Viewers were surprised when Qaasim Middleton was voted off American Idol last week, but they were shocked when the panel of judges voted to save him. Mentor Scott Borchetta tells Taste of Country Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. may come to regret that decision.

His remarks had nothing to do with Middleton and his potential to become the 14th American Idol — it was just too early in the season to burn the one save.

“If we lose one of the frontrunners, I think they will regret it,” he says. “If one of the top four or five who really feel like they’re starting to pull away from the pack have a bad night, all we can do is smile and wave.”

Jax, Joey Cook and Clark Beckham are three that have been consistent from week to week. Wednesday night (March 25) the remaining contestants will perform songs from the ‘80s, with Beckham singing “Every Breathe You Take,” Cook trying “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and Jax singing “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

“If you’re an ‘80s fan … this is gonna be one of your favorite shows of the season,” Borchetta says. Eighties idol Boy George will serve as co-mentor.

When Quentin Alexander was revealed as safe last Thursday, the Big Machine Label Group CEO said he went to Middleton and told him to leave it all on stage. That’s what happened, and both of the final two from the Top 11 round learned from their experience. Alexander has accepted a calm about the show that’s left him focused on doing his best.

Not every contestant is in the same place, however. From week to week, Borchetta says someone new is struggling with the pressure and workload of being on American Idol. “The younger ones, because they don’t have anything to compare it to, they’re just like ‘Ahhhh … what are we gonna do?’” he explains.

In some ways, staying alive means avoiding attrition. Country contestant Maddie Walker has managed to do that. Borchetta says the 17-year-old has the raw talent, she just needs to continue developing to overcome some of the criticisms about her not showing enough personality.

“The curve is steep and the challenge is can she develop fast enough,” he says.

Two contestants will be eliminated tonight when the second straight Top 11 round begins on American Idol. Find it on FOX at 8PM ET.

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