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'Idol' Updates & Paula's Injury

Apr 21st, 2004

April 21, 2004

Was it magic when the seven remaining "American Idol" hopefuls crooned the tunes of Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winner Barry Manilow on last night's performance edition of the No. 1 TV series? You bet it was! So much so that Mr. Nasty Simon Cowell turned to Barry and asked, "What did you do to the girls? You have made them all sing really well."

Paula Abdul, our special correspondent and "Idol" judge, showed up to "Idol" still wearing the sling she had on ET earlier the same day.

"I think it is time that John Steven's goes home," she says, "He is not in the league where the rest of them are right now. He is such a sweetheart. America had a love affair with him, but now it is down to the singing, and he isn't up there with the rest of them."

As for her sling, Paula told us she had to have emergency surgery on her finger, which became infected following a faulty manicure. But she declared she still had what it takes to get the job done. "It is very uncomfortable," she shared, "but it won't keep me from putting Simon in his place tonight."

"American Idol" is heating up as the number of contestants is running down. There are only a few weeks left until the time will come to pick the next lucky singer to follow in the footsteps of Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard, winning the $1 million recording contract.

"As it narrows down, we are getting to the real meat and potatoes of the competition," Paula commented. "The real singers, people who can rise to the challenge of heavy melodic songs, such as Jennifer Hudson, George Huff, Fantasia Barrino, La Toya London and Jasmine Trias, are going to rise to the challenge."

Was she right on with her predictions? Here's what the judges had to say:

Diana DeGarmo led off the night with an outstanding performance of "One Voice," so much so that Simon told her, "This was your best performance in the competition."

Next up was George with "Trying To Get That Feeling Again." Randy Jackson felt, "It was a good song choice, but I did not love the rendition. You tried to do too much with it." And Simon agreed, saying George "made a mess of it."

Jennifer performed "Weekend in New England." Randy said, "That was unbelievable. You just get better every week," and Barry, who sat in on the panel, agreed, adding, "You took it all the way, sweetie. I just loved it."

Jasmine's choice for the night was "I'll Never Love This Way Again," and Barry told her, "I arranged this for Dionne Warwick, but I thought you gave her a little competition."

La Toya did Barry proud on "All The Time." And Simon told her, "You are, I think, the best singer in the competition."

John tried to rebound with "Mandy," but it was a no go. Simon declared, "It was mechanical. Tonight more than anything else, I am beginning to get a feeling of who the best singers are, and you are not one of them, but I now know who you remind me of, STAN LAUREL (of comedy team Laurel & Hardy)."

And last, but hardly least, Fantasia performed "It's A Miracle," giving it a gospel twist that Barry said he had always wanted to hear, adding, "'It's a Miracle' has been around a long time. You gave your own spin to it. You should open your own concert with it."

Last night, "American Idol" returned to its regularly scheduled time period with the performance show on FOX at 8. The live results show airs tonight at 8:30 p.m. Paula told us guest judge Barry was thrilled to rehearse with the kids.

"After watching Elton John week, where the melodies were very difficult, Barry canceled all of his schedule for the week and asked the producers if he could start working, even before his week starts, to help the kids learn the songs," Paula said last week. "His songs are very difficult melodically."

Barry put the hopefuls at ease as he worked with them. "This is what Clay Aiken is going to look like in 20 years (indicating himself)," he teased.

Next week the Idols will provide a little Latin flavor for guest judge Gloria Estefan backed by her band the Miami Sound Machine.

Also coming up: On Monday, May 3, FOX airs an all-new special, "American Idol: The Final Five 2004," hosted by Ryan Seacrest. The highlights special goes back to the beginning and focuses on the Top 5's journey from the initial auditions to what lies ahead.

Courtesy of ETOnline.

Filed under: American Idol


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