Season 12, Season 12 in Vegas

The best and worst of American Idol on Night 3 in Vegas

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Wow, I need something a whole long stronger than an #IdolDisagree to express my sentiments about what went down on American Idol Wednesday night.

Specifically, the judges’ decision to grant Zoanette Johnson a spot in the semifinals.

Zoanette Johnson performs Wednesday night on American Idol. (FOX Photo)Clearly, Jett Hermano and Juliana Chahayed had it all wrong when they went out on stage and displayed their musical and vocal skill by delivering unique versions of popular songs.

What they needed was a big, curly blond wig. Plus a leather top that was unflatteringly too tight.

Instead of playing piano or guitar, they should have tried lots of stomping and bizarre facial expressions.

Oh, and most of all, a lot of incoherent shouting.

Hey, it worked for Zoanette. The Big Crazy Barbie. The Charisma Monster.

She’s semifinals bound. Jett and Juliana are heading home after an Idol night with so much potential ended with some head-scratching verdicts from the judges.

The recap:

Best of the night: Candice Glover gets the nod for best technical vocal. Her version of “Natural Woman” was spot on. And complete with that song-ending glory note that shows she learned a thing or two from making it to Vegas last year. I’m just hoping she picks less predictable material in the future.

Worst of the night: Zoanette by a country mile. I can’t even comprehend what the judges were thinking. Of course, I could barely comprehend what Zoanette was singing. Sure, she’s fun. Sure, she’s original. Sure, she has spirit. Hey, I graded her performance a D+ because she shows so much spirit. But the singing rated out as an F on a night when some very talented singers got cut. That’s just not fair.

Glad to see her survive: Janelle Arthur was not at her best Wednesday. In fact, she was not as good on this night as Rachel Hale, the country singer who went home so she could stay. But Janelle had been superb every time we’d seen her to this point in the competition, and I still think she has the potential to go deep into the finals.

Breanna Steer  performs Wednesday night on American Idol. (FOX Photo)Where did they come from? Idol had shown very little of Aubrey Cleland and Breanna Steer until last night. They both wound up making the semifinals. Aubrey was most impressive, turning in a very nice version of “Sweet Dreams” by Beyonce. Breanna showed no fear and lots of swagger, belting out Jasmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows.”

Sad to see them go: I actually thought Rachel’s performance of Grace Potter’s “Nothing But the Water” was one of the best of the night. Jett deserved to stay after a nice piano version of “Only Girl in the World.” Juliana was a bit shaky vocally on “Skyscraper.” But give the gal major kudos for stepping out in front of a national TV audience and delivering a singer-songwriter version of a popular Demi Lovato song.

All three are young enough to return for Season 13. Here’s hoping they do.

The judges: Their performance was more uneven than that of the singers. With no cute guys to distract her, Nicki returned to her senses. Mariah made one of her most astute critiques yet when she called Juliana’s performance “angelic.” Both Nicki and Randy made good points about how the second half of Jett’s performance could have been more dynamic. But then we had Randy telling us that it’s not all about the notes, apparently explaining his praise for Zoanette’s performance.

In the end, it comes down to the decisions. And the judges flubbed on Zoanette big time. The five advancing singers should have been Candice, Janelle, Rachel, Jett and Aubrey. The judges’ grade: C-

For song by song grades from Wednesday’s show, head here.

For a photo gallery from Wednesday’s show, head here.

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