The show opens with the clip of Casey Abrams being saved last week.  Two will go home tomorrow!

I’m as happy as can be that Sir Elton John returns tonight and the Idols will try to do their Mentor proud!

The Idol Hopefuls were treated to a Entertainment Weekly photoshoot to prepare for the Elton John week.  Nice.

Scotty McCreery:  He sang ‘Country Comfort’  accompanied by his guitar.  Smart boy, he knows where his strength is and he has not strayed from it.  Scotty was drawn to this country song about a Country Grandmother and his Grandma just happens to be in the audience.  You can’t make up a better story than that!  He nailed it.  Steven:  Nothing I can say to you that a pair of old country boots couldn’t fix.  You did it again.  JLo:  you have amazing instincts about what is right for you. You’re right on, never doubt yourself.  Randy:  You have seasoned so fast on this show.  He felt like he was at his concert.  All the judges really liked that he gave a shout out to Grandma.  Video

Naima Adedapo:  She sang  I’m Still standing’  and put a Reggae twist to it (shocker).  I wondered how this would work, but she actually pulled it off and it’s pretty creative.  I like it a lot.  It shows off her versatility, but I don’t know if it showed off her vocals or if the Judges will like the Reggae bit agan.  Jlo: says that she loves her and she believes that she is supposed to still be standing, but she is not sure if this song was suited for that; some songs are not meant to be flipped.  She loved her performance.  Randy:  She has to agree with Jlo.  He loves Reggae, but it kind of came off as kind of corny and that is not who she is.    She is cool with mad flava.  He respects that she is an Artist.  Steven:  boom shaka laka laka baby.  Good for you for picking a song that fits you.     Video

Paul Macdonald:  He sang Rocket Man.  His band covered this song 5 years ago and he says that he bombed.  (right)  For me, this was so much better than last week. Paul must be feeling confident, because he has on his flowered jacket again.   This song works with his voice and style.  Loved it!   Randy:  This was some quiet comfort.  There were a couple of things that were pitchy, but when he hits his tender zone, it is infectious.  He and Jlo wonder if he is holding back.  They believe in him.  Steven:  Have you been watering that suit?  There are more flowers on it than before (lol).  Loves his voice, the American people love him.  He likes the character where he hits the note sometimes and misses too.  When he is too perfect, he won’t like him.   (so is this the miss?)  Jlo:  She encourages him to push himself.  Video

Pia Toscano:  She sang Don’t Let The Sun Go Down’, because it is one of her favorites.  She apologizes for singing another ballad,but she is really feeling this song.  Another great  performance from Pia.  Minor pitch problems, but we forgive her, because she is fantabulous!  The Choir  who accompanied her was a nice touch.  Steven:  Pia, you have done it again.  This proves that some people might have been wrong when they told you not to sing a ballad.  This was as good as it gets.  Jlo:  The notes take us to another place.  Crazy what you do with your voice.  She felt her more than she has before and she is breaking through the barriers.  Jlo is waiting for her to do it.   Randy: (tries to clean up Steven and Ryan’s digs about his pushing Pia to sing  uptempo song).  He thinks that she slayed the ballads everytime, but he was just trying to see her switch things up.  He heard some Mariah and Whitney in there.  The Judges debate the issue of telling her to stop singing ballads.  The Judges agree that they would like Pia to surprise them next week.   Video

Stefano Langone:  He sang  Tiny Dancer.  This is my favorite Elton John song of all time.  Loved it, loved it, loved it!  I don’t know about the Judges, but Stefano has connected with me.  Work it Stefano, he ends taking Jlo’s hand (nice touch).  Jlo:  feels he has really taken their notes an he moved the crowd.  Amazing.  Really good.  Randy:  What he loved is that he was  connected for the whole thing.  He liked it.  When he hit he high notes, he was right on.  Steven:  I did too.  You nailed it, I thought it was really good.  Video

Cute:  Howie Mandel is there and he is sitting in the audience with Stefano’s father.  He is promoting his new show ‘Flashmob‘.  OMG…..I think that his Dad was on Deal or no Deal years ago and he came out dressed like Howie (they do look alike).  Funny!

Lauren Alaina:  She sang ‘Candle in the Wind’.  Another great performance from  Lauren.  It is hard to believe that she is only 15.  Elton should be happy that there have been no bad performances yet. Randy:  That was one of the greatest Lauren Alaina performances ever.  You can do anything.  Very hot  Steven:  He has loved her since the first night she laid eyes on him.  That was perfect.  Keep singing like that and you can afford the rest of the dress.  lol!  Jlo:  That was amazing.  you looked and sounded beautiful.   Video

James Durbin:  He sang  Saturday Nights Alright for Fighting.  Hmmm…..this one was just okay for me.  I think that James’ showmanship earned him alot of points (alot of theatrics…..the piano was on fire for God’s sake), but I wasn’t like ‘ooh wee’ like with he other contestants.  Everyone seems to be enjoying it alot more than me, so….   Steven:  You brought the heat didn’t you.  Really good rock voice.  Don’t wear out your welcome, you’ll wind up like m.  Jlo:  when you’re up there, I feel like I am at yourshow.  Great performance by a great Artist.  Randy:  What he also loved is that he enjoyed himself.  That was a great, great, great performance.  IDK….  Video

Thia Megia:  She sang ‘Daniel’.  Thia is singing this song and channeling memories of her older brother leaving when she was younger.  Very nice performance.  I believed her story and that she is singing for her brother and that was her mission!  Jlo:  That was beautiful.  She likes what she is seeing this week.  She internalized the song and what it meant to her.  Randy:  What I liked is that is was a very relaxed side and your beautiful voice.  He didn’t like that it was very safe.  Interesting.  Steve:n  When you find the right song, the voice appears and I think that you sang a great Elton John song well.   Video

Casey Abrams:  He sang ‘Your Song’.  If there is no other performance night that Casey has to bring it; he has to truly bring it tonight.  After his emotional save last week, it is necessary and required that he proves that the Judges made the right choice.  Producer Rodney Jenkins advises him to change up and go get that beard trimmed.  Great advice, he was starting to look like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.  Casey redeems himself tonight.  Gone is that (getting to be) annoying growl; its replaced with quiet sensitivity and beautiful vocals.  Nice.  Randy:  Yo (will he ever stop with the slang?), I’m sure that I speak for my fellow Judges; this was one of the greatest saves ever.  This was absolutely brilliant.  Well done.  Steven:  I have to concur, we made the right decision keeping you.  Well done man….Beautiful.  Jlo:  Along the way we have had to make some hard decisions when some great people were sent home.  She has lost sleep with some of those decisions (no she hasn’t), but she didn’t lose any sleep over the decision to save him.   Video

Jacob Lusk:  He sang  Sorry Seems to be the hardest word’.  Jacob was overwhelmed that he got to meet Mary J. Blige (who just happened to happen by).  Mary’s version of this classic was the first version of the song that Jacob heard.    His voice is just phenomenol.  One thing about Jacob, he doesn’t have to reach anywhere to connect, I feel like crying  trying to imagine whatever he is pulling from to allow him to sing with such emotion.  Steven:  Jacob, I watch how far out there you get when you sing.  (I) Loved the whole thing.  You slayed me.  Jlo:  Shout out to Tricky for the arrangement.  He tailored it to you and you made it your own.  That last note, you don’t hear everyday.  Randy:  Beautiful arrangement and the  first 1/2 was beautiful; but Randy would like to see Jacob  pick that one spot where he brings his ‘Jacob spot’.  It still was brilliant…you know what I’m saying?  (actually no).  Video

Haley Reinhart:  She sang Bennie and the Jets.  Ooh…..huge song, I’m kinda worried for Haley.   She started out really shaky, but it got better and better & then the sassy tone that is her signature worked it’s magic.  Jlo:  That was it Haley!  That’s what we have been talking about.  Great way to end the show.  Amazing.  Randy:  Best performance of the night right there.  You gave it up and you deserve it.  Steven:  You sing sexy!  (Steven has to be sensored at times)  Video

Recap of tonight’s performances:  Video

No really weak performance tonight, but If I have to pick my least favorite, I will say:  James and Thia