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'American Idol's' Top 11 Tackle Motown Hits

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- American Idol's top 11 contestants took on the Motown songbook Wednesday night.

Judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson were on hand to offer their critiques as the the show's hopefuls worked their way through those classic tunes.  Here's what happened:

Casey Abrams was up first with Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."  Tyler called him the perfect entertainer with a healthy ego, and Lopez said he was really unique and could carve out his own niche.  Jackson said he was a true original.

Thia Megia went with "Heat Wave" by Martha and the Vandellas in an attempt to add a little faster tempo to her performances.  Lopez enjoyed seeing her let loose and challenged her to dig deeper next week.  Jackson applauded her for taking chances, and Tyler said he was good with it.

Jacob Lusk chose to sing "You're All I Need to Get By" by Tami Terrell and Marvin Gaye.  Lopez was dancing during his performance, and Tyler actually walked onstage to hug him.  Jackson said, "The great Berry Gordy is somewhere saying, 'Oh my God.'"  Jackson went on to applaud him saying there was absolutely nothing wrong with that performance.  Tyler loved the restraint Lusk used on this one, and Lopez said Lusk made the audience beg for the big notes this week.

Lauren Alaina sang Diana Ross & The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" this week, starting it off with a ballad feel before kicking it up to the original tempo.  Tyler could see her growing as an artist with this performance.  Lopez thought she looked beautiful and brought a lot of attitude to the performance.  Jackson said she had her swagger on and was ready to compete.

Stefano Langone grew up on Motown, but he'd never heard Lionel Richie's 1984 Motown chart-topper "Hello" until he picked it to sing on the show.  Lopez said this performance proved he could sing, but she felt he needed to connect with the audience and the song.  Jackson agreed that he lacked connection in his performance, and Tyler said he ramped up too soon.

Haley Reinhart went with Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' "You Really Got a Hold on Me," claiming she'd been a Motown fan since she was a kid.  Jackson thought it started rough but said she found her way be the midpoint.  He loved the Janis Joplin influence in her performance.  Tyler called it "beautiful" and said she didn't look a day over fabulous.  Lopez thought she had the most soulful voice of all the girls in the competition.

Scotty McCreery went with the Stevie Wonder tune "For Once in My Life," but put a country spin on it.  Tyler said it was beautiful and loved that he took a chance with that song.  Lopez liked this version of "For Once in My Life" but didn't think it was his strongest vocal performance.  Both Lopez and Tyler still loved McCreery's signature low note, which Jackson named the "young lady killer."

Pia Toscana grew up performing Motown tunes with her dad, and she chose to sing the emotional Stevie Wonder tune "All in Love Is Fair."  Lopez said she killed them again with a killer ballad but challenged her to really own the stage during her performances.  Jackson also wanted to see her take on an up-tempo number soon, saying, "You can't live by ballads alone."  Tyler said she was the closest star in the American Idol universe, and he had confidence she'll deliver in the weeks to come.

Paul McDonald sang the Smokey Robinson staple "Tracks of My Tears," turning into more of a folk/rock tune.  Jackson said it felt like a Rod Stewart vibe and loved when he sang tenderly towards the end.  Tyler said his voice was unique like Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, and Lopez called him perhaps the most seasoned performer on the show this season.

Naima Adedapo brought a party vibe with Martha & the Vandellas "Dancing in the Street."  Tyler was very impressed with her vision and said she was the whole package.  Lopez called her an exciting performer and said it was the first time she got goosebumps all night.  Jackson thought it was her most fully realized performance yet.

James Durbin closed the show with the third Stevie Wonder song of the night, and the second one from Wonder's Innervisions album, "Living for the City."  Lopez said he left her speechless.  Jackson thought he had a rough start, but the performance became strong for him when he hit his stride.  Tyler loved that he is a little crazy on stage.

Someone is going home on American Idol's results show Thursday night unless judges vote to save them.  Tune in at 8 p.m. on Fox for those results.  Sugarland is set to perform on the show as well. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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