Atlantic Beach native Jax moved into the "American Idol" Top 12 Wednesday night. However, it marked the end of the road for Wantagh's Adam Ezegelian.
"It's very clear to see why America voted for you," judge Keith Urban told Jax after her revamped version of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand," adding that he would have enjoyed the 18-year-old simply performing the entire song at the piano. "That was so beautiful." Judge Jennifer Lopez added, "It was really, really great."
Though Ezegelian had received a great deal of support from the judges for his energetic, vocally strong performances, he was eliminated after not receiving enough votes to reach the Top 5 or getting chosen by the judges as a wild card pick. The 21-year-old toy design major took the cut in stride, waving to the crowd and applauding for those who advanced.
Because "American Idol" eliminated the results shows this season, the Top 12 had to perform immediately after learning they had advanced in the competition, which created a great deal of stress.
Host Ryan Seacrest explained how Wednesday's show had the most pressure of any night aside from the finale, with four singers eliminated from the contest to land a recording contract with Big Machine Label Group and the chance to tour the country. "This is where the competition kicks into overdrive," Seacrest said.
The singer with the lowest number of votes based on this week's performances will be cut from the competition Thursday night. Voting continues online until noon.
Here's how the Top 12 stacked up:
1. Quentin Alexander, “Royals”: It’s shocking how good Quentin is, taking Lorde’s signature song for himself. The fact that the judges had to offer him a wild card bid says more about who still votes on this show, rather than his actual talent. He’s set for stardom, with or without this show now, as long as he can keep growing as an artist. “You know that you deserve to be here,” Lopez said. “Your emotion is part of what makes you a great artist.”
2. Clark Beckham, “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”: The James Brown ballad definitely suits his big, soulful voice. And he is comfortable enough with the song to deliver a powerful moment. “That for me was the vocal of the night,” Lopez said.
3. Joey Cook “King of Spain”: She is as charming as ever on the galloping Tallest Man on Earth song, reigning in her nerves. “One of your best performances,” Lopez said. Connick called her “stylized,” but said she may be able to cross over to a wider audience.
4. Jax, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”: She delivered a strong performance of The Beatles classic, but she squandered her inventiveness by leaving the piano and ending the song more traditionally. “It’s what got you here,” Connick said. “Nice work.”
5. Qaasim Middleton, “Sir Duke”: The Brooklyn teen has all the makings of a great entertainer, but needs to learn how to sing through his excitement. “That’s how you make the most of this moment,” Urban said. “You showed everything you can do.”
6. Adanna Duru, “You and I”: Adanna did well with the Lady Gaga song, getting a standing ovation from Urban. Connick tells her she’s “really, really out of tune.” But condisering she received a wild card bid and went from being eliminated to performing in a matter of minutes, she held it together pretty well.
7. Tyanna Jones, “Wings”: She’s a little bit behind the beat on the Little Mix song, though she eventually lets loose her charming vocals and joyful attitude. “If you move like a star, dress like a star, sing like a star, you're a star, baby!” Urban said.
8. Rayvon Owen, “Wide Awake”: He showed good control of the Katy Perry song and nice power as he holds the long note at the end, but it was not that energetic. “You sounded terrific,” Connick said.
9. Nick Fradiani, “In Your Eyes”: He struggled to stay in the Peter Gabriel classic, having problems everywhere. “You need to believe in yourself as much as America does,” Urban said.
10. Sarina-Joi Crowe, “Love Runs Out”: She started off-key on the OneRepublic song and then ran out of breath and fell behind the beat, making Lopez look unhappy, though she said, “I’m so excited for you.”
11. Maddie Walker, “Suitcase”: She was wobbly on the Gwen Sebastian song, losing her place at times. “It was a solid performace,” Connick said.
12. Daniel Seavey, “Straight Up”: Oh young Daniel. He looks so awkward on stage. Then the 15-year-old falls out of the song entirely and messes up the lyrics. “As cute as you are, your inexperience is really showing,” Connick said. Well, yeah, but he isn’t going anywhere for a while.
BOTTOM THREE Adanna, Sarina-Joi, Maddie
SHOULD BE CUT Maddie
WILL BE CUT Adanna
ACTUALLY CUT ???
BYE ADAM: Adam Ezegelian was by far the most talented of the four singers cut last night. (Mark Andrew, Loren Lott, and Alexis Gomez also went home.) He is also a better singer than several of those who advanced and probably would have received a wild card bid from the judges if he was up against anyone but Quentin. Hopefully, he will find some interest from Broadway and off-Broadway producers so that he can continue to use his talents to entertain.