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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Quisla Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN

Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 TV, FremantleMedia North America
Origin: CBS Television City, Los Angeles, CA
Airs: Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 8pm ET and  at 9p ET on Fox

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Round of 10: Motown
March 25

Motown... A sound as distinct and as storied as America itself. Idol... a competition as wide open as America itself. Who'll be singing the tracks of their tears, and who'll reach out to their audience for the vote to "be there" next week?

First of all, the judges take a moment to mourn the loss of Alexis Grace... Paula wants the singers to branch out of the comfort zone, and Simon wants to hear some originality. I think we're all in agreement on that.

First, though, a bit of background. This year, Motown celebrates its 50th anniversary of their founding from a garage later named "Hitsville USA." From those humble beginnings came acts like the Supremes, the Temptations, the Contours, Gladys Knights & the Pips, the Four Tops, and the Jackson 5. The music also brought peace in a time of civil unrest.

What better way to get the Idols pumped than a trip through Hitsville USA guided by two legends, Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, both of which are in attendance tonight. The tour ends where the night begins... Motown Studio A, where all the magic happens (even though it will happen in LA with Smokey mentoring).

Starting up with Matt Giraud, who sits and plays "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye. There's a sentimental spot for Marvin's music, and Smokey believes that he's going to do more than justice to it.

What they say: Randy says he set the tone for the rest of the night. Kara thinks that there's a lot of girls saying "Yeah." She wanted him to push more, though. Paula says that he showed a sexy cool vibe. His riffs are tasteful and classy. Simon thought it was a brilliant song choice albeit corny in the middle. This is exactly what he should be doing.

What we say: a nice little arrangement plus Robin Thicke quality smoothness equals one to watch in the competition. It would've been better, though, if he kept the vibe going through the song and MAYBE if he stayed at the piano the whole time. That would've killed. Still, a good start to the show.

This week's iTunes feature the original backing tracks, so that's something to look forward to.

Next is a straight melody by Kris Allen with "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" by Marvin Gaye. Kris blew Smokey away. Will he blow us away or just... blow?

What they say: Kara says that it's about artistry, and he put his own mark on the song, doing everything right. Paula says that there's a comfort level with him on stage, and that he's infectious. Simon thought it was a smart move, but he needs to start believing in himself. To be a star, you have to be conceited. Randy thinks that he has hit the zone.

What we say: It's the rare moment where I'm in disagreement with the judges. Okay, remember how Matt was classy and tasteful? This... this is neither classy NOR tasteful. And what the hell was up with the yelling at the end?

Some real time with Scott McIntyre, who's decided that the piano, for all its faults, is part of who he is. He'll find other ways to take risks today. He'll take a BIG one covering Diana Ross & the Supremes with "You Can't Hurry Love".

What they say: Paula says that he did bring something different with the backup singers at the piano. "When you feel it, the audience feels it." Simon: "There was a line in the song where it says 'How much more can it take'?" He is better than that as a performer. Randy agrees, calling it a "hotel performance". This was not the right song for him. Kara says that he brought tempo to the song, but she wasn't crazy about the melody... He didn't nail the execution.

What we say: this was just... wrong... So wrong... There was nothing right about this performance. With Stevie and Ray out there... you had to go with THIS?

And crayons and a coloring book from Paula to Simon... that's just... awkward.

Next is Megan Joy and "For Once in My Life" by Stevie Wonder. She says that this is a "Megan song"... Hopefully it applies. Smokey says it sounded like her own.

What they say: Randy has mad love for her... but that song was a trainwreck. Kara suggested that she should've done "My Guy". The phrasing was weird. The song kicked HER butt. Paula calls her stunning, but this was not the right song for her. Simon... simply calls it horrible. And whoever's advising her should be fired.

What we say: The GOOD news... she made a full recovery from last week. The BAD news... when the crud went away... so did her voice, as well as any chance that she has that she'll survive to next week.

Anoop Desai is singing "Ooh Baby Baby" from Smokey & the Miracles. It's a sentimental song, and Smokey doesn't want him to change a thing. He's hoping that the crowd is feeling what he's feeling.

What they say: Kara says it's beautiful and hard to sing, but he did a fairly good job. He has a skill set, and she's seeing it right now. Paula sees a newfound confidence, but the phrasing was sweet and tender. Simon thought it was a little bit musical-esque. It's all about showmanship. Randy suggests that he turn it back up next week.

What we say: Motown is a genre that lends itself well to a cappella music, Anoop's strength and background. But that is the kind of performance that, while not flawless, his fans will eat up like Ding Dongs. But still, he needed a little more huevos for that song. As it is right now... it's just kinda safe. He'll be back next week, no doubt, but... he needs to find his balls.

Michael Sarver missed the trip to Detroit. He didn't miss the clinic with Smokey Robinson. And he doesn't miss the stage when he sings "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" by the Temptations. But can he make this a hit with the audience?

What they say: Kara wants interpretation. Paula and Randy wanted a song that didn't dominate him, like this one did. Simon wanted it to end as quickly as possible.

What we say: Remember what we said about Megan? Strike that. Michael's going to take her place. This was just awful, and his smiling face during a song that should be a sad emotional tune is very disconnecting. He could be out the door if Adam and Allison connect.

Smokey Robinson says that Lil Rounds can sing the phone book. I don't know if the song "Heatwave" by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas is in the phone book, but that's the song that Lil needs to dial up. Can she make a connection?

What they say: Paula loves the song and the performance. Kara hated the song choice. Randy and Simon liked the song choice, but not the interpretation, saying that she rushed the vocals and there was no moment to shine.

What we say: Lil is going to have no problems this evening, but she really could have had one of those special moments that would have solidified her in the finals. The wrong song stopped her from doing that, and how she has some work to do in order to get to the final 2.

Adam Lambert is a suit and jacket and tie? Uhh...ok. This is a different Adam than what we've heard before - and Smokey promises us that his "Tracks of My Tears" will be done in a different rendition than what we're used to. We'll see.

What they say: Kara calls it one of the best performances of the night. Simon raises the stakes and says the best performance of the night. Paula loves the artistry and Randy loves that we saw a different side of Adam.

What we say: This was not only the best performance of the night, this blows everything else away. That performance put him up at the top of the heap.

How in the world is Danny Gokey going to top that? He probably won't - not with The Temptations and "Get Ready", but this could be a fun piece to get into.

What they say: They all thought it was good. None of them thought it was great, with Simon calling it clumsy and amateurish.

What we say: It was a goofy Danny performance, which will get votes from the audience because that's what they want from him. It won't elevate him, but it won't hurt him, either.

Finally, Allison Iraheta gets the last spot of the night with "Papa Was a Rolling Stone". This promises to be good...if she can remember the lyrics, which she didn't when she had the sit down with Smokey Robinson.

What they say: Randy called it Hot. Paula, with a mustache on her face care of Simon, thought it was awesome. Simon said it was her best performance ever and Kara yells at America for putting her in the bottom 3 last week.

What we say: I think America was justified for putting her in the bottom 3 last week. I think they are also justified in keeping her around this week, which is going to spell trouble for Michael.

Overall: it was a good night, if you tuned into the second half of the show. The first half was a little messy. I think Michael is going to have problems, because he was terrible while the other rockers were spot on. I think that Scott and Megan will join him, with Matt taking one of the stools if either Megan or Scott's fan base realizes that they may be in jeopardy.

Motown: Adam, Allison, Danny
So-Sotown: Kris, Anoop, Matt, Lil
Hell-to-the-Notown: Scott, Megan, Michael

Come back to see who'll be the king (or queen) of the Motor City, and who'll just be motoring on the way home.


To see footage from this episode, visit the official website at