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Hollywood Week continued on American Idol Thursday night, and after three days of intense competition, the guys continued to fight for their spot in the Top 40.
The guys who remain must now compete in the most important day, as they get one last solo performance to prove to the judges they deserve to stay in the competition.
After choosing a song, the guys only get hours to work on their performance, which may include the Idol band or playing their own instrument. They know they have to give it their all, as half of the contestants will be cut by the end of the day.
Although in past seasons contestants usually go into rooms and are told their fate by the judges, this season the judges will make cuts after every eight singers.
Paul Jolley starts it off, but he is visibly nervous. He sings “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood, and although he sang well, Nicki Minaj gives him some harsh words. She tells him, “You walked out so defeated and that really irritated me. It’s such a turn off. Just give us one minute of professionalism.”
Lazaro Arbos next sings Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.” He then joins Jolley in being left to wait and wonder what his fate will be.
Curtis Finch, Jr. follows by singing “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri. Mariah Carey tells him that it was “Absolutely beautiful, as always.”
After five other singers perform, all eight performers are called to the stage to learn of the judges’ decision. Randy Jackson says that the voting wasn’t unanimous, but that their decision is based on the contestants’ collective performances. Jolley, Arbos and Finch, Jr. are among the ones that receive good news – they’re all safe.
Devin Velez then sings and impresses the judges with Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” with Keith Urban telling him, “You are born to sing.”
Gupreet Singh Sarin then gives a solid performance of “Georgia on My Mind” and Cortez Shaw follows, impressing the judges with his version of “Sunny.”
Matheus Fernandes isn’t able to keep it going, however, as his performance of “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson fails to impress the judges. Minaj also has some harsh words for him when she tells him to stop referencing to his height so much, as it makes it seem like he’s ‘milking his story.’ She tells him, “Once you become great, we won’t even notice your height.”
The judges then deliberate on all eight performers and say that based on their collective performances, Velez, Sarin and Shaw are among the ones that continue, while Fernandes gets a no.
The next eight performers include Nicholas Mathis, who impressed the judges in the group stage, Jimmy Smith, whose star power was previously questioned by the judges, and Papa Peachez, who Minaj first loved but then told that he was becoming too ‘complacent.’
Peachez sings “You and I” by Lady Gaga and Minaj is left disappointed. She says, “I’m pretty sure the flame is now completely burnt out. I’m so disappointed. I don’t know why you would choose that song. I can’t believe you let this competition suck that out of you.”
After deliberation, the contestants get called back on stage. “This was the one time to fight for your life,” Minaj says. “And if you didn’t fight for your life, then you’ll probably be pretty upset at yourself. And you should be.”
Mathis and Peachez are sent home, while Smith continues. Johnny Keyser and Vincent Powell also join him in going through.
Nick Boddington is in the next round of contestants, who was cut from the competition in Vegas Week last season. He takes a risk by playing his own instrument, but Urban tells him he “nailed it.”
Next up is Charlie Askew, who sing “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. Minaj then tells him, “Charlie, I am obsessed with you,” to which Askew answers with, “Baby, I can say the same thing.” Minaj then adds, “You become an artist in my eyes. You have this quirky thing that is so odd that it’s right. You are so, so special. That is an artist.”
After all eight contestants perform, Carey says this group was a tough one to cut from. They decide to send both Boddington and Askew through, along with Jda and Mathenee Treco.
The next round of contestants includes Burnell Taylor and Marvin Calderon, who both sing “Jar of Hearts.”
Micah Johnson then sings “I Told You So” by Randy Travis. Carey tells him that although she liked it, she expected more.
Taylor and Calderon are sent through, while Johnson is told no. Other notable contestants that are sent home include Nate Tao and Gabe Brown.
That marks the end of performances, which supposedly means the judges are done eliminating the guys, which has them all celebrating. They’re all called to the stage, however, and they’re told congratulations – but also that next week eight more of them will have to leave.
Before eight more guys leave the competition, the girls will have to follow the guys and fight for their spot to continue in the competition. There’s sure to be plenty of tears and drama, but the talent the girls will bring is sure to be impressive.
The girls will compete on Idol next Wednesday, while the Top 40 contestants will be finally decided on Thursday.