Hollywood Week has come and gone, and the list of "American Idol" Season 12 contestants has been whittled down to just 40 names. But with the dreaded Las Vegas "sudden death" round on the horizon, there's still a long road -- and a whole lot of cuts -- before the live shows start.
Of course, among that Top 40 (you can see the full list here) are a few stars who definitely shine. Here's five to keep an eye on in the Vegas round.
Angela MillerShe took a risk with an original song during the Hollywood solo round (the 18-year-old said she penned "You Set Me Free" just two months ago), and it paid off. Angela Miller may not have been a top contender in the judges' minds at first (at least that's what Nicki Minaj said), but her piano-playing Hollywood solo performance changed all of that. Keith Urban was raving: "If that was recorded right there, I would play it in my car. That was just a beautiful song," he said after her performance.
Charlie AskewThe floppy-haired kid with an undiagnosed syndrome, Charlie Askew was the only person during Hollywood Week whose rendition of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" wasn't totally generic. Maybe it was his spoken word intro at the beginning, but whatever it was, Judge Nicki has already declared that she's "obsessed" with the quirky 17-year-old. And who doesn't love a singer who does jumping jacks to get his blood flowing before a performance? Things are definitely about to go askew in Vegas, and we mean that in a good way.
Candice GloverThis girl's on fire! After she performed Alicia Keys's "Girl on Fire" in the solo round, Keith Urban told Candice Glover, "You took that and did your own thing with it. It sounded like a massive, big record." The returning "Idol" hopeful (she was cut from the competition during Season 11's Vegas round) was a standout last year when she teamed up with Deandre Brackensick and Jessica Sanchez for the song "It Doesn't Matter Anymore." While Deandre and Jessica moved on in the competition (and also started dating, apparently), Candice was left behind. But now she has another chance at Vegas, baby, and all bets are on her.
Janelle ArthurShe's a little bit country, yet Nicki Minaj surprisingly calls 22-year-old Janelle Arthur her "favorite." An "American Idol" veteran -- this was Janelle's third annual trip to Hollywood week -- 2013 may finally be her year to shine. After her stellar performance of "Where the Blacktop Ends" during the Hollywood round, the judges raved and called her a country superstar. Third time's the charm... hopefully.
Paul JolleyGive this a guy a guitar! Or don't. Paul Jolley's jitters may have gotten the best of him during the boys' Hollywood round (Nicki even slammed his nervous energy and called it "a turnoff"), but once he started to sing he blew everyone away. This 22-year-old has the looks and the pipes, but the addition of a guitar would put him dangerously in the WGWG category -- something we're sure "Idol" producers don't want to promote. We've yet to see him with a string instrument in hand, and that's a jolly good thing.
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 PM ET on FOX.
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