At this point, it's anyone's guess what will happen from week to week on "American Idol." While the early elimination rounds are usually pretty easy to predict, "Idol" threw another curveball Thursday night (March 31) when one of the most praised and polished season 10 contenders, Paul McDonald, wound up in the bottom three.
He was brought to the brink of elimination after 55 million people texted or voted online, a new record at this point in the competition. But, in the end, it was teenager Thia Megia and reggae mama Naima Adedapo who were sent packing in an episode that radically altered the usual Thursday nail-biter — in a good way.
The traditional group sing-along was done away with, and instead, the show kicked off with a ready-for-radio country duet between Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina on Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood's "I Told You So" that sounded like the work of seasoned veterans. After nearly showing up Underwood and Travis' version of the song on last year's "Idol," both were waved over to the safe couch for another go at it next week.
The same could not be said for Jacob Lusk and Adedapo, who fell flat on Ashford & Simpson's "Solid," failing to show any chemistry and listlessly singing the tune over a Muzak-y arrangement. Naima's reggae-tinged "I'm Still Standing" punched her card to the bottom three, while Lusk will get another chance to find his "Jacob spot" next week.
In keeping with the welcome format change, Haley Reinhart, Pia Toscano and Megia served up some trio action on Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," with Toscano cementing her status as one to watch, Reinhart doing her growly thing and Megia pitching in on backing vocals. Toscano skated to safety, along with suddenly resurgent Reinhart, while Megia joined Adedapo after her "Daniel" didn't win voters over.
McDonald, Casey Abrams, James Durbin and Stefano Langone apparently formed a garage band offstage a few weeks ago, and they made their broadcast debut Thursday with Wings' "Band on the Run." With all four playing instruments on a soft-rock version of the already light-as-air tune, McDonald gave it his feathery best, Abrams and Langone were in imperfect harmony, Casey did some more of his shouting and Stefano struggled on half a chorus, showing why he was doomed.
At least that's what the general consensus was. While Abrams was safe again, and Durbin was also good, in another shocker, Langone dodged a bullet and it was McDonald who rounded out the bottom three.
In the end, though, McDonald was ushered to safety as Adedapo and the show's youngest-ever contestant, Megia, bid their teary farewells until they join the rest of the top 11 for this summer's tour.
Wearing a glittering crimson jumpsuit with her hair swept up in a 1940s 'do, season-three winner Fantasia stopped by to sing her new throwback doo-wop single "Collard Greens and Cornbread." Also performing their Carnival-esque collaboration "Hot Wings," from the new animated feature "Rio," were Jamie Foxx and the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am.
Do you think America made the right choices? Let us know in comments below!
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