Breanna Steer also talks about last week, and about being from small-town Louisiana, and being intimidated about singing on live TV. Tonight she's going with a ballad, namely Beyoncé's "Flaws and All," and is quite a step up from Zoanette in my opinion. She's certainly more subtle, but then so is everyone. Keith appreciates her song choices and control, and suggests she find a song where she can be herself. Nicki disagrees with all of that, saying she sounded like she was straining, and warning Breanna that she's in trouble. Well, now she is, given that Nicki is probably the only judge on this panel that America listens to. Randy says he agrees with himself, but unfortunately he doesn't stop there. He liked it, but thought it was a little safe and lacking in the big moments that are Randy Jackson's crack. Mariah gets what Randy's saying, but babbles about how she doesn't know how they'll get through tonight. I have that feeling every week. Ryan asks Breanna what was going through her mind during the song, and she says she was thinking about someone special. Ryan asks if that person is in the audience. "Yeah, you could say that," she says cagily, but almost yells "No!" when Ryan asks for a spotlight on whoever it is. Which means Hugh Hefner.
We come back to Ryan chatting up Aubrey Cleland in the Coke Lounge backstage, asking what she needs to do to stay. She talks about showing her personality, which I think might be her coded way of pointing out how short her skirt is. She also does an intro reel about last week's contrast to her rural upbringing and about watching Kelly Clarkson when she was eight years old. Ugh, these kids. I'm not voting for anyone who makes me feel this old. And I can say that because I don't vote. She's doing "Big Girls Don't Cry" (the Fergie one), and does okay, though she's not really standing out vocally. Or personality-wise, especially. Keith says she looks great, but wishes the song would have let her do a little more. Nicki agrees with Keith about Aubrey's look and her vibrato, Randy also agrees, and Mariah says Aubrey has multiplatinum potential. I'm pretty sure all of the judges focused on her looks for at least part of their comments, but I'm not sure she'll do so well with the blind voters.
Janelle Arthur is next, and she recalls being dinged for her song choice last week and being one of the two people hoping for the last spot on this round. She drawls about that having put the fear of God into her and promises to pick the right song tonight while still being herself. Which explains why she's got the twang cranked up to eleven for the country waltz she's performing. Like a lot of the other singers so far tonight, she coasts a bit up until the big ending, when she works the mic like a pro to control her volume on the louder note.