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Bright and early on the final day, there were 47 girls remaining going into the solo round, meaning that 27 will have to be cut by the end of the day. For the solo round, contestants could choose to sing any song they like, or an original song, and were allowed to play their own instrument and/or incorporate any of the American Idol band.

Angela Miller chose to do just that. She sang an original song that she wrote two months prior that was “about being set free from baggage,” and she played the piano as well. Randy and Keith both said “Wow” a bunch of times, and she got a standing ovation from all of the judges. Keith said, “If that was recorded right there, I would play that in my car. It’s just a beautiful song.” Nicki added,”Before today, I don’t think you were in our top ten. It’s amazing how just doing what you did today changed that.”

Candice Glover, 23, of South Carolina sang Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire,” and Randy especially seemed really into it. She sounded good, and it was a great choice of song. Keith said, “You took it, and you did your own thing with it in such a powerful way.”

Next was country girl Janelle Arthur, 23, of Tennessee. This was her third season auditioning, and she sang Carrie Underwood’s “I Told You So.” Her lovely country sound was almost calming. Nicki said “I love that you always keep it subtle. I think that you are a superstar; A country superstar.”

The always-out-there Zoanette Johnson, 20, of Oklahoma had a song prepared, but during rehearsal she felt something, and made up a song on the spot, incorporating her own drumming. She’s a strange girl, there’s no denying that, but she has rhythm, and a strong voice. The judges were cracking up as she instructed the back-up singers to follow her lead. Nicki said, “I am bowing down at your feet today.” So Zoanette, Janelle, Candice and Angela made it through.

Shubha Vedula, 17, of Michigan channeled Mariah when she sang “When You Believe” from the movie The Prince of Egypt, which Mariah sang with Whitney Houston on the movie soundtrack. It was beautiful, and Mariah smiled and said, “That was a nice moment for me personally, so thank you.”

Then Juliana Chahayed, 15, from California sang a popular choice, “Landslide.” Afterwards, Nicki said “Love it. You sang one of my favorite songs, so thank you. I didn’t want it to end.”

The ever-eccentric Kez Ban was the third to sing an original song, one that she claimed was “very dear” to her. She wore a very out-of-character fancy dress and played the guitar, but that wasn’t able to cover up her voice, which was definitely deteriorating from sickness and excessive use. Nicki said, “We appreciate your artistry,” but they quickly dismissed her. She cried to the cameras that she loved it there, and would do anything to stick around, so Ryan let her hold the boom for a little.

Ashlee Feliciano, 20, from Connecticut also wasn’t feeling well. She chose to sing “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, hitting some impressive high notes. Randy didn’t feel it was a “bold enough” song choice, and was upset with the somber turn the day had taken in terms of songs chosen.

Things were livened up by Melinda Ademi, 19, of New York, who sang Jessie J’s “Price Tag” with all of the spunk and energy of the original singer. Keith rocked out, and said, “Once in awhile you get someone who knows who they are, picks the right song. It’s clear, it’s energetic. You have such a good light about you, and I see that consistently with all of your performances.” She was so happy she cried to Ryan afterwards!

Next up was Kree Harrison, 22, from Texas, whose parents died at 12 and 19, leaving her with the inspiration to sing “Stars” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. She sounded lovely, and her voice was crystal clear with so much emotion in it. Keith said, “Your voice is one of my favorites in the entire competition” as Nicki said, “Yes, absolutely” in agreement. Mariah said, “There’s something that feels genuine about you as a performer.”

Kree, Lauren Mink, and Melinda made it through, but Ashlee, Briana Oakley, and Sabrina Joi-Crowe were among those who were dismissed. Sabrina sobbed as she walked out of the auditorium. After all of the performances, 24 girls still remained.

In order to cut the remaining four, the girls were all brought to the stage once more. Lauren, Holly Miller, and one other were called forward, and immediately sent home. Then they called Stephanie Schmiel forward, along with Rachel Hale, 21, from Arkansas, both of whom were asked to sing one more time. Rachel’s previous solo hadn’t gone over so well, but they seemed to like this one better, and Stephanie was sent home, while Rachel became the final member of the girls top 20.

But wait… what about the boys? Last week, there were 28 guys remaining, so eight must be cut down. Adam Sanders, 19, from Texas was asked to sing, as was Josh Holiday, 24, from Texas. The latter had said in his first audition that he aspired to be a gospel singer, and the producers would have been nuts to cut someone as unique as him. He sang “Georgia On My Mind,” while Adam opted for a strange version of Celine Dion’s “What Do You Say?” that ultimately got him cut. Joining Adam in ending their journeys were Peter Gareth, Marvin Calderone, Devin Jones, Kenny Harrison, Will White, Tony Foster, and David Leathers.

So the top 40 have been chosen, and all of them celebrated on stage together. Next stop? Vegas Week!