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‘American Idol’ Recap: Las Vegas Sudden Death Round 4 Reveals Top 20

American Idol
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

There was another Sudden Death round in Las Vegas on tonight’s (Feb. 28) episode of Season 12 of ‘American Idol.’ There were 10 more male contestants, who were whittled down to five and by the end of the ep, the Top 20 was revealed and they will sing for your votes starting next week, America! That’s why it’s called ‘American Idol.’ One of these 20 hopefuls will succeed Phillip Phillips as the newest ‘Idol.’

Tonight was the final night for the judges to call the shots. And call them, they did.

Mathenee Treco: The singer, who works in the Bahamas, choreographing shows, demonstrated power and range, and sang an upbeat rendition of Elvis Presley’s ‘A Little Less Conversation’ in showy, flashy fashion. It was fun and he was having a good time as he crushed the high notes in rock ‘n’ roll fashion. He clearly likes entertaining. Nicki Minaj called it “karaoke,” while speaking in a British accent. Randy Jackson hated the song choice. (ELIMINATED!)

Gurpreet Singh Sarin: The Maryland-based Sikh, known for their beards and turbans, loves classical Indian music and modern pop, so he smoothed and grooved with ‘Nothing Ever Hurt Like You.’ It was a lively performance, and he is living, singing, ‘Idol’ proof that you can’t judge a book by its look. The judges felt he is better when paired with his guitar. Minaj gave him a “hell no” while Jackson said, “Dude, dawg, bro,” and we had no idea where he was going, since he uses those phrases when describing all hopefuls. But he said it was “terrible.” (ELIMINATED!)

Vincent Powell: He has lived in his car and played the part of starving artist. He bluesed it up with ‘Cause I Love You,’ and he expressed dynamite range, from butter smooth, to falsetto, to passionate and soulful. Minaj said that 50-year-old women will be throwing their panties at him. He had a “moment,” which the judges are always looking for in these do-or-die rounds, by holding a note for 30 seconds at the end. He slayed. Suh-layed! (STILL ALIVE!) [WATCH HERE]

Nick Boddington: The NYC bartender, who hails from Memphis, sang ‘Say Something Now’ in a tender tone. Keith loved the timber, since Boddington is always so easy to listen to, but he didn’t feel the immediate connection or heart. It wasn’t a 10 but it wasn’t a 5, either. The judges know he has a big ol’ voice and is capable of a moment, but didn’t have it, so said Jackson. Mimi felt a moment. (STILL ALIVE!)

Josh Holliday: The rural, country boy took a ginormous risk by performing an original song. Call him cray cray, but the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. He started out seated at his piano, all sweet and slow  but he picked up the pace as it carried on. By the mid part of the song, he abandoned his piano and was standing and serenading the crowd. The Urbninator said it was nice and pretty, and controlled, but he wanted him to cut loose and shred it. But he didn’t. That’s likely due to the fact that he’s a vocal coach. Minaj felt he was trying to please the judges and “snapped” her out of the moment when he left the keys behind. Oh those judges and their “moments.” (ELIMINATED!)

David Oliver Willis: DOW is a worship leader who grew up in a foster home and tonight, he sang a twangy, bluesy, almost classic rock’ish version of ‘Fever.’ He strapped a guitar to his person. Did he have the “moment?” Well, he belted out a note at the end, which was a lovely contrast to his mostly even-keeled and well-executed performance. He has that soulful singin’ cat thing like Gary Clark, Jr. and Michael Kiwanuka. Minaj was not psyched that he was married, saying “Hi, wife.” It was a different speed, thankfully, since there were sooooo many ballads. (ELIMINATED!)

Bryant Taseo: A department store employee from Hawaii, Taseo has the life. He also has the voice, like another crooner from the same state — Bruno Mars! He crooned ‘New York State of Mind.’ He had lovely tone and it was a terrific song choice and it connected with the crowd. Minaj, who called him babe, didn’t really love it. Everyone else did, especially since he got emotional while performing. (ELIMINATED!)

Burnell Taylor: The 19-year-old started over after Katrina demolished his home in NOLA. He lost a considerable amount of weight and he feels much better about himself. He sang John Legend‘s ‘This Time,’ looking sharp in his glasses and bow tie. He used his hands and arms to deliver an animated performance. His delivery was original — in the phrasing, the cadence and the moves. Minaj said she’d pay to see him sing right now. (STILL ALIVE!) [WATCH HERE]

Lazaro Arbos: Laz has a speech impediment, but when this boy sings, he melts your heart. He sang Keith Urban‘s ‘Tonight I Wanna Cry,’ dressed in a hot pink shirt and suspenders, looking like a sharp-dressed gentleman. His voice always has such a pretty tone to it. It’s Urban’s song, so he knew where to pick things apart, and all the little ins and outs, so felt it wasn’t the best choice. Minaj loved it, since we always get Arbos and his sweet spot. (STILL ALIVE!)

Cortez Shaw: Wow. He delivered a totally unexpected, larger-than-life rendition of David Guetta‘s ‘Titanium.’ He went places we didn’t expect with it. Did he have a moment? Yes, an elephant-sized one at the end of the song. It was bold and brave to take an EDM song and turn it into a ballad where there is nowhere to hide. There were some inconsistent spots, but he made up for it in the big notes. So he redeemed himself. (STILL ALIVE!)

The Top 20 will compete for YOUR votes starting next week, America!

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