'American Idol': Stevie Wonder, Hulk Hogan crash the elimination party

idol-elim-11-group.jpgThis week, "American Idol" totally phoned a friend -- or friends -- for a little help in getting through the elimination hour.

The opening number: After a bumpy rendition of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" from the remaining "Idol" hopefuls, Stevie Wonder glided onto the stage -- just the first of Thursday's (March 24) special guests -- and kicked up the energy level with his own 1970 Motown hit, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours."

The top 11 may be in top form, but they had trouble presenting "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" as a group. Justin, James, Casey, Naima -- heck, all of them -- tried to put his or her own stamp on the song. We'd have appreciated a more cohesive presentation with ego sacrificed for harmony.

Anyhow, Wonder rescued us from the mediocre opening, then led the entire crowd in wishing judge Steven Tyler happy birthday. He'll be 63 on Saturday (March 26).

Then, as the tension built while we waited to find out if Paul McDonald and James Durbin were safe, a deeply tanned (best comparison: beef jerky) Hulk Hogan -- who makes perfect sense for Motown week -- burst onto the stage in what we assume was a bid to attract WWE fans. Or WWF fans circa 1987. He delivered the good news that both Paul and James had made it through to the top 10, then, as no doubt Simon Cowell wanted to several times, Hogan sent Ryan Seacrest flying across the stage.

Oh yeah, Sugarland performed somewhere in there, too, but it's hard to remember things clearly after watching Hulk Hogan rip off his shirt.
Photo/Video credit: Fox