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American Idol

Casey Abrams Kisses Jennifer Lopez! Recap of American Idol, Top 7 Performances

Tonight, our Lucky 7 took on "Songs of the 21st Century," a theme so broad that everyone had an opportunity to pick something awesome and appropriate (although not everyone necessarily did). But before getting down to the business of the competition, all the previously eliminated contestants appeared for a group performance of Pink’s “So What,” which mostly reminded us of how we didn’t care that they were gone. (Except for Naima! We love you, Naima!) The best part of the performance, though, was Paul, who was wearing his black floral suit and clearly had no idea what was going on... but was happy to be there! Aw, Smiley Spice.

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Lusky Stank Coketerview! Jacob, who was wearing a Very Shiny Suit, decided to take on Luther Vandross this week, which he found intimidating. His performance was surprisingly restrained — although he let loose a bit at the end, for the most part he held back from the vocal insanity he’s been known to unleash, and we loved it. “Baby, you are so good... this man is so good. You remind me all the time of the reason I love music,” Steven said. “Vocally, it was good, but it didn’t make me jump up and down. I need the return for me of the old Jacob, I need to see you go through the roof... just don’t hold back anymore,” Randy said. What? Shush, Randy! That was terrible advice.

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Scotty started off the night with “Swingin’” by LeAnn Rimes. It was typical Scotty, which meant he sounded fabulous and it made us giggle. The song was kind of suggestive (what will the Grandmas for Scotty say?!), and Scotty incorporated some incredible eyebrow choreography to show he was hip to the innuendo; a raise here, a waggle there. To our absolute shock, the judges decided to actually start critiquing the contestants this week. “You know, I love your storytelling quality you have to your singing — I’m just not sure, at this point in the competition, it’s time to pull out the big guns... I felt like we were expecting more from Scotty,” said Jennifer. “At this point in the competition it’s, who is really in it to win it? To me that was so safe, it was actually kind of boring for me from you,” Randy added.

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Next up was Casey, who decided to take on Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe” with an electric guitar. The rockin’ performance was a far cry from last week’s intimate “Nature Boy” and upright bass, and we thought it worked equally well. The best part, though, was when Ginger Bear planted a kiss on the cheek of an unsuspecting J.Lo. “You already are a cult hero... you did what I’ve been trying to do for four months!” said Steven. “Casey’s got soft lips!” said Jennifer. “What I love about Casey is it’s always about surprise, surprise, surprise,” Randy said.

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Stefano decided to sing “Closer” by Ne-Yo for his Chippendales audition — we mean, for his performance. The vocal was just ai’ight, but his hip wiggles were pretty good, if you’re into that sort of thing. Apparently the judges are into that sort of thing; all three praised his performance. “Stefano, nobody can say you weren’t all up in it. I was hoping you’d dance and you did,” Steven said. “Speaking for the girls in the audience, I thought it was really good, you had your swag going on... I really, really liked it,” said Jennifer.

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Next up, a Coketerview for The Durbz! James chatted with Ryan about the “amazing vision” he, uh, envisions for every song that he sings. For tonight’s song, Muse’s “Uprising,” James’ vision included marching band drummers, a Freddie Mercury bottomless microphone stand, and a sort of tattered military jacket. (We can’t help but wonder if someone like Haley would’ve gotten a marching band if she’d asked for one, or if James has a friend backstage at Idol.) He sounded absolutely terrific for most of the song, although he devolved into some extremely shrill rock screaming at the end that we could’ve probably done without. The judges, however, loved it. “I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that that’s gonna be theatrically the best performance of the night, and you’re only number two!... Amazing,” said Jennifer. “Muse is one of my favorite bands, that song ‘Uprising’ is amazing... dude, you were unbelievable,” said Randy.

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Country gal Lauren Alaina closed the show with “Born to Fly” by Sara Evans. She sounded fine, the song was fine, everything was fine... but it seemed like an odd choice for the coveted pimp spot. Usually the last performance of the night is more spectacular, but we guess Lauren was up in the rotation. “Anybody who doesn’t know they can fail is bound to win, and you are that person,” Steven said. “You do have such a special voice. It’s not everybody that has so much color in their voice when they sing,” Jennifer added. “You can sing anything... I don’t think even she knows how good she is,” Randy said.

Tomorrow night: David Cook (yay!), Katy Perry (yay!), and somebody goes home (boo!). Our guess? Well, we’re not sure, so we’ll just keep saying Jacob or Stefano. It’ll be true eventually.

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The award for best song choice of the night has to go to our girl Haley, who chose Adele’s bluesy, sexy, and angry hit “Rolling In The Deep.” Not only did Growly Spice (not to be confused with our dear departed Smiley Spice) look all sorts of adorable in a red dress with white polka dots, but she sounded absolutely fantastic. “I thought it was a great performance... there’s a reason it’s the number 1 album in America right now... they like that feeling and you’ve got that in your voice,” Steven said. “It takes a lot of guts to take on a record that everybody knows so well right now, because you’ve gotta sing it just as good, if not better than the singer, and there were moments where you did,” Jennifer added.

04.21.2011 / 11:28 AM EDT by Tracy Fusaro
Related: American Idol, Recaps

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