OFFSTAGE: Keith Urban Is Right About American Idol Girls

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

If you’ve been keeping an eye on American Idol this season, you know how the girls constantly are outshining the guys. Keith Urban even told, “It’s absolutely a girl’s year to win.” So Wednesday night’s (Feb. 27) episode was all about the girls. There were 10 of them performing, and five were sent home. Honestly, I’m so glad I didn’t have to make those tough decisions.

The judges sent country girl Rachel Hale, Melinda Ademi, Juliana Chahayed, Cristabel Clack and Jett Hermano home. Still standing — and now part of the coveted Top 20 contestants club — are:

1. Janelle Arthur, who did Lady Antebellum ’s “Just a Kiss” : It wasn’t her best night, but she still made it through. Urban told her it wasn’t a great song choice for her. “Tennessee girl, let me say, that’s a Lady Antebellum song, and I love the song when they do it,” he said. “It’s a kind of limiting melody in the chorus, so it doesn’t give you a chance to really soar. I felt for you.”

2. Breanna Steer, who kind of scared the judges: “I dated a girl like that many years ago. I love that song, despite its violent nature. You made me believe you could literally bust the windows out of my car. Please don’t,” he said of her “Bust Your Windows” performance.

3. Candice Glover, who Urban alone stood up for: She did Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”: Urban’s commentary? “Baby, that was beautiful,” he said.

4. Aubrey Cleland, who sang Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams/Beautiful Nightmare,” which Urban loved: “What I love about you is the balance that you have of poise and fire. You have such great fire in your voice,” he said.

5. Zoanette Johnson, who I still just don’t get: She chose a song from The Lion King, “Circle of Life,” which was oddly very well received. “Good Lord. Work it, baby,” Urban said. “I love that I have no clue what you’re gonna do. Forget the king of the jungle. Kudos to the queen of the jungle. Hail to the queen.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.