American Idol: Top 11 Perform

It’s Motown week at American Idol and Seacrest (out) is pumped up about it. Or he’s on something. Either way the excitement is palpable. Whoever gets the boot this week won’t make it to the Idol tour, so this is a pretty important performance because Idol Tour is where the big cash is. You could be the next Kris Allen or the next Mandisa. America decides. Neither is pretty.

Casey Abrams is leading off doing Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”. He kinda looks like a raisin if you think about it. His slicked back hair is restrained and so is his voice a little bit. He still looks like the wolfman or dog-faced boy- maybe a wolfman raisin. And it really works for him. Solid performance, played to the crowd a bit, nice job Casey. Steven Tyler says he’s the perfect mix of pitch and out of control ego. JLo says he’s unique. Randy Jackson says he can only do himself and he’s great.

Thia Megia chose Martha and the Vandella’s “Heatwave” which will showcase her uptempo side- finally! Oh my this is so much better than her sleepy performances of the last few weeks. It’s still showing off her voice, seemed like she forget the lyrics or missed her cue somewhere in the middle but still really good. JLo says it was great to see her let loose. Randy says she took a chance and he’s happy she moved up and tried something different. Mr. Tyler agrees.

Jacob Lusk is singing “You’re All I Need to Get By”. Like Casey he’s trying to stay a bit restrained and not get all Lusky on it. That lasts all of one verse. He’s all over the place vocally, up and down, doing runs and crazy bottom lipping it. I just don’t get this guy but everyone seems to be going gaga over him and his bizarre mouth movements. RJ says it’s his best performance ever, like a true professional. ST says he held it back and milked it. Seacrest invites the whole front row to come up to give him a hug. Seriously I think Seacrest is on something.

Lauren Alaina is singing “You Keep Me Hanging On” by the Supremes. She’s rocking a zebra dress tonight and gives an uncaged performance with a bit of her usual country flair to it. Strong vocals and she looks like she’s having fun up there. Steven Tyler says she doesn’t listen to anyone about anything and he loves it, although he’d probably say that about anyone wearing animal prints onstage. JLo says she looks great and she got her head and neck into it. RJ says she’s got her swagger on high and she’s ready.

Stefano Langone is on stage now. Seacrest tastes his Mom’s leftovers, seriously what is he on? Seriously? Does he have the munchies now? He’s singing “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie, a song he’d never heard (really? what rock have you been living under?). Also it’s a song that’s not Motown at all? WTF? Not sure what he’s doing to the song but it’s just not right. He can’t see it and not because his eyes are closed the whole time. It’s so wedding band cocktail hour lounge lizard right now, I think if I look left I’ll see the bride and groom making the rounds. JLo says he’s not connecting with the songs. RJ agrees, he’s got the pipes but he’s not connecting, no emotion.

Haley Reinhart is somehow still on the show and this week she’s doing “You Really Got a Hold on Me” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Starts off with an awkward walk down the stairs. High heels + stairs = awkward. She’s straightened her hair this week but she hasn’t straightened up her act. It’s a bit less Jessica Rabbit-y but she still putting unnecessary growls and runs into the song, it’s not working for me. See you in the bottom 3 yet again. RJ says it started rough but the bluesy Haley is back. Cryptkeeper says she doesn’t look a day over fabulous and has a Janis Joplin thing going on. JLo says she has effortless control on her voice and soul.

Scotty McCreery will be singing “For Once in My Life” from Stevie Wonder. Not sure how he’s gonna pull this one off. Again, all his songs sound exactly the same and he looks like the dude from Mad Magazine but this one sorta works for him because he’s countrifying a non-country song. Not bad actually. ST says he took a big chance and it was good. Jennifer Lopez said not his strongest performance but it got her. Randy J. says he’s a young ladykiller when he does the low notes. And Randy should know.

Pia Toscano will be doing “All in Love is Fair” from Stevie Wonder. A lesser known song, she’s going to have to really kill this one if she wants to make it this week. Slow controlled vocals, not very Motown at all really. She hits some biiiiiiiig soaring notes in the middle and end that really showcase her pipes. Nice- she’s pretty much automatic to go through after that. JLo says she killed it but needs to own the stage a bit more. Randy liked the falsetto in the beginning and enough with all the freakin ballads every week. Steven says she’s the closest star in the American Idol universe. Seacrest says the best seats in the house are the ones behind the stage that can see her ass. At this point I’m pretty sure Seacrest is wasted.

Paul McDonald up now…yes!!! He’s doing “Tracks of my Tears” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and he’s going to turn it into a vibe that’s more up his alley. Paul’s alley is waaaaay off Main St., btw. Paul’s got his acoustic guitar out giving it a sort of upbeat folky feel. He Paul McDonaldized it. I’m a McFan. Randy says he took it to a cool Paul kinda Rod Stewarty place and his tender notes at the end were infectious. ST compares him to Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson! JLo says he’s the most seasoned performer.

Naima Adedapo is doing Martha and the Vandella’s “Dancing in the Streets”. There’s a huge bass drum on stage laying down the beat for her flair legged vocals. It seems like she’s straining a bit to hit the lower notes but she’s keeping the energy up (but with this song, how could you not?) African drumming breakdown in the middle and she does a quick little dance that was pretty good. Not bad this week, not bad at all. ST says we saw the whole package. JLo says she’s an exciting performer. RJ says it was a smart performance.

James Durbin is finishing up the night with “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder. Good song for him I think. Stevie’s tone is ideal for James’ voice. He’s dancing with the background singers, singing well, hitting some big notes. He’s fun to watch. Huuuuuuge note at the end. JLo gives him about 5 OMG’s in a row, says he’s serious business up there. RJ says it was unbelievable once he found the pocket and hit the high power notes. ST says he held it in his range and he nailed it. Agreed.

Overall this week the performances were pretty strong except for Ryan Seacrest who appeared to be in outer space. Bottom three prediction is: and Haley Reinhart, Stefano Langone, and Naima Adedapo. For some reason I think there’s an outside chance that Paul McDonald may be there too BUT if he is this week or anytime in the next like 4-5 weeks the judges will definitely use the Judges Save on him.

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