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IDOL 411: Pia Toscano, James Durbin Dominating 'American Idol'

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Pia Toscano. (FOX)

Let's just say that some members of the Top 13 were luckier than others on Wednesday night's "American Idol."

Gorgeous Pia Toscano continued her ascent to front-runner status, following up last week's show-stopping performance of "I'll Stand By You" with a just-as-good-if-not-better performance of Celine Dion's "All by Myself." Randy called it "hot, dope and cool" -- and she looked good doing it.

James Durbin was another standout, showing a softer side of himself on Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed." The performance was so soulful that you really felt like he was singing it right to his fiancée, or as Steven told him, "You've taken everything you've ever felt and kicked into the middle of next week."

It was also another solid week for our two hipster boy crushes, Paul McDonald and Casey Abrams. Between the raspy voice, dance moves and blindingly white smile, what's not to like about Paul? J-Lo hopes that America will "get" his performance of Ryan Adams' "Come Pick Me Up," and so do we.

Casey's performance of Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From My Friends" could have been a little more emotional -- but the intelligent, confident, slightly humorous delivery was all Casey. When Casey is performing, you're on the edge of your seat waiting to see what he'll do next. How many "American Idol" contestants can you say that about?

As for Scotty McCreery and Jacob Lusk, both guys held onto their spots as judges' favorites. McCreery's voice is beautiful when he's merely talking, let alone singing Garth Brooks' "The River" (though we have to admit, we were a little bored by his performance this week). And if you ask Steven, Jacob's performance of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" was "pure passion."

VIDEO: See the performances of the Top 13 "Idol" contestants.

But for the second week in a row, former golden girl Lauren Alaina seemed to be slipping a little. There's no way she's going home anytime soon, but fun-loving Lauren (who sang Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine") is going to have to bring a little more punch to her performances if she hopes to compete with Pia and co. She could also use a new stylist.

Thia Megia also choked a little bit on her version of Michael Jackson's version of "Smile." We agreed with the judges: It started out pretty (Thia always reminds us of some kind of Disney princess), but the jazzy arrangement was distracting, and she got lost in it.

Karen Rodriguez also took a major stumble. After kicking butt in English and Spanish last week, even Jennifer Lopez had to admit that she messed up Selena's "I Could Fall in Love" this week.

Wild card pick Stefano Langone probably gained a little bit of steam with Stevie Wonder's "Lately," though the techno beat seemed more appropriate for the club or the gym. And Haley Reinhart turned in another sex-kitten performance, this time singing LeAnn Rimes' "Blue."

But if we had to guess who's really in trouble, our money would be on two of the three wild cards, Naima Adedapo and Ashthon Jones. We've got to hand it to Naima: We've never seen a performance on "Idol" quite like that before. Between the dancing, the reggae and the rapping, we weren't even sure what show we were watching. While her performance of Rihanna's "Umbrella" had some unique elements, the singing wasn't really there.

But at least she brought something new to the table, which you can't really say about Ashthon Jones. The judges claim that Ashthon is a "baby Diana Ross," but we've yet to see any evidence of that -- and even they weren't overly impressed by her performance of Ross's "When You Tell Me That You Love Me." Jones looked beautiful and seems very classy and elegant, but as Simon used to say, this is a singing competition.

--Jennifer D'Angelo Friedman, PopNews Wire


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