The pressure was on as the Top 10 were put to the test on “American Idol” Wednesday night.
The evening began with many twists and turns as “Idol” judge and pop singer Nicki Minaj arrived 45 minutes late to the performances but jumped right in to give her quirky remarks.
The evening then proceeded with Latinos Devin Velez and Lazaro Arbos taking the stage for their individual performances.
Velez, who has made his mark by singing in both English and Spanish, took on Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Song.”
Despite nailing it, the judges found Velez’s performance too safe – except for Minaj who told him she “loved the song with your voice.”
“Amazing voice, beautiful vibrato, wrong song choice," country music star Keith Urban said.
Music Producer Randy Jackson agreed with Urban telling him that he “underplayed” himself and that he needs to “go for broke every time on this stage.”
Velez has consistently given great performances, singing songs such as “Somos Novios” by Andrea Bocelli and impressing the judges, particularly music legend Mariah Carey. On Wednesday, Carey took a kinder route when criticizing Velez about his song choice and performance.
“I think you have the ability to do so much vocally,” she told him. “Please keep doing what you do and keep that confidence.”
Arbos had worse luck than Velez after taking on “Breakaway” from the original “American Idol,” Kelly Clarkson.
All judges felt the song was not right for Arbos and that the Cuban-American singer was off pitch.
In the past, Arbos has stood out for his smooth vocals despite having a severe stuttering problem.
The next rounds of “American Idol” Top 10 performances will continue Thursday night.