Tonight began with an homage to Motown Records which produced over 400 hit singles and 50 number one hits! Berry Gordy sat in the audience looking on.
01. Casey Abrams sang "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye (1967)-- Steven said perfect pitch and perfect mix of out of control. Jennifer said, I thought about it and there is no one out there like you. Randy said you're a true original and you take chances. I liked it, but I have to be honest; I didn't love this performance. I kept trying to figure out why and I discovered it's because to me the vocals felt forced in places. It didn't feel effortless to me.
02. Thia Megia sang "Heat Wave" by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (1963)-- Jennifer said continue to dig deeper because we know you have it in you, and remember to connect with your lyrics. Randy said you can really sing but keep pushing. Steven said, you took a step out, and I'm good with it. Thia did improve from last week; however, her vocals continue to be on the weak side. She has a ways to go, and if it doesn't change or improve, she'll only be around for a couple more weeks.
03. Jacob Lusk sang "You're All I Need to Get By" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (1968)-- Randy said you were a true professional and there was nothing wrong with that performance. Jennifer said you made us beg and you moved us. Steven said it was beautiful and ran up onstage to hug Jacob when it was over. I didn't want this performance to be over, like Jennifer, my ears were standing at attention waiting for more. This was truly a polished performance; bravo!
04. Lauren Alaina sang "You Keep Me Hanging On" by The Supremes (1966)-- Steven said every time you said I hear that person inside of you, it was beautiful. Jennifer thought Lauren looked beautiful and loved the attitude that she brought to the song. Randy said Lauren is back and she has her swagger on tonight. I felt she did a good job singing the song and her vocals were solid, but there was a part of me that kept expecting her to do more with the song.
05. Stefano Langone sang "Hello" by Lionel Richie (1984)-- Jennifer said, fine, check, sing like crazy, check, all that's missing is your connection with the audience. She said when you feel it in your heart, your phrasing is going to change. You have to be able to connect with the song emotionally, look at every lyric, if you don't make a connection, throw it out, and move on to the next song. Steven agreed with Jennifer. Randy said you sounded really good but there was no real connection. I have to say, I think the advice Jennifer gave to Stefano was spot on. He is one of the best singers in the competition, imagine how much better he will be once he makes that connection. Wow!
06. Hayley Reinhart sang "You Really Got a Hold on Me" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (1962)-- Randy said it started rough but by the middle of the song the bluesy Hayley we knew and loved in Hollywood came back. Steven said, it was beautiful and touched my heart. Jennifer said you have an effortless control in your voice and the most soulful female voice in the competition. This was leaps and bounds better than any performance I have seen from her thus far. The question is, is it strong enough to keep her in the competition? That's a toss up.
07. Scotty McCreery sang "For Once in My Life" by Stevie Wonder (1968)-- Steven said, Scotty that was beautiful, you took a chance. Jennifer said it wasn't your best performance but it was a great version of the song and every time you hit that low note, you get me all over again. Randy said not your best vocal, but you made it your own. What I love about Scotty, and I may sound like a broken record, is that he stays true to who he is, and he does what he does well.
08. Pia Toscano sang "All in Love is Fair" by Stevie Wonder (1973)-- Jennifer said, same thing she said to Stefano, look and beauty, check, voice, check, feeling, check, and now all that is missing is the stage presence. You're going to need to have that because someday you're going to do a two hour concert. Randy said your voice is phenomenal and he wants to hear something other than a ballad. Steven said you are the closest star in this American Idol thing, and I know you'll do whatever it takes to prove how great you are. That was unbelievable to me, that was a performance that brought a tear to my eyes. That is what you call effortless vocals.
09. Paul McDonald sang "Tracks of My Tears" by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles (1965)-- Randy said you're so unique and I love that tender part of your voice at the end. Steven said I loved what you did tonight, especially with the guitar onstage. Jennifer said you're the most seasoned performer, you come out, do your thing, all you need is a producer. The distinctness of Paul's voice is what draws me in every week, it completely captures me. I love the high performance quality and he is more comfortable onstage than anyone else.
10. Naima Adedapo sang "Dancing in the Street" by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (1964)-- Steven said this is the whole package. Jennifer said you're an exciting performer, you're my mover, my shaker, and my dancer. Randy said I know I have been hard on you these past few weeks but tonight, all of Naima showed up, and everything you did was smart. This was 100% pure fun and pure talent for me. I loved that everything was so well put together.
11. James Durbin sang "Living for the City" by Stevie Wonder (1973)-- Jennifer said you are serious business up there. Randy said when you hit your pocket, you were unbelievable. Steven said your voice was incredible. James has that great rocker voice, and his voice is always once I look forward to hearing every week.