'Idol' Top 11 redux
March 30th, 2011
08:02 PM ET

'Idol' Top 11 redux

9:51 p.m. – OMG, I love "Bennie and the Jets."

That's my jam right there. Haley takes a stab at it, and my husband looks and me and laments "really?!"

Not my favorite performance. I'll forgive her for being sprawled out on the piano a la  "The Fabulous Baker Boys," but that hard "s" on the "Jetssssss" was just too much. It all felt weird and wrong to me.

The judges loved it, with Randy saying it was the "best performance of the night."


9:40 p.m. – Work the runway Jacob!

A friend of a friend has dubbed Jacob "Man-tasia," and I have to say I am totally stealing that.

Interestingly he chooses "Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word." Look up Fantasia's performance of that song on YouTube, and you will be blown away, I promise you. Jacob heard Mary J. Blige's version, and Mary shows up in the studio, much to his delight.

Back to Jacob, Jimmy cautions against overdramatizing the song since that gets Jacob in trouble. I feel him on that, except I have to say that what some folks see as "drama" to me is just "taking it to church."

The judges loved it, and Randy wants him to find his "Jacob spot." I'm not even sure what that is, so I will just end my remarks by saying it was another incredible performance by Man-tasia. You rock Jacob!

9:29 p.m. – Wow. Some tough love for Casey Abrams. Jimmy told him everything was wrong about his performance last week. Rodney Jerkins tells him he needs to get rid of the beard.

Casey gets a hair cut and trims up the beard a bit. He looks good.

More importantly, he sounds good singing "Your Song." He sings it straight, and he looks a bit nervous. His voice is top-notch, even if I do miss a little bit of the Casey flavor.

Randy says saving him was one of the greatest saves on the show and calls the performance "tender." Steven Tyler loved the last two notes. and J-Lo's loving comments make Casey look like he is about to cry.

Casey says last week's save completely blew his mind. It blew ours, too, my friend. Believe that.

9:19 p.m. – Little Thia is so cute.

She selects "Daniel," and I start to worry. That's an emotional song, and I don't know if she can pull it off. It seems that Iovine has the same concern as he advises her to not go theatrical but really feel it.

Thia nails it!!!

I feel a tear!

Randy thought it was too safe. Whatever dawg.

9:09 p.m. – James is a little whirlwind.

He sings "Saturday Night's Alright," and the kid is all over the place – in the audience, on the piano, on his knees on the stage.

There's fire and plenty of rock 'n' roll. It felt like a straight concert with the audience clapping on beat. It was hot. Really, really hot.

One funny moment - James says that with the fire and all of his hair spray might cause a "Pepsi" moment. Ryan quickly notes that the show is sponsored by Coke. Remember who pays the bills James.

8:58 p.m. – Way to pimp your special Howie Mandel. And you really do look a lot like Stefano's dad.

Of course Lauren is singing "Candle in the Wind." It just seems to fit what she's trying to do - make America fall back in love with that little girl with a woman's voice who we first met during the auditions.

Randy adored it, and Steven says "It was just perfect." He also teases her about her minidress with the train. She looks amazing and sounded amazing.

Well done, Lauren!

8:47 p.m. – I have so many friends who mess up the lyrics to "Tiny Dancer."

Stefano has a bit of the same trouble in rehearsal, and Iovine is all over him. Bless Stefano's heart as he's trying really hard to keep those eyes open and connect with the audience. He ends it reaching out to touch Jennifer. Smooth move Stefano – you know she's feeling you!

So am I. I heart that dude.

8:36 p.m. – Pia is talking about being a glam girl. I could see her on "America's Next Top Model."

Shockingly, she sings another ballad. I'm stunned (not).

Her choice, "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me," was super amazing when Clay Aiken did it during the second season. And since it wouldn't be "Idol" without a minichoir, there they are backing Ms. Pia up.

She sings it well - just like she does every week - though this performance I think she tried to show more emotion and passion.

She made Steven Tyler "cry inside" I believe. Jennifer feels her trying to "break the barrier" and hopes that she gets to the point of stomping the floor. Randy says he heard some Whitney and Mariah in there.

Ummm, yeah, OK. I dig Pia, but I'm not quite there yet.

8:28 p.m. – Hey Taio Cruz!

The fans get to help him write a song for Coke. I just love Taio's British accent.

Next up is Paul, singing "Rocket Man," and he's sooooo quiet with it. At some points, I feel like I am straining to hear the lyrics.

Sometimes he makes me a little sleepy. His voice is totally suited for lullabies. Elton John, maybe not so much. He was a little pitchy.

Apparently Steven Tyler likes that though because he claims he can name five good artists who don't hit all of the notes. I can name more than that, but I wouldn't call them good.

8:19 p.m. – Alright Naima. Way to take a risk.

She turns "I'm Still Standing" into a reggae jam. Way to stick it to her critics who have questioned why she is still on the show.

I count myself in that group. Her voice isn't at all on the same level as some of her fellow contestants, but the girl can perform. J-Lo loved her "reggae swag" but doubts that the execution matched the idea. Randy thought it "came off kind of corny."


I liked it, didn't love it but I thought Naima was as true to herself as Scotty was with his country swagger. Big ups Naima!

8:10 p.m. – Leave it to Scotty to find the one country song Elton John ever did.

He sings "Country Comfort," which I had never heard of before. Fittingly, Scotty's grandma is in the audience, and she looks so proud.

Jimmy Iovine makes mention of the fact that some folks think Scotty is a "one-trick pony" with the constant country theme. I really want to see him do something different, too. True, he knows who he is as an artist, but Carrie Underwoood can sing anything - including country. I just need Scotty to stretch a bit more and be as well-rounded an artist as she is, since everyone seems to be using her as the standard when it comes to Scotty.

Regardless, the kid can sing, and the judges love him, his new guitar "Scarlett" and his performance. So keep on rolling in your lane young man.

8:05 p.m. – Wow, look at a young Elton John. He sure was flashy.

I hope our  "Idol" contestants can evoke the emotion of the songs.

I'm not sure how a fashion shoot helps the group get into performing, but OK.

8:02 p.m. – Nice to see the recap of last week complete with the backstage footage before the show.

So funny that Casey thought there would be no save this early on. Fooled ya Casey!

8 p.m. – Yay!

It's "Idol" time! Buckle up for the redux!

soundoff (50 Responses)
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  3. g-dub

    Whoooooo cares???? com'on people, dont we have better things to do?????? tv is so stupid these days, got me back to reading more!!!!

    April 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stevo

    Here's the thing, Idol fans...@Marklar and @Derek have the two best comments on this thread. Anybody who doesn't think Hayley's performance last night was awesome should have their hearing checked. The girl has talent. Period. Otherwise, she wouldn't have made it this far. My bottom three are: Naima, Paul, and Thia. Compared to the others, they just aren't as strong vocally. Naima just didn't have the right idea when she changed "Still Standing" into a Ragae song, and Paul isn't even what I would consider a decent/good singer. As a matter of fact, Paul is terrible. There is no excuse for the judges telling him he is good or that he deserves to be on the show. That is all...

    March 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SeattleRain\OnTheParade

    I finally figured out last night what was going wrong with Haley. She is really the best vocalist in the bunch – perhaps not the best singer or commercial performer – but she has by far the best knowledge and control of her instrument. The problem is that she has no knowledge of herself. She is all over the map – the anti Scotty. She needs a stylist to consult on the presentation. She is singing a great rockin' song like Bennie but is dressed like a pageant girl small town cheerleader. She has no edge. She looked edgier with the straight hair in rehearsal. She could be wailing a Janis Joplin song, but needs some of the grit to go with it.

    I don't get the Thia love. She was not helped by the lowering of the age limit. She has no inner life to bring to her great voice yet. She could have won this in a few years, but no chance now.

    Pia can sing like crazy, but again lacks any emotion in er work. Yawn. Where is Melinda Doolittle to school some of these people on how to sell a song.

    Fear for Stefano this week. Naima just doesn't have the vocal chops to go with the personality. Hope America gets it right and keeps the incredible musician Casey around for a long while now.

    Did anyone see Fallon doing his Casey impersonation last night? Too funny!!

    March 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Allison

    Hailey did WAY better than she has ever done! I thought she did very well, one of my favorites. I am hoping Thea, Naima, and Stefano are in the bottom three. Paul could be there, too. I do not dig Jacob, but people seem to like him so I doubt he'll be leaving soon 🙁 I am getting bored with Scotty BIG time (kind of James, too). Liked Lauren and Pia, but they both need to take a song and TEAR IT UP!!! I'm waiting for that from both of them....

    March 31, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Greg

    Randy is earning his living and putting out decent critiques. Tyler passes on bashes and just plays entertainer; since, you don't have time for a bunch of long winded critiques. I agree with Randy that Jacob should have ramped up somewhere else besides the end. Jacob's good but I'm not sure he can outperform his image problem. The judges may have over-hyped Haley's performance but it was very good and in the right direction. Jimmy summed her up well. James has a good enough voice that he doesn't have to scream and the scream Is like Randy's "Jacob Spot" advice. Pia showed more emotion and I don't blame her much for cruising; she can play it safe until the lesser diva, Thia, drops. Namia would have been better off dropping out earlier because she need to be hooked up with auto-tune so, people can forget the low quality of her voice. Stefano blew the first half but got it together but he has a different kind of image problem. Paul had one of his weaker performances. The rest did well. Namia should go for her own good, so she can get electronic enhancement. Leaving less evidence probably helped the Idol alum in Glee.

    March 31, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. DFWDelia

    I thought James showed why he is so much better than everyone else! OMG! Pia and Thelia played it safe and were both kind of boring. Even Jacob was kind of boring tonight. I like him but he needs to start moving around the stage some. Naimi has to figure out that her audience isn't all into reggae and chants or she'll be gone soon if not tomorrow. Haley is so cute but I wish she'd quit with the blues/jazz sounds! Enough, please! I know the judges told her thats what she should sing but enough! Casey and Scotty sounded great. Paul, not so much. Stefano was pretty good but not anywhere near the top three guys.

    March 31, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. AI Fan

    Someone needs to show Naima the exit door and quick. She ruins everything with that so called Jamaican/African crap. Please do something with the dread locks. She looks ghetto/unkempt/dirty. She looks like the monster fron the movie 'Predator'. Cant sing/dance anyways. So why is she even still here?

    March 30, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mb

    "Mantasia" Fantasia is more of a man than Jacob

    March 30, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sulton

    Pia is a snob. Haley isn't as good as she thinks she is.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. eb

    Casey is back. He is One of Kind with actually talent. Scotty has a voice and smile that makes you feel goooood. Pia is turning into a Diva, change it girl. Hailey was hot, you go girl. James was so much fun to .watch and some kind of wild.


    March 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jenni Bean

    The Pepsi Comment was hilarious...He was referring to the Pepsi commercial where Michael Jackson catches on fire. So in this case a Coca Cola moment is positive, a Pepsi moment is horrible. He remembered who pays the bills. I think Ryan missed the joke 😀

    March 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      Exactly the Pepsi moment he was referring to was definitely not a good thing. Man who's writing this blog. The hard "s" thing which is part of the song, ragging on the wrong lyrics and totally missing the hair on fire joke.

      March 30, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      And it's Bennie not Benny.

      March 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

      Thanks for pointing out the typo, that's been corrected. And I did get the "Pepsi" joke as I am old enough to remember the "Michael Jackson spinning as his hair caught on fire during the filming of the Pepsi commercial" incident.

      March 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      Then did you also get that the hard extended "s" in Bennie and Jets is how the song goes? I'm guessing you did since OMG you love that song. It's the part everyone loves to do in the song. Should she have just taken it out?

      March 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Quincy

    I thought I was going to die from Haley's Bennie and the Jets. That was absolutely brutal. The judges are smoking crack if they think that was the best vocal. All sprawled out on the piano and holding the SSSSSSSSSS on Jetsssssss. Give me a break. Please get rid of her America.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      You probably said something similar when Lady GaGa dressed in meat or showed up in an egg. Look beyond these little things and try closing your eyes and just listening. In fact, don't watch the show at all, just listen. Then judge. Remember when that blonde from Oklahoma was on Idol? She didn't do anything on stage except sing. She didn't move, she didn't dance, she didn't really entertain except with her voice. I think she's the most successful Idol to date. What was her name? Carry Underwood! - All these people are going through a transformation. Some more than others. Haley is just now learning how to be confident, move better, etc. If she gets through and makes a career of this, I bet any money one of the first things she'll be taught is how to move, talk, act, and then they'll work on improving her voice even more. Haley will not be in the bottom. No way. No chance.

      March 31, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. G. W. Snark

    My dog howled the entire show and he was better than this group! Time to retire this show!

    March 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Sherri

    Scott (I refuse to call him 'Scotty') is true country. For someone so young, he's just got it. Naimi just sounds forced a lot of the time. I will readily admit that I don't like her style, so anything she does is no favorite of my. Personally, I prefer James Durbin. He's a showstopper. Naimi has GOT to go....who else along with her is kind of tough. All the rest of them did well tonight.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Stella Pearl

    For all the talent and it being Elton John night, it was totally non-goosebumpy. To go...Hayley and Naima.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  18. RavenWalk

    I agree that Scotty's strength is that he can turn anything into country. That's making it his own. Sort of how Adam Lambert turned country into his own with Ring of Fire. Love how Adam perfected and ran with it on his GlamNation tour. All that was missing was the belly dancers. Keep it up, Scotty! (and Scotty isn't even my favorite, but I love his voice)

    March 30, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stella Pearl

      I don't understand the Scotty thing...it's like Howdy Doody trying to be Josh Turner.

      March 30, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • moon627

      Howdy Doody – PERFECT description – right up there with Alfred E Newman !

      March 31, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  19. JudgingIdol

    Guys were not that good tonight. My bottom three would be Paul, Casey...and Haley again. I don't get what was to love with her performance. Hands down best VOCAL performance was Thia. The way she ended "Daniel" choked me up and I was shocked she did that to me. Why the judges gave her no real love for that performance will be the mystery of the night for me.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marklar

      Um, really? Really?!? You must be a tween. The bottom 3 would be people out of the following 4:


      None of these contestants above are consistent, powerful, original, creative or intuitive enough to bring on the vocals that the other 7 have. Casey is a true artist. Understand Casey knows Music and Music theory and just because you might not like his "bluesy" style does not mean Thia or Naima are anywhere close to the Artist in Casey.

      See this is by far the BEST idol season, and I have faithfully watched all 10. This one lacks the "market to the teenie boppers" that Simon Cowel brought to the show. This time it is for real and our new Judges have picked the best AI has ever seen. They all deserved to be there, but you know, the cream will always rise to the top.

      We all have different tastes in our music, but talent is talent and Artistry is Artistry. Learn the difference before you take on judging between the two.

      March 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  20. RollTheDice

    Thai, Hailey, & paul. Bottom 3 for me. Thai & Paul have no strength to their voices. Hailey thinks she's better than she really is, ya know.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Bridget

    Haley was terrible! Randy and J. Lo loved it, but I don't think Steven did. He made an interesting comment I didn't quite get. Something about a ...well placed 'something'...

    March 30, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  22. RollTheDice

    Oh! C'mon & tell us!!

    March 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Derek of the Dominoes

    I dunno, Casey, not your best. Seems like losing the beard was something like Sampson losing his hair. Something was missing.

    March 30, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  24. ike

    Can't wait for Lusk.

    March 30, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  25. TED

    Hi Lisa ! That is incredible ! I bet France is neat ! We hope everyone over there is doing super good !

    March 30, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  26. RollTheDice

    Ho hum... I'm waiting for some "wow factor". Lauren did good. Pia has nice voice, but she acted a bit like a snob. Will see how rest of show goes.

    March 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  27. JP!

    It sounded like she said "Your candle burned out long before. Your legend EVER did" instead of "never did."
    To say never did in that sentence would make no sense and is bad grammar.
    The actual lyrics are: "... long before your legend ever did".
    Sounds like you've been singing the wrong lyrics all these years...

    March 30, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

      I probably have. You don't even want to know how I have messed up the lyrics of "Tiny Dancer!"

      March 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP!

      To our lovely hostess who replied below:
      Too funny!
      We've all been there... you don't want to know what I thought the lyrics to
      Manfred Mann's "Blinded by the light" were...


      March 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP!

      I can only guess, Lisa... let's just assume "Church Lady" would hit "Report Abuse" within three seconds of you
      posting your version of Tiny Dancer.
      By the way, thanks again for the timely Idol coverage, I'm enjoying your weekly blogs.
      In the meantime, it's very cool that X-Factor is coming to the US. I assume you've seen some YouTube clips in the past.
      Is there ANY girl/woman on this season's American Idol who comes even close to Stacey Solomon in your opinion?
      (And Stacey didn't even win, BTW)
      Links to 3 great YouTube clips below, I'd like to hear what you think about her...





      March 30, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

      JP! You are very welcome. I am super excited for "The X Factor" to start as I have been following the British version of the show via clips online since the days of Leona Lewis. I like quite a few of the ladies this season, though I think it's been tough to find the ones with both the talent AND the star power. Thanks so much for following the blog each week!

      March 30, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  28. kpbee

    the lyric on candle in the wind was correct, she didn't make a mistake!

    March 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

      Kpbee, I stand corrected and deleted so as not to confuse folks. Thanks!

      March 30, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Brownivygal

    so scotty could do country but Naima can't always put a reggae twist to things? hypocrisy anyone? nevertheless, i dont think Naima's vocals are as strong as when we seen her during auditions. i'm sure she's on her way out. Paul needs to go as well.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viking

      Scotty's song had country roots. To me, Naima's seemed forced, perhaps she should have went with Jamaica Jerk-Off from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

      March 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

    Viking, will do! Thanks for the heads up.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Viking

    Elton had quite a few country songs. You should check out his second album released in the US: Tumbleweed Connection.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Fin

    My take on Scotty is that he knows what he's good at. What I think is fun and unique is that he taking other styles and finding ways to make other types of songs his own. He definitely has my vote!

    March 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Boomer

    Ya just gotta love Scotty! That awesome voice! He was born to do Country. Even if he doesn't make it to the top of Idol, he will still be a star.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Brownivygal

    yes, i soooo need Scotty to do something different. like, the fact that he made a Motown song sound country last week says it all.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |

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