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"Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, and more on AI 10"
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zazzy 4390 desperate attention whore postings
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03-08-11, 06:50 PM (EST)
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"Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, and more on AI 10"
Michael Slezak, formerly of EW and Idolatry, has moved on to tvline and has created an Idolatry like online program called idoloonies:

The last segment is an interview with Chris Medina, and he asks Chris about exploitation of his fiance.

Masterclass Lady is reviewing AI again this year and I can tell she already has some favorites:

Meanwhile, over at EW, Adam B. Vary and others give the behind the scenes reports on AI 10:

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 MTV on the top 13 zazzy 03-09-11 1
 RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, a... zazzy 04-02-11 2
   RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, a... Estee 04-02-11 4
       RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, a... zazzy 04-04-11 5
 RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, a... zazzy 04-02-11 3
 Orland, Byrd on the top 9 zazzy 04-11-11 6
   RE: Orland, Byrd on the top 9 zazzy 04-11-11 7
 RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, a... zazzy 04-23-11 8
 Orland, Byrd on the top 7 zazzy 04-23-11 9
 Orlando, Byrd on the top 5 zazzy 05-11-11 10

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zazzy 4390 desperate attention whore postings
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03-09-11, 08:01 PM (EST)
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1. "MTV on the top 13"

'American Idol' Top 13 Preview: Will Pia Toscano And Casey Abrams Deliver?
We take a look at what the semifinalists need to do to stay in the race.

By Eric Ditzian (@ericditzian)

Word on the reality-show street is, Wednesday's (March 9) "American Idol" theme will have the top 13 contestants singing the tunes of artists they worship, but that's the farthest we'll drive into spoiler territory.

Producers made the decision to pretape the performance episode, and while the Web is rife with info about what went down during the show, we've chosen to avoid all that. What's the fun in reading about a reality competition before actually seeing it?

So diving into the upcoming episode with only past shows to inform us, let's take a look at each singer: who we're excited about, who we honestly don't care for and who better step it up or risk getting the boot on Thursday night.

****Here are some of the comments; for all the contestants, click on the link.*****

Ashthon Jones
The 25-year-old has a whole lotta potential, but as someone wiser than us once said, potential just means you ain't done sh-- yet. Jones displayed boatloads of confidence and stage presence last week, yet never set sail toward the front of the "Idol" pack. She's got some R&B gifts, but something about her take on Monica's "Love All Over Me" felt too self-consciously like she was reaching for a diva moment. Ashthon, you're not quite there yet. There's a reason the judges had to use a wild card to save you. Show us your fun, energetic side first. Win some voters over. Wait a few more weeks before going diva again.

Haley Reinhart
Hey, we didn't feel her rendition of Alicia Keys' "Fallin'," but America clearly did, voting her through to the next round. If she delivers another performance with notes that ping-pong across the musical scale, she might be in trouble. Like Jones, we encourage Haley to dial back the diva-tude and realize she's never going to out-belt someone like Keys. Song choice will be the key to her survival, or lack thereof.

Jacob Lusk
Last week, we argued that while Lusk is potentially on the brink of a breakout performance, he's not quite there; there was something simply too old-fashioned about it. Though a Luther Vandross tune is already on his "Idol" résumé, we can't say we think Lusk will take on a song penned in this century. And that's fine. We can only hope the 23-year-old morphs a tune from whatever throwback artist he idolizes into something contemporary and relevant.

Karen Rodriguez
Based on her English/Spanish mash-up last week, we're pretty certain the New Yorker will opt for a tune by a Latina chanteuse on Wednesday. The key will be which one she chooses and if her vocal chops can compare to her artistic idol. And after going for a ballad, we'll be looking for Rodriguez to pick up the tempo. Regardless, she won't be in danger of going home. According to our "Idol" poll, she's a fan favorite.

Lauren Alaina
Speaking of favorites! Lauren is clearly an artist who the producers themselves idolize — and it's rubbed off on voters. But let's be honest: At this point, she's neither Kelly Clarkson nor Carrie Underwood, despite the judges' commentary. She does, however, have the makings of an "Idol" finalist, with that country/rock vibe. Our only request is that she not deliver another Red Bull-ified performance. We want Lauren to slow it down and show us those killer vocals.

Naima Adedapo
Naima enters Wednesday in serious danger, if only because she's only around due to a judges' wild card. In a new promotional video, the singer cited India.Arie and Erykah Badu as her favorite artists. Either would be an apt choice for the new performance. We're just not sure she can do anything to steal away votes from the fan favorites — which is a shame, because she's one of the more unique talents this season.

Paul McDonald
No one seemed to be having more fun onstage last week than McDonald. Gospel-tinged Southern rock is his sweet spot, and we definitely dig it. We see McDonald reaching back into the '70s this week, and we expect another top-notch performance. Anything less would be a let-down.

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zazzy 4390 desperate attention whore postings
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04-02-11, 09:01 AM (EST)
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2. "RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, and more on AI 10"
From Popwatch, there was a list of 20 EJ songs, plus behind the scenes scoop from Michel Orland:

Here's part of the article:

SCOTTY McCREERY — “Country Comfort”
MICHAEL ORLAND: He was a little freaked out about Elton John week. He didn’t know what to do. But when he found that one, he was beside himself. He actually came up to me the day before, and said, “This is the first week I am so excited about my song choice, and I’m definite about what I want to do.” He’s not always. He has to find something that will fit his genre and we can tailor make to him. This song was just perfect, and I think it was a great pick for him. He went into the week feeling really confident. I thought he had that on stage tonight. In his makeover, when they did the fashion shoot, he had a new hair do, and all of a sudden he had some hair product in there. He said yes to hair product!

NAIMA ADEDEPO — “I’m Still Standing”
DEBRA BYRD: She immediately connected to that . She had no doubt. It struck her in terms of her position in the competition, having been in the wild card and having been in the bottom. It was very literal, there was no subtext there. Don Was, the producer of her track, hired Ziggy Marley’s band to play on that track in the studio. It’s so authentic, I was very surprised by the responses from the judges. You can’t get any more authentic than that. She wasn’t putting it on. It’s where she lives. Everybody’s waiting for her to do reggae; she did it, and everybody’s like, “Eh.” I’m a bit baffled. But Steven Tyler loved it.

It was a risk. The fact that she sang it in the patois is a whole other risk she took. I give her a medal for bravery. We’ve never had a contestant do that. Don Was turned to me and said, “Has anything like this ever been done on American Idol?” I said, “No, this is a virginal experience.” So I really hope that people embrace it.

PAUL McDONALD – “Rocket Man”
MO: All of these contestants have been singing an awful lot. Paul has definitely not 100 percent of his voice right now. I thought he used what he had of it. He definitely was suffering vocally, but he has one of those voices for me that it doesn’t matter. I said, “Use that rasp.” It sounds so good on him.

I think they did a different arrangement for his iTunes track. I did this arrangement with him for just his on stage thing. I think his iTunes track turned into something different and bigger. I know when we got to band rehearsal yesterday, he said, “I just want to take it back down to where you and I put it originally.” So we just stripped down to piano, guitar and him.

PIA TOSCANO — “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
MO: On Thursday, I walk around to all these kids asking them “Can you think about what you want to do for next week?” It’s very hard, because Thursday is just a stressful day. Nobody knows who’s going home; everybody thinks it’s them. This was Pia’s original choice for what she wanted to do. She was the one who said, “I really want to do it with a little bit of a beat and a choir.” That was on Thursday. Then we thought, oh, we better find you an up tempo song. But I thought she killed that song tonight. She’s also exhausted vocally. She used everything she had, and she was better than she was at dress rehearsal. I was so happy it went that well for her.

I said something to her about the Clay Aiken version . She reminded me that we also did the song on the finale. She knew there was a history of that song on the show. She still didn’t care.

She already gave away what she’s going to do on the show next week . I want to go on the record and say she’s doing an up tempo next week. I’ve already got a few ideas of what we can do with it, so we’re going to come in and try to work on that tomorrow, if she’s one of the people who can handle it, which I know she will be.

DB: What he went through this week was very deep for him. He wanted to make sure that he connected with the audience as the judges requested. I really had to spend time with him breaking down what that meant in terms of how he performs on a weekly basis. Up until he was performing it on the stage tonight, he was really still trying to process how to make that work. He undid a lot of stuff that, though it may have seemed more subtle — it was just things that he had accumulated over the years. It’s beyond singing with his eyes closed. He performs, as opposed to connecting. He does something physically that Ken Warwick calls the two-step. We had to undo his two-step. He doesn’t even know he does it. If you watch his past performances, you see him take one, two, stop, singsingsing; one, two, stop, singsingsing. And he got rid of it; totally dumped it this evening. And he was doing it this afternoon. It was really, really hard.

LAUREN ALAINA – “Candle in the Wind”
DB: She shared with me that she has in her room an entire Marilyn Monroe collection. Now, did she connect with the song? It took her a while, because she did not connect to the song , and she was very upset about it. There was a lot of handholding. She wanted to make it work, and she doubted it. We talked about it line by line, what this song is, and the subtleties of it. I said to Lauren, “Have you ever Googled Marilyn Monroe?” She said, “No, but I’ve got all her dolls.” I said, “That’s not what I asked you. Do you know about the ache, the hurt, the gorgeousness, the tragedy? Do you know that part of her heart?” She said , “Not really.” I said, “That’s homework.”

One thing that struck me as very funny, before she was able to connect with it, she was doubting it, and I said, “You sing songs about Santa Claus, you’ve never met him.” She said, “Yeah. That’s a good analogy! I can work with that!” It was the oddest thing to me. She felt a connection. That was a huge turnaround for her. I applaud her. She worked her heinie off.

JAMES DURBIN — “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”
MO: I actually worked on it with him last Thursday. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. He came up to me and said, “I already know what I want to do with my song.” He told me the whole staging idea. We did it in, like, five minutes. He was, like, “I want a piano that goes up in flame.” He wanted it. I’m not kidding. That was all his idea. It was not even a real piano; it was a shell with the flames in it. There was real piano and a fire one. I thought Ray should get a little acting award, because I really looked like he was playing it. He even stood up for that one.

THIA MEGIA — “Daniel”
DB: We talked about the melancholy of . Because Thia, even though she’s 16, she’s performed a lot. I find that on American Idol, when you’ve performed as a kid, you get stuck in a box: “Now I’m going to perform!” And you turn it on, because mommy or daddy asked you to. Diana DeGarmo had that exact same thing. Diana could turn it on and leave the song. Literally, I could do this and she wouldn’t be there. With Thia, she’s got a bit of that where she goes into remote control. She did it one time during dress rehearsal, and she had to come out of that. She let her heart and her brother and the melancholy of missing him take over.

JACOB LUSK — “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”
DB: I think there were only 20 songs on the song list. Jacob went off of it because he wanted to sing “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” — that song wasn’t even included on the list, because Robbie Rosen sang it .

For the rest of Jacob and others, clck on the link.

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Estee 55194 desperate attention whore postings
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04-02-11, 07:46 PM (EST)
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4. "RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, and more on AI 10"
Really makes you wonder what the other ten songs were, doesn't it? And this solidly establishes the show as trying to keep Scotty alive (as if there was any real doubt before this).

I'm surprised they let Jacob go off the list. Are they that confident in him or hoping he'll shoot himself in the foot?

Lauren's disconnect... I'm not surprised that she wouldn't have really researched Marilyn as a general thing -- but to have a 'worship' room and not know anything real about the subject? How many layers of irony would you like in that observation?

And for James to come up with the fire... inspiration at work? Scariness coming out? Saw it in a movie? The flames are real, James -- and the Pepsi thought possibly should have come to him earlier than it did.

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zazzy 4390 desperate attention whore postings
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04-04-11, 11:11 PM (EST)
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5. "RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, and more on AI 10"
All good questions. That reminds me that I wanted to go back and see what they wrote for the earlier rounds.
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04-02-11, 09:03 AM (EST)
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3. "RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, and more on AI 10"
Idoloonies continues to entertain:

Such a contrast when he cuts in with Crystal B from last year!

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04-11-11, 10:57 AM (EST)
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6. "Orland, Byrd on the top 9"

Here's part of the article; click the link for the whole thing.

JACOB LUSK — “Man in the Mirror” (Michael Jackson)
DB: You saw him with Jimmy Iovine and, and he chose “Let’s Get It On.” He walked away from there and came to Matt Rohde and I and said, “I’m going to sing ‘Let’s Get It On,’ and I don’t think I want to do that song.” He felt that he couldn’t pull it off because it was so overtly sexual. He even went so far as to say, “You know I write love songs.” And he quoted one of his own lyrics, and it was a little more artsy and flowery.

When you go against two music icons — and Jimmy Iovine — those are forces to be reckoned with. What I hear a lot is “I don’t want to be disrespectful,” and they all say it. And was agony for him. He didn’t want to be disrespectful, but he wanted to be true to himself.

He was also very excited to have Siedah Garrett on stage with him. That added an extra element — that he could walk over and sing a portion of this song with her. Siedah delayed her flight to Malaysia to do Idol. It was an extremely expensive ticket to change, because she was doing a corporate gig in Malaysia. But she wouldn’t miss this opportunity to save her life.

HALEY REINHART — “Piece of My Heart” (Janis Joplin cover of Erma Franklin)
DB: She wanted to do another song, but it wasn’t eligible. So we went for a song that was close to it, and that became “Piece of My Heart.” She said, “Well, they said they want to hear Joplin, I’ll give them that.” It happened with Ashthon Jones, when they said, “You’re like Diana Ross,” so she sang Diana Ross. It happens because don’t want to be disrespectful. It really is that simple.

CASEY ABRAMS — “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
MO: Every Friday, Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe and I sit in a room, and every contestant comes in and goes through their two to five choices that they want to sing. I’m happy Casey changed his song. He knew he wanted to do something with his bass, and he just wasn’t feeling it . He changed it right away. Somebody mentioned “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and I started playing it , and Casey was like, “Oh my God, this is it!” He knew immediately.

One of my favorite things that Casey did was in Hollywood Week, when he was playing the standup bass and sang “Why Don’t You Do Right?” He did this harmony thing with his voice and the bass, and I said, “That’s what we need to put at the end of this song.” That whole thing he did at the end was something we came up with upstairs. He has a great ear. Literally, I play stuff on the piano, and he’s like, “No no no, make that a major seventh.” He hears everything.

LAUREN ALAINA — “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin)
MO: Somebody told her that Kelly Clarkson did on Season 1, and it was kind of in her head. She started watching it, and Kelly did that really high note. So we decided to give Lauren something else. We put a key change in it, and Rodney Jerkins gave her that one big note to hold. Yesterday, all day, she was so scared of hitting . I said, “The note you’re scared of hitting, you’ve hit it before.” I think she was thinking about it too much. Today, after dress rehearsals, I made her march around the room and sing that note without thinking while waving her arms and jogging in place. She nailed it, and she did it tonight. She’s coming into her own. Before, I doubted if she was ready for all this just because of her age. There’s not a doubt in my mind now.

JAMES DURBIN — “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (The Beatles)
MO: He showed me a video on YouTube of his band doing . He’s done it for a long time, and that song is something really special to him. He knew he wanted to bring it down. He’s needed to, like Pia needed to go up. He needed to show that he knew how to do that, and it was really emotional for him. I love that we got to see that side of him, and that he could sit still and sing that on Rock Week when everyone was like, “This is going to be your week to belt it out and scream across the stage.” He didn’t, and I think it was a risk that paid off.

SCOTTY McCREERY — “That’s All Right” (Elvis Presley)
MO: I was nervous about him picking an Elvis song because he’s talked about being a huge Elvis fan before. Like we’ve already gone there. But instead of doing an Elvis impression, he did Scotty doing an Elvis song, which was really great. The arrangement he did on the stage tonight was the arrangement we first worked out on Friday.

The boy is finding his own style — the way he holds the mic and the way he moves. He was like moving his … everything! And has become a thing with him. At first, I tried to break it. I thought it was because he was not comfortable onstage without his guitar. But it’s become how he performs now, and I dig it. I think people are going to start imitating him!

PIA TOSCANO — “River Deep — Mountain High” (Ike & Tina Turner)
MO: I felt there was too much pressure on her to perform this big, up-tempo number, like the whole country was waiting for it. But she did so well tonight. She did it three times this morning and then at dress rehearsal and then at the show, and every time she did it, she got more and more into it. She’s just got to let it go. That’s an age thing. When Carrie Underwood was on this show, she didn’t move like she moves today. Pia has got this unbelievable voice that can sing anything, and tonight she proved that she can walk around the stage. And yes, she can still work on it more. But I’m telling you, mark my words: Pia’s going to turn into an unbelievable performer by the time the show is over.

STEFANO LANGONE — “When a Man Loves a Woman” (Percy Sledge)
DB: Stefano asked me about that after he performed. During dress rehearsal today, it was much jerkier. I mentioned it to him, and he smoothed it out. Before the show, we were upstairs and sang it at least five times. I said, “I need you to smooth it out and connect your notes.” That’s specifically what Randy meant. It’s a style — on some songs it works, and on other songs it does not. This was one of those songs you have to alter your style, and be mindful of what the emotion of the song is. It’s not a jerky motion — it’s a very loving and fluid emotion.

What happened with Stefano was something I went through with Carrie Underwood and David Cook. I said, “Stefano, you sing very well, but I need more. You need to invest in your songs emotionally.” It’s very hard for some singers to let their guard down. It’s more of an emotional investment. And Carrie Underwood didn’t want to go to that place, and I said, “If you don’t want to go there, the audience won’t go there either.” I know Stefano went there . He broke through a wall."

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04-11-11, 10:59 AM (EST)
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7. "RE: Orland, Byrd on the top 9"
So Scotty's piccolo playing mic hold will become a "thing".

Carrie would grasp and ungrasp the mic when she must be a country singer thing.

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zazzy 4390 desperate attention whore postings
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04-23-11, 11:38 AM (EST)
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8. "RE: Idoloonies, Masterclass Lady, and more on AI 10"
US weekly has an interview with one of the idol music producers about working with the idols-

very interesting--they ask about J Lo NOT liking Pia (I thought so!) and working with Haley. This guy is someone who has put hits out in the market:

Exclusive: Jim Jonsin's American Idol Recap

Thursday – April 21, 2011 – 12:45pm

It's been a pantheon of hit making gold in the mentors' chairs on American Idol this season, with everyone from to Rodney Jerkins giving the finalists their two cents.

Among the esteemed group has been Jim Jonsin, the hit maestro behind such smashes as Usher's "There Goes My Baby," "Just A Dream" by Nelly, Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams" and the chart topping Lil' Wayne anthem "Lollipop."

So what is Jonsin really thinking? just caught up with him to ask for his extended take on each of the finalists, including recently ousted Pia Toscano and Paul McDonald. What was it like working with the Idol finalists on the show?

Jim Jonsin: It's really great actually. The experience is good because they're young, but they've got talent. Each of them are completely different. You have Jacob Lusk, who sounds one way and Lauren Alaina and Paul McDonald, and they all sound so different and it's all working. It's not all the same old thing on the radio. I'm amped about working with these artists who are becoming real figures in music. They're super famous right now. It's crazy how the show works.

Us: You mentioned before that you really liked Pia and that you look forward to working with her in the future even though she got eliminated. What was it that you liked about her so much?

JJ: She's very strong, and vocally she reminded me a little bit of Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. And that's good because we need one of those singers right now that is doing that type of pop music. So I just wanted to be a part of that.

Us: Do you know why Jennifer Lopez doesn't like her?

JJ: I don't know. Maybe something happened behind the scenes that I don't know about, but I don't know why J. Lo wouldn't like her. Maybe it's something personal, but I don't really get to know Pia like that. I didn't get to work with her.

Us: How did you feel about Paul getting voted off last week?

JJ: I'll be honest with you, I thought Paul was unique. Paul has a great sound, and he's going to do very well in his career. I kind of figured that they would vote him off because it's like this whole singing, belting thing where you've got to be belting out these strong vocals and he wasn't the one doing that. I don't know if he was even really trying to do that. I think it was more of a 'Hey check me out. This is me, Paul McDonald, and this is what I sound like.' He's building his own career which I thought was really cool and it's great that people know him.

Us: It seems like you have to switch your production style for Idol as far as condensing the format of the song.

JJ: We do a full version of the song, but you know they're covers so we're basically taking a great song and covering it in our own way. Some of them we might change and some of them we might leave alone.

Us: You worked with Haley Reinhart this week on her rendition of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." How was that?

JJ: We kept it very much like the original, and she sounded a lot like Adele on the song. But the short versions are a pain in the ##### because sometimes you've got to cut up this song that needs certain parts to be special and you've got to find away to make it still feel special for the performance.

For comments on Paul, Scotty, and others, click on the link above.

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04-23-11, 01:43 PM (EST)
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9. "Orland, Byrd on the top 7"

Here's part of the article:

From James Durbin’s militaristic take on Muse’s “Uprising” to Jacob Lusk’s shaky start with Luther Vandross’ “Dance with My Father,” once again, American Idol vocal coach and arranger Debra Byrd and associate music director and arranger Michael Orland are here to give their peerless insights into the Idol Top 7′s attempt at 21st century music. For a decade, Byrd and Orland have been on the front lines with the contestants, from Hollywood Week to the grand finale in May. The two work with the contestants on their respective songs, helping them shine on the Idol stage and in front of a national TV audience. Check out their thoughts on Wednesday night’s performance show below:

SCOTTY McCREERY — “Swingin’” (LeAnn Rimes)
MICHAEL ORLAND: I think that maybe he could have explored some other song choices this week. There were a lot to pick from from 2000 to 2011, especially on the country charts. We did look at some others, but when he saw this one, he responded to it a lot. I guess there was another version of this song that was out a while back, but he just redid it again, so it was all available. This is my thing: It’s a double-edged sword, the way they do the show now in that they want you to be who you are every week. Now we’re not going to see Scotty singing disco one week and folk one week and theater one week. He’s singing who he is every single week, so it’s like, how much can he change it up?

JAMES DURBIN — “Uprising” (Muse)
MO: It was his idea from the beginning. When we went to Interscope Friday, he was on his laptop waiting to go in. He pulled me over and was like, “Michael, you have to see these outfits. This is how I want to dress.” He was already finding this clothing on the Internet. He’s like a producer too! He knows what he wants. He envisioned the whole thing, with the drummers coming out.

I guess Matthew Bellamy was at the show , and James is a big huge fan of his. He dared James to sing that last chorus up an octave. When did it the first time, he sang the whole chorus up an octave, and Rock Mafia, who produced his track, they had the idea of doing one line up the octave and then come back down an octave, and then do the up-the-octave again and then come back down. It gives it more power when he does ; he’s not just laying up there.

HALEY REINHART — “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele)
DEBRA BYRD: After she made her decision to sing , she was very positive that that’s what she wanted to do. It’s a risky choice. It sounded very good on her. She wore the song well. It was a bit of a process for her to bring a strength to it. We had conversations about the strength of the song; not her vocal, because she’s got a strong vocal. She proved that on “Bennie and the Jets.” But I wanted to talk with her about the strength of being a woman. Her approach to it was a little too nice. I said, “That’s because you’ve got Adele’s video stuck in your consciousness.” Adele just sits in profile and sings. I said, “I want you to dump Adele’s video and bring some fire into the first line.” And she got there.

was a staging decision. She said, “Okay.” It’s a different look, and we’re always looking for different looks on the show, between the executive producers and Debbie Williams , and the director. It becomes how to make the show more interesting.

JACOB LUSK — “Dance with My Father” (Luther Vandross)
DB: I don’t know what happened . The only thing I can say is there was a technical mishap. I was looking at a monitor, just off to the side . So I can’t see on the stage. Whatever technically that happened that threw him off, threw off as well. It was quite an evening for Jacob! And I think he handled it well, because I thought he was going to stop, and he didn’t. I’m glad he didn’t; I’m glad he soldiered on, because stuff happens. I believe Brooke White is the only contestant to have ever stopped. I’m glad he kept singing, took his earpiece out, and was really adjusting to what was going on. While that whole thing was going on, I was not breathing. When it was over, I had this whole release. I just didn’t know what the outcome was going to be. I’m glad he didn’t stop, but it freaked me out.

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10. "Orlando, Byrd on the top 5"

Here are the comments for James and Haley:

JAMES DURBIN — “Closer to the Edge” (30 Seconds to Mars)
MO: He definitely picked that one quick. He does this every week. He came into the rehearsal room, said, “Here’s what I want to do.” Now, Ken and Nigel had never heard that song, and he played it for us and he sang it for us, and everybody loved it. He was like, “This is what I want to do.” So, you know, he’s so set in who he is. Jimmy talked to him and said, “I know you think you’re that metal guy, but you aren’t. This is who you are.” He does know who he is and what he wants to show and all that stuff, so I commend him for that. I think it’s amazing to be that far ahead.

James has what Scotty is really getting good at now — he’s getting good at engaging the audience. He makes everyone in the room feel like he’s a part of it, including the people who sit behind. I dig his whole performance skill. I think he’s great. When he goes on tour, it’s going to be crazy.

HALEY REINHART — “You And I” (Lady Gaga)
DB: We love Gaga. Now, I want you to know that Haley was sweating bullets over this. She was having such a hard time with this decision, of singing this song. We talked about it. We went over and over it. I had to speak to her about courage and bravery because she picked this song and then she doubted it. “Oh, the judges are gonna hate it!” she’d say. I said, “I’m really into making history on this television show.” We’ve had many historic moments on American Idol. And I said, “Let’s create history. Whenever those seeds of doubt creep in about your song choice, I would like you to remember you’re making history by singing an unreleased song by Lady Gaga.”

And she was really worried about Lady Gaga’s response. She said, “Oh my goodness, I don’t want her to hate me.” That is the phrase she used — “I don’t want her to hate me for singing this song.” She made Jimmy promise, “Please let her know.” Once she got over one hurdle and spoke with Gaga, then she felt better. Then she doubted it again. I said, “Haley, you’re a very good singer. You perform it very, very well. You must believe it. You’ve got her blessing! You know what to do.” And she thanked me. She said, “I like hearing your voice in my ear before I go on. I need to hear that before I go on stage.” I’m so glad I can buoy her up and encourage her as she goes on stage.

Did she do what she intended to do? I’d like to think, yes, she did. There have been other contestants this season where the judges didn’t know the song and they eventually liked it. It happened with Scotty. It takes a lot of courage for the contestants to sing a relatively unknown song.

AMES DURBIN — “Without You” (Badfinger)
MO: We were at Interscope with Jimmy and Sheryl , and we were struggling through lists of songs. He knew he wanted to do a ballad this week to be contrasting to his other song this week. We were going through them and going through them. It was Ken or Sheryl who suggested “Without You,” and when we played it for him, he went from standing at the microphone at first to coming over to sit next to me. He just got so into the song. It was really moving for all of us to watch, for something to hit you that hard. He didn’t know the song at all. He’s never heard it! It couldn’t have been more genuine. He was like, “I can’t even go over it right now, I can’t even go over it. I just have to go listen to it.”

The place he went to up on the stage is exactly the place he needed to go. He needed to go there, but not go all the way, and instead let us go all the way. You know, for me, that’s what he did. When he sang it, it was so moving to watch him. He went there, but he didn’t have a breakdown in front of us, but he let us have our own thing with the song. He produced one perfect tear at the end. That’s not something you can teach someone. It was a perfect song. I think it’s going to go down in history. We’ve never heard him sing a sad song. It was just different for him. I just loved what he did with it.

HALEY REINHART — “House of the Rising Sun” (The Animals)
DB: She had a list of songs. We sung through them — songs that would sound great on her. By the normal process of elimination, she got to “House of the Rising Sun,” and it just felt fantastic. “House of the Rising Sun” was an obviously slam dunk. She started singing it with that rasp, and I said, “You don’t have to do any fancy tricks. You don’t have to growl. Just the sound of your voice alone makes this haunting song work.”

This entire season, she was a slow burner. Obviously, we were in the Scotty camp immediately, the Pia camp immediately, certain people, and Haley kind of grew on us. I guess that’s what we’d call the dark horse of any season. Jimmy Iovine said in one of the sessions — I don’t know if it aired — but he said, “People don’t understand what a good singer you are.” It just bothered him. “People really don’t understand you’re an amazing singer here.” I was so happy he said that. The judges acknowledged that she’s grown so much during this process, and that was a nice acknowledgment.

Lauren, Scotty and Jacob's --at the link

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