came before, and Mariah not only loves her, but her new hair color, too.
More Faith Hill was offered, courtesy of Kree Harrison and "Stronger," another huge ballad that gave Kree plenty of show-off notes. We originally thought Tenna won the Faith battle tonight, but the judges begged to differ. Not to mention, Tenna is no Mrs. Nicki Minaj.
"You already know that you're my wife," Nicki reminded Kree. "Your sexiness level went up another notch tonight again...I'm obsessed."
Adriana Latonio, meanwhile, could have used another couple of members of Destiny's Child to join her for "Stand Up for Love."
Sure enough, Keith was "nervous" about the song choice and Nicki's "you look pretty in your little ballgown" may as well have been a slap in the face.
Candice Glover closed the show with John Legend's "Ordinary People"—and she should have no worries about not being around next week.
"That's it," Nicki concluded.
The top 10 guys take the stage tomorrow, and then five ladies and five fellows will be cut on Thursday.
Who do you think deserves a spot in Idol's final 10? Sound off in the comments!
Check out more of American Idol's all-time greatest hits