Image credit: Fox
JOLLEY GOOD TIME Paul shook off his self-doubt during his solo, but would not escape the wrath of the Nerves Nazi.
Lazaro Arbos, looking like a law firm temp in his demure corporate-casual outfit, really amped up the drama for Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory." We didn't see much, but he sounded good. No visible nerves. Meanwhile, Curtis Finch, Jr. redefined "dramatic interpretation" with his pearl-clutching rendition of Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts," making sure to end with a few seconds of 100 Percent Pure SobFace.
The judges made cuts after every eight singers. Paul, Lazaro, and Curtis step forward and are through! If the back row is never shown….did it really exist?
I'm so glad we got a spotlight segment for 18-year-old Chicago kid Devin Velez, who gushed about his standing O from Randy back in the a cappella round and dazzled the judges with a natural ease and expertise on "What a Wonderful World" in tonight's solo. He packed in scores of solid rhythmic and pitch choices into just a few verses and seems to have that special something that just makes you wanna root for him. I loved when he closed his eyes and murmured "Thank you so much" after Keith Urban told Devin "You are born to sing -- it's what you do." Awww!
Meanwhile, a guitar-strumming Gupreet Singh Sarin ("The Turbinator"), Cortez Shaw, and Adam Sanders sailed through the solo round along with Devin.
Eliminated: Enough with the sob story, Nicki Minaj decided re: the "just plain short" Mateus Fernandez, who fell apart during his solo because he'd never played with a band before. "I wasn't given a chance to say this yesterday," Nicki began -- [HUGE MARIAH EYE ROLL] -- "You were always making reference to your height. Sometimes things can go from being inspiring to becoming you wanting a pity party." Yes! "You don't have to milk that ever again." Well, I'm not sure that's true. There are plenty more reality TV shows as well as boring old real jobs for Mateus to conquer. Maybe some of them will appreciate the joke "I'm 22 years old, not 10." Doubt it.
Jimmy Smith got some significant screen time with his country-tinged cover of "Landslide" -- it was competent, and I liked how he took his time, but I wasn't totally wowed despite his dog tags' effort to hypnotize me. Jimmy advanced along with Johnny Keyser and Vincent Powell, whose solos were not shown.
NEXT: Nick Boddington and Charlie Askew stand out