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Steven Tyler Lauds the ‘Special’ Voices on ‘American Idol’

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Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

On Wednesday night’s ‘American Idol,’ the contestants did songs from the years they were born, which ranged from 1983 to 1995 — proving even fetuses can sing. Hell, Steven Tyler probably has nail polish older than these kids.

Before each contestant performed, their families told stories about their births and early childhoods before the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am helped producer Jimmy Iovine mentor them to (hopeful) success.

As the finalist group gets smaller, the judges’ reviews always start to get a bit sharper. What was “great” becomes merely “good,” and the panel begins doling out constructive criticism. Randy Jackson’s favorite word for a decade has been “pitchy,” and he trotted it out again tonight (for the uninitiated, that’s a nice way of saying someone was off-key).

“It wasn’t a great song choice for you, but you have a special voice,” Steven told a male contestant, leading us to wonder if maybe “you have a special voice” is the guy-equivalent of the dreaded “you look pretty.” We’ll see as the season wears on.

Steven did have much harsher words for other contestants, but while he’s sometimes abrupt, he’s never mean.

But what did seem mean was the ouster of Jermaine Jones. The singer, who’s been dubbed “the gentle giant,” was found to have some outstanding warrants that he hadn’t come clean about before the season started, and legally, ‘Idol’ can’t keep someone like that on the show. That’s perfectly understandable. But there really wasn’t any need to broadcast a tape of the producers breaking the news to him. Feh.

After that ickiness was done, Stephen told gospel/soul singer Joshua, who gave a barn-burner of a performance, “You gave it up so big, God came through your eyes.” And oddly enough, it didn’t sound dirty at all.

The closest thing we got to classic rock all night was Phillip Phillips bravely overcoming kidney surgery to sing the Black Crowes (but really Otis Redding) hit ‘Hard To Handle.’ Thursday night, another singer goes home (hopefully without a police escort this time). See you then.

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