American Idol recap: Elevator of Terror

The judges welcome 17 of the Top 30 in a great big ballroom; M.K. Nobilette says she's 'very obviously gay'
Ep. 09 | Aired Feb 12, 2014

Fox

Are you sick? Well, SHUT UP! This is Hollywood; sleeping is illegal. Harry Connick Jr.'s show-opening rant about contestants who lead with how off-kilter and sleep-deprived they feel was a full throttle of fresh air on American Idol. "Don't tell us how to feel for you ever, for the rest of your performing careers!" Yes. Exactly.

I love how he rapid-cycled from fan ("I'm sorry if you're not feeling well -- I paid to see your show!") to accomplished star -- "This is show business! We don't care. I don't care. Just suck it up; it's entertainment." I was so tickled I had to rewind it twice. Harry doesn't care. Never forget.

Seventeen of the Top 30 were announced tonight, but it's just a partial reveal -- we'll learn the rest during Thursday's final Hollywood Week hour. Here's who's through!

WOMEN
Andrina Brogden
Bria Anai
Emily Piriz
Jessica Meuse
Jillian Jensen
Kristen O’Connor
M.K. Nobilette
Malaya Watson

MEN
Alex Preston
Dexter Roberts
Emmanuel Zidor
George Lovett
Jordan Brisbane
Malcolm Allen
Maurice Townsend
Sam Woolf
Spencer Lloyd

Noteworthy: The elevator incorporated into tonight's terror-trap was MUCH more effective as a dramatic motif than the freaking chamber -- excuse me, The Chamber -- used during auditions. Turns out all the chamber needed were some up and down buttons. And much more at stake. And a glamorous ballroom.

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A tale as old as time: Beauty and the Beasts

Emily Piriz was the standout of the night for me. The Allison Williams lookalike with a certain je ne sais quoi (update: they've cracked the code and she's Cuban) totally soared on Grace Potter's "Stars" and looked "absolutely gorgeous" to boot, said Harry. I think this was the most uninterrupted Solo Night footage we saw on anyone, so in this way Emily was reminiscent of Angie Miller last season. Will everything else she does be measured up to Solo Night? Who cares? I'm down to hear her sing no matter what.

I love when Keith Urban perks up during certain performances: "Hello!" That's how you know you need to rewind and really really listen. Because a few verses later, Keith will execute a five-layer yelp of ecstasy that you also do not want to miss.

Spencer Lloyd mostly seems pretty. He took a risk with an original for his solo, but only in theory because the performance itself seemed very, very safe.

As a reward for doing so well in Hollywood Week, Spencer gets the Guy We're Supposed to Think is the Murderer on Dateline edit -- and right after he's shown singing the line "What you feel is what you are, and what you are is beautiful," to boot.

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The contrast is delicious. Is he a dark force or a beautiful spirit? Only time and Twitter will tell.

NEXT PAGE: Why Jillian Jensen over Keri Lynn Roche?

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