NOTES: ‘American Idol’ Season 11, Episode 31

– “Idol” might as well come out and announce their public relations partnership with TMZ. Once again the gossip rag broke a story less than an hour before air time, although this time it didn’t involve a contestant but host Ryan Seacrest. The newly re-signed presenter was noticeably fatigued and his voice at times sounded a little weak, yet somehow made it through the two hour show without a hiccup. While some may scoff at the time of money the show throws Seacrest, last night he showed once again why he’s worth every penny, and then some.

– Has Randy Jackson copyrighted “Gotta Have It!” yet? When do the t-shirts come out?

– Loved that Stevie Van Zandt was in the building, of course sitting next to Springsteen producer and record label mogul Jimmy Iovine.

– The Steven Tyler/Jennifer Lopez “big cushion” exchange was awkwardly awesome.

– The JLO/Jackson exchange regarding Elise Testone’s second performance was equally awkward and awesome – and is something we saw more from the two last season. Nice to see that the claws are still sharp and functioning.

– I’m going to flip up my notes from this point of the competition moving forward because let’s face it: they’re all talented, they’re all singing well. I’ll simply comment on what performances stood out from others, and the reasons why.
– Skylar Laine is coming on strong. She has the country fan base and she’s showing range and versatility in her voice, something that could lend to snagging the more mainstream vote and winning it all. I’d be surprised if she isn’t top three.
– Joshua Ledet’s finish in this show will be an ultimate tale of if the most talented truly wins. Week in and week out he is a man among kids out there.
– Like Iovine has already, I’ll admit it: I was wrong on Phillip Phillips. Brilliant choice for him to cover a Dave Matthews Band song in his second performance. When he stays in or near his wheel house, I am an unapologetic fan. It is only when he starts covering pop acts like Michael Jackson or Maroon 5 that I get turned off from his style.
– My final four: Jessica, Joshua, Skylar, Phillip. I think Elise goes home this week. Tyler said it best – song choice was too obscure for that show.

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