We’re back in Vegas for the final showdown, and by the end of the night, America will be introduced to the Top 20 contestants for Season 12 of American Idol. On Wednesday night, the ladies reduced their numbers by five.That means the men are nowon the chopping block — and of the 10 remaining, only five will continue to the next round.
Vegas becomes both Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, who I think are working some of their best hair of the season. Must be that dry heat.
Choreographer, Mathenee, delivers a very energetic “A Little Less Conversation” and I’m already pleased that he chose such an upbeat song after all the sad songs the ladies made us suffer through. Zoanette Johnson, shoeless and wearing her blonde wig, loved it.
Keith Urban praises Mathenee’s voice and cautions him to take the entertainment factor down a bit. Nicki wasn’t as happy with the performance and says it was more “karoake” than she would have liked. Randy Jackson is not a fan of the song choice either, but gives Mathenee a chance to define his genre. Mimi tells him that she would have him over for dinner and yet we still have no idea if she’s going to vote for him. She is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, covered in self-tanner.
Gurpreet, “The Turbinator,” is next. For Vegas, he’s sporting a canary yellow turban and pants. During Keith’s critique, Nicki is already making faces like she can’t wait to tear into him. They both tell him he needs his guitar. But he gets a smile from Ms. Minaj because they are matching in bright yellow. Randy calls it “terrible.” Mariah asks if he plays any other instruments. Nice deflection, Mimi!
Returning contestant Vincent Paul has worked as a background singer and is a worship leader. In his Randy Jackson costume, he steps to the stage in a black velvet jacket, and guess what? Randy’s wearing a red velvet jacket. Vincent shows off his church voice and I can’t stop watching Zoanette cheer from the audience. I’m shocked to not see any panties fly onto the stage.
Everybody loves it. Keith tells him, “Preach on, Brother Vincent!” Nicki calls him “an old soul” and “sexy old-fashioned.” She makes the same panties joke! I love it! Randy is similarly on board. Mimi’s words for the night are, “Finally. Period.”
Ryan Seacrest goes into the audience to get Zoanette’s reaction and she tells him, “Get it, Papa Smurf!” Could she be more awesome? The answer is no.
Twenty-seven-year-old NYC bartender, Nick Boddington, is another returning contestant. His performance is much more low-key. Keith didn’t feel connected, although he enjoys the “tenderness” of Nick’s voice. Nicki praises his authenticity but also felt the lack of connection. Randy questions the song choice. Mimi gives him props for his ad-lib but also didn’t have a connection.
Josh, who lives in Nashville, is the guy who busted his pants on stage. I’m expecting big things. He sits at the piano for his performance and does the Celine Dion chest pound. At the end, he snatches the mic and gets to his feet and I get a clear view of the V-neck sweater under the coat and I’m not sure I’m a fan of this whole look.
Keith gives him props for the original song but said the performance was too controlled. Nicki already looks disturbed. She wishes he would have stayed on the piano and in response to the audience boos, she acts like she’s gonna take off her earrings and show ‘em sumthin’. Ha! Love that. Does this make me a Barb? Randy wasn’t wowed. Mariah likes that he chose an original song, but also agrees that he should have stayed at the piano.
David is the third worship leader I think we’ve heard from this season. He has super-old parents. With a guitar, his song choice is a bluesy version of “Fever.” Nicki was not feeling it. Randy agrees a bit more with Keith and Mariah again wishes David the best, no matter what the competition holds in store.
Bryant from Hawaii is in a simple black button-up shirt and slacks and sings,”A New York State Of Mind.” I’ll be curious to see what the judges think of his understated performance. Keith loves it and the song choice. Nicki hated it! Randy said he was waiting for it go somewhere, but he felt it never did. Love how conflicted these judges are. Mimi said it sounded professional but that he got lost. She really hates to commit to an opinion on the contestants. I would love to see her in a voting booth, pulling all the levers at once.
Burnell Taylor from Louisiana has already lost 40 lbs. since we first met him on local auditions. Are they not feeding the contestants? His goal during his performance is to make all the judges cry. He really sounds like a baby John Legend. I love his voice.
Keith starts off by praising Burnell’s new look in his suit and bow tie and calls him “strikingly original.” Nicki felt it too and compliments him for his ambition, calling him “the best by far.” Randy calls him “captivating.” Mariah loves his realness but seriously doesn’t let us know how she’s voting.
Lazaro steps out in a pink button-down, black bow tie and suspenders. He sings “Tonight I Wanna Cry,” a Keith Urban original. While Keith compliments Lazaro on his voice, he’s not a fan of the song choice. Nicki praises him for always being himself. Randy compliments Lazaro’s rendition of the chorus of the song. Mariah just loves him so much, you can tell she wants to cry whenever he opens his mouth. Cute. And then with Ryan Seacrest, Lazaro gives the most adorable interview ever.
Cortez is up next. He sings his own, mellow version of “Titanium” by Sia, and Zoanette practically rushes the stage. She is the best, y’all. When he hits the high notes, I get goosebumps. He really kills it at the end and Mariah is moved to a finger wag. This is serious.
Keith says it was “a bold, brave move.” Nicki is all smiles and gives him some serious bedroom eyes. She says simply, “I liked you a lot tonight.” Randy loved his range and says he is “a fan.” Mariah says, “My, how things have changed.” She takes this opportunity to say she has always been Team Cortez. Ha! Nicki zing!
Decision time! David steps up to hear the verdict. Mariah and her giant breasts sweetly tell him he’s going home. Bryant finds out from Keith that he’s done, to many boos from the audience. Vincent looks terrified, but there’s no way he’s going home. Nicki succinctly tells him he’s going through, no messing around.
Mathenee is also cut. Lazaro goes through with big smiles and hugs from all the judges. Cortez also gets good news. Josh doesn’t make it through. Burnell very unsurprisingly makes the cut. Ryan Boddington is the last guy to make it through.
And without further ado, we have the Top 20 contestants. From here on out, America gets to vote! It’s in our hands now!