With the group round in the history books for the boys, it was time to take control of their destiny. The remaining 43 men had to perform a solo so powerful that the judges had no other option but to advance them to the next round. They only had a minute to achieve this during this pressure situation. Some handled it much better than others, while others let their emotions get the better of them.

Speaking of which, I have to give Nicki Minaj props for telling it like it is. More often than not, these musicians turned judges are afraid to voice their true opinion for fear of coming off unlikeable and alienating fans. Clearly by her commentary tonight, Minaj isn’t afraid of this. The “Pound The Alarm” singer who looked an awful like Dee Snider from Twisted Sister last night, criticized contestants for their song choices, inability to control their tears and for using their backstory as a crutch. My favorite reading came when former Glee Project contestant Matheus Fernandes finished singing. Nicki called him out for using his small stature as an excuse for a pity party. OH SNAP. You go girl. BTW, I totally agree with her.

Obviously you can tell, I wasn’t sad to see him go. I found him a little too arrogant. Also good riddance to Papa Peachez and Nicolas Mathis. The latter was way too angry with his elimination. Dude, you’re only 23. This isn’t the end of the world. The only person I’m really going to miss is Micah Johnson. He was the one who experienced complications during tonsil surgery. Micah took his elimination with stride and class. That’s how you do it boys. Check out my favorite performances from the Hollywood solo round below. See if you agree with my choices.

Charlie Askew

Charlie’s quirky attitude will be a favorite among teen girls and grandmothers- the two strongest voting groups watching Idol these days. I agree with Nicki that he should never change. Keep wearing those oversized suits and sneaks. He slayed Gotye’s “Somebody I Used To Know.”

Curtis Finch Jr.

Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts” was a popular choice among the boys. By far, Curtis’ rendition was the most powerful and stirring. Loved all the dramatic hand gestures and stank faces. He’ll definitely be entertaining to watch on the big stage.

Paul Jolley

Up until now, Paul Jolley hasn’t really impressed me too much. Just another cute boy from a small town. That all changed with this game-changing performance. I thought he killed his cover of Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away.” If you’ve watched Idol, you know many have massacred Underwood’s catalogue one too many times. Glad that Nicki called him out for his inability to handle his emotions. Definitely not professional. Side note: I also liked Lazaro Arbos‘ performance, but I wished they would’ve shown more of it.

Nick Boddington

Last year, Boddington was robbed of a spot on the big stage IMHO. If he keeps the quality at the same level of his Grace Potter and the Nocturnals cover of “Stars,” he’ll make it far. I’m always a sucker for a guy playing a keyboard. PS. As much as I loved his performance, it wasn’t as awesome as Amanda Brown’s cover on Season 3 of The Voice.

Devin Velez

Why haven’t I noticed Devin before this? He was amazing during his performance of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World.” He reminds me a bit of Clay Aiken but with a bit more soul. Mariah’s definitely a fan too as evident by her constant head-shaking when Devin hit those incredible runs and notes.

Gurpreet Singh Sarin

Of course I had to include the Turbanator. Love this guy. While watching his performance, I commented that I think he’s the first Indian guy on television I’ve seen play a guitar- and a sitar doesn’t count. I’m so over “Georgia On My Mind” but his rendition had be paying notice. Definitely rooting for this guy. Side note: If there was a way not to include Cortez Shaw’s performance on this clip, I would. That Whitney wannabe gives me gas.

Did you watch last night’s show? Which performances stood out to you? Are you shocked by any of the eliminations? Which eight boys from the remaining 28 will the judges cut next? The judges dropped that bomb to the contestants at the end of the show. Sound off below.