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Video: Aerosmith’s Tyler on LSD (Lead Singer Disorder)

  1. Closed captioning of: Aerosmith’s Tyler on LSD (Lead Singer Disorder)

    >>> to call steven tyler an aging rock star would be a mistake. if what he's doing is aging most people would say, sign me up. i sat down with tyler to talk about his new memoir "does the noise in my head bother you"? apparently not. people can't get enough.

    >> steven tyler ! [ cheers and applause ]

    >> at the age of 63, rocker steven tyler is white hot right now. having taken his talents and way with words to one of america's hottest television shows . he's become a media darling with his kooky style and tylerisms.

    >> well [ bleep ] a duck and see what happens.

    >> what?

    >> for the last 30 years as the lead singer of aerosmith , a band which churned out platinum records every year since the '70s, all the news fit to print about tyler was barely suitable to print at all.

    >> reporter: the sweet emotion he was feeling was from an addiction to drugs. and as recently as two years ago he almost lost everything. how did you end up on one of the most popular shows on television?

    >> the week before, i went to betty ford in december of '09 i was so angry with it all, i got a new manager. i said to him get me a job. i don't care what it is. i'm going in. get me " american idol ."

    >> to move forward we first have to look back. it's hard to believe someone called the demon of screaming honed his hard rock musicality in new hampshire where he met his band meats. tyler says "dream on" came to him like a piece of divine inspiration 37 years ago. think of the lyrics of that song. that's a guy looking back over the vast terrain of his life. here you are a 26-year-old kid. it seems like it couldn't come from you. tell me about that song.

    >> i wrote that song and i'm sitting up at the barn and i'm like --

    >> you know, i'm loving that melodic stuff. it's growing through me. i don't know where it came from. every time that i look in the mirror all these lines on my face getting clearer

    >> here's the best part. the past is gone in my life like dusk to dawn isn't that the way everybody got --

    >> this was just that melody which told my mouth, touched something in my brain that made my mouth sing that. every time i look in the mirror.

    >> do you have a lighter i can hold up? come on. i want more! more is what you get in the memoir. i will start with the title. "does the noise in my head bother you." what's the noise? your head?

    >> it goes like this. sit a spell it will take about an hour i'll tell you a little story about me and matt lauer

    >> we'll leave it about that.

    >> is that there constantly?

    >> pretty much. yeah.

    >> some may know aerosmith published a metrodome wmoir in 1997 . in the last 14 years he's gone through divorce, had potentially career-ending throat surgery, revealed he has hepatitis c , been to rehab after rehab and had a bitter feud with bandmates who came close to replacing him after he fell off a concert stage two years ago high on prescription drugs . writing a book about lsd and this is not the drug.

    >> no, no.

    >> lds is --

    >> lead singer disorder. jimmy page wrote that.

    >> you had it.

    >> i think we all do as lead singers . we front the band. so therefore why don't they listen to us? we know everything.

    >> big ego?

    >> of course.

    >> tough to work with?

    >> yeah.

    >> made trouble when you could have made peace?

    >> yeah.

    >> when you look back now was it all just natural, part of the job ?

    >> you're damn right.

    >> if feuding with the band was part of the job , tyler could have won employee of the year for his stormy relationship with joe perry . the two once dubbed the toxic twins .

    >> is it fair to say you have spent as much time fighting over your time together as loving each other?

    >> well, see, he plays guitar in such a way where i'm addicted to it. there is no one like him. he's my own keith. my own clapton. he's there. he's aerosmith . he plays the licks and i go, whoa, wait! [ scatting ] love in an elevator

    >> it just works. do that again! so it's magic. what, am i going to fight it?

    >> oh, yeah. the guy in the skin tight pants is also a grandfather, although the road to paving a relationship with his two eldest daughters, actress liv and model mia has not been easy.

    >> you write about how drugs robbed you of spirituality and compassion only to realize you lost liv and mia as well. i cried when they for gave me for past behaviors but i will be working on it for the rest of my life.

    >> that's what drugs did. it took my children away, my life away, my band away. took my marriages away. i was on my knees. don't want to close my eyes

    >> tyler has been sober for a year and a half. even he says he's lucky to be alive. in the book you say you're 63 and it took you to the age of 60 to realize you didn't know anything, and that's okay.

    >> that's the best part of not knowing something. when you realize it's okay, that's when you reap the rewards.

    >> reporter: and the rewards have come. " american idol 's" ratings are holding strong. aerosmith record sales are seeing a surge and there are plans for a new album and a new tour. of course all of those things need a wardrobe change -- many, many changes.

    >> my new favorites. look. they zip all the way down. i put this on the leg just because i can.

    >> because you're steven tyler .

    >> and i get to stand next to j. lo every night. i'm beat. she's street and the dog's in heat or whatever.

    >> tylerism. no quincoincidence his upcoming single is called "it feels so good.

    >> i'm sober again and life's good. cut!

    >> you can find more of the interview with steven tyler and read an excerpt from the memoir on our website on today.com. just ahead, another

By
TODAY contributor
updated 5/3/2011 8:50:24 AM ET 2011-05-03T12:50:24

Steven Tyler’s journey from Aerosmith frontman to “American Idol” judge has given him enough stories for several lifetimes. In a candid interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer, Tyler tells many of them, discussing his musical journey as well as overcoming his own drug use and how it affected his family life.

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Tyler rose to stardom with Aerosmith, one of the top bands of the 1970s that enjoyed a robust second act starting in 1984. What the band did, both on and off the stage, has become the stuff of legend.

But that second act, which helped the band earn induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, nearly didn’t happen. And his place on “American Idol” was only made possible when he checked into the Betty Ford Center for the final time in 2009, in an effort to beat his addiction to prescription drugs.

Story: Roll 'em: Steven Tyler's memoir is a wild ride

“The week before I went to the Betty Ford Center in December 2009, I got a new manager. I said, ‘get me a job, I don’t care what it is ... get me ‘American Idol,” Tyler told Lauer.

As Tyler says in the interview, that battle was no new thing for him. Pervasive drug use, including budgeting for cocaine in the band's touring contracts, lead to the breakdown of the band in 1979.

"There's three things that happen to you when you're addicted to drugs after they take hold, is death, jail and insanity," Tyler said in the interview. "And I can't preach that enough. The only reason I wind up in rehab is because I used to the point of falling down. My kids tell me, 'Daddy, I don't know who you are anymore.' Wives leave, bands break up, and it's really a one-way street. I still liked the ride, but it's a one-way street."

When asked if there was anyone who ever questioned his drug use, Tyler was emphatic: "Absolutely not.

Story: From Aerosmith to 'Idol': Read excerpt of Steven Tyler's memoir

"No. 1, it was the thing to do in the '70s ... And by the way, bands like Aerosmith, if you looked at the '70s, how many albums we did, how many songs and how many territories, you know, we conquered, you know, we were troubadours going from town to town, state to state," Tyler said. "We had no MTV or anything. We would play for Mahavishnu Orchestra. Anybody to open up and get our songs heard. And in doing so, in playing three shows in a row, I needed blow. I needed that cocaine. I needed that — I needed it.

"How did we get through? It's a little funny now, but if you look back at history, managers didn't care," Tyler said. "They were glad we were makin' 'em all money. And they may get angry at that, but it was also a thing to do, I can give it up at that."

In addition to the drugs, personality conflicts also cropped up within Aerosmith. In part, Tyler blames his struggles with what he calls “LSD” — but not the drug.

“Lead Singer Disorder ... we all have it. ‘We front the band? Why don’t they listen to us?’ Tyler said.

Tyler became the father of two daughters during that era, actress Liv Tyler (with fashion model Bebe Buell) and model Mia Tyler (with Cyrinda Foxe). After admittedly not being a great father to them in their childhood, he’s tried to make up for it since.

Story: DioGuardi felt 'insecure and nervous' on 'Idol'

“That's what drugs did. That's what it did. On one hand, it can put you in a place you've never been, so you can use that experience, and on the other hand, for me, I rode it like a gypsy rode a horse. And it took my children away, it took my life away, it took my band away, took my marriages away, and I was on my knees,” Tyler said.

Now, Tyler is reaching a new generation as one of three “American Idol” judges, along with Randy Jackson and fellow newcomer Jennifer Lopez. Many wondered what he would bring to the table, besides the dose of credibility that his own musical journey provides.

Story: Tyler took 'Idol' job to send message to band

In addition to being the funniest of the three judges and the one who can ground everyone else when they get too pretentious, he’s been instrumental in the new attitude surrounding the show this season. It’s been a kinder and gentler crew than the one characterized by the biting sarcasm of Simon Cowell, and from Tyler’s perspective that’s no accident.

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“I got three daughters, so I can't sit there and say, 'you can't sing, what did you come here for'?” Tyler said, of the attitude he’s had since the auditions. “I don't want to be Steven Tyler, the one they all look up to and tell them they can't sing and for whatever reason that girl leaves there and doesn't sing to her child because I told her she can't sing. That kills me inside.”

And while Lopez is on a one-year contract, Tyler doesn’t sound like someone looking to leave anytime soon.

“It's not a show about who can sing best. I mean, I told the producers, that's not it. That can't be it for me. Because, there are so many stars out there right now, but they're not the best singers," Tyler said. "But they sure got character. And I like to say that, you know, as this was established early on, it's what I love about J. Lo and Randy. It's the whole package.”

Tyler is optimistic that this run of good fortune will continue.

“Sober, I can do anything. And now I’m happy again,” he said.

Craig Berman is a TODAY.com's "American Idol" correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @CraigBerman as he live tweets each episode.

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  1. 'American Idol' season 10

    The final two

    16-year-old Lauren Alaina, left, and Scotty McCreery, 17, will compete for the "American Idol" crown on Tuesday, May 24. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Getting the bad news

    A stunned Haley Reinhart, center, learns from Ryan Seacrest, right, that her "American Idol" run is over on Thursday, May 19. Lauren Alaina, left, advances to the final. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Si!

    Italian singing sensation Il Volo perform on "American Idol" on Thursday, May 19. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. One more time

    Haley Reinhart sings her farewell song, "Bennie and the Jets," after being eliminated on Thursday, May 19. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Unlikely duo

    Nicole Scherzinger performs her new single, “Right There,” with 50 Cent on the show Thursday, May 19. Scherzinger will be one of the hosts on Simon Cowell's new show, "X Factor." (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Hometown girl

    Lauren Alaina appears at an AT&T superstore in Chattanooga, Tenn., during the homecoming celebration for "American Idol" finalist on Saturday, May 14. (Chris Mckay / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Smile, smile, smile

    Lauren Alaina waves to her many friends, fans and supporters as she rides by in a red convertible during a parade in Rossville, Ga., on Saturday, May 14. (Jenna Walker / Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. She holds the key

    Finalist Haley Reinhart was given the key to the city of Wheeling, Ill., during her homecoming celebration on Saturday, May 14. (Timothy Hiatt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Center of attention

    "American Idol" finalist Haley Reinhart is welcomed by her hometown with a parade and ceremony during Haley Reinhart Day in Wheeling, Ill., on Saturday, May 14. (Paul Beaty / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Get to work!

    "American Idol" finalist Scotty McCreery bags groceries at Lowes Food Store in Garner, N.C., on Saturday, May 14. (Steve Exum / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Any requests?

    Scotty McCreery performs at an outdoor concert for local fans at his homecoming celebration at Buffaloe Park in Garner, N.C., on Saturday, May 14. (Steve Exum / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. The final 3

    After the Thursday, May 12 elimination on "American Idol," Haley Reinhart, left, Scotty McCreery, center, and Lauren Alaina remain in the competition. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. The bad news

    Ryan Seacrest, right, tells James Durbin, left, that he has been eliminated, as Scotty McCreery learns that he is safe for another week. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Last song

    Following his elimination on Thursday, May 12, James Durbin sang the Paul McCartney song, "Maybe I'm Amazed," which he sang during the second week of the live finals. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Enrique Iglesias

    Enrique Iglesias performs his new single, "Dirty Dancer," from the "American Idol" stage on Thursday, May 12. The singer announced his new tour, in support of his album, "Euphoria." (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Jordin Sparks

    Former winner Jordin Sparks performed her single, "No Air," on "American Idol" on Thursday, May 13. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. The final four contestants on season 10 of "American Idol," from left, Haley Reinhart, Scotty McCreery, James Durbin and Lauren Alaina. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Out of Lusk

    Jacob Lusk hugs judge Jennifer Lopez onstage after being eliminated on "American Idol" on Thursday, April 5. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Look who's 'On the Floor'

    Jennifer Lopez shows the hopefuls how it's done as she performs her single "On the Floor" on Thursday, April 5. Her new album "Love?" debuted this week. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Time to go

    Jacob Lusk sings his farewell song after being eliminated. CTODAY.com's Craig Berman says, as Mentor Jimmy Iovine saw it, Lusk looked and sounded nervous, and "when you lose confidence, everybody knows it." (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Lady night

    Country trio Lady Antebellum performs the new single "Just a Kiss" on "American Idol" on Thursday, April 5. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. High five

    The final five contestants on season 10 of "American Idol," clockwise from top left, James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Jacob Lusk, Scotty McCreery and Hayley Reinhart. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Leave 'em wanting more

    Casey Abrams, left, gets the word from Ryan Seacrest that he's been eliminated from "American Idol" on Thursday, April 28. The recipient of the only judges' save this season, Abrams went out in style with a rendition of "I Put a Spell on You" that ranks as the best exit number ever, says TODAY.com's Craig Berman. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Knock their Sox off

    Season nine runner-up Crystal Bowersox performs her new single "Riding With Radio" on "American Idol" on Thursday, April 28. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Let's get 'Lazy'

    Singer Bruno Mars performs "Lazy Song" on 'Idol" on Thursday, April 28. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Six shooting for the top

    The final six contestants on season 10 of "American Idol," from left: Haley Reinhart, Scotty McCreery, James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Casey Abrams and Jacob Lusk. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Last of the wild cards

    Stefano Langone sings his final song after being eliminated on "American Idol" on Thursday, April 21. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. What planet ... ?

    Kanye West, right, joins Katy Perry for her single "E.T." on "Idol" on Thursday, April 21. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Hello, it's 'Goodbye'

    Season seven winner David Cook performs his new song "The Last Goodbye." (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Lucky 7

    The final seven contestants on season 10 of "American Idol," clockwise from left: Haley Reinhart, James Durbin, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina and Casey Abrams. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. First guy to go

    Paul McDonald, center, waves goodbye as he is eliminated on "American Idol," marking the first time this season that a man was voted off the program. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. 'California' dreamin'

    Sporting long red locks again, Rihanna performs her new single "California King Bed" on "Idol" Thursday night. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. The champ is back

    Season one "Idol' winner Kelly Clarkson performs the duet "Don’t You Wanna Stay" with Jason Aldean. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Is this eight enough?

    The final eight contestants on season 10 of "American Idol," clockwise from left, Jacob Lusk, Haley Reinhart, Paul McDonald, Srefano Langone, Casey Abrams, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina and James Durbin. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. One for the judges

    Pia Toscano sings after being eliminated on "American Idol" on Thursday, April 7.

    The judges didn't take the cut from fans well. “I’m shocked. I’m angry. I don’t even know what to say,” J.Lo ranted.

    "I’m gutted. You’re one of the best singers in this. I’m never upset on this show, but this makes me mad. Really mad,” Randy Jackson told the tearful Toscano.

    "A mistake is one thing, but lack of passion is unforgivable. They’re wrong. She’s beautiful when she sings -- she’s a bird,” Steven Tyler added. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Something off his chest

    Iggy Pop struts his stuff in front of the judges' table while performing on "Idol" on Thursday, April 7. (Michael Becker / FOX) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Nine alive

    The final nine contestants on season 10 of "American Idol," clockwise from bottom right: Haley Reinhart, James Durbin, Pia Toscano, Casey Abrams, Jacob Lusk, Stefano Langone, Paul McDonald, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Two not for the show

    Naima Adedapo, left, and Thia Megia bid farewell after being eliminated on Thursday, March 31. The first four singers eliminated this season have been women, thanks to the judges’ use of the save on Casey Abrams last week. (Michael Becker  / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Diva style

    Fantasia returned to "Idol" stage and "took it back old school" for a performance of "Collard Greens and Cornbread" on Thursday, March 31. (Michael Becker  / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. 2 of out 3 ain't bad

    Thia Megia, left, Haley Reinhart, center, and Pia Toscano perform on "Idol" on Thursday, March 31. (Michael Becker  / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Oh, 'Rio'

    Jamie Foxx and will.i.am perform "Hot Wings," a song of the soundtrack to the movie "Rio." (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Strike up the band

    "Idol" contestants, from left, James Durbin, Paul McDonald, Casey Abrams and Stefano Langone perform on Thursday, March 31. MacDonald was among the lowest three vote-getters this week. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Final 10 plus one

    Usually only the top 10 Idol contestants go on to perform on "American Idol's" Live tour, but this year there will be 11. The singers are (clockwise from top left): James Durbin, Paul McDonald, Pia Toscano, Scotty McCreery, Jacob Lusk, Stefano Langone, Lauren Alaina, Casey Abrams, Naima Adedapo, Haley Reinhart and Thia Megia. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. A Hulk-ing announcement

    Pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan makes a surprise appearance on "American Idol" to reveal the fates of James Durbin and Paul McDonald, who were both safe and going on tour. Hogan also gave Ryan Seacreast a pro-wrestling punch to the head, hurling him into the audience. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Jennifer Hudson returns

    Jennifer Hudson was back on the stage that made her famous to perform her new song, "Where You At?" "It feels good to be home!" she exclaimed. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Nail-biting time

    Ryan Seacrest reveals to Casey Abrams, left, and Stefano Langone who must "sing for their life." (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Saved by the judges

    Casey Abrams, who was voted off "American Idol" Thursday, reacts after being saved by judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Sugarland

    "Sugarland" took to the stage to sing “Stuck Like Glue.” (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Happy birthday, Steven

    Stevie Wonder sings to help celebrate Steven Tyler's 63rd birthday. “I’m speechless,” Tyler says. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Eleven sent

    The final 11 contestants on "American Idol," clockwise from top left: Pia Toscano, Stefano Langone, Lauren Alaina, Paul McDonald, James Durbin, Scotty McCreery, Naima Adedapo, Jacob Lusk, Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart and Thia Megia. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. No save tonight

    Karen Rodriguez gets the word, alongside host Ryan Seacrest, that she has been eliminated from season 10 of "American Idol" on Thursday, March 17. She did well enough in her last-chance performance to have judge Jennifer Lopez lobby the other judges for her, but not enough to earn the save. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Have a seat

    Fergie and will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas perform on "American Idol." (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. DeWyze man said ...

    Season nine winner Lee DeWyze performs on "Idol" on Thursday, March 17. Seacrest introduced him by noting that he’d gone from “salesman to superstar overnight.” (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Dozen done good

    The final 12 contestants on season 10 of "American Idol." Top row, from left: Pia Toscano (holding a Casey Abrams mask), James Durbin, Paul McDonald, Jacob Lusk and Scotty McCreery. Bottom from left: Haley Reinhart, Karen Rodriguez, Stefano Langone, Naima Adedapo, Thia Megia and Laurn Alaina. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Glow in the 'Aftermath'

    Former "American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert performs "Aftermath" on the show on Thursday, March 10. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. A little Diddy

    Diddy-Dirty Money featuring Skylar Grey took the stage to perform "Coming Home" on Thursday night. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. First to go

    Ashton Jones, with Seacrest, is elimintaed on "Idol" on Thursday, March 10. Joining her in the bottom three were Karen Rodriguez and Haley Reinhart. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. The finalists

    "American Idol's" Top 13 are (bottom row from left) Paul McDonald, Ashthon Jones, Pia Toscano, Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart and Scott McCreery. (Top row from left) James Durbin, Naima Adedapo, Jacob Lusk, Thia Megia, Karen Rodriguez, Stefano Langone and Lauren Alaina. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Casey Abrams

    Casey, a 20-year-old from Idyllwild, Calif., has fought every step of the way to continue in the competition. He was nearly eliminated during semifinals week when he had to be hospitalized for a stomach ailment two days before taping. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Thia Megia

    Thia, a 16-year-old from Mountain House, Calif., is one of the competition’s youngest hopefuls. During the semifinals, judge Steven Tyler said that her “pitch can be so perfect that it doesn’t matter what song” she sings. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. James Durbin

    James, a 22-year-old from Santa Cruz, Calif., is the only rocker in this season’s competition. His penchant for screams and his big stage personality have drawn comparisons to season eight runner-up Adam Lambert. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. Pia Toscano

    Pia, a 22-year-old from Howard Beach, N.Y., got a standing ovation during the semifinals for her performance of “I’ll Stand By You.” (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. Lauren Alaina

    Lauren, a 16-year-old from Rossville, Ga., brought the crowd to its feet with Reba McEntire’s “Turn on the Radio” during the semifinal round. She first ingrained herself in America’s memory by singing Aerosmith -- with Steven Tyler -- for her initial audition. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Jacob Lusk

    Jacob, a 23-year-old from Compton, Calif., has a smooth, soothing voice that judge Jennifer Lopez compared to crooner Luther Vandross’s. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Haley Reinhart

    Haley, a 20-year-old from Wheeling, Ill., sang “Fallin’” well, but J.Lo thought she was too stuck in her head. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. Paul McDonald

    Paul, a 26-year-old from Nashville, won high praise from the judges for his version of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” Judge Steven Tyler loved his style (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. Karen Rodriguez

    Karen, a 21-year-old from New York, gave judge Jennifer Lopez goose bumps with her Spanish version of Mariah Carey’s “Hero.” It was a move that won America’s votes during the semifinals. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. Scott McCreery

    Scott, a 17-year-old country crooner from Garner, N.C., was the first of the guys to become a finalist. He performed “Letters From Home” during the semifinals to clinch his spot. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. Ashthon Jones

    Ashthon, a 24-year-old from Nashville, was one of the judges’ wild-card picks. She performed “I Am Telling You” to win them over one more time. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. Stefano Langon

    Stefano, a 21-year-old from Kent, Wash., was the only male singer the judges picked for a wild-card spot. He performed “I Need You Now” for his last-chance performance, and Steven Tyler declared that the young singer “gilded the lily of your own passion.” (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. Naima Adedapo

    Naima, a 26-year-old Milwaukee native, was the last of the judges’ wild-card picks. Steven Tyler said she was the new Ella Fitzgerald after she performed “Summertime” during the semifinals. (Michael Becker / Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
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