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Entries in Randy Jackson (23)

Thursday
Apr142011

'American Idol's' Top Eight Perform Songs from the Movies

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- American Idol's top eight contestants took on songs from the movies Wednesday night.

Judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler were on hand to offer their opinions, and host Ryan Seacrest singled out Lopez at the top of the show for being named the World's Most Beautiful Woman in People magazine's Most Beautiful issue.

Here's what happened Wednesday night:

Paul McDonald went first with his take on Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock n' Roll," which was featured in Risky Business.  Tyler said he loved his wild abandon.  Lopez liked that he was going a little bit further with each performance, and Jackson simply loved the performance, saying America just witnessed the opening number at one of McDonald's concerts.

Lauren Alaina went with Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" from Hannah Montana: The Movie.  Lopez thought she did a beautiful job.  Jackson thought the song sounded like it was written for her, and Tyler said it moved him beyond tears.

Stefano Langone sang Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" from the Eddie Murphy flick Boomerang.  Jackson said it was his best vocal yet, and he's sure his pal from Boyz II Men would think he nailed the song.  Tyler said the performance proved he knows how to milk a song.  Lopez said he was now singing to win the competition instead of just singing to stay in it.

Scotty McCreery was originally going to sing a Harry Nilsson song, but he changed course and decided on the George Strait classic "I Cross My Heart," from Pure Country.  Tyler thinks all of America has fallen in love with his voice.  Lopez said it wasn't her favorite song choice for him, but she thought he performed it beautifully.  Jackson loved him getting back to his roots with this number and said he was a star in the making.

Casey Abrams chose "Nature Boy" by Nat King Cole from Moulin Rouge.  Lopez was nervous at first but in the end thought his jazzy performance was inspiring, and said she hopes America "got" it.  Jackson called it brilliant and said it made him proud to judge a true artist.  Tyler said he did what he felt in his heart, and had a sophistication on par with Sting.

Haley Reinhart sang "Call Me" by Blondie from American Gigolo.  Jackson didn't love the beginning, saying it sounded kind of "karaoke."  Tyler loved her gritty performance on the chorus, and Lopez agreed with Jackson that this wasn't Reinhart's best performance.  Lopez also declared that she was hesitant to say anything critical about her performance because she didn't want any more girls to be voted off.

Jacob Lusk sang Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" from The Pursuit of Happyness.  Tyler was astounded at how much he put into his performances, and Lopez called him a gifted vocalist, saying his performance gave her the chills.  Jackson said he believed every word he sang.

James Durbin chose Sammy Hagar's "Heavy Metal" from the '80s animated movie Heavy Metal.  Lopez said it felt "really real," while Jackson said it was unbelievable and that he was glad Durbin stuck to his guns in choosing the song.  Tyler called it "outstanding."

Kelly Clarkson returns to the American Idol stage on Thursday's results show to sing her country hit "Don't You Wanna Stay" with Jason Aldean.  It all starts at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr092011

Pia Toscano's 'American Idol' Elimination; Sexism to Blame?

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Some are calling it the most shocking American Idol elimination ever, while other critics say Pia Toscano's departure from American Idol reveals the underlying sexism of voters on the most popular show on television.

The announcement came after a rollicking performance by Iggy Pop, in which he shed his shirt to belt out "Real Wild Child." As host Ryan Seacrest said Toscano's name, the crowd's enthusiasm disappeared. The audience shouted "no" while the judges looked stunned. Jennifer Lopez, on the verge of tears, said she was angry and speechless. Randy Jackson echoed her anger and Steven Tyler told America their "lack of passion was unforgivable."

Toscano, who was believed to be a finale shoe-in, was sent packing Thursday making her the fifth female in a row booted off the show this season.

"If you look at the last three seasons of American Idol, three out of the four final contestants have been men every single time," said Dalton Ross, editor at Entertainment Weekly. "If you look... the last three seasons of American Idol, three out of the four final contestants have been men every single time. With only two women left now, it looks like we're headed in that same direction."

Not since Jordin Sparks won four years ago has a female taken the Idol crown, and one theory is that young girls, who have bolstered the careers of pop stars ranging from the Beatles to Justin Bieber, may be casting the majority of votes ... and hormones rule.

"Why vote for a gorgeous glamorous girl who might feel like competition to them when they could vote for a wonderful gorgeous cute boy that they can have a crush on?" said psychologist Wendy Walsh.

Now only two women remain, Illinois native Haley Reinhart and Georgia native Lauren Alaina, putting the odds in favor of another male Idol.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr072011

'American Idol' Top Nine Sing Songs from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- American Idol's top nine contestants sang songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Wednesday night, with judges Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez on hand to offer their opinions.

Here's what happened:

Jacob Lusk went with Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" at first, but he didn't feel comfortable with it. He switched to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" because he believed in the message of the song. Tyler said the performance was beautiful and well done. Lopez said it was perfect in every way and on every emotional level. Jackson applauded him for going with a song he believed in and called the performance hot.

Haley Reinhart took on the Janis Joplin classic "Piece of My Heart," playing into the judges' request to hear her get grittier with her vocals. Lopez said she showed everyone she was a contender with this performance, and Jackson said this is the Haley they loved when they first saw her. Tyler said he couldn't find anything wrong with the performance. He loved it.

Casey Abrams considered doing The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," but changed his choice to Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain." Jackson said he made Creedence proud with that one. Tyler said he was a true musician who brought something different every time he plays. Lopez said she would pay top dollar to be front row at his show.

Lauren Alaina sang "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin this week. Tyler said she'd turned into a natural born woman, and Lopez said she was amazing. Jackson said this was one of the most difficult songs to pull off, and he thought she did a good job with it.

James Durbi slowed it down with the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" in an effort to take a chance as an artist. Lopez enjoyed seeing the other side of his personality, and Jackson loved the emotion he showed during this performance. Tyler liked seeing him really connecting and crying during the song.

Scotty McCreery paid tribute to his childhood hero Elvis Presley with a performance of "That's All Right," keeping a promise to show off his rock side this week. Jackson said he was in it to win it and showed a new side of himself. Tyler said he brought Presley into the house, and Lopez thought he showed a little bit of hip-hop/R&B flavor this week.

Pia Toscano finally showed some flair with Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High," working the stage in a black and white sleeveless pantsuit. Tyler said there were a million guys in a million bars having a million drinks about her following her performance. Lopez said this proved she could tackle an up-tempo song, but she wants her to start studying big performers like Tina Turner. Jackson echoed Lopez's thoughts and said she needed to work on her onstage movement. Jackson added that Toscano is in it to win it.

Stefano Langone sang Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman" with a bit of falsetto at first. Lopez said she knew he had it in him and thought this performance had a whole other level of emotion for Langone. Jackson wasn't jumping up and down about the performance, but Tyler liked the old-school vibe at the beginning of the song. Tyler thought Langone nailed it.

Paul McDonald tried to get a little crazy with Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," playing acoustic guitar and rocking out more than ever before. He got a standing ovation from the audience, and Jackson had three words for him -- "I loved it." Tyler called him a "perfect, imperfect boy" and Lopez said it was a perfect way to end the show.

Someone is going home on American Idol's results show Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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

Thursday
Mar242011

'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

Thursday
Mar172011

'American Idol's' Top 12 Perform Songs from Birth Year

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- American Idol's top 12 contestants sang songs from the year they were born on Wednesday night's show, but the program started off on a serious note.

Judge Steven Tyler sang a snippet of the Aerosmith hit "Livin' on the Edge" before asking for donations to help earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.  Fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest also revealed that proceeds from downloads of this week's performances will go to the Red Cross's relief efforts in Japan.  A way to text in donations will be announced on Thursday night's show.

Wednesday night, the contestants had to earn America's vote to stay alive in the competition.  Here's what happened:

Naima Adedapo was born in 1984 and was actually carried onstage as a kid with her mother, who sang in jazz groups.  She chose to sing the huge 1984 hit "What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner and gave it a fresh 2011 spin.  Tyler loved it, saying she had a great grasp of melody.  Lopez said she brought her own flavor to everything she does, but she warned her about pitch problems.  Jackson called the vocals a mess.

Paul McDonald was born in 1984, as well, and he chose to take on Elton John's hit from that year, "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues."  He was having some vocal trouble, and his voice seemed a bit hoarse and weak during the performance.  Lopez said he overcame the vocal problems with soul and star quality.  Jackson thought some of the notes were pitchy, but he thought he made the song his own.  Tyler said he defined a "cool dude in a loose mood."

Thia Megia came into the world in 1995 and sang Vanessa Williams' "Colors of the Wind" from the Disney movie Pocahontas.  Jackson thought the vocals were okay, but said the performance was safe and boring.  Tyler wondered if she really identified with "Colors of the Wind," and she said that it really applied to what was going on in the world right now.  Lopez wanted her to break out of the ballad mode and work on her vocal performance.

James Durbin was born in 1989, and he rocked out with that year's hit "I'll Be There for You" by Bon Jovi, aided by a few pyrotechnics at the end of the performance.  Tyler said he had leftover sandwiches under his bed older than him, but the rock icon warned him not to get too poppy.  Lopez was singing along and said he always brought her joy.  Jackson said he really made the Bon Jovi tune his own.

Haley Reinhart was born in 1990 and grew up singing with her parents.  She took on the Whitney Houston hit "I'm Your Baby Tonight," but the tongue twister of a song proved to be a challenge for her.  Lopez thought she was a little tense and unsure in her movements.  Jackson thought she needed to find who she was musically, and Tyler wanted to hear more blues in her voice.

Stefano Langone was born in 1989 and sang Simply Red's hit cover of "If You Don't Know Me by Now" from that year.  Jackson said it was the best performance of the night so far, and Tyler loved his phrasing.  Lopez said it was a perfect song choice and predicted he could take the whole competition this season.

Pia Toscano's birth year is 1988, and she sang the second Whitney Houston song of the night, 1988's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," giving it a little more tempo than the original version.  Tyler said she was the reason the show was called American Idol: he said she nailed it.  Lopez loved that she did an up-tempo number and added that she was perfect every time.  Jackson said she was in it to win it.

Scotty McCreery was born in 1993, and decided to sing Travis Tritt's hit from that year, "Can I Trust You with My Heart."  Lopez thought he showed some growth with this performance, and Jackson said he did Travis Tritt proud.  Tyler encouraged him to stay true to himself.

Karen Rodriguez sported a huge Snooki hair bump to sing her song from 1989, Taylor Dayne's "Love Will Lead You Back."  Jackson thought it started rough but said she found her way halfway through.  Tyler said he loved when she broke into her "ethnic whatever it is-ness," and Lopez applauded her for overcoming her fear during this performance.

Casey Abrams, born in 1991, sang Nirvana's breakthrough hit from that year "Smells Like Teen Spirit."  It was the first Nirvana song ever performed on American Idol, and he played electric bass while performing the aggressive tune.  Tyler said he was crazy and talented, though Lopez thought parts of the performance were screechy.  Jackson compared him to Radiohead and Muse for putting art first.  Jackson didn't think it was his best performance, but he loved his fearlessness.

Lauren Alaina was born in 1994, and performed the Melissa Etheridge hit "I'm the Only One," albeit with a higher arrangement to show off her voice.  Lopez loved her strong vocal performance and the country flavor she gave the song.  Jackson loved her vocals too, and Tyler called her a shining star.

Jacob Lusk, born in 1987, took on the Heart classic "Alone" and started out really strong.  Jackson liked that he stepped out of his comfort zone and called the performance "genius."  Tyler said "gospel had a baby and they named it Jacob Lusk," while Lopez loved that he gave himself completely to the performance.

Someone is going home on Thursday night's American Idol, airing on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET.  Season nine winner Lee DeWyze returns to perform, and the Black Eyed Peas will appear as well, performing their new song "Just Can't Get Enough."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar102011

'American Idol's' Top 13 Perform for America's Vote

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- American Idol's top 13 finalists performed for America's vote Wednesday night, delivering songs originally recorded by their idols.

Judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson, and Steven Tyler were on hand to offer their critiques.

For this round, all 13 hopefuls worked with record label honcho Jimmy Iovine and other big-name producers to perfect their performances.  Here's what happened:

Lauren Alaina was up first, singing "Any Man of Mine" by her hero Shania Twain.  Mega producer Don Was and Jimmy Iovine coached her on the performance, and they both thought she had star power.  Tyler liked the song, but he wished she had punched it up a notch.  Lopez loved her voice but she also wanted more energy from her.  Jackson doesn't think she knows how talented she really is, and he wants her to really stretch herself in the future.

Casey Abrams' idol is Joe Cooker, so he did Cooker's cover of The Beatles' "I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends."  Lopez was so overcome during his performance, she grabbed Jackson's arm and said, "I'm watching somebody important."  Jackson said he was "exciting" and "unbelievable," and Tyler called him a "rainbow of talent" and said he had a "plethora of passion."

Ashton Jones sang Diana Ross' song "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" after working with R&B super-producer Rodney Jerkins.  Jackson thought the song choice was a little safe, but he felt that she showed growth as a singer with the performance.  Tyler said he thinks she has more to her than she's showing yet, and Lopez challenged her to choose more familiar songs.

Paul McDonald looks up to Ryan Adams musically, so he chose to perform Adams' song "Come Pick Me Up."  Tyler loved the character in his voice, but he thought "Come Pick Me Up" wasn't in the right key for him.  Lopez thought he really engaged the crowd, and she hoped it translated to America.  Jackson loved that he is a little left-of-center and thought he was good for American Idol.

Pia Toscano chose Celine Dion's "All By Myself."  Lopez had tears in her eyes and was pretty much speechless while critiquing her.  Jackson applauded her natural talent and said he was in awe of her.  Tyler said she slammed it and called the performance "beautiful."

James Durbin went with Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed," but he put a different spin on it with a little help from producer Jim Jonsin.  Jackson was amazed that he slew a Paul McCartney tune and showed his sensitive side this week, saying, "James Durbin is dangerous, America."  Tyler said he took everything he ever felt and kicked into the middle of next week with that performance, and Lopez applauded him as a great rock singer.

Haley Reinhart sang "Blue" by LeAnn Rimes, which called for quite a bit of country vocal acrobatics.  Tyler said the country and Western part of America was roaring for that performance, and Lopez said she has a really unique voice.  Jackson loved her range, noting that she performed an Alicia Keys song last week, but he thought this week's performance was boring.

Jacob Lusk really used his gospel background to deliver R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" with a choir backing him up.  Tyler said his performance was so good and pure he couldn’t even judge it.  Lopez said he made everyone feel so much when he sings, and Jackson was excited to see what he did next.

Thia Megia's performance of the Charlie Chaplin classic "Smile" began normally, but then she put a little beat behind it at the halfway mark.  Jackson liked the beginning, but thought she got pitchy when the jazzy part started.  Tyler agreed with Jackson, but cut her some slack since she was so young.  Lopez wanted to see her move a little more but said she sang like an angel.

Stefano Langone chose to sing Stevie Wonder's "Lately" because the words tell a story.  Tyler thought he really pulled it off, and Lopez was actually dancing during the performance.  Jackson thought he soared with this performance.

Karen Rodriguez went with Selena's "I Could Fall in Love" for her performance, and Lopez thought she seemed a little uncomfortable with the low notes.  Jackson said it seemed like she was fighting with the song and thought it fell flat.  Tyler added that he knew she could do better and hoped to see that next week.

Country boy Scott McCreery teamed up with producer Don Was to work on his rendition of "The River" by Garth Brooks.  Jackson told him not to change a thing, and Tyler told him, "Scotty, you did the Garth justice."  Lopez thought he opened up as a performer this time around.

Naima Adedapo went with "Umbrella" by Rihanna and worked with the producer of the original version, Tricky Stewart.  Tyler said she was crazy good, even though there were some pitch problems.  Lopez said the pitch issues didn't matter because she had flair during her performance.  Jackson said she needed to maintain vocal control while dancing, but he loved the reggae flavor she added to the song.

Someone is going home on Thursday night's American Idol results show.  The action starts at 8:00 ET on Fox with performances from Diddy Dirty Money and Idol alum Adam Lambert.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar042011

'American Idol' Announces Top 13 in Surprise Twist

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- American Idol announced its lucky top 13 Thursday night -- lucky for a few of the Idol hopefuls because judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler chose one more wild-card entrant than expected.

Here are the 10 contestants who advanced via fan voting, in the order they were announced:

* Scotty McCreery
* Lauren Alaina
* Pia Toscano
* Karen Rodriguez
* Jacob Lusk
* Casey Abrams
* Thia Megia
* Paul McDonald
* Haley Reinhart
* James Durbin

And these are the three contestants who earned wild-card spots from the judges:

* Ashthon Jones
* Stefano Langone
* Naima Adedapo

Throughout the first hour and 15 minutes of the results show, Seacrest introduced the Idol top 24 in groups of two or three and revealed the results of the fan voting. 

The judges granted opportunities to six contestants to sing for a wild-card spot: Jones performed the Dreamgirls tune "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," Langone selected the Smokie Norful ballad "I Need You Now," Chantelle belted out "Georgia On My Mind," Barreto chose Jon Secada's "Angel," Adedapo sang Donny Hathaway's "For All We Know," and Rosen performed Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word."  In the end, the judges went with Jones, Langone, and Adedapo as their wild cards.

Thursday's results show also featured the hotly-anticipated premiere of Jennifer Lopez's music video for her hit song "On The Floor."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar032011

'American Idol' Top 12 Girls Perform

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto/Zumobi(LOS ANGELES) -- The guys had their chance on Tuesday, and on Wednesday night, it was American Idol's Top 12 girls' turn to perform for the nation's votes.

Here's what happened:

Ta-Tynisa Wilson got the show started with Rihanna's "Only Girl (In the World)," which didn't do anything to show off her vocals.  Still, Steven Tyler said it was "beautiful" and he liked it a lot.  Jennifer Lopez praised her for "playing to the crowd" and said she "brought it all the way home."  But Randy Jackson slammed her for her pitch problems, and for not bringing anything "special and different" to the tune.
   
Naima Adedapo sang an upbeat version of "Summertime."  Jackson called it "a little lounge-act-y," but praised her for hitting a high note at the end.  Lopez, meanwhile, said she was like "an exotic flower," while Tyler praised her "old-timey" sound which he said is "what America needs right now."

Kendra Chantelle sang Christina Aguilera's "Impossible," and Jackson raved about her vibrato, which he said made him feel "warm and connected."  Lopez told her she had heart, but said she hoped she stayed around to show what else she could do.  Tyler said, "Voice hot. Clothes hot. Style hot. A whole package."

Rachel Zevita sang a drastically reworked, jazzy version of Fiona Apple's "Criminal."  Tyler said it was "a little too Broadway" for him, while Lopez questioned whether this was the image she wanted to project with her first big performance.  Jackson said it wasn't good, it didn't work and he didn't even recognize the song at first.

Karen Rodriguez sang Mariah Carey's "Hero" and made it her own by performing it in a mixture of English and Spanish. She also hit every note perfectly.  Jackson approved, telling her, "You figured out a way to make it you."  Lopez said she had goosebumps and added, "Wow! Amazing."  Tyler called it "fantastic."

Lauren Turner sang Canadian singer Jully Black's version of Etta James' "Seven Day Fool." Lopez said her voice was "unbelievable," while Tyler said it was "spectacular."  Jackson enthused, "That's how you do it!"
   
Ashthon Jones sang "Love All Over Me" by Monica.  Tyler told her, "You've got the confidence of a queen," while Lopez said she "had all the makings of a diva." Jackson put a damper on the love fest, though, saying he didn't love the song, and that she was "broader and bigger" than that.

Julie Zorrilla stumbled badly on "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson.  Tyler said it was the wrong song for her, while Lopez said it wasn't the "best thing we've seen you do."  She also criticized her for not connecting emotionally to the lyrics, something she'd warned her about before.  Jackson said she brought nothing new or different to the song, and didn't sing it nearly as good as Clarkson.

Haley Reinhart turned in a sassy version of "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys, and though she hit every difficult note, from low to high, Jackson said it felt like karaoke and he didn't get it.  Lopez disagreed, saying the song showed off the "colors" in her voice, while Tyler thought it was "just the right amount of style, just the right amount of sexy."

Fifteen-year-old Thia Megia sang "Out Here on My Own," an Irene Cara number from the movie Fame, starting the song a cappella.  Jackson raved about her "tone," which he compared to Michael Jackson's and said, "This is what singing is about."  Lopez called it "so beautiful" and said she captivated everybody in the room, and Tyler agreed.

Lauren Alaina did an upbeat, fun version of Reba McEntire's "Turn on the Radio."  It wasn't incredible, but the judges still fell all over themselves praising her, with Jackson comparing her to both Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, Lopez calling her "amazing" and Tyler telling her, "You're the best."

Pia Toscano closed the show with The Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You" and she absolutely brought down the house -- for the first time this season, the judges gave someone a standing ovation.  The crowd followed. Tyler called it "unbelievable" and "gorgeous," while Lopez said it was "out of this world."  Jackson added, "You just put yourself at the top."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar022011

'American Idol's' Top 12 Guys Perform

Photo Courtesy - Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- After weeks of auditions, American Idol season 10 kicked off in earnest Tuesday night as the Top 12 guys performed for America's votes.

For the first time, viewers saw the judging panel on a live show without Simon Cowell.  Randy Jackson sat in his usual spot, Jennifer Lopez was in the middle and Steven Tyler was at the end.  Tyler gave his comments to the hopefuls first, then Lopez, and finally Jackson.

Here's how it all went down:

Clint Jun Gamboa got things rolling with Stevie Wonder's "Superstition."  He gave a good performance, moving all over the stage, but his vocals were more screamy at times than melodic.  Tyler called it "beautiful" and "brilliant," while Lopez said it was good, once he'd worked out the "bits of nervousness."  Jackson said he loved it and agreed it was "brilliant."

Jovany Barreto sang Edwin McCain's "I'll Be," and Tyler reacted with, "Holy Shipyard!," a reference to Carreto's former place of employment.  He said it was beautiful and he loved it, and Lopez said she was glad people really got a chance to see what Jovany could do.  Jackson, though, called it "very karaoke," and complained that Barreto didn't bring anything different to his interpretation of the song.

Jordan Dorsey made a serious misstep by performing Usher's "OMG," a song that has nothing to do with singing and everything to do with cool dance moves and Auto Tune.  Tyler said it wasn't his favorite performance, and Lopez told him, "That isn't really who you are as an artist, you're the soft R&B guy."  Jackson called it "pitchy" -- hey, the first "pitchy" of the live shows! -- and said it wasn't "a singer's song."

Tim Halperin performed "Streetcorner Symphony" by Rob Thomas and it was not good.  Tyler said, "I've heard you sing so much better," while Lopez said she'd "hate to lose him" because he chose to perform a song that "didn't show who you really are."  Jackson said Halperin had been much better before, and there was nothing exciting or new about the performance.

Brett Loewenstern sang a version of The Doors' "Light My Fire" that started off really mellow and then built in power.  He constantly shook his red curly mane back and forth, causing Lopez to say, "That was more hair-tossing than me and Beyonce put together in the past 10 years!"  Tyler told Loewenstern he was "on fire" and he "brought it home," and Jackson said despite a few pitch problems, his performance was "fun and bold."

In an American Idol first, James Durbin sang a Judas Priest song, the British metal band's classic "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," and he rocked the house, earning a standing ovation. Tyler declared it "Bleepin' crazy good!"  Lopez called his performance "organic and real," while Jackson yelled, "That's how you do it!  That was great!"

Robbie Rosen sang Sarah McLachlan's ballad "Angel" and Tyler loved it, telling him, "You can sing a ballad like nobody's business."  Lopez said that despite the notes not being all perfect, "when you sing, you feel every word." Jackson disagreed, saying that it wasn't a great performance and Rosen's attempts at falsetto weren't always successful.

Scotty McCreery sang John Michael Montgomery's "Letters from Home."  Tyler told him he "couldn't have picked a better song," while Lopez told McCreery he was born to sing country music.  Jackson said he was a big fan of McCreery's "throwback" country style.

Stefano Langone sang Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" and the judges loved his performance.  Tyler said he liked how his voice "cut through the air in this room," while Lopez told him, "You're a beast up there!"  Jackson praised Langone for getting all three judges rocking and feeling that he could be on the radio right now.

Paul McDonald sang "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart in his very unique voice, and added some unique stage moves in there as well.  Lopez praised him for his smile that lit up the room.  Tyler said he loved the "character" in his voice, and Jackson said he was happy that the show could embrace someone so "quirky and different."

Jacob Lusk brought the house down with the Luther Vandross version of "A House Is Not a Home," earning a standing ovation and heaps of praise from the judges.  Lopez, who said the late Vandross was her favorite singer of all time, told Lusk, "He's gone, but now we have you!"  Tyler told Lusk he was "honored" to be in his presence and said his singing made him cry. Jackson said Vandross would be "so proud of you" and declared that the show was "lucky" to have Lusk as a contestant.

Casey Abrams closed the show in what's commonly referred to as the "pimp spot" -- the final position in the show, which is where the producers put contestants they particularly want to promote and want the audience to remember.  He performed a passionate, raw rendition of "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and really acted out the part, causing Lopez to say, "You're sexy, Casey!"  She praised his "hunger and fire," and said, "You ate it all up!"  Tyler told him, "You are 'in your mind good' and 'outta your mind unreal!'"  Jackson declared, "I love how you transform yourself into the spirit of the song," and asked for "More, more, more!"

Wednesday night, the Top 12 girls perform.  On Thursday, the top five vote-getting girls and the top five vote-getting guys will make up the Top 10, and then the judges will make their Wild Card picks.

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