American Idol S10 Top 11 Performances

Tonight America will decide who comprises the American Idol Season 10 touring company.  If you have checked out our American Idol Season 10 Top 11 Power Rankings you know that we believe Hayley Reinhart, Mia Thegia and Naima Adedapo are at risk of missing out on the tour.

One21music focuses on Christian musicians performing on American Idol.  We have previously identified Scott McCreery, Lauren Alaina and Jacob Lusk as believers on Season 10.  Based on the research and strong recommendations of our readers we have decided to add Stefano Langone to the fold.  Please keep tuned in for an article on Stefano.  Some may wonder why we care.  Please check out two early articles Why Do Christians Have All The Lame Music and How Underground Christian Music Saved Us, to better understand why a musician’s world view matters to us.

Back to American Idol Season 10. Here are our five big questions for tonight:

  • Can Hayley Reinhart pull off a season saving performance that gives her the opportunity to stick around a few more weeks and develop an identity? Hayley is a great combination of Paul MacDonald‘s style with James Durbin‘s chops.  She has not been able to establish an identity and is in danger of leaving the show tonight.
  • Will Stefano Langone continue his march from judge’s save to power rankings leader?  Stefano’s performance of the gospel plea “I Need You Now” is the best performance of the live shows.  His interpretation of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” was the best of the week’s performances.  Is Stefano a strong contender to bring R&B back to the top of American Idol?
  • Can Jacob Lusk and Naima Adedapo control themselves enough to deliver an in tune performance?  Naima is an exciting performer who has delivered the worst vocal performances of the season.  Jacob is an indescribable talent who has not been able reign in his voice on the live shows.  Naima is in danger of going home and Jacob Lusk is in danger of losing his chance to win American Idol Season 10.
  • Will Scott McCreery and Lauren Alaina continue their march to the final three?  Scott is clearly the most popular performer on American Idol Season 10 and he has delivered each week.  Lauren stumbled a few weeks ago but seemed to regain her momentum last week.
  • What untouchable singer will Pia Toscano challenge tonight?  After Chrissie Hynde, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston in three straight weeks, it seems like Pia is determined to slay all of American Idol‘s untouchable singers.  Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey and Aretha never sang for Motown.  The only Motown untouchable I can think of is Stevie Wonder. I don’t know.

As I alluded to above, the Top 11 will be singing the songs of Motown, always a fun theme.  Join as we react “in the moment” and share our insights on the American Idol Season 10 Top 11 performances.

I love soul music.  I am more of a Stax/Volt man but who can argue with Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and The Temptations.  The soundtrack of my childhood.  Oops, yep I am that old. Motown had over 400 songs chart on Billboard and over 50 No. 1 hits.  Randy is right, this is inspirational music.

Casey Abram is singing Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”  Thankfully, Casey looks like he is feeling better.  Casey looks like a grizzly bear and is growling like one tonight.  I have heard many versions of this song.  Casey’s growling, jazz-phrased, manic performance is not one of my favorites.  I think Casey was a little over the top on a slick song.  J-Lo says he is unique in the marketplace.  The judges like the performance because it was unique and well performed.  Me not so much.

Thia Megia struggled song selection with this week.  She is trying to show some uptempo chops with “Heatwave” by Martha and The Vandellas.” Heatwave” is the right ager song for her.  Great, great singing, what a voice.  A little mechanical in parts but by far her best performance of the season.  She showed personality and chops. I agree with J-Lo that it is good to see her let go.  Randy is happy she took chances and pushes her to stretch even further.  Her performance puts some pressure on the other girls like Hayley and Naima.

Jacob Lusk is singing Marvin Gaye’s “Your All I Need to Get By.”  Jimmy Iovine is right that Jacob needs to show restraint in his singing.  One of the original Funk brothers is playing bass.  Wow.  I sit here with my mouth hanging open.  I wish I could go hug him like Steven Tyler just did.  The entire studio leapt to their feet, including the judges.  Randy said it was perfect.  The judges are fighting to compliment him. Grandma ran up to the stage to hug and kiss Jacob and now there is a parade from the audience to show their appreciation with hugs and kisses.  Jacob Lusk is back.  That was unbelievably awesome.  I just saw over 50 professional performers at SXSW 2011.  Nothing was even close to that.

Lauren Alaina is singing “You Keep Me Hanging On” by The Supremes.  This is a great song for Lauren.  Nice slow intro then Lauren steps out to pick up the tempo.  It was a good performance but she never really cut loose vocally.  Steven liked the personality she brought to the song and J-Lo liked her sass.  Randy says Lauren’s got her swagger back.  I think is was just hard to follow that storm the Jacob Lusk created.

Stefano Langone‘s mom went by the mansion and cooked for the Idols, yum. Stefano grew up on Motown and so he chose “Hello” by Lionel Richie.  Jimmy advised Stefano to slow down and let the intimacy of the song grow.  I never really liked this song much.  Stefano starts quietly and then tries to infuse some emotion into the song.  I am not sure it really worked. I think he tried to create the emotion rather than letting the lyrics do the work.  J-Lo advises him to connect with the lyrics and the audience.  J-Lo is a great mentor.  She told him to bring intensity to the story instead of the competition.  All three judges agreed that he needs to bring more feeling.  Steven said he peaked too soon in the song.  The judges did a good job of describing what I was feeling.

Otis Williams, one of the founding members of The Temptations is in the house.  I am geeking out!  The Temps were my Beatles.

Hayley Reinhart is singing “You Really Got A Hold On Me” by Smokey Robinson.  She is tired of being in the bottom 3 and is afraid this is her last chance.  This is not the performance she needs.  Great singing but I am not sure what she was trying to communicate.  Randy liked how she took over the song in the middle of the song.  Steven thought it was beautiful. He really liked her growl.  J-Lo is right that Hayley has the most versatile voice in the competition.  I am a fan, but I was not feeling her performance the way the judges did. If Hayley is voted off this week, I think the judges may save her.

America’s favorite Scott McCreery can sink a basket from the balconey of the mansion.  Scott McCreery has managed to sneak in Stevie Wonder’s version of “For Once In My Life” into the competition.  Scott is going to try bring Stevie’s intensity to avoid sounding like a lounge singer. Scott McCreery just performed a new country No. 1 hit.  There is now a new version of “For Once In My Life.”  Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and now Scott McCreery.  Steven thought he nailed it.  J-Lo thought it was a new version of this song.  The judges did not love the singing, but Randy called him Scotty, the lady killer.

I like the interviews they are doing with the contestants as they leave the stage.  They have done this in the past but the doing just about every performer this year.

What did I tell you?  Pia Toscano is doing Stevie Wonder.  She is doing “All In Love is Fair” from the classic Innervisons album.  This week Pia is concentrating on feeling the song.  Pia has really great soul phrasing and timing.  This song could fall into lounge act territory but she keeps it in the right spot.  And another perfect, perfect singing performance by Pia Toscano. J-Lo says she needs to take control of the stage.  Randy says she is phenomenal but wants her do something other than a ballad. Steven thinks she is the closest star in the American Idol universe.  I think I know what he means?

Paul MacDonald will use his guitar to perform Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears.”  Paul says you can’t listen to Motown without dancing.  Paul dancing? This should be good.  It is good that Paul is singing out a little more these past two weeks.  He sings it well, I am not sure the performance connects with the mood of the song.  I would have liked him to take it very slow and quiet and wring the emotion out of the song.  He did make it a Paul MacDonald song.  Randy nailed it when he says Paul is most powerful when he is tender.  Steven likes it.  J-Lo says he is the most seasoned performer.

The judges are loving the show tonight.  Randy has not said pitchy once.

Naima Adedapo may be singing for her life on American Idol Season 10. She is singing Martha Reeves’ “Dancing In The Street.”  This is the right song for Naima and she loves this song.  What a great song.  She has wrapped a tribal arrangement around the song.  This is by far her best performance and then she throws some crazy African dancing to end the song.  Maybe a little too much dancing for a singing competition but she did very, very well.  Steven and J-Lo both loved her and her performance.  Randy says all of Naima showed up.  He is right that she took her time to sing the song.  Naima Adedapo finally delivered on the promise of Naima Adedapo.

We close this show of soul music with the rocker James Durbin.  He is singing “Living For The City” by Stevie Wonder.  What a great choice from him and he understands Stevie Wonder’s original message of hope in the song. Incredible.  He is not only a mind blowing singer but he is so comfortable on the stage.  A great finale to this wonderful episode of American Idol Season 10.  J-Lo just said incredible as well.  Randy says it started a little rough but he slayed the song.  Steven says he nailed it.

Those were just 11 awesome performances.  More than half of the performers delivered their best performances of Season 10 and everyone did well.  I think Jacob Lusk took the night and maybe delivered the best performance of the season.  I thought Pia Toscano was perfect and Scott McCreery re-interpreted a classic into a new genre.  As much as I hate to say it, I think Casey Abrams was the weakest of the night.  Every one of these young performers deserve to stay on the show after tonight.

Now, go over to our SXSW 2011 coverage to experience the largest musical event in the world.  Make sure to watch the videos in the Found Gospel at SXSW 2011 article.  The Realtives and Shake Anderson are awesome.


  1. Lori says:

    I can’t wait for the show to start! Stefano’s I need you now is still the best song of the season. We currently lost a 7 year old boy at Kent Elementary in a sledding accident. It was the saddest funeral I have been too. His families pain was beyond words. Listening to Stefano sing “I need you now” was a wake up call to everyone. The Lord is there for us even when we are hurting the most. I know Stefano has made mistakes according to the websites, however… Remember, He who cast the first stone! Continue to vote for Stefano. I think he could be a true contributor to Christan music. I have only seen him live one time in the play Guys and Dolls. He played “Nickey Nice.” He was so funny and such a good singer even as a senior in high school.

  2. Jim Richardson says:

    what a night, everyone has been great. Scotty will have a long career like a George Straight.

  3. Jim Richardson says:

    that might have been the best Idol show ever. I hope they offer a special on ITUNES again for the whole album. Wish this was the red cross relief week, last week there wasn’t much worth buying.

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