By Marcus Leshock
The American Idol Top 7 took on songs from the 21st Century (that’s from 2000 until now, at least according to Ryan Seacrest). After all, most of the contestants were born yesterday! Yes, I’m getting old.

What better way to start a show than with a group performance featuring all of the people none of us have been voting for?! Yep – the last 5 Idols to be eliminated took the stage (great) to sing a Pink song (double great). An ailing Paul sounded like his voice was booted out of the competition – I guess there are no sick days at FremantleMedia!

Another newsworthy moment featured Mark Ballas of “The Show That Must Not Be Named” making an appearance. He’s reportedly dating Pia Toscano, though he said Casey Abrams was his favorite contestant. Which of course means he’s dating Casey Abrams.

Let’s break down the performances from worst to first!

7. Stefano Langone – “Closer” by Neyo

Iovine had his best criticism of the night. He tried to talk Stefano out of the tight-fisted pleading he does on stage. Stefano certainly had the crotch-thumping stage presence down (or at least I assume he did, because that sort of thing has no effect on me. None at all. Nope.), but the vocals seemed a bit off. He ripped his earpiece out, as other contestants would do throughout the night. I bet some tech guy is getting it handed to him right about now! Look for Stefano to hit the bottom three again.

6. Casey Abrams – “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5

The guy who is supposed to pick songs nobody on “Idol” would ever dare to sing chooses a hit from….Maroon 5? Don’t get me wrong, I love Maroon 5 as much as the next 101.9 The Mix listener. But his style didn’t really fit the song. Nor did his scat session during the chorus. I wasn’t a fan – although props for sneaking a kiss on J.Lo, who wisely had her head turned to him when he got all up in her “Sexiest Person In The World” grill.

We also found out that “American Idol” is on a Steven Tyler delay. He said that there are people out there who root against Casey because he’s “so f—– good!” At least that’s what I’m guessing he said. Seacrest then came out wearing a fake beard and said there was a joke to that he wouldn’t share. I won’t elaborate either…but it did provide a pretty funny moment, which may help Casey some.

5. Scotty McCreery – “Swingin'” by LeeAnn Rimes

Jimmy Iovine’s line of the night?

“You’re old enough to know what this song means, right?”

Once again, Scotty went “out of his comfort zone” and picked a song that requires energetic stage presence, which he doesn’t have at this point. The judges got on him about not moving “scoot boogy-ing” enough. Clearly Scotty is built for deep country and minimal movement – my advice would be to ignore the judges and beat that horse to the winner’s circle. Lots of comfort there!

4. Lauren Alaina – “Born To Fly” by Sara Evans

Iovine was in damage control from his negative comments about Miley Cyrus last week, bringing in Cyrus’s producers to hear Lauren sing for some reason. She chose a country song that fit her twang well. It was no Carrie Underwood “Martina McBride Moment,” but it should be enough to keep her around.

3. Jacob Lusk – “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross

Jacob raided Regis Philbin’s “Millionaire” closet and belted out some Luther! His father past away when he was 12, which brought some real emotion to the performance. Minus the few technical glitches at the start (somebody was pumping drums into his earpiece – *COUGH* jamesdurbin *COUGH), I thought he sang it well. At this point it’s about whether or not you dig his style.

2. Haley Reinhart – “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele

I thought this was one of the better song choices of the night. Adele’s style fits Haley pretty well and doesn’t date her like some of her choices in previous weeks. She avoided too much growling – which may or may not help her in the voting. I haven’t figured that out, but Randy agreed it was a “perfect direction” for her. We’ll see what happens.

1. James Durbin – “Uprising” by Muse

The song seems like it would be a natural fit, but James seemed a little weak in the verses, and he screamed the rest. But who cares? The guy is fun to watch – and the judges agreed. Randy called him “unbelievable up there.” Steven Tyler had a line of the night, calling James’ wardrobe “Mad Max meets Stormtroopers on Melrose.” . J.Lo decided that a high school drum band deserved a military salute. HEROES ALL AROUND!

Bottom Three: Jacob, Stefano, Casey

Eliminated: Stefano

See you next week to break it all down! Be sure to leave a comment and tell me how wrong I am. Or don’t comment at all, which proves that I’m absolutely right about everything. Thanks!

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