‘American Idol’: Angela Miller & Zoanette Johnson Emerge As Semi-Finalists

Lisa Timmons | February 15, 2013 6:00 am

Earlier this week, the ladies went through the group performances. Those left standing went to bed after a stressful day of competition only to wake up bright and early to prep themselves for their solo competitions.

By the end of the episode, only half of the female contestants will be left standing. Additionally, we’ll see which guys made the cut and be introduced to the top 40 contestants who will continue on to Vegas.

American Idol kicks off by reminding us that it’s been six whole years since a girl last won the competition. Are the ladies going to pull it off this year? I think that is a distinct possibility, given the pool of talent coming from this season’s crop of female singers.

Angela Miller (to whom I will sometimes refer as Lil’ Miley) takes a seat at the piano to sing a song she wrote herself entitled “You Set Me Free.” Good lord, I didn’t know she was only 18. This kid could totally win.

Mariah Carey is a vision in red and Nicki Minaj is wearing a camo hat with what looks like a leather bustier. Mariah can only shake her head gently in awe as the rest of the judges appear to be near tears over Angela’s song.

“Wow!” Keith Urban utters before launching into his glowing review. The judges love her, and Nicki basically tells Angela that her performance was a game changer. The teenager is overjoyed.

Things stay super competitive with Candice Glover stepping to the stage with her version of Alicia Keys‘ “Girl On Fire” —  and she really is. Keith truly has the best incredulous reactions of all time. Candice too receives accolades from the judges.

Another one of my favorites, Janelle Arthur, croons “I Told You So.” This is going to be tough. I’m glad I’m not a judge. Blogging is about all I can handle at this stage in my life. Nicki tells her she is “a country superstar.”

Suddenly, we see a slow-mo of Zoanette Johnson walking to the stage in a black leather and floral print ensemble and seating herself behind a drum set. I’m completely intrigued as we go to commercial break.

Zoanette is such a wild card. This could either be a train wreck or the most amazing thing in the world. Watching her practice, I still have no indication of whether or not she will do well. She is going completely on the fly and admits it to the judges. Ha!

Mariah loves it. Zoanette is a complete genius. She proceeds to improvise a song on stage. When she shouts out to Nicki, I realize she is practically wearing the same top as the “Superbass” singer, who jiggles an enthusiastic reply. This is truly art. Zoanette loses her drumstick and I can’t tell if she’s actually chiding the band or if it’s a joke. At the last minute, she remembers to sing.

Nicki sings her praises about Zoanette’s stage presence, but it’s not clear if they liked the singing or not. The rest of the competitors return to the stage to hear their fate. Zoanette makes bedroom eyes when her name is called. I effing love this woman. She, Janelle, Candice and Angela all make it through.

Shubha Vadula sings one of my favorite duets of all times, the Mariah and Whitney Houston tune, “When You Believe,” and I hate it. Mariah, on the other hand, appreciates her singing the song. RIP, Whit.

Kez Ban is back, y’all. She and Zoanette need to move into an apartment in Los Angeles and be filmed 24 hours a day. She comes to the stage in a crazy red dress and her guitar. She sings an original song. Mariah gives a bit of the side-eye and Kez has lost us.

Um, was that it? Sadly, this time, she was weird but in an abbreviated, underwhelming way and Kez Ban finds out immediately she’s going home. She gives a teary-eyed confessional and she’s asking for a P.A. job. I predict we will soon be neighbors.

Ashley Feliciano has straightened her hair for her solo performance and admits to feeling under the weather. Unfortunately, after the earlier contestants, it’s going to take a lot to wow the judges at this point. Randy Jackson tells the girls they need to start picking some more upbeat choices.

We see a great montage of sad intros that segue into melancholy ballads. Not until Melinda Ademi do we get some fun on stage with “Price Tag,” and based solely on her song choice, she may go through. The judges are just happy to be smiling again.

Kree Harrison opts to sing “Stars” by Grace Potter. After hearing how she was orphaned, I can totally hear the emotion in her voice, and you know it’s good when Mariah can only nod yes, yes, yes, y’all. This performance may have given Kree the edge she needed. Keith tells her that her voice is one of his favorites. Plus, he admits to getting goosebumps when she sings. Keith giving a rave review gives me goosebumps.

Oh, snap — Mariah would like you to know that she’s even more impressed by Kree’s authenticity than Nicki. I’m glad to see the ladies are still keeping it spicy behind the scenes.

Kree, Melinda and Lauren continue, while Ashley and Brianna Oakley find out they are going home. Sad faces and happy jumping up and down. Aaaaaaand there will be more cuts. The contestants make a face as if they were just told they were going to have to fight to the death to make it to the next round. Select your weapons, contestants. Commercial break!

The last 24 girls return to the stage for some secret news. Randy starts calling out names and three girls find out that they didn’t actually make it. HARSH. Now there will be a lightning round sing-off!

Stephanie Schimel is called out to sing an impromptu number after a lackluster solo performance earlier in the day. She seems to possibly have redeemed herself. For the moment.

Rachel “Happy Happy Sunshine” Hale wasn’t great during her solo and she sings for her life. It looks like it’s between these two girls. Stephanie finds out that she’s going home. Sorry, Steph. It’s back to Victoria’s Secret. Poor girl. That semi-annual sale is a bitch — and it’s right around the corner.

We meet the Top 20 ladies! Woo hoo! Tears, smiles and uncontrollable shaking.

Now, it’s time for the remaining guys to get the same last minute sudden death round for the elimination of the last four contestants.

I love how quickly the footage becomes nostalgic. Ha! Remember one minute ago?

The guys filter into the theater and take to the stage with somber faces. Curtis Finch Jr. is READY. Oh my God, little Charlie Askew is wearing a rainbow beanie. Nicki starts to call out names of men who will be performing for a final attempt to stay.

Adam Sanders requests a Celine Dion song and I hope he does well. Hmm. It’s kind of wail-y. Nicki looks underwhelmed and then he gets super flat. Mariah looks offended, in fact. Poor guy.

Josh “White Pants” Holiday performs “Georgia on My Mind” and Keith is doing his pleased chicken dance. I think Josh is clearly still in the running. OMG, he needs to continue, if only because he busted his pants at the end of the performance. I’m surprised Nicki was able to refrain from, “Do you have a girlfriend?” He must be married.

Nicki starts to call out eight guys, including Adam Sanders. They are all going home. The young ones are sad, but buck up little campers — you’re still doing better at life than the rest of us.

The remaining men find out that they are the Top 20 guys, and next they are joined on stage by the ladies. It’s a lot of hair and teeth as the semi-finalists find out they’re heading to Vegas to perform in front of the judges and a live studio audience.

Let’s hope that what happens in Vegas…is amazing. Till then…!