LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- “American Idol” really is anyone’s game.
On Wednesday night’s show, “Idol” offered up three rounds of competition featuring each of the three semi-finalists, but no one stood out as the definitive leader heading into next week’s final.
In round 1, it was the contestants who picked their own songs, choosing something they found favor with and country crooner Scotty McCreery, the youngest contender in the competition, picked “Amazed” by the group Lonestar.
Music mentor for the week, Beyonce, admitted she was won over by Scotty’s charm as she gave the “cutie pie” advice on his number, and when he finally got out on the big stage – the first performance of the night – the judges again were lost in the young man’s magic.
“You just keep getting better and better,” Steven Tyler said.
Lauren Alaina chose “Wild One” by Faith Hill, and Beyonce told her she’d go far if she just trusted herself.
The teen did and again she won over her biggest fan at the judges’ table, Steven.
“You’re so ready for this,” he said. “You’re just so ready for America to be all over you.”
What Beyonce thought of Haley Reinhart was raw and emotional. Impressed by Haley’s rock ‘n’ roll spirit, Beyonce gushed about the singer and accidentally used an expletive, something the “Idol” censors blocked out in the taped footage.
When Haley took the stage, performing Led Zepplin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be,” accompanied by her own dad, who ripped it up on guitar, Haley showed off her spirit and big personality, but she also had a big fall as she stomped back up from the judges’ table to the main stage during the song.
But, she carried on singing.
“Everybody’s fallen on stage,” Jennifer Lopez said. “I’ve fallen on stage, Beyonce’s fallen on stage… [Getting up is] the sign of a professional.”
When asked to pick the winner of round 1, Randy and Jennifer definitively awarded it to Haley, while Steven didn’t quite say it, but hinted his vote also went the rocker girl’s way.
Round 2 brought picks from week-to-week mentor Jimmy Iovine, and he opted for another country hit for Scotty – “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?” by Thompson Square.
Jennifer raved over Scotty’s performance, so much so that Randy Jackson decided to translate, suggesting, “I think Jennifer was just saying, Scotty, she would kiss you!”
“I’m a married woman,” Jennifer protested, with a laugh.
Jimmy gave Lauren The Band Perry’s “If I Were Young” and the rendition won over Jennifer.
“You, Lauren, have the most beautiful tone of our finalists. It’s a magical, magical thing that you possess,” she said.
It was “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac for Haley, who seemed to have a tiny lyric misstep as she opened the number.
As it ended, however, she brought it home for the judges, although Randy had mixed feelings.
“It was more of a somber moment for me, but I think you did a good job of it,” he said.
Both Jennifer and Randy declared Scotty the winner of round 2, while Steven opted for Lauren.
Round 3 began with the judges’ pick and for Scotty, his song was Kenny Rogers’ “She Believes In Me,” which gave him the kind of chorus the judges had longed to hear all season.
“We all wanted to see if you could hit that big chorus for the first time,” Jennifer smiled as she praised the singer. “I guess you showed us.”
It was Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” for Lauren and Jennifer declared her the early round victor after the teen’s beautiful performance.
“You just gave me gooseys from head to toe,” Jennifer said, using a little slang for goose bumps. “I’m gonna dare to say you won that round for me already.”
But there was still one performer to go – Haley – to whom the judges gave Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.”
Haley stumbled on the lyrics of the fast paced song, but made up for it with powerful choruses.
“Amazing,” Steven said. “It was incredible, beautiful.”
Asked to pick a round 3 winner, Jennifer and Randy opted for Lauren, while Steven gave it to Haley.
On Thursday’s “American Idol,” another contender will be sent home, leaving the final two contestants to battle it out for America’s votes in the finale next week on FOX.
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