LOS ANGELES — “American Idol” finalist Naima Adedapo was on the move.
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The funky 26-year-old dance instructor from Milwaukee injected African dance choreography into her lively rendition of Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street” during the Fox talent competition’s Motown-themed performance edition Wednesday. “Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez told Adedapo that her routine gave her the “first little goose bumps of the night.”
“You definitely have that little extra something on the stage,” praised Lopez.
Other singers who impressed the panel included unemployed 22-year-old rocker James Durbin of Santa Cruz, Calif., and 23-year-old spa concierge Jacob Lusk of Compton, Calif. Durbin wailed Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City,” while Lusk belted out Marvin Gaye’s “You’re All I Need to Get By,” which prompted Steven Tyler to rise from the panel for a hug.
“You know what was wrong with that performance?” asked Randy Jackson. “Absolutely nothing.”
Some singers continued to misstep. Lopez again criticized the intensity of Stefano Langone, the unemployed 21-year-old singer from Kent, Wash., who crooned Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello,” and Jackson told Pia Toscano, the 22-year-old make-up artist from Howard Beach, N.Y., that he didn’t want another ballad from her following Stevie Wonder’s “All in Love is Fair.”
“I know you can do it,” said Jackson. “The next time bring something a little bit different to the thing.”
Thia Megia, the soothing 16-year-old high school student from Mountain House, Calif., and Haley Reinhart, the growling 20-year-old college student from Wheeling, Ill., successfully recovered from their stumbles last week with their respective renditions of Martha and the Vandellas’ “Heatwave” and The Miracles’ “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.”
“This is exactly the kind of singer we thought you were,” Jackson told Reinhart.
Several of the “Idol” finalists made Motown hits their own, including 17-year-old high school student Scotty McCreery of Garner, N.C., with his Western take on Stevie Wonder’s version of “For Once in My Life” and 26-year-old singer-songwriter Paul McDonald of Nashville, Tenn., with a Rod Stewart-like rendition of The Miracles’ “The Tracks of My Tears.”
“You’re kind of the complete package,” Lopez told McDonald.
Confidence was key for Lauren Alaina, the 16-year-old high school student of Rossville, Ga., and Casey Abrams, the 20-year-old film camp counselor of Idyllwild, Calif. She brought her strut and swagger to The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Abrams stomped through the audience while delivering Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
“I think you’re the perfect entertainer,” Tyler told him.
One of the top 11 singers will face elimination Thursday.
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