‘American Idol’ Season 12: Zoanette Johnson is in the Zone in Girls’ Vegas Round

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‘American Idol’ Season 12: Zoanette Johnson is in the Zone in Girls’ Vegas Round
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(Randy Jackson)

The "American Idol" Vegas round is almost complete -- the Top 10 girls have been chosen and tonight the boys are back in town -- but one contestant is standing out for her unconventional auditions.

Zoanette Johnson almost seemed like a joke contestant when we first met her back in Oklahoma City. Her rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner' was perfectly pitchy, and as the "Idol" judges mulled over her fate she actually had the nerve to hurry them along with, "Come on, I got a lunch date!"

What the?

Imagine our shock when the 20-year-old was ushered through to the Hollywood round where she did a drum solo while singing a howling original song about the judges, sloppily dropping her sticks at the end but still managing to get a pass to the next round. But the biggest shock had to be last night's Vegas round, in which she finally showed the viewers what the judges somehow saw in her all along: This girl can sing!

During Wednesday night's sudden death round, Zoanette Johnson went all Broadway on us, belting out "The Lion King" song "Circle of Life." Not only did she get a standing O from the judges and the audience, but she got a new nickname from Keith Urban. Just call her "Queen of the Jungle."

Mariah Carey told her, "It's almost like your spirit is too big to be contained' (ditto for her hair!) and Randy Jackson said, "That was the reason she's here. That spirit that you have is the spirit of the lion, the champion. That's what it's about."

While the colorful Zoanette Johnson is clearly this season's big surprise on the girls' side, the other ladies who made it through to the Top 20 were more conventional "Idol" material.

Janelle Arthur is out of the Carrie Underwood mold, which isn't a bad thing because the "Idol" audience is definitely a little bit country.

Breanna Steer busted out Jazmine Sullivan's "Bust Your Windows" and it was her breakthrough. Nicki Minaj called her "sexy on a stick" and advised her to team up with fellow contestant Aubrey Cleland to make a record.

And Candice Glover finally got her due. The returning "Idol" hopeful was cut from the competition during Season 11's Vegas round, but this time she's moving on to the live shows, where the audience can finally decide if she has what it takes to be the next "American Idol."

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

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