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In the world's ultimate talent search, where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Ryan Seacrest
Judges Mariah Carey
Randy Jackson
Nicki Minaj
Keith Urban
Mentor Jimmy Iovine
Announcer Mark Thompson
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Nigel Lythgoe
Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Trish Kinane
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Wed & Thurs, Fox
@American Idol

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Vegas Semifinals: Part 2 - The Guys
February 21

This has been a season of new beginnings with new judges paring a new class of singing hopefuls down to the top 40. Now they take a new stage with a new challenge in the Semifinal Round. One song. One shot. Who has what it takes to sing for YOUR VOTE? Welcome to SUDDEN DEATH!

So far, five ladies have earned the right to compete for your vote.

The Beatles Love Theatre by Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage

Ten sing, five move on. In case of deadlock, Jimmy Iovine's decision will be decisive, whether the judges or the crowd agree with it or not.

Here's tonight's 10, who are dreaming of hitting the jackpot in Vegas.... AND THEY ARE!

- Paul Jolley (22; Palmersville, TN; retail sales)
- Johnny Keyser (23; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; musician)
- JDa (27; Chicago; cosmetics sales)
- Kevin Harris (28; Montgomery, AL; production supervisor at a call center)
- Chris Watson (25; Dover, DE; waiter)
- Devin Velez (18; Chicago; student/barista)
- Elijah Liu (18; Roland Heights, CA; business student)
- Charlie Askew (17; Little Rock, AR; student)
- Jimmy Smith (25; Franklin, TN; social worker)
- Curtis Finch, Jr. (24; St. Louis; tutor)

First up, it's Paul, who thinks that this is his calling in life. His first calling is "Tonight I Wanna Cry" by the resident Australian in the house.

THEY SAY: Keith appreciates that he did his song, but he needs to stop compensating for his voice through "other performances". Nicki remembers being wowed a little bit more, and even when the song is understated, the eyes are theatrical. Randy thinks that Paul has a lot of range and potential. Mariah agrees with Randy, calling it refreshing.

WE SAY: Can you say "pandering"? I don't see him getting any further unless he decides who he is as an artist.

Batting second is Johnny Keyser, who's ready to bring America some blue-eyed soul. His offering... "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz.

THEY SAY: Keith thought it was "good". Nicki thought he was "relaxed". Randy doesn't think he has the greatest voice, and thought it was "just an okay performance". Mariah thought it was sexy.

WE SAY: Soulless. Pitchy. Owned.

Next up, we have JDa, who is the star of his own movie. Today, he takes on Adele's "Rumour Has It".

THEY SAY: Keith says that he's right at home on this stage, but he needed to stop "counting steps". Nicki calls him a superstar performer who can put on a show, but her vocal was "whiny". Randy said he was keyed in on the performance, but his moves weren't original. Mariah thought he exuded confidence.

WE SAY: JDa... is perhaps the best performer of the three we've seen so far. That, by the way, isn't saying much. And that's probably the way he needs to go, live performances.

Kevin Harris takes #4, and here's "I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams for his sons.

THEY SAY: Keith liked the song choice, but he had mixed feelings about the range at the end of the song. Nicki thought it was perfect. Randy was bored and that the song had no moments. Mariah wanted to hear something where he could do more of what he could do.

WE SAY: It's a little sharp and emotionally stagnant. Randy is absolutely correct on this.

Next up, Chris Watson is hoping to exercise his law of attraction on the panel with "Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding.

THEY SAY: Keith didn't think it was a good song choice, but he did a lot with it. Nicki wants to marry her vibrato. Her words. Randy liked the look, but the song went nowhere. Mariah said it wasn't his best.

WE SAY: Interesting take on a classic, blending vocal acrobatics with an electric stage presence. Will it work further in the round? We'll see.

Devin Velez is starting up in the middle. This product of a single-parent household is ready to take the stage with "Listen" by Beyonce.

THEY SAY: Keith felt it was a very connected performance. Nicki thought the song choice to sing in Spanish was a smart choice. Randy thought it was "amazing". Mariah loved that he sang in Spanish.

WE SAY: Reminiscent of a young Will Young. And the Spanish in the middle is an interesting touch. If only he had a little more charisma.

Now how about Elijah Liu, the half-Chinese, half-Mexican wonder looking to impress with Bruno Mars' "Talking to the Moon".

THEY SAY: Keith thought it was the perfect song choice, current & relevant, but shaky. Nicki thought he's a "super duper star little boy" who she would sign TODAY. Randy didn't think it was a great vocal, but he likes HIM. Mariah thought it was a performance of two halves.

WE SAY: Very emotional performance, but he was a little flat.

Why does Charlie Askew have a golf club with him? He's been using it to acclimatize himself with a mic stand. Let's see how he does with "Rocket Man" by Elton John.

THEY SAY: The judges love their originality, and thought that he pulled that song performance out of somewhere.

WE SAY: He looks and sounds like an elf. And he's singing the perfect song for him.

CHARLIE SAYS: "This is for all the awkward turtles out there."

Jimmy Smith is looking to break into the country game with "Raining on Sunday" by Rodney Foster, covered by... Keith Urban

THEY SAY: Keith commends him. The rest of the panel were bored. Mariah won't say it, but she was bored.

WE SAY: Said it before... There are a thousand country singers in this competition. Jimmy Smith... is one of them. Said this before, too.... "Pandering?"

Playing closer tonight is Curtis Finch, Jr., who has been one to watch since his Chicago audition. His closer song, "Superstar" by the Carpenters, Luther, Ruben, Usher, and anyone else who sang it.

THEY SAY: Keith thought it was beautiful, though there were parts that were overperformed. Nicki says that he's raised the bar for the other contestants. Randy says he can sing anything, but he needs to keep it young. Mariah says he knows what he does.

WE SAY: Robust voice on this, but it sounds like every. Other. Version. Of. This. Song. I've. Ever. Heard.

Ten gave their all, but for five, their all may have been too much, because Lord knows they're not going anywhere.

They have ONE split decision. We'll get to that later, but right now.... SERIOUS LIGHTS, SERIOUS MUSIC!

- Curtis Finch, Jr.
- Elijah Liu
- Paul Jolley (SPLIT DECISION) - Jimmy: "A good singer with the wrong song."
- Charlie Askew

- Jimmy Smith
- Kevin Harris
- Chris Watson

That leaves us with returning challenger Johnny Keyser and Devin Velez. One stays, one goes. The one that stays... is DEVIN! For Johnny, it's the end of the road AGAIN.

We have half of your semifinal stage set. Next week, we fill the other half.

To see extras from this episode, go to www.americanidol.com.