updated 02/19/2014 AT 3:30 AM ET
•originally published 02/19/2014 AT 6:15 AM ET
There were new twists, familiar faces and loads of drama on American Idol Tuesday night, as the ladies kicked off the first of the live performance shows.
The new twists? In what was dubbed Rush Week, the judges reviewed tapes of the Top 15 Girls and picked the 10 that impressed them the most to perform, surprising the ladies one at a time.
The familiar faces? Randy Jackson, the “Dogfather” of Idol, was back to mentor the contestants, leading a sort of Rush Week “wisdom workshop” for the pledges, which included vocal coaching from former Idol contestants Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, and guidance from stylists, a movement coach, and a pair of spiritual advisers.
But biggest drama of ladies night – besides Jennifer Lopez’s low-cut blue dress and a contestant’s near-fall off sky-high heels – actually belonged to the boys, as America decided whether Neco Starr or Ben Briley would make the Top 15 Boys.
After the nationwide vote, Ben Briley moved on to (possibly) sing Wednesday night.
The first singer into the Top 10 Girls was preschool teacher Majesty Rose, 21, who played the guitar and sang “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, a performance Keith Urban called “easy, breezy,” while Lopez said she was “ready for show time.”
Nurse Kristen O’Connor, 24, sang Adele’s “Turning Tables,” showing off what Urban called her “killer range,” with Lopez stating, “I can hear you recording records tomorrow.”
Briana Oakley, 17, who tried to make it to the Top 15 for two years in a row, sang Demi Lovato’s “Warrior,” and she reminded Lopez of “a young Whitney Houston,” although Harry Connick Jr. warned Oakley that high notes are akin to “triple axels” in Olympic skating and not to hit them just for applause.
High school senior Jena Irene (formerly Jena Ascuitto, but still “Gina” and not “Jenna”) rocked “Paint It Black,” and her “sultry” performance earned Lopez’s love.
“You’re one of my favorites, I’m not gonna lie,” she said.