The remaining 12 contestants on "American Idol" are doing an "amazing job" and have "got a sense of what it's really about," judge Randy Jackson said ahead of Thursday's elimination.
The show replaced judges and its executive producer ahead of 10th season, which began on January, following decreased ratings. Even Simon Cowell, who quit "American Idol" last year, recently said the series is currently better than last season.
"Season 10 we've revamped the show, I've been calling it season 10 the remix," Jackson told OnTheRedCarpet.com at a recent PaleyFest 2011 event honoring the series. "Now we've got Steven [Tyler] and Jennifer Lopez with us. It's a hot show, we've got some great talent and I think these kids are really doing an amazing job. Unfortunately, now that they've gotten the swing of it, someone is going to go home every week if they don't perform up to snuff."
The "American Idol" judges looked chummy at the event and Tyler confirmed that he would be joining Lopez on-stage for a special performance in a future episode of the hit show. Tyler also talked about how he felt about the way the show works.
"In the beginning, I thought how can somebody become an American idol if they haven't played the clubs and gotten beaten down by their peers, you know, they're gonna get judged in the end anyway by the American people, so it's kind of like we're a club," Tyler said. "
Jackson and the show's creators said that they believed this season's contestants had the "whole package" and had already out-shown many of the past season's groups.
"I think from a contestant perspective, it was a thing of trying to find the whole package," Jackson said. "Are they a great singer, do they have any star potential, is there anything special and unique about them. I think in the past, we've had a lot of great singers, but I'm not sure we've a lot of out-and-out stars to go with the vocal power... [this season] they can all move, they've all got a sense of what it's really about."
On Wednesday, March 16, the finalists performed songs from the year they were born. The male contestants appeared to win the most praise from the judges and the studio audience.
Casey Abrams tackled grunge band Nirvana's gritty "Smells Like Teen Spirit," James Durbin rocked out with Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There For You," Scotty McCreery sang the country song "Can I Trust You With My Heart" by Travis Tritt and Stefano Langone received much praise from the judges for his cover of "If You Don't Know Me by Now," famously released by Simply Red in 1989. Jackson compared Thia Megia's rendition of "Colors of the Wind" from the soundtrack of the Disney movie "Pocahontas" to a beauty pageant performance. Naima Adedapo was criticized by judge Jennifer Lopez for being "pitchy" after she sang Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It."
Haley Reinhart appeared nervous and also had to enlist the help of host Ryan Seacrest to help her wipe away red lipstick that had smudged under her lips after she sang Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight."
The other remaining contestants are Lauren Alaina, Jacob Lusk, Paul McDonald, Karen Rodriguez and Pia Toscano.
One contestant is expected to be voted off "American Idol" on Thursday, March 17. Also on the episode, the hip hop group the Black Eyed Peas and "American Idol" season nine winner Lee DeWyze are set to perform.
The judges have the power to save from elimination a person deemed to have gotten the lowest number of votes. They can only exercise this option once, after a unanimous decision, and only until only five contestants remain in the competition. If a finalist is saved, the two contestants who receive the lowest number of votes will be axed on the following elimination episode.