The remaining seven "American Idol" contestants took the stage for an evening of music from the 21st century--songs from the last decade and a few months.
The show began with five girls, including the recently rejected Pia Toscano, who were voted off the 2011 season and Paul McDonald in a song about rock stars. "You just made America think twice about their decision," Steven Tyler generously said after their forgettable performance.
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Country boy Scotty McCreery was first up among the competitors, singing "Swingin" by LeAnn Rimes. The judges were not excited by his performance. JLo said she loved his story telling quality, but "it's time to pull out the big guns...We were expecting more from Scotty." Randy Jackson agreed. "To me that was so safe, and actually kind of boring to me."
Rocker James Durbin took on Muse's "Uprising," hoping to show his "contemporary" side. Accompanied by marching band of drummers, Durbin dominated the stage like an Adam Lambert sans lipstick. JLo said his performance was "really amazing, really good." Steven, the poet and rocker judge, said, "That was crazy good...I love that you are out of your mind beautifully so."
Haley Reinhart sang Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" with her characteristic bluesy style. Randy said he was happy with her choice of song, and called it a "great performance." Steven agreed, and JLo said she brought a "little bit of Haley" to Adele's hit song.
Gospel-tinged Jacob Lusk chose to sing close to home, a Luther Vandross song, "Dance with my Father." The judges have compared him Vandross, and he delivered in his vocal performance. Steven called him "Luther Lusk," praising his performance. JLo said, "It emotionally it was a beautiful performance." Randy translated what the other judges were thinking but not saying, "It was vocally good, but didn't make me jump up and down."
Casey Abram's took on Maroon Five's "Harder to Breathe," and rocked out, bringing a little James Durbin to his stage performance, included a peck on the cheek of the most beautiful women in the world. JLo said, "Casey's got soft lips," and acknowledging Casey's feat, Steven said, "I've been trying to do that for four months." Randy said, "Amazing job, keep taking chances." Steven got bleeped for saying that Casey is so "f'ing good," and followed that up with a tongue-wagging stunt that made JLo cringe.
Stefano Langone selected Neo's "Close Up," with much improved stagecraft. Randy and Steven said he did a good job, and JLo said he was very, very good. In judge-speak that means he is likely to visit the bottom three again.
Teenage Lauren Alaina "Born to Fly" by Sara Evans, digging into her country roots. JLo lauded her special voice and gave her a pep talk, telling her let it out. Randy said, "It was great but you can do anything...challenge yourself Lauren."
Tomorrow one of the seven will be going home.