22-year-old aspiring country star Paul Jolley got one step closer to his dream on Thursday night (Feb. 7), earning his way to the next round on 'American Idol' by singing Carrie Underwood's recent hit 'Blown Away' despite a bout of nerves that threatened to derail his performance.

The musician was beset with a crisis of confidence before his performance -- his first solo song with the 'American Idol' band. "So nervous," he fretted. "It's just a lot going on ... everything just feels like it's going to fall apart."

The singer was so rattled as he walked onstage that he seemed almost near tears, admitting to the panel that he was incredibly nervous. But when it came time to sing, he pulled himself together and delivered a strong rendition of 'Blown Away' that showed off the top part of his vocal range.

Nonetheless, Nicki Minaj took Jolley to task. "You walked out so defeated, and that really irritated me," she said. "It's such a turnoff. Just give us one minute of professionalism -- it's one minute for you to come on stage and take that off of your face."

Despite the lecture, the judges were impressed enough to send Jolley through to the next round. The singer seemed to regain his confidence afterward, saying, "I know I can bring it."