American Idol's Karen Rodríguez Brings Latino Essence to Top 12 Girls Audition, While Julie Zorilla Fails to Impress

Puerto Rican contestant Karen Rodríguez hit a high note on American Idol Wednesday night.

The New York native sang Mariah Carey's 1993 popular song "Hero" and added her own twist to it, altering back and forth from English to Spanish lyrics.

"We need some more Latin sazón in this competition," Rodríguez is heard saying in voiceover minutes before her performance.

Wednesday night's show was the "Top 12 Girls audition" episode, where the women from the chosen Top 24 candidates gave it their all wanting in return to be voted by America as a favorite prospect.

Rodríguez ended her high pitched, vocal intense tune, with a huge smile saying "Love you mom!"

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The celebrity judges strongly approved of Karen's performance.

"Wow! Yes, Karen! I loved that you changed from English to Spanish and showed who you are and what your flavor is... amazing!" singer Jennifer López, who is also of Puerto Rican heritage, proudly told Rodríguez.

"You know I like that you figured out a way to make it you," said Randy Jackson. "That is what we are looking for. I even thought the Spanish was better than the English."

Both judges agreed that singing in Spanish was an advantage working in Rodríguez's favor.

"You know what it is, in Spanish it just sounds beautiful," López added.

Unlike Rodríguez, the reviews for Julie Zorilla, the other Latina in the group, were not as positive.

The Colombian-born singer captivated the judges in her initial audition, with her fashion sense and passion.

But Wednesday night the judges were not impressed with her attempt to sing American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway."

"Listen, I liked it but I don't think it was the best thing we've seen you do," López said. "We talked a little bit about you singing from the heart and that was the one thing from me that I've been missing from your performance."

"Do you really want to break away?" asked López. "It's connecting to those words that people
believe your performance. I still need a little bit more of that from you."

Jackson was also not convinced.

"Our original American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson sang that song. I love that song, but once again you didn't bring anything different or new to it," Jackson said seriously.

Zorilla was clearly disappointed, dropping her head as she listened to the criticism.

"Great chorus on that song but wrong song for you," said Steven Tyler.

"If you would have taken it up a couple of keys it would have been better. You have such a great voice."

You can reach Alexandra Gratereaux at:

Or via twitter: @GalexLatino

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