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Sudden-death round continued on American Idol Thursday night, and this time it was the guys turn to sing.
The guys definitely need to prove themselves, as Mariah Carey says considering how great the girls did the night before, the guys should be concerned. Although some guys had great performances, most guys didn’t impress the judges vocally as much as the girls did the night before.
Paul Jolley from Tennessee starts the night off by singing Keith Urban's song “Tonight I Wanna Cry.” Urban tells him that he’s “honored and touched” someone sang one of his songs and also tells him not to “underestimate the power of his voice by over performing”. Randy Jackson also tells him that it was risky to sing a song by Urban, but that he has great potential.
23-year-old Johnny Keyser is next, and he sings “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Keyser was cut last season during Vegas week, but says that he’s grown from the experience. Urban tells him it was the best he had sounded so far and Nicki Minaj tells him, “You look really sexy tonight. You have a nice sparkle in your eye, the girls are going to love you.” Carey agrees, saying, “I don’t want to get in trouble with my husband, but you are bringing the masculinity.”
JDA then sings “Rumor Has It” by Adele. The judges agree that it was more of a show performance and less of a strong vocal performance. Jackson says, “If we gave an award on who gave the best performance, it would be you. But you should be thinking more about the vocal because this is a singing competition.”
Kevin Harris follows by singing Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do, I Do It For You.” Urban tells him his “range is crazy” and Minaj adds that “every single solitary musical choice you made tonight was perfection. You are the first boy tonight that made go yes, this vocal is 100% tonight.” Jackson disagrees, however, saying that he thought it was boring and that it felt like a karaoke performance.
Chris Watson from Delaware then sings Otis Redding’s “Sitting On The Dock of the Bay.” Minaj tells him, “I want to marry your vibrato. There’s a soulful, raspy, uniqueness every time you sing.” Jackson once again disagrees with her, saying that he was, again, bored and that he “wasn’t getting anything.” Meanwhile, Carey liked his charisma, but didn’t think his vocals were as great.
18-year-old high school student Devin Velez then has probably the strongest performance of the night. He sings Beyonce’s “Listen” and even sings part of the song in Spanish. Urban tells him, “That’s the way you do it. We’ve just been spending all this time talking about performances, people are running around the stage and putting on a whole deal, and then there’s a singer. And you walk out there and you can sing. You didn’t have to do anything else except sing the song.” The other judges agree with him, and they also say that it was a good choice for him to sing in Spanish. Carey adds, “No matter what, I can’t wait to see what a producer does when you get into the studio.”
College student Elijah Liu is next with his rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon.” The judges love it; in particular, Minaj. She tells him, “I don’t care about the song, you are a super duper star, little boy. I want to have your babies. You’re my new favorite boy. I would sign you today. You have the most marketable face and combination that I’ve seen tonight and you’re ready now, now, now.”
Charlie Askew, who “glorifies weirdness,” according to him, then sings “Rocket Man.” Urban tells him, “I love your originality, your fearlessness, your unpredictability. Tackling that song is just like, what the hell are you doing? But somehow you make it work.” Minaj also tells him, “You weirdness, your awkwardness, it excites me. I want to cradle you in my arms, I love you so much.”
Jimmy Smith from Tennessee is then the second contestant to sing a song by Urban, with “Raining on Sunday.” Urban says, “Let me just say, it’s really hard to critique somebody that just sang your song. I thought you did a really good job there tonight, so thank you.” However, Minaj and Jackson tell him they were bored with the performance, while Carey says, “It wasn’t your best vocal, but I still think there’s something about you that America should be able to see.”
24-year-old Gospel singer Curtis Finch, Jr. is the last contestant of the night, and he sings “Superstar” by The Carpenters. Urban tells him, “I feel thoroughly cleansed of my sings. Your voice is beautiful and I’d loved to hear more from it.” Minaj adds, “Every time you sing on stage, you take the competition to another level. You are well on your own way, it’s your time.”
After the judges deliberate, each contestant is called one by one to the stage to learn their fate. Ryan Seacrest says that the judges are not unanimous tonight, as there is one split decision. In this case, Jimmy Iovine is the deciding vote.
First up is Curtis Finch, Jr. and Minaj tells him, “Would you please stop with this act? You know damn well you’re going through, Curtis.”
Jimmy Smith and Kevin Harris are then called on stage, and both learn they are being sent home.
Elijah Liu is up next, and Urban tells him, “I so wish we could keep you, and I’m so glad that we are.”
JDA is then called, but gets bad news as Minaj tells him that he is the next to be sent home.
Paul Jolley is next, and we learn that he is the split vote. Jimmy Iovine then speaks and proceeds to tell him that although he over sang the song, he is keeping him in the competition.
Chris Watson is then called, and he learns his time in the competition ends there.
Charlie Askew then gets called on stage to hear the good news that the judges are deciding to keep him.
This leaves Devin Velez and Johnny Keyser, and although the decision is not unanimous, the judges to decide to keep Velez and send Keyser home.
This means Curtis Finch, Jr., Elijah Liu, Paul Jolley, Charlie Askew and Devin Velez join the five girls from the previous night with a spot in the Top 20.
Next week, sudden-death round continues on Idol, and the remaining girls and guys compete to join the other 10 contestants to continue on in the competition.