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'American Idol' finalists croon Carole King tunes

'American Idol' finalists croon Carole King tunes

April 28th, 2011 by DERRIK J. LANG, AP Entertainment Writer in News

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Scotty McCreery won back some friends on "American Idol."

After receiving criticism from the show's judges for playing it too safe last week, the deep-voiced 17-year-old country crooner of Garner, N.C., enticed the panel with his buttery rendition of "You've Got a Friend" on the Fox talent competition's evening of Carole King tunes Wednesday. It was 22-year-old rocker James Durbin of Santa Cruz., Calif., who was dubbed a front-runner though.

Randy Jackson proclaimed that Durbin "just might win the whole thing" after his electric reworking of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." Steven Tyler didn't say he saw Haley Reinhart, the bluesy 20-year-old college student of Wheeling, Ill., winning the contest, but he did claim that he "just saw God" after Reinhart's upbeat rendition of "Beautiful."

"You have one of the best voices in the competition," Jennifer Lopez told Reinhart.

Jacob Lusk and Lauren Alaina were praised for going outside their comfort zones. Tyler lauded a plaid-clad Lusk, the 23-year-old spa concierge of Compton, Calif., for "shaking his tail feathers" on "Oh No Not My Baby," while Lopez hailed Alaina, the 16-year-old high school student of Rossville, Ga., for reaching for the high notes on "Where You Lead."

"I don't know if I love the song," Jackson told Alaina. "What I did love is that you came up there with a vengeance."

Casey Abrams might want to take a cue from Lusk. Lopez told Abrams, the 20-year-old eccentric film camp counselor of Idyllwild, Calif., that she wanted him to "loosen up your legs a little bit" after his jazzy performance of "Hi-De-Ho," popularized by Blood, Sweat and Tears. Tyler was more enthused, informing Abrams that it "made my scalp itch, it was so good."

The top six finalists were also paired for duets of King classics. Abrams and Reinhart brought their growling chemistry to "I Feel the Earth Move," while McCreery successfully backed up a soaring Alaina during "Up on the Roof." Durbin and Lusk's awkward attempt to out-wail each other on "I'm Into Something Good" was deemed something bad.

"Where were you going with all that?" a puzzled Tyler asked the duo.

One of the six finalists will be dismissed Thursday.

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Online:

http://www.americanidol.com