It's the second week in Vegas at "American Idol" and last night, the remaining 10 girls performed a song of their choice to prove their place in the competition. The night was packed with diverse talent and unique takes on Beyonce and Rihanna hits. So who brought it? And whose performances slipped through the cracks?
Melinda Ademi started off the night with Jessie J's "Nobody's Perfect." After getting cut in Season 10, Melinda was desperate to impress, but the judges had mixed feelings about her performance: Keith liked it and thinks she has a great deal of potential, but Nicki thought that Angela had done a better version of the song and Randy didn't think she had enough big moments.
Candice Glover brought the show to life with her rendition of "A Natural Woman." The song brought the audience to their feet and all of the judges were amazed. Keith even told her, "You're a natural singer," which he sang to the tune of "Natural Woman." (Good one, Keith.)
Fifteen-year-old Juliana Chahayed accompanied herself on the guitar as she sang her own version of Demi Lovato's "Skyscraper." The judges all loved her honesty and vulnerability as a performer. Nicki pointed out that Juliana is one of the only singers on the show who already has her own sound, and Randy about summed it up when he said, "Yo. Fifteen. Wow."
Jett Hermano was up next with a unique take on Rihanna's "Only Girl In The World." The judges all liked the arrangement and her own twist to the popular song, but Nicki and Randy thought it never really climaxed. Mariah ended things on a positive note, telling her that she's a "unique addition."
Cristabel Clack channeled her inner Alicia Keys, and it certainly worked for her. Randy gave her a standing ovation and Keith couldn't get over her endless potential. Nicki had the only negative feedback for her, telling her that her rasp got a little bit out of control.
As soon as Aubrey Cleland's performance of Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams" started, she commanded the stage and captivated the judges. Nicki announced her first female obsession in Vegas and told her that she felt like she was at her concert. All of the judges agreed on her marketability and Mariah paid her the ultimate compliment, calling her "limitless."
Next up was small-town girl Rachel Hale, whose positive spirit kept her going throughout the competition. She chose the upbeat "Nothing But the Water" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, which allowed her confidence to shine through for the fist time. Nicki was excited to see her come alive and Mariah told her, "You were always that girl with smile that you can't help smiling back."
Breanna Steer's performance of "Bust Your Windows" had all the judges raving, with Keith telling her, "You made me really believe you could literally bust the windows out my car" and Nicki saying Breanna was her giving her "sexy on a stick."
Janelle Arthur, a favorite of the judges, chose a Lady Antebellum song for her performance and everyone agreed it wasn't her best. Nicki told her that she was really excited to see her, but thought it was disconnected. Despite the negative feedback, all of the judges told her they believed in her and wanted her to through. "I'm really rooting for you," Mariah said.
The entire night built up to Zoanette Johnson's performance, and her powerful rendition of "Circle of Life" (complete with a lion's mane) did not disappoint. All of the judges gave her a standing ovation (minus Mariah, but she's above that) and the audience exploded. "You just served it!" Nicki announced.
Zoanette was up first when it came to decision time and, after her commanding performance, it was no surprise when she easily made it through. Unfortunately, Melinda and Juliana could not compete with the huge amount of talent and were sent home. Aubrey's star-turning performance earned her a spot in the top five, along with Breanna (Nicki thinks they should start a girl band, so it makes sense), but Cristabel and Jett were both cut. The final decision came down to country singers Rachel and Janelle. While Rachel's performance last night was a bit stronger, the judges decided on Janelle for the final spot based on her work throughout the season.
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.