'American Idol' Recap: End Of The Zoanette Era?

Early standout loses her footing during Tuesday's episode as Amber Holcomb, Kree Harrison and Candice Glover pull ahead.

Is the Zoanette Era over before it began?

On Tuesday's "American Idol," the first live episode of the season, early standout Zoanette Johnson stumbled while several of her fellow contestants — namely Amber Holcomb, Kree Harrison and Candice Glover — made huge strides forward in the competition. Half of the girls will be sent home on Thursday, and Zoanette now faces an uphill climb to make to the next round.

Either way, some tough cuts lie ahead, since this season is stacked with female talent and there are simply not enough slots in the competition to house them all. Randy Jackson remarked at the end of the show there needs to be some wiggle room for Wild Cards, already conceding that some strong singers are going to be sent home. (Our suggestion: Steal a few spots from the guys or, heck, lose the guys altogether — except for Lazaro Arbos and Burnell Taylor, whom we firmly stand behind.)

Zoanette kicked things off on Tuesday with a performance of Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It" that Randy called a mess. Nicki Minaj came down hard on Zoanette: "You know I love you, and you know I always tell you the truth: That wasn't it," she told her. Mariah Carey managed to refer to Zoanette as "a bundle of festivities" — whatever that means — but it seems those festivities may have run their course.

On the other end of the spectrum, Candice Glover closed the show, and managed to improve on her already glowing frontrunner status with a slick, soulful and full-of-confidence reading of John Legend's "Ordinary People." "That was ridiculous because you sang notes people don't even understand," Jackson told her. The normally verbose Nicki Minaj was reduced to simply saluting Glover with her hand. She was one of the night's best.

As was Kree Harrison, who took on Faith Hill's "Stronger." Minaj took things even further: "You already know that you're my wife," she told her, adding her sexiness level — which she also remarked about during her initial Las Vegas performance — went up another notch. "I'm just trying to do my wife proud," Harrison told Minaj.

Amber Holcomb — who was praised in her earlier Las Vegas performance mainly for her legs — was out to prove she's more than just stems, and her bold performance of Whitney Houston's "I Believe In You and Me" earned a true standing ovation from all four judges. Then there was Angie Miller, who took on "Never Gone" from last year's "Idol" finalist Colton Dixon and continued her hot streak. "America, a star is born on that stage right there!" Jackson proclaimed.

So if Glover, Harrison, Holcomb and Miller are sent through, it will be an all-out war for the final spot, with Breanna Steer, Janelle Arthur, Aubrey Cleland and Tenna Torres all fighting for the position. All gave solid performances Tuesday, with Arthur's version of Elvis Presley's "If I Can Dream" having a slight edge over the others, and with Minaj calling her "a little marshmallow that I want to eat."

On Wednesday (March 6), the guys get their shot at performing, and on Thursday the field is narrowed to 10 — unless there are shenanigans and producers decide to let a few more ladies into the finals. Which, for the record, they should strongly consider.

What did you think of the girls? Let us know in the comments!

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