The ladies take the stage first in the first set of American Idol performances to be voted on by viewers. A few women forgot their game, but most gave their best performances to date.
Go Your Own Way
Lovable eccentric Zoanette Johnson was the first contestant of the night to try to win America's vote. While the Idol producers clearly had spent the last week turning her outrageous fashion choices into just wildly over the top ones, her cover of Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It" was an off-key mess despite nailing the song's high notes. Keith Urban lauded her spirit but chided her for making a poor song choice. Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson both professed admiration for Zoanette but agreed that her performance wasn't any good. Mariah Carey took a long walk to tell her that she was bad but possessed an unbridled energy.
Small town Louisianan Breanna Steer took on Beyonc'e's "Flaws & All" and sang well but didn't do anything terribly interesting with the song. Keith Urban complimented her poise and control but also told her to pick a song that lets her real personality shine through. Nicki savaged her performance for being strained and got a serious death stare from Breanna. Randy thought she made a safe song choice but liked her tenderness. And Mariah rambled for a bit before saying Breanna had real star quality.
Aubrey Cleland went with a subdued acoustic cover of Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry" that stunned that crowd and impressed all four judges. Keith enjoyed her performance but wanted her to try something that let her voice soar. Nicki admired her humility and agreed with Randy that Aubrey had a standout vibrato. Mariah said that the young Oregonian had multi-platinum potential.
Janelle Arthur, the Southern songstress who was stung by the harsh critique she received last week, really brought it with her sweeping cover of Elvis' "If I Can Dream." Keith loved her performance, Nicki said that she could become a throwback country star and Randy agreed. Mariah told her that she had a real America's Sweetheart vibe.
Tenna Torres had a strong, ballad style take on Faith Hill's "Lost" and really made the song her own. Keith liked her performance but advised her to learn how to deal with singing while being filmed. Nicki loved every part of Tenna, especially her professional sheen. Randy commended her for not over singing her song. Mariah liked the richness of her voice.
Miley Cyrus doppelganger Angela Miller returned to the piano for a powerful rendition of Colton Dixon's "Never Gone." Keith complimented her originality in covering a recent American Idol contestant's breakout song. Nicki loved that Angela already has a signature sound. Randy said that with her performance, a star was born and even the verbose Mariah kept it short by saying she was wonderful.
Never Going Back Again
Amber Holcomb had all four judges on their feet with her take on Whitney Houston's arrangement of The Four Tops' "I Believe in You and Me." Keith said that she picked the perfect song and called her tone exquisite. Nicki was amazed at how effortless Amber evoked the late great Whitney Houston. Randy told her that she finally found her confidence and Mariah continued that panel's chorus of praise.
Kree Harrison was the second contestant of the night to cover Faith Hill her soaring take on "Stronger." Keith said she could stand in the pantheon of great country singers. Nicki said that Kree brought up her already impressive game to a new level. Randy told her that he was stunned by her range and said she could sing anything. Mariah said she was happy just to watch Kree perform.
Adriana Latonio performed an uninspired cover of Destiny's Child's "Stand Up for Love." Keith was worried that Adriana's song choice didn't give her the best opportunity to show off her talents. Nicki said that she was in the same class as the rest of the female top 10. Randy called her performance pageant-like and boring. Mariah tried to put a good face on it but agreed with the rest of the judges that she gave her worst performance so far.
Early front-runner Candice Glover absolutely stole the show with John Legend's "Ordinary People." The big voiced South Carolinian was so good that she left the panel mostly speechless. Keith called her superb. Nicki silently saluted Candice in lieu of giving her commentary. Randy said she was the contestant to beat this year and Mariah thanked her for her amazing performance. With the women's top 10 as strong as it is, the men have their work cut out for them.