‘American Idol’ Season 12: Ten Girls Take on Sudden Death Round

Who Made the Cut in Vegas?

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‘American Idol’ Season 12: Ten Girls Take on Sudden Death Round

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(Mariah Carey)

Talk about a sudden death! Wednesday night on "American Idol" it was one and done as ten of the Top 20 girls headed to Vegas, baby, for another shot at singing superstardom. And while a clear frontrunner (or two) has already been established, five girls had their "Idol" dreams shattered for good. Or at least until next year at this time.

The judges were in rare form -- especially Nicki Minaj -- and had little tolerance for throaty twangs and bad hairdos. ("Lose the hair," Nicki told contestant Tenna Torres, "It's aging you.")

Contestant Brandy Hotard got slammed for smiling her way through a sad Travis Tritt song. "That was a pageant delivery," Nicki told her, while Keith Urban also questioned the psych nurse's bizarre smiling as she sang lyrics like, "I can't hold the hurt inside, keep the pain out of my eyes."

Isabelle Pasqualone also got some pageant commentary with her performance of "God Bless the Child." (Note to the remaining girls: Don't smile.) And a few of the girls got more kudos for their fashion sense than their singing.

One girl who didn't need frilly fashion was Kree Harrison, who belted out "Up To the Mountain" in a basic blouse and jeans.

"You get up there and you are completely clothed," Nicki marveled. "Some girls have to show so much skin to feel sexy … something about you is just so sexy when you sing."

"She doesn't have to wear the outfit, she doesn't have to do anything," Randy Jackson said, after calling Harrison "a natural born singer." (It doesn't get much better than that from the Dawg.)

The final verdict: "I would be very afraid if I were any other of these girls here tonight," Nicki told her.

But it was Mariah Carey who had the critique of the night. She told 18-year old Amber Holcomb that her rendition of "My Funny Valentine," was so good that she wanted to smack her. We guess that was a compliment?

Who Went Home?

After the performances, the judges made quick work of their short list and determined it was the end of the road for Jenny Beth Willis, Isabelle Pasqualone, Kamaria Ousley, Shubha Vedula and Brandy Hotard. Sorry, girls. Maybe next year?

Meanwhile, Tenna Torres, Kree Harrison, Angela Miller, Amber Holcomb and Adriana Latonio all made the cut. At this point, Angela Miller is a clear front runner -- the judges were still talking about her original piano song "You Set Me Free" -- but as we've seen in the past, an early peak can sometimes play out with mixed results. (Andrew Garcia, anyone?)

Next up: Ten of the Top 20 boys will belt out tunes tonight, and half of them will be sent packing. Next week, it's the same until we're left with our final, boy-girl Top 20.

"American Idol" Season 12 airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on FOX.

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5 Things to Know About Nicki Minaj

'American Idol' Season 12 Premiere: 5 Surprising Moments

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