By the end of the three live episodes this week, by all reports, we'll have narrowed the Top 31 down to the 13 finalists — ten voted in by America, and three saved by the judges' wild-card selections.
So how does an aspiring Idol gear up for the high-stakes competition? A Randy Jackson Boot Camp — that's how! The former judge returns in a mentorial capacity, bringing along two alums to provide expert advice: Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry.
Tonight, we'll see the Top 15 girls gear up for performances, hoping to win the hearts and minds of us fickle viewers.
Also, Idol has a brand new stage this season, with some seriously high-tech upgrades — so be sure to pay special attention!
First up during the brand new Rush Week? The Top 15 girls. But tonight, we'll only hear from 10 of the girls — and the other five will be going home, depending on which contestants have impressed the judges most. Bummer! And the heat is seriously on this time around, because this is the biggest audience they've performed in front of yet. But no pressure or anything.
Idol vet Randy Jackson is officially on the scene to provide guidance to the contestants, too, after providing a workshop for the Top 31 to prep for their performances. He's a lot more stylish than we remember him — we're liking the denim/leather jacket combo! Randy's armed with vocal coaches, a musical director, stylists, movement coaches, and even spiritual advisors, so after having all those professionals on their side, we're expecting to see some amazing stuff tonight. And oh yeah, Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry were there, too.
Majesty Rose: "Happy" by Pharrell
First contestant who's safe so far and performing? The ever so bubbly Majesty Rose. No surprise there! We're loving the behind-the-scenes stuff that's helping us get to know the contestants better. Everything about Rush Week sounds absolutely terrifying to us, but having a hair and make-up person make us gorgeous is the best idea we've ever heard.
Majesty is performing "Happy" by Pharrell, which is well suited to her voice, and she looks adorable. The fact that her first live performance brought the audience to their feet is seriously impressive, and it made a huge difference in the way the judges saw her. Majesty's going to be a hard act to follow for the next nine ladies. Sorry, girls!
Kristen O'Connor — "Turning Tables" by Adele
Next up: America's favorite singing nurse, Kristen O'Connor. How cool does she feel now that she can say "Chris Daughtry gave me some amazing pointers"? Kristin belted out "Turning Tables" by Adele — a crazy hard tune to take on, considering the impossible level of perfection Adele has set. Impressively, she's able to hit all the high notes — yay! And as a bonus, she looked like she was having a blast the entire time she was on stage.
Briana Oakley — "Warrior" by Demi Lovato
It's Briana Oakley's second stab at Idol, and so far, so good! Besides, she looks awesome on stage — we love a good chevron pattern on just about anyone! Mom's singing along in the audience as Briana performs "Warrior" by Demi Lovato. And she gets good reviews from all the judges, so we think second time around may be a charm.
Jena Irene Asciutto — "Paint it Black" by The Rolling Stones
Maybe nobody can ever pronounce Jena Irene Asciutto's name correctly, but if she keeps kicking butt in the competition, who cares? She's performing her own rendition of "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones, and while it sounds totally different from anything we've heard tonight (and from the original song), the judges really liked it, especially J.Lo.
Bria Anai Johnson — "Wrong Side of a Love Song" by Melanie Fiona
The self-described "appropriate Rihanna" Bria Anai Johnson is our next performer — who, if it's up to her, you'll know as "the girl with the lips" soon enough. Bria's performing "Wrong Side of a Love Song" by Melanie Fiona, which is a big change of pace after Jena's performance.
Marrialle Sellars — "Roar" by Katy Perry
Okay, we absolutely love Marrialle Sellars, so we're thrilled that she'll be performing tonight. How adorable is she?! Tonight, she's performing "Roar" by Katy Perry. So how'd she do? We give her an A+ for stage presence. She seems to be able to connect with the audience the most naturally of everyone who's performed tonight (despite losing a shoe), although she's not necessarily as strong vocally. However, "Roar" is a really hard song to sing — and we would know, because we've tried. In the car. Many times.
Jess Meuse — "Drink a Beer" by Luke Bryan
Jess Meuse is performing "Drink a Beer" by Luke Bryan, which is a little country-er than we would have expected from that pink streak of hair. So far, though, we think she's been the most visibly nervous contestant so far. It's okay, she'll get used to performing on stage! If the judges (and America) decide to keep her, that is.
Emily Piriz — "Paris (Ooh La La)" — Grace Potter
Emily Piriz is taking a major risk by singing "Paris (Ooh La La)" by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals after the judges didn't keep their disdain for this song during auditions. So what do they think now that it's Rush Week? Harry says now that she's 18, it's a little more acceptable, but maaaaybe she should consider going after a different image.
MK Nobilette — "All of Me" by John Legend
MK Nobilette is now taking the stage to perform John Legend's "All of Me" — and how sweet is it that her mom is in the audience crying with pride? And on top of that, she got a standing ovation from the audience, which is no easy task!
Malaya Watson — "Hard Times" by Ray Charles
The final girl who's staying in the competition: Malaya Watson! She'll be performing "Hard Times" by Ray Charles — going for a classic! For someone so young, she's incredible at drawing the audience into her performance and making the emotions of the song show through in her face and her voice. The judges were, unsurprisingly, blown away. And how cute was the little happy dance she did on the stage when the song was finished?
Next up: Guys! See ya here tomorrow?