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'American Idol' 2014 top 10: Alex Preston hits the bull's eye with One Direction

"American Idol" 2014 continued March 19 on FOX as the top 10 finalists hit the stage to sing a collection of recent top 10 hits, including pieces by Zedd, Florida Georgia Line, Pink, and other popular artists. One of the evening's best-received performances came from Mont Vernon, N.H. native Alex Preston, who successfully put his unique spin on a popular One Direction tune.

'American Idol' 2014 hopeful Alex Preston's take on a One Direction hit earned praise during the March 19 top 10 performance show.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

After acknowledging that "Story of My Life" represented a significant departure from his March 12 song choice, The Frames' "Falling Slowly," Alex explained that it's always necessary to "switch it up every week so people will stay interested."

Although he worried over what One Direction fans would think of his cover, Alex hit the "Idol" stage looking confident with his guitar in hand. The entire performance was vocally on-point as he put an inoffensive, subtle spin on the well-recognized tune, changing it up just enough to make it more "Alex" and less One Direction. The performance had judge Jennifer Lopez grooving in her chair and the crowd screaming in approval.

All three panelists were uniformly impressed. Keith Urban praised the young singer for his originality, telling him "you always sound like Alex, play like Alex, move like Alex." Jennifer said she "loved it" and drew parallels between his talent and that of the legendary Buddy Holly. Even the often picky Harry Connick, Jr. was pleased with the effort, and told Alex that he'd "just hit the bull's eye on the artistry target."

The judges and the live audience weren't alone in their admiration of Alex's effort, as a surge of support pulsed through Twitter following the broadcast. User @thejuiceangel summed up the sentiments of many by tweeting "I think that @RealAlexPreston needs to win #idol This guy is so crazy talented."

To see if Alex passes safely to the top nine, watch the "American Idol" 2014 top 10 results show March 20 on FOX.