Zoanette Johnson wows the judges with her unique talent, while Candice Glover is called 'a bona fide singer' by Mariah Carey.
"American Idol" entered the second week of Sudden Death round and ten other girls performed on Wednesday, February 27. Taking the stage first was Melinda Ademi who covered Jessie J's "Nobody's Perfect".
"What a great way to start the show," Keith Urban said, but Nicki Minaj liked Angela Miller's version of the same song last week better than Melinda's. Randy Jackson commented, "I don't know if you had enough big moments in there," while Mariah Carey thought her nerves got the best of her at the start.
Candice Glover came up next and she definitely set the bar high. Realizing that a song choice is an important thing after getting cut last year, she chose Carole King's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" this time. Keith called it "a great choice," as Nicki and Randy praised her voice. Mariah said Candice "is a bona fide singer, and that's what this competition is all about."
Juliana Chahayed went with Demi Lovato's "Skyscraper" and kept it quiet throughout the performance. Keith thought the 15-year-old struggled with pitch, but "there's a purity about the tone of your voice that I love." Nicki said, "You do seem very, very, very timid," as Mariah liked "an angelic quality" in her voice.
Jett Hermano sang Rihanna's "Only Girl (In the World)" behind the piano. Though her performance couldn't highlight the dramatic quality of the song, Keith and Nicki liked her arrangement. Keith gushed, "You brought out the sexiness in the song" in a different way than Rihanna did. Nicki, however, expected a climax that never came and Randy agreed with her.
Cristabel Clack went with Alicia Keys' "No One" and she got a standing ovation from Randy, who dubbed her "one of those racehorse singers." Keith raved, "That was fantastic; gosh, I love your voice," as Nicki praised her unique voice too, though she thought it got a bit out of control.
Aubrey Cleland delivered a rendition of Beyonce Knowles' "Sweet Dreams". Keith loved it, but Randy wasn't sure it was the right song for her. Nicki disagreed as she said, "I am obsessed with you... For the first time, somebody came out here looking like a current artist, sounding like one, feeling like one." Mariah also praised her performance.
Rachel Hale sang "Nothing but the Water" by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, and Nicki was excited that Rachel came alive that night. Keith liked that she picked the song, but said that the song "got on top of" her in parts. Mariah added, "I just want the people that are here to get the chance to really hear you."
Breanna Steer presented a slinky version of Jazmine Sullivan's "Bust Your Windows". Keith said, "You sang it right," as Nicki exclaimed, "Work! Work! Work!" Randy commented, "You brought us drama," and Mariah thought she's marketable.
Janelle Arthur embraced her country root by singing Lady Antebellum's "Just a Kiss". Nicki said, "A lot of that fell a little bit flat," while Keith thought the song didn't allow her to show her best quality. Mariah also said it wasn't Janelle's best performance, but she still liked her anyway.
Wrapping up the performance, Zoanette Johnson sang "Circle of Life" which amazed the judges. "I love that I have no clue what you're going to do," Keith gushed, "Hail to the queen." Nicki commented, "You're the person that we're going to remember after tonight.... That song was such a smart choice, because it matches who you are." Randy and Mariah, meanwhile, liked her spirit.
Before the judges announced the five singers who made it to the Top 20, Ryan Seacrest informed that the judges didn't need Jimmy Iovine's help to tie break their decision, though not every decision was unanimous.
Zoanette was the first who learned that she went through to the next round, followed by Juliana, Candice, Breanna and Janelle. The rest, meanwhile, were sent home.
In other "Idol" news, Phillip Phillips' song "Gone, Gone, Gone" from his debut album "The World From the Side of the Moon" has been picked as the "goodbye" song of the season. The season 11 winner will also perform the song onstage of the show Thursday, March 14, joining previously announced performer Bon Jovi.