American Idol: Competition Gets Fierce

It was a jam-packed two hours of live music and over-the-top performances that had the judges smiling, clapping and giving many standing ovations.

The remaining top nine contestants on American Idol all brought their ‘A’ game on Wednesday night, proving to the judges and America that any of them can be the next American Idol.

Colton Dixon kicked off this week's performances, singing his “favorite worship song of all time” from Lifehouse.

"Music found me through church," Dixon said emotionally.

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Aerosmith’s front man Steven Tyler told Dixon he was very happy to have a contender like him on the show.

“You are a dream come true for an Idol judge,” said Tyler.

Looking sexy as ever in a white, backless jumpsuit, pop singer Jennifer Lopez was excited Dixon opened the show.

"What a way to start this show!” Lopez said. “I was really moved. You sang it beautifully. [It was] emotional but still [with] composure and control."

Music expert Randy Jackson said Dixon might just win the entire competition.

"I think I can be looking at a contender for the title,” Jackson told American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.

Mississippi native Skylar Laine took on her idol, Miranda Lambert, and knocked it right out of the ballpark.

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“She is everything I want to be,” said Laine. “I have four CDs in my car and they are all Miranda Lambert’s.”

Mentor of the week, rocker Stevie Nicks, told Laine to always keep in mind the story behind the song.

“Remember, you are this great story teller,” Nicks said.

Lopez and the rest of the judges felt Nicks gave Laine perfect advice.

“The Skylar show is… can’t keep it in a can energy,” Lopez said smiling.
Tyler agreed.

“That was over the top! Good for you. It’s like you were singing to an old friend,” Tyler said.

Jackson told Laine that she is “a power house singer” that knows who she is and where she wants to go in the music industry.

Dixon, Elise Testone and Phillip Phillips then paid tribute to Nicks by singing a medley of her songs.

Heejun Han showed a new, more serious and vulnerable side of himself, which the judges and Interscope Records executive Jimmy Lovine appreciated.

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Singing “A Song for You” by Donny Hathaway, Han left the judges in awe.

“You did it! You turned it around,” Tyler said, congratulating Han.

Last week, Tyler told Han that although he always made people laugh and was the jokester of the group, he needed to “start taking it more seriously.”

“You just make it come alive,” added Tyler.

Lopez was proud of Han as well.

“People don't realize that you don't get to this point by mistake,” Lopez said. “When you connect, you move people.”

Jackson was glad to have a more focused Han back.

“Welcome back, brother,” Jackson said with a smile.

Following Han was Hollie Cavannagh, who brought tears to Nicks’ eyes during rehearsals, because it reminded her of her mother.

"My mom died two months ago," Nicks said, somberly.

Singing Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel,” Cavannagh showed a very emotional side of herself and almost broke down during the actual performance.

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JLO thought it certainly paid off.

“That's one of your best [performances,]” said Lopez. “I felt it emotionally.”

Jackson and Tyler disagreed, but still felt she did a good job.

DeAndre Brackensick and Jessica Sanchez sang after Cavannagh.

Brackensick paid tribute to Erik Benet and Sanchez sang Beyoncé. Both nailed their performances.

Joshua Ledet sang a Mariah Carey ballad and received a standing ovation.

Jackson said that Carey would have been proud.

“It was emotional for you! Brilliant.”

Ledet then said he was singing to Lopez.

“You were singing to me? That voice is Godsent,” Lopez said. “So beautiful. We have such a soulful group this year. But, you’re something special.”

Sanchez, Cavannagh and Laine then sang a medley of Madonna songs, which certainly entertained the crowd.

Testone then rocked out to Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and won over the judges and crowd.

“I didn't want to get up, you made me get up,” said Lopez. “You made everyone get up.”

“That was some real crazy rock and roll,” she added.

On Thursday evening, there will be another contestant going home.

You can reach Alexandra Gratereaux at: or via Twitter: @GalexLatino

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