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American Idol Recap: Motown Hits, Guys

• In what was clearly the big surprise of the evening, Aretha Franklin kicked off "American Idol" by singing "I Will Survive." The Top 24 jumped to their feet in the audience and danced.
• The show kicked off with results, as host Ryan Seacrest read out who was moving forward, in no particular order, starting with...
• Daniel Seavey, the youngest competitor, who sang "How Sweet It Is" by Marvin Gaye. He had a bright smile, of course, but had some problems with the melody in the beginning and sing-talked through some of the middle. He finished strong, though, which might be enough to save him. Judge Keith Urban told him he's "hanging with the big dogs." He told him to work with the melody and keep up his confidence. Jennifer Lopez said she liked seeing him more relaxed. She thought the song was a little low for him. Harry Connick Jr. called him gifted and cute but cut to the chase. "When you do a beat, which is a shuffle," you need to move with the band. He wasn't as connected to the band as he needed to be, Harry told him.
• Next to discover he'd made it into the Top 8 guys was Mark Andrew, who sang "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" by the Temptations. He wore a dark green V-neck shirt and dark jeans and stood and danced at a mic stand instead of strumming the guitar. He was very comfortable onstage and very bluesy and smooth. Jennifer wasn't sure the song moved her, even though she loves the song. Harry liked the arrangement but said it felt like a jam band arrangement. Keith agreed about the arrangement but added he was "just glad you're here."
• Ryan announced that Rayvon Owen would sing next, and he took the stage to sing "My Girl" by the Temptations, wearing a black shirt buttoned all the way up, a black fedora and skinny black pants. He sang for the front row and got a lot of girls screaming for his tender, buttery vocals. Harry told him he needs to start taking some risks but that it was strong and he loves his presence. Keith wanted to see more "weight" in his performance. Jennifer also thought he did a great job.
• Adam Ezegelian was amped up to find that he'd made it through. He sang a syncopated version of "Give Me One More Chance" by the Jackson 5, wearing a black tuxedo with bow tie. There was something so perfect about it; reminded me of an old-school jazz performer. And of course, he just comes alive onstage. Keith thought it was the perfect song for him and said that he loves him. Jennifer liked that they were changing up the Motown, and he did a good job. The band was amazing, she said, and Adam jumped in and said, "Give it up for the band." Nice. Harry praised him for nailing every note.
• Ryan introduced the season mentor, Scott Borchetta, who's really buzzed about the great guys. Ryan asked him what he thought about Clark Beckham, who then got up and sang "The Tracks of My Tears" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, accompanying himself on guitar and backed by the band. He wore a white button-down shirt and black tie. In the bridge, he went up into a falsetto that was actually really good. He had some good ad libs in there and projected some genuine-seeming emotion. The end of the song, they picked up the pace to almost a frantic beat, which made for an interesting ending. Jennifer said he has one of the best voices here. Now, she said, it's about letting loose and feeling it, showing his heart. Harry thought it lacked a beginning, middle and an end. It needed another minute and a half, he said. Keith said he would have liked to see him play just with the guitar and "break everybody's hearts."
• Nick Fradiani, who is a dead ringer for his father, as the archival photos in his intro showed, sang "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" by Stevie Wonder, strumming guitar and wearing a denim jacket and black V-neck with dark jeans. The song was just sort of flat and boring, despite his efforts to bring the energy. Harry thought it was very strong and a great arrangement. He advised him to smile more. Keith would have liked him to lay down the guitar and groove more on that song. Jennifer thought it was a good song for him and agreed about the smiling.
• Qaasim Middleton was next, with "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder, in a red and white checked shirt with a black suit. He was very animated and danced crazily but was a little mush-mouthed on his enunciation. Still, he was very entertaining, which will probably get him through again. Keith called it "so good." Jennifer told him he's so funky it's crazy, and he owns the stage. She wanted him to start showing everybody how great he sings, too. Harry thought it was extremely good and all his runs were right on the money.
• Before the commercial break, Ryan reminded us there was only one slot left and five guys waiting for the news of their fate. The last one to get through turned out to be Quentin Alexander, who got a big hug from Savion Wright before going up onstage. He wore a vest without a shirt, khaki pants, and a bandanna wrapped around his head. He sang, "Master Blaster" by Stevie Wonder with a distinct reggae feel. Keith was singing along. Quentin interacted with the band really well, and the camera showed the Top 24 girls dancing in the sidelines. Jennifer shouted, "I'm so glad you're hear." She called it easy, smooth and perfect, although she said it kills her to see the other guys cut. Harry liked how he settled into the groove of it. he felt there was a little bit of reservation because he was a little freaked out by being the last guy through. (Shot of Savion being like a big brother to Trevor Douglas and Riley Bria, giving them reassuring hugs.)
• Tonight, the Top 8 ladies will be revealed, as they also perform from Detroit.
• Next week, look for Daniel Seavey and Mark Andrew to be in danger, along with possibly Nick Fradiani and possibly even Rayvon Owen.

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