It's time for Round 2 of American Idol's Hollywood Week (which, in TV time, is actually two weeks, but who's counting?), as the girls will have their turn to shine in front of the judges.
Last week, the show focused on the guys, but since 28 were left standing after Thursday's episode, another eight will be eliminated this week before the show moves on to the Vegas round. But first, the ladies will be in the spotlight for two days of solo and group competition.
Again, only a tiny percentage of the nearly 300 contestants who were sent to Hollywood were shown in the audition episodes — but out of that small sampling, here are our favorites:
Kez Ban Sauerbier: The quirky singer/songwriter/fire performer from North Carolina told producers that she was worried about being "destined for the blooper reel" at her audition, but her performance of her original song "Azure Sky" blew the judges away. Plus, we love her refreshing admission that she doesn't expect to win and really just wanted to make it to Hollywood. Our money's on her making it even further than that.
Shubha Vedula: Ignoring Randy Jackson's cringe-worthy butchering of her name during her audition, this 17-year-old from Michigan did a great Christina Aguilera impersonation on "Something's Got a Hold On Me," complete with clapping and finger-snaps. Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were absent for her performance, so we can't wait to see what the divas think of the down-to-earth teen in Hollywood.
Ashlee Feliciano: Sure, Feliciano has a great voice, as evidenced by her rendition of Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On." But it's her family story that really endears us to this 21-year-old from Connecticut: Her parents have been fostering and adopting kids with various medical issues since 2002.
Jesaiah Baer: Baer can scat like nobody's business, and at just 16, she has great control over her curiously toned, old-school voice. She was also able to overcome an annoying fire alarm during her audition in Los Angeles, and that's the type of composure that the California resident will need to rely on once the competition really heats up.
Janelle Arthur: A fun and peppy fitness instructor from Tennessee, Arthur played a young Dolly Parton when she was a kid, and her big voice on Keith Urban's "Where the Blacktop Ends" reminds us of a young LeAnn Rimes. But can she also emulate Idol winner Carrie Underwood and make it all the way to the finals? Only time will tell.
Ashley Smith: The hyperactive 22-year-old may have been unable to sit still while she was waiting to audition, but once she started singing Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova," her voice was nothing but smooth and controlled.
Sarah Restuccio: This farm girl from New Jersey may be a country girl at heart, but her audition included not only a Carrie Underwood song, but also a pretty impressive Nicki Minaj impersonation on "Super Bass" that impressed even Minaj herself (not to mention the previously skeptical Urban). We're looking forward to seeing what other surprises the 17-year-old has in store.
American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.
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