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After losing Karen Rodriguez last week, American Idol was back with their Top 11 last night. Tonight’s task? Taking on the songs of “Motown.”

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Casey Abrams rocked it out with “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and was sporting a cool slicked-back look. The great thing about Casey is he always having so much fun up there and it comes through. A great Joe Cocker-vibe. But how would Casey do in the recording world? Steven said he “is the perfect entertainer.” Jennifer said, “You are so specific to who you are. That is such an incredible thing!”

Thia Megia had a tough time last week and tonight was a little more exciting, but not spectacular with “Heatwave.” Jennifer said that she “needs to dig deeper each week. Always connect with your lyrics.” Randy said, “It’s about taking chances and you took a chance tonight. You can really sing.”

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Jacob Lusk knocked it out of the park with “You’re All I Need to Get By.” It started off a little slow, but it was great to see Jacob a lot more restrained and not going for so many high notes. The judges loved it. Steven said, “You held it back. It was beautiful.” Jennifer said, “You made us beg for those notes. You move me, you move us.”

Lauren Alaina was feeling much better this week and showed it on “You Keep Me Hanging On.” She sounded great and put some great attitude into it. Loved seeing Lauren really work the crowd. Steven thought, “I don’t think you listen to anybody about anything and I like that about you.” Jennifer said, “It was so much attitude and that was what the song needed. Good job.” Randy said, “She’s got her swagger on high. She’s ready.”

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Stefano Langone hit the stage with “Hello.” Not a smart move, David Cook had a moment with this song in Season 7. Stefano sounded good and hit some great notes. But it was no moment and may hurt him in the votes this week. But I love how he gave it some Latin flair. Jennifer told him that he’s “got to connect.” Randy said, “You sounded good but there was no real connection. But you are one of the better singers we have here.”

Haley Reinhart sang “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me” and what a great bluesey voice she has. Loving the energy she put into it. Randy said, “The Haley that we love came roaring back.” Steven thought, “It was beautiful. You don’t look a day over fabulous.” Jennifer said, “You have the effortless control in your voice.”

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Scotty McCreery did this thing on “For Once in My Life.” He is just a great performer. Threw a country vibe on it and nailed it. Steven said, “When you go down on those low notes, you tweak everybody.” Jennifer said, “You really made it on your own, but it wasn’t your strongest vocal performance.” Randy said, “It wasn’t your strongest vocal performance but you are taking chances.”

Pia Toscano did her rendition on “All In Love Is Fair.” She sounded amazing and she has an incredible voice. But it is another ballad. She needs to do something different. Jennifer said you have “amazing vocals and you can have a career like Celine Dion. But you need to work that stage.” Randy said, “You’re phenomenal, but give me a mid-tempo, give me an up-tempo. Steven said, “You are the closest star in this American Idol universe.”

Paul McDonald sang “Tracks of My Tears.” Risky move since Adam Lambert nailed this in season 8. But Paul busted out the guitar and really sounded great. He is so much better with the guitar because he isn’t all over the place. Sounded great and did a nice spin on song. Randy said that “when you sing tender, oh my God.” Jennifer said, “You’re the most seasonsed performer we have. You are kind of the complete package.”

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Naima Adedapo had a blast up there with her rendition of “Dancing in the Streets.” Crazy outfit and shse busted out some crazy dance moves, but she does entertain. But will viewers really like it enough to vote for her? Steven said she’s “the whole package! Great!” Jennifer said, “You are an exciting performer. It was my first little goosebumps of the night.”

James Durbin had the pimp spot tonight and closed out the show with “Living for the City.” Great stage presence and he really worked the camera. Some off-notes but still a good job. Randy said he “loved the note that you ended on.” Steven said, “It takes a little bit of being crazy to make a difference in this world and that’s what you’re all about. You nailed it.” A lot of great performances tonight. One of the best in a long time that is actually really hard to pick out who will be the bottom 3.

Bottom 3: Haley, Thia and Naima.

Going Home: Would like it to be Thia, but sadly, I think it might be Haley. We’ll find out who gets the boot tonight at 8 p.m. Who will make the tour? And who will be the last one cut before we finally have our Top 10?

Written by Rana Meyer

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