Gurpreet Singh Sarin performs during Hollywood Week on "American… (Michael Becker / Fox )
We were promised "shocking eliminations" and "major meltdowns," as well as "phenomenal performances," on "American Idol" on Thursday night -- Hollywood Week, boys, solo round -- but really all we got were some perfectly fine numbers and a few people who were sent home because their voices didn't quite measure up. Most of those cut left with grace.
There were a few weepers, sure. One politely disgruntled guy, Nicholas "Big Nick" Mathis, complained he was more talented than others who'd made it through. But if you wanted to see a whopping tantrum, well, you were out of luck.
"It's tough to get cut, but I've been through a lot worse," Micah Johnson said with equanimity, and considering that botched operation that left him with a permanent speech impediment, you knew he was speaking the truth.
Papa Peachez? He seemed to shrug it off, despite getting a scolding from Nicki Minaj about losing his spark. "This just isn't the competition for me," he said, sounding more matter-of-fact than bitter. "I just don't like singing other people's songs."
Matheus Fernandes, though sad, especially after Minaj told him he was throwing himself a "pity party" by constantly referencing his height, was more resolute than ever: "I'm going to go home, and I'm going to try to learn to sing with a band," he said, believing, perhaps correctly, that a disconnect with the band was what had done him in. "I can't give up on it. It's just … me."
Gabe Brown adroitly observed that he simply wasn't what the show was looking for this year.
Nate Tao, the contestant I was saddest to see go, put it this way. "It's not the end of the world, but it [stinks]."
Meanwhile, among the 28 who did make it through, at least until next week, were Lazaro Arbos, whose stutter disappears when he sings; the imperious Curtis Finch Jr., and Paul Jolley, who performed admirably in the midst of a full-on anxiety attack yet was ripped by Minaj for having a "defeated" attitude.
Minaj clearly likes people who -- Snap! Snap! -- own it. And she has a new crush, Charlie Askew, who came out in a shiny, too-big suit and colorful sneakers and sang "Somebody That I Used to Know" in a strangely compelling style.
"Charlie, I am obsessed with you," she said.
"Baby, I could say the same thing," he replied.
Askew made it through, as did Devin Velez, whose "What a Wonderful World" earned love from Keith Urban; Gurpreet "Turbinator" Singh Sarin, who brought out his guitar; Cortez Shaw, hanging on despite getting ripped to shreds for his song choice during the a cappella round; Adam Sanders; last year's Johnny Keyser, though we didn't hear him sing; Nick Boddington, also a returnee from last season, who accompanied himself on keyboard; JDA, whom Mariah Carey cutely instructed to "sashay forward" into the front line; and Burnell Taylor and Marvin Calderon, both of whom sang Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts."
Next Thursday, after the women perform, eight more guys will be cut and 20 will move forward with 20 women, to make the top 40.
Who are you most hoping to see stick around? And who were you saddest to see go?