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American Idol Recap: Haley Finally Catches a Break, With Lady Gaga's Help

While Steven Tyler tends to think everything is "beautiful," he had a real point to make this time.
/ Source: E!online

While Steven Tyler tends to think everything is "beautiful," he had a real point to make this time.

After his fellow judges maligned Haley Reinhart for not singing a foot-stomper like James Durbin did right before her, it was Steven to the rescue!

"Don't listen to them!" the Aerosmith frontman interjected as Randy Jackson lectured Haley on her song choice (Michael Jackson's "Earth Song"), her register ("I thought you were screaming") and the color of her shoes (not really, but he sure was on a roll).

WATCH: Last week it was J.Lo who stole the show

"What do you get from that? They're both wrong," Steven concluded forcefully when it was finally his turn to talk. "That song showed me that you can. It wasn't a hit song, but you sang it, you nailed it. The upper register, you nailed it. You nailed it with feeling, you pushed it over the top. The audience heard it and America heard it. Don't believe them," he added, pointing to Randy and Jennifer Lopez.

Casey Abrams, sitting in the audience tonight, definitely seemed to agree.

"What is she supposed to do with that concoction of feedback?!" wondered Ryan Seacrest, standing next to the still-bewildered Haley.

In our opinion, she did major justice to M.J.'s song, her voice venturing into gospel territory at times--which was appropriate, considering round one was for songs that inspire the contestants.

Meanwhile, the judges absolutely loved James' well-sung but not particularly special take on Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." Sure, it was fun, but...did that give more of a clue into what sort of artist he is than Haley's choice? Was it better because everyone knew the words?

The same thing happened to Haley last week when she pioneered a Lady Gaga song. Oh, well.

In what Simon Cowell would have deemed a very crafty choice, Scotty McCreery went with Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," an emotion-churning ballad the country star wrote in response to 9/11. And of course he sang it beautifully and subtly, with all the poise expected of a Scotty McCreery performance.

"I'm in love with you, I can't help it," sighed Jennifer.

Lauren Alaina also ripped the judges hearts out (in a good way) with Martina McBride's "Do It Anyway."

"You know what was wrong with that performance, guys? Absolutely nothing!" Randy exclaimed.

Then it was on to round two, dedicated to music from the writing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, when we learned what happened when the top four met with Lady Gaga, and started getting real. Or psycho, as Gaga advised at times.

"Give them a little Edith Piaf, a little crazy, like you're a laugh away from a tear," the pop superstar advised Haley before the husky-voiced hopeful hit the stage with "I (Who Have Nothing)"--a potentially boring choice if sung wrong, as Jimmy Iovine pointed out.

But Haley had something, all right.

The judges righted themselves by positively raving about her performance, with J.Lo calling it one of the best of the year and Randy deeming it Haley's big moment. "One of your best vocals ever," he said.

Gaga then advised poor, blushing Scotty to envision the mic as his girlfriend and "make love to that microphone!"

"Apparently he's a bit more conservative than I had imagined," she said afterward, followed by Scotty remarking that he felt like he "needed to kiss his cross" afterward.

Can anyone saw awkward?

But the judges seemed to love his jaunty, humorous performance of "Young Blood," and Randy even compared his two performances to "the two sides of a Scotty McCreery concert."

We're not sure why Lauren chose to sing Elvis Presley's "Trouble" if she was so uncomfortable calling herself "evil" in the song...but she did, and if we hadn't seen the big to-do beforehand, the performance would have seemed perfectly natural.

It wasn't a great vocal, though, so her fans are going to have to stand by her round-one tune to justify her sticking around for another week.

James closed the show with "Love Potion No. 9," which, in our humble opinion, actually rocked way harder than his Journey cover.

"You know what that showed me? That you can sing anything," concluded J.Lo.

Tough choice ahead, America. Who deserves to be in that top three?

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