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Thursday
Mar312011

'American Idol's' Top 11 Take on Elton John's Hits

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- American Idol's top 11 contestants sang the songs of Elton John on Wednesday night's show.

The pressure was on for all the hopefuls since two of them are going home on Thursday night's results show.  Judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler saved Casey Abrams from the chopping block last week, hence the double elimination this week.

Here's what happened:

Scotty McCreery went first, singing and playing his new guitar on the tune "Country Comfort."  Tyler loved everything about his voice and his shout-out.  Lopez applauded his instincts about performing what's right for him, and Jackson said he was very seasoned already.  Jackson added that he felt like he was at one of McCreery's concerts during the performance.

Naima Adedapo put a reggae twist on "I'm Still Standing."  Lopez didn't think "I'm Still Standing" worked as a reggae song, but she loved her performance of it.  Jackson said the song came off kind of corny despite her "mad flavor."  Tyler thought the song fit her.

Paul McDonald took on "Rocket Man," which he actually covered five years ago with his old band.  Jackson heard some pitch problems, and Jackson and Lopez both wondered if he was holding back vocally without realizing it.  Tyler loved his performance and didn't mind that he didn't always hit the notes.  Tyler said it gave him character.

Pia Toscano went with "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" because it was one of her favorite songs.  Tyler thought she nailed it, saying, "That's about as good as it gets."  Lopez agreed, calling the performance "otherworldly," but she still wants to see her rock out.  Jackson called her performance "unbelievable," saying he heard bits of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston in there.  All the judges agreed Toscano should switch it up and do a more up-tempo number next week.

Stefano Langone sang "Tiny Dancer."  Lopez thought he really connected with the audience this week, and Jackson thought he was right-on, vocally.  Tyler thought he nailed it.

Lauren Alaina delivered "Candle in the Wind," saying she didn't want to stray too far from John's original version.  Jackson said it was one of her best performances yet.  Tyler said he'd loved her since the first moment she laid eyes on him.  He called the performance "perfect."  Lopez said the performance was "amazing" and "beautiful." 

James Durbin chose "Saturday Day Night's Alright for Fighting."  Tyler said he "brought the heat" and applauded his rock voice.  Tyler also warned him, "Don't stay up there too long, or you'll wear out your welcome like me."  Lopez said it was "a great performance of a great song by a great artist."  Jackson loved that he enjoyed himself onstage.

Thia Megia sang "Daniel."  Lopez said it was a beautiful moment.  Jackson liked the relaxed side of the performance, but he didn't like her playing it safe with this song choice.  Tyler thought her voice sounded great on it.

Casey Abrams' performance last week got him voted off the show.  The judges saved him, however, so he had to bring it this week with "Your Song."  Jackson thought they made the right choice saving him, and loved that he maintained who he was while delivering a tender performance.  Tyler loved his versatility, saying it showed he's a true artist.  Lopez said he proved why they saved him with the character in his voice and the choices he made while singing "Your Song."

Jacob Lusk sang "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" because he first heard Mary J. Blige covering it.  Tyler said his performance "slayed" him, and Lopez said he made the song his own.  She also applauded him on his big, final note, saying, "You don't see that every day."  Jackson loved his restraint but wanted him to really let his vocals soar at some point in the song.

Haley Reinhart wrapped things up, performing the first part of "Bennie and the Jets" sitting on top of a red piano as she really vamped the song.  Lopez said it all came together for her this time around and called the performance "amazing."  Jackson called it the best performance of the night, and Tyler told Reinhart, "You sing sexy."

Two contestants are going home on American Idol's results show Thursday night at 8:00 ET on Fox.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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