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'American Idol' Season 12: Kree Harrison leads Top 10 female power rankings

"American Idol" - Kree Harrison is in the

"American Idol" - Kree Harrison is in the first group of girls to advance to the Top 20. (Feb. 20, 2013) (Credit: Fox)

So much for it being a girl's year.

The “American Idol” Powers That Be have been talking up the huge pool of female talent this season, trying to crown an “Idol” queen for the first time since Jordin Sparks in 2007. See, the female “Idols” -- Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, especially -- have been far more successful than the male ones and, let's be honest, “Idol” really does need a big winner to silence the growing number of doubters.

But after Tuesday night's Top 10 gals performed, that huge pool of talent drained significantly. Mariah Carey kept fretting, “What will we do?” in order to maintain all the top talent when only five contestants will move on. Well, there were really only five females who deserved to move on last night.

PHOTOS: Finals Semifinals | Auditions | "Idol" judges past and present | Winners and finalists | Where are they now?

And, frankly, that's a stretch, considering how young Adriana Latonio slipped from front-runner status to the back of the pack on an ill-advised version of Destiny's Child's “Stand Up for Love.” Carey was right that it wasn't necessarily the Alaskan teen's performance that went awry, but the structure of the song itself. However, that doesn't really change the fact that Latonio waited far too long, in “Idol” terms, to get to the big notes. Nicki Minaj was so disappointed she told her to “come back next year,” which isn't actually allowed according to “Idol” rules.

Latonio would likely be cut if it wasn't for even worse performances from other judge favorites Breanna Steer, Aubrey Cleland and Zoanette Johnson.

Oh Zoanette, sweet, crazy Zoanette. Her take on Tina Turner's “What's Love Got to Do With It” may have been one of the worst performances at this stage of “Idol” ever. She blew the entire first verse, making up lyrics and sounding terribly off-key, and she never really got on track. “You gotta really be on key and stuff,” said Minaj.

“That was a mess, babe,” added Randy Jackson. Zoanette's lovely spirit and inspiring story made her a favorite even if her vocals did not, but she was so terribly unprepared this time, there was little chance for anyone to see what she had to offer.

Another reason Latonio will advance is that the show is likely going to announce two wild cards on Thursday, something Jackson hinted at on Tuesday. This was expected, after all, since there are 10 weeks left in the season, which ends on May 16, so they needed another week of eliminations in the schedule.

That means either country singer Janelle Arthur, whose version of Elvis Presley's “If I Can Dream” was a little too sweet and pageanty, or Jamaica, Queens' Tenna Torres, whose overblown version of Faith Hill's “Lost” was oversung, will also likely move forward. Of course, they could also pick one of their “sign-you-right-now” girls Aubrey or Breanna.

They will join the top of the female class, who, aside from Latonio, all continued to improve by leaps and bounds. Kree Harrison's take on Faith Hill's “Stronger” effortlessly showed her incredible range, while still connecting emotionally with the song.

Angie Miller came close to recapturing the magic she had in Hollywood by doing Colton Dixon's dramatic, piano-driven “Never Gone.” “A star is born on that stage right there,” Jackson said of her unique, powerful performance.

Amber Holcomb and Candice Glover fall into the more expected “Idol” diva category with their big, soulful voices, but each has an interesting spin to keep them around. Holcomb's version of Whitney Houston's “I Believe in You and Me” was thrillingly sweet, while Candice Glover was both powerful and laid back on John Legend's “Ordinary People.”

The biggest surprise that will likely come on Thursday is whether the judges try to keep the gender parity with their wild card choices or if they try to stack the deck by picking two females to move forward into what will be a Top 12. It probably depends on how the guys do.

THE RANKINGS

1. Kree Harrison, “Stronger”
2. Candice Glover, “Ordinary People”
3. Amber Holcomb, “I Believe in You and Me”
4. Angie Miller, “Never Gone”
5. Adriana Latonio, “Stand Up for Love”
6. Janelle Arthur, “If I Can Dream”
7. Tenna Torres, “Lost”
8. Aubrey Cleland, “Big Girls Don't Cry”
9. Breanna Steer, “Flaws and All”
10. Zoanette Johnson, “What's Love Got to Do With It?”

SHOULD ADVANCE: Kree, Candice, Amber, Adriana, Angie
WILL ADVANCE: Kree, Candice, Amber, Adriana, Angie (Aubrey as the wild card)
ACTUALLY ADVANCED: Kree, Candice, Amber, Angie, Janelle

Tags: American Idol , Nicki Minaj , Mariah Carey , Keith Urban , Randy Jackson , Amber Holcomb , Angela Miller , Kree Harrison , Adriana Latonio , Candice Glover , Zoanette Johnson , Breanna Steer , Aubrey Cleland , Janelle Arthur , Tenna Torres , Kelly Clarkson , Carrie Underwood

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