See who made the cut after the first week of live shows – and America's votes

By Steve Helling
March 07, 2013 10:00 PM
Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Meet the top 10!

American Idol cut its 20 semifinalists – 10 guys and 10 girls – in half on Thursday – with few, if any, surprises. In the 90-minute show, Seacrest announced the lucky ones in an offstage room and then led them to the stage.

The finalists, named below (guys first), walked through sliding doors to a surprised and adoring crowd to sing an emotional victory song and take in the judges’ praise.

Keep reading to find out season 12’s top 10:

Paul Jolley: The first to be named, Jolley sang Heart’s “Alone.” (It seems to be an Idol requirement that one of the contestants sing this song on every season. Remember when Carrie Underwood knocked it out of the park back in season 4?) “That was better than last night,” Keith Urban said. “And last night’s performance got you through.”

Burnell Taylor: The Louisiana native sang India.Arie’s “Ready for Love,” almost bringing Mariah Carey to tears. “That was impeccable,” she said. “I hope everyone really heard the intricacies of what you did vocally.”

Curtis Finch Jr.: If Twitter is an indication, the public either loves or hates Finch. The judges clearly loved his performance of John Legend’s “So High.” “You’re one of the best singers in this whole thing,” Randy Jackson said. “Every time we’ve seen you, you have not disappointed.”

Devin Velez: Singing “The Power of One” as his victory song, Velez proved that he was worthy of the competition. “You connected with a lot of Spanish-speaking people,” Nicki Minaj said, as Velez hugged his mother onstage. “It works well for you.”

Lazaro Arbos: In what was probably the least surprising choice of the night, America chose the Florida singer whose stutter vanishes when he sings. Singing “Bridge over Troubled Water,” Lazaro earned raves from Mariah, who told him, “Every time you get on the stage, you seem to have grown.

And Now, the Ladies …

Janelle Arthur:

The country singer, who tried out on two previous seasons before making the final round, showed off an enormous smile as she sang Dierks Bentley’s “Home.” “You’ve been my ladybug, my marshmallow, my superstar country girl,” Minaj said. “This is the best you’ve ever sounded.”

Candice Glover: When Ryan said her name, Candice did a happy dance before taking the stage to sing “Goin’ Down” by Mary J. Blige. “This girl can really, really sing,” said Randy, “and this is a singing competition.” (Would Jennifer Hudson agree?)

Angie Miller: Singing “I Was Here” by Beyoncé, Miller was a commanding presence on the stage, if not the best vocalist of the night. As she began to cry after her song, Keith said he was almost moved to tears as well.

Amber Holcomb: She sang “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan. (Speaking of overdone Idol songs!) “I don’t even know what to say,” said Mariah, who wasn’t immediately clear whether this was a good or a bad thing. “You’re talented with a great heart.”

Kree Harrison: The Nashville singer performed Susan Tedeschi’s “Evidence.” It was a solid performance, but we didn’t get to hear the judges, because time was up. But the moment was rich, as Kree rushed over to the other finalists for hugs all around.

Meanwhile, 10 other contestants, including some of the season’s most interesting characters, said goodbye: Charlie Askew, Nick Boddington, Elijah Liu, Vincent Powell and Cortez Shaw for the guys. The girls who didn’t make the cut were Aubrey Cleland, Breanna Steer, Tenna Torres, Adriana Latonio and the season’s most animated contestant, Zoanette Johnson.

Who has what it takes to win?