As the judges duly noted, Tuesday night was a huge night on American Idol because it’s the night the eleven remaining contestants would sing for the chance to make it into the coveted Top 10 – a chance to go on tour and make big money.
Not surprisingly, the star of the evening turned out to be Idol’s golden girl — Crystal Bowersox – the singer, Simon Cowell pegged as this season’s eventual winner.
Bowersox said she’s singing Janice Jolpin’s clasic song Bobby McGee. Idol’s guest mentor, 17-year-old Miley Cyrus, said she loves the song and loves Crystal’s voice, but points out that she thinks Crystal can “push herself a little more.” Crystal said she’s kind of nervous about hitting the big notes, but she didn’t need to worry, because as usual she nails it! The crowd goes wild. Randy said, “Listen, The show is called American Idol, and that’s what being a star is all about. That is the way you do it. You come out here and you slay it. That’s what it is about. I am so happy now!” Ellen agreed, “The song came on the radio the other day and I thought ‘she should sing this!’ There was nothing wrong with that performance. But we are missing a bit of personality though. I would love to see a little more connection. It’s probably nerves, but these people love you, take it all in.” Kara said, “I saw you smiling, I saw you moving a little more, would you consider putting the guitar down? I felt more tonight. I saw smiling, i saw you moving more. You should consider putting the guitar down. You need to let go completely.” Simon raved, “I wouldn’t change anything. Up till now we have listened to a karaoke contest. I’ve heard Pink sing a version of this song, and that was as good as that in my opinion. This is about finding a recording artist. You’re doing your own thing, you just took a song and you nailed it.”
We had to wait well into the program to hear Bowersox sing, because first up Lee DeWyze who sang The Letter by The Box Tops. Miley said she thinks Lee has an amazing voice but is lacking stage presence. Lee said that sometimes he’s more focused on the judges than the performance. Miley suggested Lee gives a few notes that the judges aren’t expecting. And Lee delivered! Randy raved, “It’s cool you chose this bluesy version of this song. It’s cool you chose this, and you know what? You knocked it out the park! Way to start the show!” Ellen agreed, “You know you have a favorite pen? Then all of a sudden it starts running out of ink? Well, my favorite pen is back. That was fantastic!” Kara kept up the positivity, “You raised the bar for yourself. I have never heard you sound better or look more comfortable. You are owning the stage. The progress is tremendous. Believe that you’re good.” Simon wasn’t so keen though, “How many number ones could you have picked? I am surprised you picked that song. That wasn’t a recording performance. That was you doing something corny. It sounded good, you were bouncing around on stage a bit, but you missed the point about having a moment. Even though missy here loves it that’s a good reason to do the opposite.”
Paige Miles flashed off a hideous ring and the “tallest longest heels I’ve ever worn”. When Paige met Miley she said she’s “kind of starstruck” Miley gushed that Paige is a “really beautiful girl” and that “she’ll do amazing on the show as long as she watches her pitch”. Paige informed America that she’ll be singing Against All Odds by Phil Collins. A truly terrible performance ensued. The judges were unanimous in their panning of her poor, pitchy performance. Randy said, “Really, honestly, I don’t know if your voice is bad but honestly that was terrible. The pitch is all over the place, nothing came of that at all.” Ellen tried to be kinder, “I’m going to be positive, you didn’t fall down. You look stunning, you have never looked better. I’m going to pass over the critique to the experts.” Kara slammed her though, “Somewhere along the line you stopped listening and competing. It was the worst vocal I have ever heard from you and possibly the season.” Simon asked, “Paige how do you think you did? To be honest with you, It was like there were 5 of you singing that song and it got progressively worse as you went along. It was all over the place. I think you will be in serious, serious trouble tonight sweetheart. It’s like you stopped competing and stopped believing in yourself, that song just killed you.”
Tim Urban was next up. Miley pointed out that Tim’s been slammed because he hasn’t got personality, but opined that it’s not personality he’s lacking, he just needs to mix it up a bit, and push the limits. Tim said he’s going to perform Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen. Randy panned the performance,”It’s a singing competition, every time you guys hit the stage you should be wowing us.The vocals were so boring. It was like karaoke.” Even Ellen agreed, “It felt like it was an audition for High School Musical. I felt like it was corny and pushed too hard. There’s a large group of people that will get that performance, and then there’s me. I didn’t get it.” Kara agreed, “The girls will love that. It was Zac Efron and Hairspray. You didn’t change up the melodies. You acted like you already made it and you haven’t.” Simon slammed, “The sliding around distracted from the song, so I kid of understand why you did that. The problem was that it was completely pointless and silly. You’re not actually again taking part in this. You are just there singing and dancing. You’ve got zero chance of winning right now, unless you take some singing lessons and start becoming someone relevant.”
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Aaron Kelly shared that he’s been having some trouble with his voice and that he’s suffering not just from laryngitis, but tonsillitis too! He said he may have “just a little crush on Miley!’ And that on his first audition he sang The Climb. Miley said she saw the audition and loved it. She told Aaron that he has “an amazing voice” and that “he’s really, really good.” Aaron performed a mediocre rendition of Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing. Randy said, “It wasn’t a perfect performance. Some pitch issues, I know you’ve had some voice issues, but thank God you came on the stage and starting singing. I love the way you sang the first verse. I’m a fan, I’m a fan!” Ellen said, “First of all I’m a fan. That was a perfect song choice for you. You have such an amazing voice. I see your career already. That was so good, amazing.” Kara agreed, “Ellen said it. Best song choice of the night. Week to week you know how to pick the song that shows your voice and shows consistency. More stage presence from you. Good attempt due to the circumstances.” Simon said, ” It was brave. You’re a little trier aren’t you? If I had any advice I would say I think you are making yourself old fashioned but there is zero chance you are going to go home.”
The new “Velvet Teddy Bear” Michael Lynche bear hugged Miley, and said she was “cool, just like a little sister to me”. Miley said she thought his voice was “absolutely incredible” and said, “I couldn’t do that, to look someone in the eyes and sing to them.” Mike chose When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge. Randy liked it, “I don’t know if it was your perfect song choice, I don’t think it was your best vocal but you know who you are man. You can hit the stage, I loved it. You did that today.” Ellen agreed, “It was a safe choice. It was fine and you have an amazing tone. This woman loves that man.” Kara wasn’t so blown away though, “Mike, you know I love you. Technically it was really good but it was a bit boring and loungey at times. Sorry, but there are to many riffs. I lost my connection with you”. Simon said, “It’s like you want 1 scoop of ice cream and you get 11, It was too much. It should have been you and the piano and very simple. This performance could of taken place 11 years ago. The good news is that you’ve got a really good voice and people like you.”
Andrew Garcia shared he was going to perform I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye, and said about Miley, “it was really cool to meet someone on that level.” Miley suggested Andrew put his guitar down to help him remember his lyrics, and her advice worked. Unfortunately though, even though he remembered his lyrics his performance was decidedly lack lustre. Randy said, “It wasn’t good man. It was the wrong song choice. It didn’t work.” Ellen said, ” I love you and I hope your fans vote for you. It wasn’t fantastic. I hope people vote for you.” Kara said, “You are chasing that moment which is brilliant and I think it is messing with your head. You are confused. It didn’t even feel like Andrew. That’s not you. I don’t know what to do with you. We need to go back to that moment you had before.” Simon said, ” Maybe we over rated that moment in hindsight. You have had enough time to sort yourself out. The problem was the arrangement was horrific. You sucked the soul out of that song, tortured it and ruined it and at the same time you made yourself really, really corny. You have the best opportunity at the moment. But you don’t know who you are as an artist.”
Katie Stevens selected Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie. She said about meeting Miley, it was great to “meet someone my age”. Miley said that “If Katie has confidence and goes on stage she’ll do really well.” She failed to impress though. Randy said, “I don’t know if it was your best performances. It was a little sharp and a little pitchy but you’re listening to us, you picked a younger song. You are listening to us.” Ellen said, “I think it was your best performance so far. You sounded great. You are evolving and changing. I liked it a lot.” Kara asked, “So Simon do you still think she’s country? This is the lane for you. Pop with R&B leanings. This is where you belong. This was a different Katie. You still have mad pitch issues but this is where you belong.” Simon said, “I think you meeting Miley was they best thing that could happen to you. The way you look tonight as compared to the past pageant horror outfits is chalk and cheese. I am still not sure you are believable. You are competing in a difficult place. But on saying that I think it was a good performance.”
Kara’s cougar pick, Casey James, chose Power Of Love by Huey Lewis And The News. He told Miley that he’s a big fan of her dad’s. Miley recommended that he make eye contact with the audience, saying “you have no idea what that means to people. If he does that he will bring personality to it, and he’ll be great.” Randy gave a mixed review, “I am a fan of yours and I love you playing the guitar, I think you are probably the best guitar player we’ve had here. I wasn’t a fan of the song choice but you did it well.” Ellen said, “Not a fan of the song but I thought it was the best vocal of the night, I thought you sounded great.” Kara, not surprisingly, raved, “You’re just on another level. You are ready to make an album. Its all there. You are in the zone, you are in a zone stay with it.” Simon said, “This is not personal, I don’t know what you’re listening to Kara but that was old fashioned. He didn’t make it current. It was like watching and listening to an 80’s cover band. There was nothing original, nothing current. Maybe it’s just me. I’m English.”
Didi Benami performed You’re No Good by Linda Rondstat. Didi said the show is a “challenge and that she’s challenging herself”. Didi asked Miley if she ever gets nervous. Miley admited that she does, and told Didi to just “go for it” and “not let the pressure get to her”. Didi seemed to let the nerves get to her though, giving a terrible, pitchy performance. Randy said, “I loved the idea of it, the outfit the whole thing but it was pitchy all over the place. You never quite hit the pitch right.” Ellen said, “I don’t get the song choices tonight. It wasn’t the right song choice for you but I do love your voice.” Kara said, “I felt like you were playing a character. It felt very dramatic almost. It didn’t feel it was you. It felt like you were trying to be something you weren’t. It just left me confused. Simon scathingly commented, “There was a certain irony of you screeching out ‘you’re no good’. It was like a musical, the bad part of the musical before the interval. It didn’t sound like it was you. It sucked the life out of you a bit.”
Siobhan Magnus shared that she was singing Superstition by Stevie Wonder. Miley said “Siobhan really stands out for me.” Going on to say, “Your voice has got real swagger to me. You’re different, you know who you are.” Siobhan didn’t give her best performance though she managed to garner mainly positive reviews. Randy said, “I am always so excited to see you. I am happy you picked that. I thought it was great. You have so much conviction. I love you, you should inspire all these kids.” Ellen said, “To quote Oliver, more please! You are so good.” Kara said, “You express yourself every time you perform. Not your best performance but that end note you do, how do you not say that’s amazing.” Simon brought her back to Earth with a bump though, “I think there is going to be a real split with you on this one. Some people will like it, some people won’t. The screaming is becoming your thing. I don’t think you hit the notes anywhere near what you have done before. I’m going to say this to all the performers tonight, with the exception of Crystal, you’ve all got to push yourselves.”
On Wednesday night, we’ll find out who America voted off Idol, and we’ll finally have the Top 10. The results show airs on Fox Wednesday on 9/8c.