updated 02/07/2013 AT 10:00 PM ET
•originally published 02/07/2013 AT 10:30 PM ET
At the beginning of Thursday’s American Idol, there were 43 men left in the competition. The next hour was a bloodbath, with many tears and a few tantrums – as well as some standout performances. Curtis Finch Jr., for example, performed a version of Christina Perri’s “Jar Of Hearts” that was arguably the strongest of the evening. It may be the season’s most overdone song, yet Finch successfully infused it with a rising gospel vibe.
Like every reality show, the contestants learned valuable life lessons as they fought to stay in the game. Here are five:
1. Never Let Them See You Sweat
Paul Jolley looked like he was going to throw up when he took the stage. “I’m so nervous,” he said as he fought back tears. The judges watched quietly as he pulled himself together and gave a strong performance of Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away.” He advanced, but not before Nicki Minaj criticized him for showing his nerves. “You walked out so defeated and that really irritated me,” she said. “Just give us one minute of professionalism.”