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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 3 - The Girls
February 27

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, we've got five men and five women. This week, we fill the top 20 and then let them loose on a nation unsuspecting and far less forgiving.

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 hoping that the road to superstardom runs through Vegas. AND THEY ARE!

- Melinda Ademi (19; Yonkers, NY; student)
- Candice Glover (23; St. Helena Island, SC; excursions coordinator)
- Juliana Chahayed (15; West Hills, CA; HS student)
- Jett Hermano (25; Seattle; legal assistant)
- Cristabel Clack (29; San Antonio; worship leader)
- Aubrey Cleland (19; Westland, OR; student)
- Rachel Hale (22; Prescott, AR; student)
- Breanna Steer (18; La Place, LA; student)
- Janelle Arthur (23; Oliver Springs, TN; fitness instructor)
- Zoanette Johnson (20; Tulsa, OK; habilitation specialist)

Melinda kicks it off by reliving season 10 for all of us. Today, she believes that she's ready to take on the contest. She'll be taking on "Nobody's Perfect" by Jessie J.

THEY SAY: Keith loved it, but could sense that nerves were starting to take hold. Nicki thought that the song was more connected last week AND that Melinda is relying too much on one artist... Jessie J. Randy thought that it didn't have enough "big moments". Mariah repeats what Keith said about nerves.

WE SAY: Seems like she was too busy emoting and giving us the hippie hippie shakes to deliver a quality vocal. Granted, the song by its very nature is not controlled at all, but there has to be method to madness. Overall, a very raw talent behind all of that.

Candice is next. She too was cut in an earlier season. Can she deliver where Melinda failed with "Natural Woman" by Aretha?

THEY SAY: Keith said that song choice was perfect. Nicki says she was born to do this. Randy says she's grown from last year, though it was NOT her best performance. Mariah says she's a bonafide singer.

WE SAY: Short answer to the question asked at the top of her performance: yes. Long answer: HELL YES.

From SC, we go to CA to meet Juliana Chahayed for the first time. She not only sings, but writes her own material with her sister. Her family loves to sing in Arabic. Tonight, she'll be singing in English with her guitar, "Skyscraper" by Demi Lovato.

THEY SAY: Keith says she was struggling with pitch and nerves, but her voice is pure. Nicki says that she has a signature sound to her voice (C-Note: yeah, it sounds like every other chick with a guitar) which works for what you do, but it may not work in the context of competition. Randy respects her responsibility. Mariah thought it was angelic.

WE SAY: A young singer, singing a young song. Even as it's depressing me to tears and boring me to death. This is her first real coming out to America, and if I was her, I'd pick something that showed off her range, not just one note throughout.

Jett Hermano took a big risk coming here, giving up a full-ride scholarship to the University of Washington to take on music full-time. Today, she takes on "Only Girl (In the World)" by Rihanna.

THEY SAY: Keith says that she brought out the sexiness of the song. Nicki also loves the arrangement, but she never got a climax out of it (smirk). Randy thought she was going to rock out from the good beginning. Mariah thought she was "intriguing", even though she didn't "go sick" on the piano.

WE SAY: Perhaps a more interesting take on the song, and driven by emotion rather than studio magic. She definitely has range to her. Only time will tell whether she has anything left in the tank for later.

Up the gut with Cristabel Clack, who got on the plane back to San Antonio and tried to talk herself out of coming to Vegas. Will we wish she had succeeded? Here she is with "No One" by Alicia Keys.

THEY SAY: Keith loved that "soul croaky thing" in that song, saying she's got "crazy potential". Nicki thought it was a good song for her, but the rasp got "a little bit out of control". Randy says she's "on point". Mariah says she wants to hear just her sing songs simply before giving props to the background singers.

WE SAY: She definitely has some polish, but she seems like she has to go right to the run to start off. Soon, it's all run, and the song gets lost in it. There was some pitchiness here and there. It was just inauthentic.

We're coming down to the second half of the performances with Aubrey Cleland singing for horses and chickens before singing for the judges. Her feed of choice: "Sweet Dreams" by Beyonce.

THEY SAY: Keith said that he loves the diversity of the ladies and that this lady in particular is well-balanced. Nicki is "obsessed" with her. Randy says that Aubrey is a very great "commercial artist". Mariah thinks she's limitless.

WE SAY: Observation... I hear the same vibes of music day in day out while watching this show. I'm waiting for someone to break out with someone different. I mean, I can only hear so much Beyonce-Adele-Alicia Keys collabos before going nuts. Back to Aubrey... she sounds whiny. That song kicked HER butt.

Rachel Hale is perhaps the smiliest person in American Idol history. Will she still be smiling after "Nothing But the Water" by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

THEY SAY: Keith said the song got on top of her. Nicki: "Where did this burst of crazy confidence come from?" Randy was happy to hear something uptempo. Mariah may have heard more of her on other performances.

WE SAY: I could have sworn that she did this song before. In that, she's using Grace Potter as a crutch. It worked for Scotty "Babylock'demdoorsandturnthelightsdownlow" McCreery. It won't work here.

Breanna Steer survived Hurricane Isaac. Will she survive this? It's "Bust Your Windows" by Jazmine Sullivan

THEY SAY: Keith literally believes that she can bust the windows out of his car. Nicki says that her and Aubrey could be signed right now. Randy agrees, saying that she's the whole package. Mariah says she's extremely marketable.

WE SAY: That was daring. Too bad she didn't do much with it. The GOOD news is that she knows who she is as an artist, so that will help her.

Janelle Arthur is next, and she has no problem saying that she's a country girl. The country girl takes on another country song, "Just a Kiss" by Lady Antebellum.

THEY SAY: Keith says it didn't go anywhere and it wasn't a great song choice. Nicki thought it was flat and disconnected. Randy agrees with... Keith. Mariah says that there's not an ounce of pretense against her and she needed to do something.

WE SAY: Normally, we'd just say, "There are a million country singers in this competition. You... are just one of them." BUT... it was so bad, we only have one word... Muted. Stick to the shower, stick to your day job.

We're rounding third and heading for home with Zoanette Johnson waving us in as only she can. She's originally from Monrovia, Liberia. Bet you didn't know that. Does she know "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King".

THEY SAY: ... Never mind what the judges say, I just want Simon Cowell back. Everyone thought her tone matched the song perfectly and that she was bringing the competition and her larger-than-life spirit to the judges.

WE SAY: ... how does one describe this performance? It's a grand and glorious song. It's a deep-voiced woman who likes to shout. This is who she is. She is awesomelicious. But I don't think America will GET IT.

And... by my count, that's ten. Now it's time for the... MOST DRAMATIC ELIMINATION CEREMONY... IN THE LAST TWO HOURS.


- Zoanette Johnson
- Aubrey Cleland
- Candice Glover
- Breanna Steer

- Melinda Ademi
- Juliana Chahayed
- Cristabel Clack
- Jett Hermano

That leaves us with two country girls, Rachel and Janelle. That's one country girl TOO MANY. Time to decide who takes the stage and who takes a walk.

And the final girl in America's top 20... is... JANELLE ARTHUR.

One more set of five stools needing to be filled before next week's Round of 20.

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