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The eleven remaining contestants on "American Idol" rocked the stage with Motown tunes on March 23, 2011. One of them will bid adieu soon, however, missing out on a spot in this year's coveted 'Top Ten.' That means no tour—and no money. Then again, they're changing things up on Idol this year; maybe the judges will do a 'save' and decide to have the first ever 'Top Eleven Tour.'
I can usually narrow it down to one or two favorites—and a couple I'm hoping will get the boot—at this point in the "American Idol" competition, but it's different this year. They all have strong, engaging voices. Each one brings a little something different to the table.
If I had to wager a guess as to who might not make the top ten, I'd say Thia or Stefano probably did the least to wow the audience.
Thia Megia has a strong, mature voice. She doesn't sound like a 16-year-old girl. She did kick it up half a notch with "Heat Wave," but throughout her performance, I found myself thinking once again, "C'mon, cut loose a little." She has the pipes, but she hasn't hit her stride yet.
Stefano Langone has a beautiful voice and sounded perfect on Lionel Ritchie's "Hello." The judges had previously advised him to connect more with the audience—not to close his eyes. Although he had good intentions, that didn't seem to work tonight.
Pia Toscano has control and hits notes effortlessly. However, I was so disappointed when she chose to sing Stevie Wonder's "All in Love Is Fair." Don't get me wrong—I love the song—but I was hoping she'd step out of the 'ballad box' this week. If she lets her hair down a little, she'll be tough to beat in this competition.
Naima Adedapo did let her hair down. This was her best performance yet. Singing "Dancin' in the Street," she paired it with a few African dance moves, showing off her ability to work the stage. The best part: she stayed on tune throughout the entire song.
Haley Reinhart may have changed some minds this week as well. She was in her element singing "You Really Got a Hold on Me." I love the bluesy quality to her voice and the way she takes her range all over the place, incorporating her own unique style.
Scotty McCreery was out of his element singing "For Once in My Life," but he pulled it off, even adding a little country twang here and there. Scotty can do no wrong in the eyes of his fans. He hits one of his infamous low notes, and they go nuts. Part of his appeal is his relaxed manner.
Paul McDonald is another Idol who no doubt has a large fan base. He is distinctive, to say the least. I love when he softens his husky voice. He played guitar as he sang "The Tracks of My Tears." Whatever that "it" factor is, he has. He draws me in every week.
Jacob Lusk had his best performance to date singing "You're All I Need to Get By." I enjoyed the way he pulled it in a little this week. Some of his performances were too over-the-top for my taste. Jacob was definitely in his niche with the Motown genre.
Casey Abrams could never be accused of not making a song his own. He chose "I Heard It through the Grapevine." He works the audience well, adding his own impressive flair. I enjoyed hearing more melody from Casey as opposed to a little too much screeching.
Lauren Alaina connects well with the audience during a performance. Tonight was no exception as she sang "You Keep Me Hangin' On." Steven Tyler said she "ripped that song another beauty mark." I think he's right.
James Durbin heads out to the "American Idol" stage each week with an overload of confidence. The fans love him, and he's lapping it up. He belted out Stevie Wonder's "Living in the City." He got down and gritty, playing up to the camera and interacting with musicians and the audience. He nailed it once again.
Source: "American Idol," March 23, 2011; FOX Channel