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Pair of 'Idol' semifinalists perform same song

By Derrik J. Lang

AP Entertainment Writer

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:55 a.m. HST, Mar 01, 2012


LOS ANGELES >> There wasn't only one performance of Adele's "One and Only" on "American Idol."

Elise Testone, the soulful 28-year-old teacher from Charleston, S.C., and Jen Hirsh, the soaring 25-year-old singer from Agoura Hills, Calif., both tackled the same jazzy Adele tune during Wednesday's performances from the top 12 female semifinalists on the Fox singing contest — and both were lauded by the judges for their take on the Grammy darling.

Hirsh was the first to perform "One and Only," compelling Randy Jackson to note that she was "one of the greatest singers in the competition this year." Testone was seated behind a piano when she closed the show with her rendition, prompting Jackson to repeat himself. He told Testone she has "one of the best voices in the competition."

"For me, you're one of the best singers, maybe the best singer here," Jennifer Lopez echoed to Testone.

Several other contestants also felt the love from the panel, including 26-year-old disc jockey Erika Van Pelt of South Kingstown, R.I., with Heart's "What About Love," 18-year-old Hollie Cavanaugh of McKinney, Texas, with Christina Aguilera's "Reflection," and 16-year-old shopaholic Jessica Sanchez of San Diego with "Love You I Do" from "Dreamgirls."

"Your voice is perfect," Steven Tyler told Sanchez. "Your pitch is perfect."

Jackson called Skylar Laine, the 18-year-old country diva-in-training from Brandon, Miss., a "rocking country girl" after she effortlessly strutted across the stage during Faces' "Stay With Me," while Jennifer Lopez blamed Shannon Magrane, a 16-year-old student from Tampa, Fla., for giving her "the goosies" after Chris Rice's "Go Light Your World."

"You sing with such passion for a 16-year-old," Lopez beamed.

Brielle Von Hugel, a 17-year-old cheerleader from New York, impressed the judges with a compelling "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding, but other contestants surprised the panel for the wrong reasons: Jackson wasn't a fan of 23-year-old Haley Johnsen's version of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams."

"It was a bit of a nightmare for me instead of a dream," Jackson told the barista from Beaverton, Ore.

The judges acknowledged that 23-year-old Chelsea Sorrell, from Stokesdale, N.C., didn't kick off Wednesday's installment on quite the right note with Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova." Baylie Brown, a 22-year-old singer from Krum, Texas, didn't fare much better by delivering a lukewarm rendition of "Amazed" by Lonestar.

"I've heard you sing better," Tyler said.

The top 25 semifinalists, including the 13 men who performed Tuesday, will all learn Thursday if they received enough votes to be among the viewer-selected top 10 contestants or one of the three "wild card" finalists picked by the show's judges. The 13 singers will take to the stage next week for the first round of the finals of season 11.






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