Tonight is Motown Night on American Idol.  I really want to believe that this should be the easiest night of the season!  The songs are so familiar that it should be a shoo in for the Contestants!  Should be!

This week is super important, because after this elimination, the top 10 will be named and we will see who will be on the 2011 tour.

A nice video package with Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson discussing the birth and growth of Motown Records.

The Contestants have over 400 songs to pick from with 50 #1 songs among them.   The Judges are super optimistic that the Contestants will score big tonight.  I’m hoping….

Steven says that Motown music is ‘Make out music’.  Never thought about that, but I guess he is right.

Casey Abrams:  He sang ‘ I heard it Through the Grapevine’ by the late great Marvin Gaye.  Casey says that he was raised with the Motown Sound; one of the benefits of having older parents.  I’m hoping that he can control some of that growl for Marvin’s sake.  Hmm…I was trying to be optimistic.  This show is going to be hard for me.   Marvin’s smooth crooning was such a staple, I don’t know if I am ready for this.  I guess it was okay, but I wasn’t in the zone.  The crowd is up on their feet for Casey.  Steven: loves him.  Perfect pitch and out of control ego.  Jlo: agrees and she likes that he is so specific to who he is.  She thinks that he is the guy right now.  Randy also agrees and he loves that he knows who he is and always does him and we loved him.  I guess I gotta rewind.  Casey was singing to a girl-friend of his in the audience.   Video

Steven Tyler has some close support in the house!  In the Audience is Aerosmith Bandmember Brad Whitfield and daughter Liv Tyler.

Thia Megia:  She sang ‘Heatwave’ by Martha and the Vandellas.  I really hope that she nails this,  because this was my Mother’s favorite song and I grew up listening to this.  I’m going to be a hard sell.    Thia is a cute girl with a good voice, so she is always nice to see and hear and she has great energy.  I love that she listened to the Judges and sang something fun tonight.  Decent vocals, but the song is too big for her voice.  I need that Motown hustle.  Jlo:  feels like they are just scratching the surface and it is nice to see her let go.   At her age, she doesn’t have too many life expericences and acting is part of performing.   Randy: knew that she had it in her and this new thing is a good thing.  He is happy to see her move up a knotch.  Steven: agrees with them and she has taken a step up and he is good with it.  Video

Jacob Lusk:  He sang ‘You’re All I need to get by’  by Tammi Terrrell and Marvin Gaye.  I was glad to hear Jacob say that he was going to tone down some of the high notes.  We get it, he can hit them, but the last few weeks, he has been a little much.  I have to say that this toned down Jacob works really well.  Jacob did a Great Job tpnight.  Sometimes less is more.  Steven actually was so moved that at the end of Jacob’s performance, Mr Tyler goes over and hugs him.  Randy:  The Great Berry Gordy is somewhere saying OMG.   best performance and he took his time.  There was nothing wrong with this performance.  Steven:  You held back and milked it.  This was beautiful.  Jlo says that he made us beg for the notes (hmm…I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t quite yelling out ‘give it to us’ like Jlo was).  Jacob’s Grandma comes up and hugs him.  Ryan then invites the front row to come up and give him a hug  (really).  Video

Lauren Alaina:  She sang ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ by Diana Ross and the Supremes.   Hmm…I wouldn’t have picked this for her, but she will probably do well.  Wow….Lauren is in a long gown tonight for dramatic affect.   She looks very nice tonight.  I like that she puts a disco twist to this song and her mojo is in full swing as she goes to the Judges’ table and then works the crowd.  I’m glad that she changed it up and made it hers.  Good job.  I’m not blown over with this performance, but It is obvious that she will be progressing to next week anyway.  Steven: (Lauren) ripped that song another beauty mark.  It was Beautiful.  Jlo:  You look amazing tonight and she threw  her head and neck into it with so much attitude.  (she) Brought it to life.  Randy: She has her swagger on and she is ready!  Video

Stefano Langone:  He sang ‘Hello’ by Lionel Richie.  Wow…he never heard this song before this week, he really is young.  This is a really hard song to sing and I hope that it works for him, because I like Stefano.  And after this performance, I still do like him, but the didn’t bring his ‘A’ game tonight.  This was a very different performance from Lionel’s version and I was hoping for more.   Jlo:  Stefano is fine and he can sing, but she still feels that he needs to connect with the audience and she would like to see the intensity from the words, not because he wants to do well, but because he has connected to the song.  Randy agrees:  He can sing, but he needed to be perfect emotionally.  Stefano is one of the best singers here, but he doesn’t have a real connection to the audience.  Steven agrees with both of them.  Video

Temptation Founder Otis Williams is in the house.

 Haley Reinhart:  She sang ‘You really got a Hold On Me’ by Smokey Robinson.  This is a good song for Haley, because it lends to all of her vocal strengths and her tendency to over exaggerate is appreciated in this song.  I have to give it to her, she is very comfortable on the stage and possibly the most natural when she performs.  This is her best performance in weeks.  Randy:  Started a little rough, but by the middle of the song, the Haley that we love came roaring back.  This is the Singer that we know she is.  Steven: thought it was beautiful.  She doesn’t look a day over fabulous.  That is the Haley he has been looking for since he first saw her.  Steven lets out a trademark wail.  Jlo feels: that Haley has that same kind of growl in her voice as Steven.  She thinks that she has the most soul in her voice out of all of the Ladies in the competition.  Video

Scotty McCreery:  He sang ‘For Once in my Life’ by Stevie Wonder.  Wow…they show a clip of him at the Mansion and that boy threw a BB hella far into a hoop from the window and made it.  Seriously?  Who knew?  Back to the competition….he turned Stevie’s classic into a Country song.   I don’t know about this, but he seems to be feeling it and he is putting his whole body into the song (literally).  I’m just not feeling this one.   Steven:  That was beautiful.  Like Glen Campbell.  You took a big chance and loves that he ripped it.  Jlo thought it was a great version of this song.  You made it your own.  Not the strongest performance but the low note gets her.  Randy agreed:  he likes that he is taking chances and putting his Country spin on Motown classics.  He thinks that this song needed to peak a little sooner.  He is the young lady killer.  (I guess so, the girls are screaming for him).  Video

Pia Toscano:  She sang ‘All is fair in Love’ by Stevie Wonder.  This is one of my all time favorites and I believe that she has to vocals to kill it.  The first note was a little shaky, but I never fear when Pia takes the stage.  She truly hit some great notes and she was pretty good from the mid- to end of the song.  But I feel that the critique that the Judges gave Stefano is true here as well.  The reason why I love Stevie’s version so much (besides the fact that it is Stevie) is the emotion that he puts into it.  I feel him on every word.  Jlo:  Again, you kill us with feeling, beauty and voice.  She believes that she can have a career like Celine Dion.  She can own the stage.  She would like to see her incorporate the other part of performing into her .  Randy agrees she is phenomenal.  He loves that she incorporated a little more falsetto in the beginning.  He is looking for her to do something different besides a ballad.  She can’t live on ballads along.  Steven thinks that right now she is the closest star in the American Idol universe.  If stepping out in her tennis shoes and kicking some ass is what she needs to do, he knows that she will.

She shows off her killer dress with the sexy back.  Work it girl!  Video

Paul MacDonald:  He sang ‘Tracks of my Tears’ by Smokey Robinson.   Hmmm….as much as I like Paul, this one didn’t do anything for me.  Nothing, nada, zip.  I know that is his style, but he hella sounds like Macy Gray for real tonight.   Randy:  He likes that he is not dancing around and that he is playing the guitar.  He has a distinctive voice and he was worried (with this song choice), but when he started he was kind of like Rod Stewart (I don’t see it at all).  Randy really liked the teary tender part at the end.  Steven: it was very different like Willie Nelson?  (Really)  Beautiful.  Jlo:  he is the most seasoned performer that they have.  He is kind of the complete package.  I guess I need to rewind again, because I was thinking that Smokey may be in the fetal position right now.  Video

Ryan points out that Randy has not said ‘pitchy’ once tonight.  Wow, that is something. 

Naima Adedapo:  sang ‘Dancing in the Streets’ by Martha Reeves  and the Vandellas.  Naima is planning to do some African Dancing during her performance.  Hmmm….I don’t know….this isn’t ‘So you Think You Can Dance’.  Anyhoo….this is her best vocal in weeks.  She is a little Pitchy, but this is definitely the strongest performance.  However….the dancing wasn’t necessary.  Steven mumbles something like ‘e to the dee to the twittle dee?  Beautiful.  Jlo thinks she is an exciting Performer.  She gave her Goosebumps.  she is her mover and shaker.  she likes that she dances.  Randy:I’ve been a litle hard on you for the past few weeks, but tonight, all of Naima showed up.  Lol!  Ryan is on the same page as me and he points out that during Naima’s performance, American Idol started to morph into SYTYCD.  Lol! Video

James Durbin:  He sang ‘Living For the City’ by Stevie Wonder.   Wow….this is one of the funkiest songs ever…..Idk.  To be fair, James is on key and he sounds decent and he is working the crowd like nobody’s business; the problem again is the memory of Stevie Wonder’s funk filled delivery on this song.  Sorry…this one just didn’t work for me.  It was kind of hollow sounding.  I expect more from a classic like this.  But the Judges are stoked.  Jlo:  tells him to soak it up (as the crowd cheers him).  He is serious business up there.  An incredible thing to watch.  He leaves her speechless.  Randy says: that honestly when he started it was a little rough for him, but when he hit his strive, he loved it.  He thought it was a little interesting for him.  He gets his power, when he hit the high notes.  Steven: thinks it takes a little bit of being crazy to make a difference.  The song was perfect for him and and nailed it.  I gotta rewind.  Video