Naima Adedapo brings an African dance to the stage when singing 'Dancing in the Street', while Thia Megia lets loose herself with an uptempo performance of 'Heat Wave'.
On Wednesday, March 23, the top 11 finalists of "American Idol" performed some golden oldies to salute Motown. Jacob Lusk wowed the judges with his rendition of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's legendary ballad "You're All I Need to Get By".
Jennifer Lopez enjoyed his performance, singing and dancing on her seat, and she admitted it on her comment, "You made us beg for those notes! ... You move me. You move us." Steven Tyler was more expressive, running up to hug Jacob and scream "hallelujah!" into the mic after the song ended.
Casey Abrams also got a standing ovation after delivering Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". Steven called him the perfect entertainer for his combination of "perfect pitch and crazy-ass ego," while Randy Jackson praised him as a "true original."
Thia Megia rebounded from a tough week with an uptempo performance of Martha and the Vandellas' "Heat Wave". J.Lo said, "It was great to see you let loose like that!" and the other two judges agreed with her.
Lauren Alaina, another 16-year-old contestant beside Thia, picked The Supremes' classic "You Keep Me Hangin' On". While J.Lo praised Lauren's flowy zebra-striped, floor-length skirt and neck-rolling attitude, Steven loved the way she doesn't "listen to anybody about anything."
Stefano Langone sang Lionel Richie's schmaltz-fest "Hello" with an odd operatic lilt, turning the tune into a Michael Buble-style, light FM show tune after he was warned not to over-sing it. It didn't work, however, as Randy said, "You sounded good, but there was no real connection."
Haley Reinhart tried to avoid being in the bottom three again with her off-tempo, sissy strut version of "You Really Got a Hold on Me" popularized by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. Randy thought she got a slow start, but came roaring back. Steven said, "You touched my heart..that growl you got..that Joplin thing. That was the Haley I was looking for."
Country crooner Scotty McCreery took a step outside his comfort zone by delivering Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life" with a little unavoidable twang. Randy called his low notes the "young lady killer notes". J.Lo praised Scotty for making it his own, but thought it wasn't his strongest vocal performance.
Also taking a shot with Stevie Wonder's single was Pia Toscano. She chose the lesser-known "All in Love is Fair". J.Lo gushed, "You kill us" and compared her voice to Celine Dion, but said she needs to "own the stage" like Celine does. Steven added, "Right now you are the closest star in the American Idol Universe."
Paul McDonald sang Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "Tracks of My Tears," transforming the party tune into a down-home folk rocker while playing his own guitar. Randy loved the Stewart vibe and the soft, tender notes near the end, while J.Lo claimed he is the "most seasoned performer" and the "complete package."
Naima Adedapo appeared to have blast with Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street" and added a little bit of African dance to the performance. Steven was blown away that she came up with the idea to add the drums and dance, while J.Lo said Naima gave her "first goose bumps of the night."
Once again Stevie Wonder's music was heard on the night through James Durbin's rendition of "Living for the City". Steven said he "nailed it", and J.Lo admitted she was in awe of James' dance moves and vocals. Randy called the performance "unbelievable" although he tought the start was rough.