Ryan tells us that the next singer is the first semifinalist from Alaska. Wait, so Jewel's not an American Idol? You learn something every day. Adriana Latonio is 17 and from Anchorage. We get to see some footage of her first audition and taking a walk on the Alaskan coastline, and then she becomes the third person tonight to sing a song I don't know. It's almost as though they're trying to showcase their voices instead of the songs. It's a strong performance, enough to earn her sort of a half-assed standing ovation from Keith and Randy, as well as a few sections of the audience. Keith talks about how close she was while singing and how hard it was to not react and throw her off. What a shame he didn't get to use that listening-face of his. Nicki does a little demographic research on Adriana's height and ethnicity (five feet even, Filipina), and goes on to compliment her for commanding the stage despite being such a wee elf. Randy gushes about what a pro she is. Mariah asks her how she's feeling, which is not usually a good sign, but says Adriana came through and gives her an A+. Great, I think Adriana just got a nickname. We'll know for sure when it becomes a hashtag.
After Ryan informs us that we'll be in Vegas for the "next few weeks." Then we meet Brandy Hotard, 26, and from Louisiana. At the Baton Rouge auditions, she told the judges that she's a psych nurse, which of course they made all about them because of how they deal with crazy people too, ha ha. Tonight, she's going with yet another unfamiliar song, this one a country ballad. She puts her all into it, but that isn't all that much. Keith gives her props for doing a Travis Tritt song, but dings her for a lack of emotional consistency, smiling while singing sad lyrics. Nicki invites Keith to get out of her head and goes even further, calling it a "pageant delivery." Randy agrees with both of them, which is why they position him third in line to begin with and says she might also be in trouble. Mariah speculates that it might be because of the audience, but that her mid-range sounded great. She goes on at greater length, which is why they put her at the end of the line. Brandy admits to Ryan that she had trouble connecting with the lyrics because of how great she is at being done with people. Which will come in handy because I think most of the judges are done with her.
We come back to Shubha Vedula, who Randy and Keith met at the Long Beach auditions and whose name they riffed on for approximately forever. We also learn in her intro clip that she won $35,000 for her school in a county-wide singing competition. That's the kind of interesting factoid we learn about someone not long before we also learn it represented their professional peak. She starts off strong, sitting behind the piano for what looks like a slow, soft version of "Born This Way," but which goes into an ill-advised, angry (and not good-sounding) march section in the middle before cutting to a big finish where she sounds good again. Keith says she crammed a lot in there, but her voice made up for it. Nicki warns the audience, "Prepare to boo again!" and uses the word "comical" in critiquing Shubha, who she disses as a "combination of Christina Aguilera and the 'Gangnam Style' guy." Ouch. Randy advises Shubha not to overdo the runs, like that was the problem. Mariah agrees with Randy and -- I'll admit it -- with me, saying she would have preferred seeing her at the piano the whole time. Ryan comes out and makes excuses for Shubha, saying he figured she wanted to pull out all the stops for the sudden death round. Not much for her to say to that, but quietly agree. After all, Ryan's got a job to do and right now that means getting to say "Shubha Vedula" again.