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'American Idol:' Top 4 on Lady Gaga, Haley Criticism and Winning

James calls Gaga’s groping "awkward and uncomfortable" and Scotty admits he’s “looking forward” to going home on next week's episode (before moving to Nashville).

james durbin top 6 performance
Michael Becker / FOX

For the first time this season, the remaining contestants, Haley Reinhart, James Durbin, Lauren Alaina  and Scotty McCreery were competing to get sent home— as they battled it out with personal selections of songs that inspire them, and songs that inspired millions by Leiber & Stoller.; all in hopes of making it to next week’s hometown visits. After an emotional night of literal high’s and lows, the final four kept the love fest going backstage, spilling details on future plans, Haley’s tough review, and lessons learned on the Idol stage.

On the judges' criticism:

Haley: I’m not gonna crack.  As much as they might try to or want me to, I wont. I think they know I can be very strong willed and that’s why they give it to me. They don’t hold back from me, they never have, never will. The whole thing about tonight is I got a little upset because that song is downright inspiring and emotional, so no matter what, that hit me to the heart.

Lauren:  I wasn’t a happy camper about that.  That made me a little ill because Haley, I’m sorry guys, Haley has the best voice on this show and she gets the most criticism and its just that I deserve a lot more criticism than she does, I’m Haley’s number one fan.  I listen to her songs on iTunes over and over.

On Gaga’s Groping:

James:  To sum it for me, it was awkward. It was unexpected and very uncomfortable. I warned [my girlfriend] first.  She didn’t like it. Only on Idol.

Scotty:  Everybody has their way of giving advice and getting their point across.  She just has a very unique way.

Lauren:  A very unique way!

On vocal challenges:

Scotty: They’ve showed us that we can do different stuff.  I remember in Vegas, I was in a group with Lauren and Denise and I was singing the octave lower and Ken Stacey said, ‘try the octave up.”

Haley: For me, it’s mostly the physical aspect.  I’ve been here getting to branch out and do my thing and be exactly who I want to be on stage and get loose with it, you know?

Lauren:  I used to sing in the same key all the time and now because I’m up against amazing people, I gotta do something different, so I’ve been trying to sing high notes.  Sometimes my voice cracks, but it didn’t crack tonight, I’m so happy!

James:  For me it’s actually been the notes in my lower register.  My lower register isn’t very strong and some of the notes I’ve had to dig a little bit and gotten a little shaky but I know where I’m most comfortable and that’s the whole point of branching out into a successful musician is to learn new things and see what fits best for you.  I think that’s the point of American Idol, to find out who you are as a musician and as an artist and hopefully be at that grand plateau.

On going home:

Scotty:  Every face I see in L.A. is a stranger to me, so I’m looking forward to getting home and seeing people I grew up with my whole life. Let me tell you, I’m gonna be crying when I get off that airplane.

Lauren:  Let me tell you, you haven’t seen me cry until I get to go home after two and a half months!  I’m used to going to school everyday, being surrounded by friends, getting tired of being around them and it was pulled away from us so we could follow our dreams so it’s gonna be one day where we see all of our friends and reunite and come back and do our thing again.  It’s gonna be amazing.

James:  Imagine me emotional. I can’t wait to spend time with my family, play with Hunter for a couple days.  Friends and family,and music, it’s where I learned everything.  I’ve lived there my entire life, born and raised.  If I make it there, there’s gonna be a beach concert on a giant stage on the beach at the boardwalk and I get to ride whatever rides I want for free.  I can’t wait to get back there to perform for the whole time that’s been so supportive since January.  

On life after Idol:

Scotty: For me, personally, I only have one more class to graduate high school and I want to get my diploma from Garner High, but  if everything works out, God willing I’m trying to go to Nashville and work out there, and take classes at Beaumont.

Lauren:  Me too dude!  We’re gonna go to school together! We’re gonna be classmates all over again! Aren’t you excited?