American Idol recap: The Lion Queen

Zoanette Johnson is a crazy hot mess. So why did I just watch 'Circle of Life' five times?
Ep. 13 | Aired Feb 27, 2013

FAR TOO MUCH TO TAKE IN HERE As Zoanette finds her place on the path unwinding, her fashion sense moves us all.

Michael Becker/Fox

Juliana Chahayed -- I loved where she was going, or better yet, where she will go in the future with her breathless, baby-soft re-imagining of popular music. The problem is she's just too young and inexperienced and, as NIcki pointed out, timid up there right now at 15. "Skyscraper" had some really shaky notes and during the last 20 or so seconds, you could see it in Juliana's cute-as-a-vintage-button face that she was horrified she'd just messed up. There's so much potential with this one, though. And frankly I'm surprised Idol gave up the chance to hold onto a 70-pound forest sprite in a virginal white cotton dress. She even had a freaking gap tooth! But oh well. It is Juliana's own fault that she doesn't look like Rihanna.

Melinda Ademi -- "Nobody's Perfect" and that includes Melinda on this flat Jessie J cover. If you focused really hard on trying to figure out which year her bizarre outfit (purple leggings, leather bike shorts, print blouse) was from (1988), you could avoid cringing at the off-pitch vocals and awkward dance moves. I want to give her credit for going uptempo, but at the same time that song didn't show off her "rawwwwwwr talent" (Keith Urban, of course) too much and I'm still left wondering what she can really do. And so I will wonder forever! At least Melinda knows now for sure that she's cute and Nicki Minaj loves her. That is all that really matters.

Rachel Hale -- Clearly the producers had already picked their country-singing teachers' pet of the season and there apparently wasn't room for both Rachel and Janelle Arthur. Rachel outsang and (perhaps more importantly?) out-performed Janelle by far tonight -- she hit some bum notes in "Nothing But the Water" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, but I marveled at her crowd engagement and general sense of fun. She also loves God and proclaimed the importance of praying -- "IT WILL CHANGE YOU, I'M NOT KIDDING!" to the audience after Randy noted her sudden bout of fearlessness. She's skinny, smiley, 21…I'm actually shocked they passed this happy little Idol spirit animal up.

NEXT: The five girls to advance are....

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