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Thursday
May192011

'American Idol's' Top Three Perform for a Spot in the Finals

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- American Idol's top three competed Wednesday night for a spot in the finals.

Judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler as always were on hand to off their opinions.  Beyonce was also on hand to offer some guidance and premiere her new video, "Run the World (Girls)," from her album 4, out June 28.

There were three rounds of competition Wednesday night.  The contestants chose their first song with help from Beyonce.  Producer Jimmy Iovine chose the second, and the judges picked the third.

Here's what happened:

Scotty McCreery kicked the night off with his favorite Lonestar song, "Amazed."  Beyonce thought Scotty was a "cutie pie" with a full voice, but she was surprised to hear him go into his upper register with "Amazed."  Steven said Scotty just keeps getting better and better and Jennifer agreed, saying Scotty had grown so much this season and adding, "I'm sure there were a million girls out there wishing you were singing that song to them."  Randy applauded Scotty for a smart song choice and called the end of his performance "money."

For the second round, Jimmy Iovine chose the Thompson Square song "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" for Scotty because it reminded him of classic Tom Petty mixed with current country. Steven said he'd never heard Scotty deliver a chorus like that before. Jennifer said Scotty was in the zone and comfortable in his skin this round. Randy thought it was a perfect song choice and said Scotty was approaching Garth Brooks' level of performance.

The judges chose Kenny Rogers' "She Believes in Me" for Scotty's third performance. Steven said he'd never heard Scotty deliver a chorus like that, and Jennifer said, "Good job, baby.  So proud of you."  Randy said it was very nicely done.

Lauren Alaina chose Faith Hill's debut single "Wild One."  Beyonce thought it was good that Lauren chose something fun to loosen her up for the first round. Jennifer loved how Lauren really attacked the song, while Randy thought it was a nice song choice and said he could tell Lauren connected with it. Steven thought Lauren was ready for America to just be all over her.

Jimmy chose The Band Perry's "If I Die Young" for Lauren's second song. Jennifer said Lauren had the most beautiful tone in her voice of all three of the contestants, and added that any mistakes Lauren made during the song happened because she was caught up in the moment. Randy said Lauren was in it to win it, even with a few stumbles this round. Steven thought Lauren nailed it.

The judges chose Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" for Lauren's third performance. Jennifer said she got goose bumps from Lauren's performance, declaring "I'm going to dare to say you won that round for me already." Randy said the song was one of his favorites, and Steven said Lauren walked onto the stage like she owned the Grand Ole Opry. He thought she sang the song it perfectly.

Haley Reinhart went with Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be," which Beyonce thought was a really interesting song choice. She also loved Haley's presence. Randy said Haley killed it with a song that isn't for the faint of heart and called it her best performance yet. Steven called it superb, and Jennifer applauded Haley for carrying on even though she fell during the performance. Randy joked that he thought the fall was planned.

Haley sang "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac for the second round, at Jimmy's suggestion. Randy said she did a good job, but he thought it felt like a somber moment. Steven said this performance made him remember why he fell in love with Stevie Nicks in the first place. Jennifer said it was a beautiful moment, but she was waiting for Haley to take it further at the end.

Haley took on "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette at the judge's request for the third round. Randy loved seeing Haley rock out in a soulful way, even though she had problems with some parts of the song. Steven said the performance was "amazing," "perfect" and "incredible." Jennifer thought no one could match Haley's vocal power.

The top two finalists will be revealed on American Idol Thursday night at 8:00 ET.  50 Cent, Nicole Scherzinger, and Il Volo are set to perform, too.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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