idol-8

Welcome back to Hollywood Week, where the remaining male contestants are about to face their final challenge: The solo round. There are 43 remaining, and only 20 will be left to continue on after this. The men may play their own instruments, and chose a song from an approved list, and the judges will make cuts after every eight singers perform.

First to sing was the very nervous Paul Jolley, 22, from Tennessee. He sang “Blown Away,” and Nicki said, “You walked out so defeated, and that really irritated me. Just give us one minute of professionalism.” He argued with her about the anxiety he was feeling, and the other judges didn’t weigh in.

Next up was Lazaro Arbos, 19, from Florida, who sang Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.” If you remember, he’s the one who suffers from a severe stutter, and didn’t do so well last night when he forgot the words to his group’s song. Following him was Curtis Finch, Jr, 24, from Missouri, who brought a gospel edge to Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts.” Mariah said, “Absolutely beautiful, as always. I’m blessed to hear you sing today.”

That was the end of group one, and the judges made their first decisions. Of the three we watched, all of them made it through the end of Hollywood Week! So it was a positive start to the night.

A lack of confidence was not an issue for Devin Velez, 18, from Illinois. He chose to sing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Keith said, “You are born to sing. It’s what you do.” Randy yelled out in agreement, and the girls smiled.

Gurpreet, 22, from Maryland, sang “Georgia On My Mind,” and played his guitar, and Cortex Shaw, 22, from Texas, also got a lot of approval. Then it was time for Matheus Fernandes, 22, from Georgia, to sing. He chose Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” with a lot of passion, but it didn’t seem to fit the background music. Mariah said, “You’ve come along way. It was a little bit not really connected.” Nicki implied that he was milking on his (lack of) height, and he went back stage and sobbed.

Then it was time for evaluating this group. Devin, Cortez, and Gurpreet made it through, but not Matheus. He told the cameras that he wasn’t giving up, it wasn’t an option, while the others celebrated.

Nicolas Mathis, 23, sang Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” and the judges giggled, but it was hard to tell whether they were into it, or mocking it. Keith asked him “What’s going on?” He told Nicolas he felt like he was “chasing the song” not the dream, and denied him a second chance to sing.

Papa Peachez, 19, from Mississippi, sang Lady Gaga’s “You and I,” and Nicki seemed to hate it just for the song choice. She said, “I’m so disappointed. I can’t believe you allowed this competition to suck the life out of you.” His group member from last night, Jimmy Smith, 25, from Tennessee sang “Landslide,” and Mariah said, “You’ve been one of my favorites from the beginning. You definitely wowed me.”

Nicki gave the next eight a speech about “fighting for your life” before revealing who was cut: Nicolas and Papa Peachez. Jimmy and the rest of the guys on the stage made it through to the next round. Papa Peachez told the cameras how he doesn’t “like singing other people’s songs,” and Nicolas through a fit.

Last season’s Nick Boddington, 27, from Tennessee, made it to Vegas Week, and he tried again tonight. He played the keyboard and sang “Stars” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and it seemed like a good choice for him. Keith said, “Your range is beautiful. You nailed ’em. I thought it was a really good performance.”

Charlie Askew, 17, from Arkansas, the boy who has trouble connecting with people, felt the need to explain his song choice before singing, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Randy said, “wow” during it, definitely a good sign. Nicki said, “Charlie, I’m obsessed with you. Today, you became an artist in my eyes. You are so, so special.” They complimented his “weirdness” and unique attire.

The next round of guys came out to receive their verdict. Nick and Charlie, along with JDA, were chosen to go forward. And so that round was complete.

Burnell Taylor, 19, from Louisiana chose to sing “Jar of Hearts,” as did Marvin Calderon, 22, from California. Both did well, but I think the latter was the best. However, both were chosen to stay on.

Next up was Micah Johnson, 24, from Georgia, who’s speech impediment is a recent affliction due to surgery. He sang “I Told You So,” by Randy Travis, and his country sound had just enough soul and power behind it. Mariah said, “Interesting song choice. I expected you’d have a different kind of take on a song,” seeming disappointed. And he was eliminated on the spot.

After being chosen to go through, the guys were called up on stage once more, and faced with a shocker: Eight of the remaining men will still have to be eliminated. Next week, the girls are up!