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'American Idol' Top 7 perform: Live blog

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American Idol Final 7 Live

© Fox

It's getting down to the wire on American Idol and only seven contestants remain. For tonight's 'Songs From This Decade' theme, the hopefuls are expected to take on tracks from some of today's biggest stars including Kelly Clarkson, Lady GaGa and Pink - a tall order, to be sure.

Will the Top 7 be able to impress judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler or will some of our old favourites finally fall flat? Stay with Digital Spy from 8/7c to find out!

21:55And that's it for tonight's live performances! Tomorrow night, someone goes home - OR DON'T THEY? Who can say? Join us again on Thursday night (April 12) at 8/7c for your results!

21:54She sounds great, but I do also wonder if she's not trying too hard. Look, everyone knows that Elise has a lot of talent, but she might not be right for American Idol. She also seems to mess up the song in the middle, and I can't tell if it's intentional or not. She eventually pulls it back, but I don't know that this has helped her case at all in the competition. We'll probably see her in the bottom again tomorrow.

Randy actually loves it, proclaiming, "Elise is back!" and saying that it was the perfect song for her and the perfect vocal. He particularly appreciates her "crazy" releases. Jennifer loves that she did exactly what she wanted to do and says that she's at her best when she lets go and gives herself over. Steven agrees, saying that she took a song that is so simple and made it "effortless and genius".

21:49
American Idol Season 11 - The Top 9 perform - Elise Testone
Finally, Elise Testone is up. Guess who her biggest celeb fan is? Jason Segel! We like Jason Segel. Elise is singing Lady GaGa's 'You and I'. She was thinking of starting the song by playing drums, but thankfully, Jimmy and Akon shut that down pretty quickly. I like the song choice for her, so I have high hopes.

21:40It's duet time again! Except instead of a duet, it's a trio. Hollie, Josh and Jessica are taking on Kelly Clarkson's 'Stronger'. The video montage before the performance highlights the fact that Hollie and Josh are apparently BFFs, which Jessica thinks is "weird". I agree. I never would have thought of that combo. Then again, I never would have thought about it to begin with.

The performance is... mediocre. Enough said.

21:32The actual performance is all right - it's nothing outstanding and the instrumentation sounds a bit cheesy, but the girls love Phil so it'll be hard for him to do much wrong, really. It's all right. Shrug.

Steven thinks that the more serious Phil takes the competition, the better he is able to hit notes. He also admires Phil's fashion evolution, comparing him to a mix of Steve McQueen and Johnny Cash. Jennifer, however, finds it underwhelming and wants to see him "break out" in the songs he's choosing so that he can showcase all that he is as an artist. Meanwhile, Randy agrees with Jennifer, admitting that it was not his best performance and it didn't really go anywhere.

21:29
American Idol Season 11 - The Top 8 Perform - Phillip Phillips
Moving right along, it's Phillip Phillips's turn. The Leesburg, Georgia native is performing Maroon 5's 'Give a Little More'. I don't know that song because Maroon 5 is lame, but the little snippets I hear of it during Phil's rehearsal sounds good. Jimmy once again urges him to push himself to be more popular than Colton. Whatever.

21:22The vocal sounds great and I think this is one of her better vocal performances. I don't know what the judges will think about the 'stage' aspect of it cos she's pretty much there singing, but I think that makes it even more powerful. I think she sounds great - and that final note is killer.

Jennifer compliments her on how beautiful she looks and can feel Hollie fighting to stay in the competition. "You sang beautifully tonight, you should be proud of yourself," she adds, before saying that "we'll see how it pans out". Wow, thanks for the support. Steven was not a fan either, it seems, saying it was far from perfect for him and lacked a certain something.

Randy thinks it was a lot better than last week and that she managed to redeem herself this week. He knows that she can sing and hit big notes, but he would like to see a little more feeling. Still, he insists that it was a major improvement.

21:17
American Idol Season 11 - The Top 9 perform - Hollie Cavanagh
McKinney, Texas's Hollie Cavanagh is up next. Y'all know I love Hollie, though I wonder if she's meant for this competition much longer. Tonight, she's singing Pink's 'Perfect'. She's got a great voice and will do really well, but she's also young and as Jimmy and Akon point out, she doesn't have that much experience. That's not a bad thing! I think she's great, so everyone be nice.

21:07Time for the next duet, and Colton and Skylar are doing another country duet - Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean's 'Don't You Wanna Stay?' Apparently there's been rumours going around that these two are dating, though they insist they're not. I think they'd make a cute couple, but I also think they're actually just friends. The performance isn't anything incredible, but that's mostly 'cos I don't think much of the song itself, but I think they're cute.

21:00
American Idol Season 11 - The Top 8 Perform - Joshua Ledet
Steven thinks that he can sell a song like a work of art. He also tries to get Joshua to get some girl's phone number - uh, hello? I think he's barking up the wrong tree. Anyway, Jennifer says that it was dynamic and showed the great qualities of a performer. Randy is speechless and calls it "unbelievable", appreciating his look, his vocals and the whole package. I have nothing to say to this malarky.

20:55It's Joshua Ledet's 20th birthday and he's a little too overjoyed when he gets a video message from... Fantasia Barrino. No, not Celine Dion or Barbra Streisand, but Fantasia. I guess it takes all kinds.

He's singing Bruno Mars. I already couldn't stand Joshua, and this certainly didn't help.

20:48
American Idol Season 11 - The Top 9 perform - Jessica Sanchez
I don't even have words for the performance. Her voice is nearly perfect - as close as it can get, anyway - and she's in total control. I have no complaints (for once).

Randy loves the arrangements she did with the song and thinks that she set the bar really high and showed off the talent level she has. He calls it "superb" and thinks it was at "the highest degree" of talent. Jennifer calls it "really beautiful" and appreciates that she "started digging deeper" in the middle of the track. Jennifer also thinks that she has more of an opportunity than anyone else to "take American on a ride". Whatever, okay. However, she wants to see a more "impactful" performance, like Joshua Ledet gives. What? Just... stop talking, Jennifer.

Steven forgets where he is every time she sings - again, I don't think that's the performance. He appreciates the "beautiful melody" she had in the song and jokes that she also had the nerve to wear Jennifer's shoes. Steven, a comedian you are not.

20:43Jessica Sanchez, who hails from San Diego, is making it even harder for me to hate her for her child prodigy status by singing Jazmine Sullivan's 'Stuttering'. Jimmy and Akon are amazed at the control and feeling she has in her voice, especially at such a young age. Listen, you can't even hate her. She's really, really good.

20:33It's time for tonight's duets! First up, Elise Testone and Phillip Phillips are going to take on Gotye and Kimbra's 'Somebody That I Used to Know'. I can't believe Gotye is being covered on American Idol. My, how times have changed. I adore this song, but just... no. Not for this show - and not for Glee either. Leave us something, people!

The song is terrible for Elise's voice, by the way - I quite like her but she can't hit any of the right notes and it sounds awkward as hell - not to mention she is skipping over all of the words and blending them all together. Phil fares slightly better, but in general, just... no. Make it stop.

20:25
American Idol Season 11 - The Top 9 perform - Colton Dixon
Jennifer thinks Colton should definitely feel good about it, as he always surprises her with his approach to the notes and does it in his own way. She loves that he's able to make every song his own (I agree) and says that it's a mark of a true artist. Steven compliments his jacket, but agrees with Jennifer, calling him a "rare talent" and saying that he could have recorded that song right now and released it as is. He insists that Colton has not even "found [his] top" yet, which is refreshing as he will really peak when he sings his own material.

Randy applauds him for giving a more subtle performance and never going over the top, which allowed him to show the "sensitivity" of the track. "I love where your mind and your heart goes," he adds of watching Colton sing.

20:21Next up, Murfreesboro, Tennessee native Colton Dixon, who'll be singing 'Love The Way You Lie' by Eminem and Rihanna. He's back behind the piano again, but Jimmy and Akon want him to really do something different because otherwise, he's just not going to stand out against his co-competitor Phillip Phillips.

The actual performance is good - very Colton, if you know what I mean. He's quite talented and will do well as an artist, without a doubt, but I'm not blown away. It's a nice song choice for him, as it's not particularly expected but it still suits him and is good for his voice. I could see him actually recording an album, which I suppose speaks quite a lot for him. He also reminds me of someone I can't quite put my finger on yet, but I do like him.

20:13
American Idol Season 11 - The Top 10 Perform - Skylar Laine
Little Skylar is even playing guitar for tonight's performance! I just think she's great, and frankly, she'll end up with a record deal regardless of how far she gets in the competition now. Her vocals are powerful, her pitch is spot-on and she's just great to listen to. Deal with it.

Randy thinks that she's "definitely back" and that it is the kind of music she should do as it's believable. "That was crazy hot and crazy good!" he adds. Jennifer agrees, saying that it was nearly pitch perfect, which is never easy in a song like that. She adds that Skylar was "beautiful" up there and that the performance was a perfect way to start the show. Steven says that when she sings, it's a "complete package" and praises the way she sings as "just great".

20:09Helping to mentor the contestants this week has been Akon! Man, 'Locked Up' was a great song, even if a bit of a mess. We're also going back to the contestants' hometowns this week.

Skylar Laine is up first and is going back to Brandon, Mississippi. The residents there seem super supportive, and I'm not even going to say anything snarky because I love her. Shut up. She's singing Kellie Pickler's 'Didn't Know How Much I Loved You'. While Jimmy Iovine wonders at first if the song is big enough, both he and Akon eat their words once she starts rehearsing it. "When she sings, I believe it," Jimmy says after. "She is a pro!"

20:06Tommy Hilfiger is apparently taking his Style Director position on the show seriously, as he visits the mansion and encourages everyone to spruce up their looks. Tommy was also on the finale of Project Runway: All Stars a few weeks ago. Hey, I'm not hating. We all gotta pay bills.

20:04The finale is just over a month away! That's gone quickly - not quickly enough, mind, but quickly. The crowd is pretty excited tonight, though I'm not sure why. Maybe it's all for Jessica Sanchez.

20:02It's Idol time! And guess what? DeAndre Brackensick was sent home last week. Did you forget? I didn't. I could never fail to remember those luscious curls, that ear-ringing falsetto... and apparently neither can the other contestants as we're treated to yet another melodramatic montage of his fellow contestants crying their eyes out following his departure. Where's the booze party they all no doubt had once they got back to the mansion?

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