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‘American Idol’ Recap: Las Vegas Brings Sudden Death, Round 1

'American Idol'
Imeh Akpanudosen, Getty Images

The latest edition of ‘American Idol’ (Feb. 20) took place in the Beatles’ ‘Love’ theater at the Mirage Hotel and Casino. Ten female contestants engaged in a sudden death round at the Las Vegas hotspot – meaning that half of them moved on, while the remainder were sent home.

“We really have no idea what it’s gonna look like at the end of the night,” said judge Nicki Minaj. Read on to find out what happened in tonight’s episode.

THE PERFORMANCES:

Jenny Beth Willis: She was the first performance of the night, and she delivered her take on ‘Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love’ by Trisha Yearwood. The judges unanimously agreed that it wasn’t her best effort, but Keith Urban remarked that she possesses an “effortless confidence … Hopefully that confidence will be enough to carry you through tonight.”

Tenna Torres: Her delivered Natasha Bedingfield’s ‘Soulmate’ mostly pleased the judges. “I thought it was really good,” remarked Urban. “You reminded me of why I fell in love with your voice before,” added Minaj. She went on to say that she wasn’t a big fan of her hair tonight, but she loved the performance. “This is the star of the night,” proclaimed a very impressed Randy Jackson. “This is what becoming the next ‘American Idol’ is really about … I loved it, I loved it, I loved it.”

Adriana Latonio: Read about her performance here.

Brandy Hotard: This Louisiana native performed ‘Anymore’ by Travis Tritt and received mixed reviews from the panelists. “My only issue with the performance, really, was an emotional connection inconsistency,” Urban said. He was turned off by the fact that she chose such a heartbreaking song to perform but appeared happy and cheerful while singing it. “We don’t want you to smile at us if it really doesn’t feel truthful to the song,” agreed Minaj. “But you looked beautiful.”

Shubha Vedula: The audience adored the 17-year-old’s rendition of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way,’ but the judges? Not so much. They claimed that there was way too much going on that made it very confusing to watch and relate to. They also agreed that she should have stayed at the piano, which was how she opened the performance.

Kamaria Ousley: Her theatrical performance of Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Mr. Know It All’ was rich in terms of fashion and swagger, but sorely lacking in vocal delivery. Minaj said, “That throaty, twangy thing you were doing … it didn’t work, babe. It didn’t work. But you look amazing.” Jackson said what everyone else was thinking: “From the start of the song, it just never caught on.” Carey praised her for being adorable and marketable but ultimately agreed with her fellow panelists. “I don’t feel it was the right song choice for you and I’ve seen you do better.” Her pitch was all over the map, and the judges questioned whether or not she’d been able to hear herself as she was singing.

Kree Harrison: Read about her performance here.

Angela Miller: Read about her performance here.

Isabelle Pasqualone: She took a risk by singing Billie Holiday’s ‘God Bless the Child.’ While Jackson wasn’t a fan of the arrangement, he said, “I think you’ve got a big voice and a huge talent.” Following her performance, she cited fellow contestant Kree Harrison as an inspiration

Amber Holcomb: This isn’t her first time trying to make it on ‘Idol,’ but she’s determined to make this season her best. She impressed the panelists with her version of ‘My Funny Valentine,’ earning the following praise from Jackson: “You made the most important run the greatest and it stood out like a shining diamond.” However, the judges agreed that she needs just a little bit more confidence to show the world what she has to offer. “I can’t wait for you to get into the studio and make a record, regardless of what happens in this competition,” said Carey.

THE VERDICT:

Moving On:
- Tenna Torres
- Adriana Latonio
- Kree Harrison
- Angela Miller
- Amber Holcomb

Going Home:
- Jenny Beth Willis
- Brandy Hotard
- Isabelle Pasqualone
- Kamaria Ousley
- Shubha Vedula

Be sure to tune in to tomorrow night’s episode of ‘American Idol’ for the next sudden death round!

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