Billboard's Ann Donahue breaks down every live performance of "American Idol" Season 9, from the top 24 contestants to the last one standing.
I have to say, the song spoilers that leaked this afternoon made me super excited for tonight's show -- and not in a nice way. I actually cackled. Simon Cowell winked in the intro. He knows what's up.
1) Lee Dewyze: "Fireflies" by Owl City
Yep, this was one of the spoilers I laughed about. What little charm this song has is in its twee delivery and the '80s video game noises in the background and I knew that Lee Dewyze was going to try to rock out to it. Nick Jonas does a stripped-down lo-fi take on this, and it kind of works -- but Lee tried to turn it into a hard-charging number and it was warbly and weird. But hey, I'll take it over Hinder.
2) Alex Lambert: "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne
Wow, Alex Lambert's mullet was in full effect tonight. Something about the blue stage lights really highlighted it. He did a nice job on this, although I fear the song is kind of done to death after the million times it's been played in the Travelers Insurance TV ad with the dog. (And frankly, I wonder if Ray LaMontagne is dying inside between his song being used in an ad and then on "American Idol.")
3) Tim Urban: "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley (among others, ahem.)
Yeah, hallelujah for your abs, Tim Urban. And this was the other one that I was cackling about in the spoilers. This is pretty much the perfect song and it just shouldn't be attempted on "American Idol." I didn't like it when Jason Castro did it, either. I'm dropping the Janis Joplin penalty flag on this one. That being said, Tim didn't embarrass himself. I don't know if he quite deserved the hug Ellen DeGeneres gave him, but he has gotten better each week and is kind of creating a nice storyline for himself.
4) Andrew Garcia: "Genie In A Bottle" by Christina Aguilera
This was not one of the spoilers. If it had been, I would not have believed it. The judges have led you horribly astray, Andrew Garcia. When they keep praising you for "Straight Up," it DOES NOT MEAN THEY WANT YOU TO SING ALL DANCEY POP SONGS ACOUSTIC. Sorry, I'm shouting! He has such a nice voice and such a distinct tone and he has a neck tattoo and he just shouldn't be singing Xtina. No more pop tarts. Sublime. Sing Sublime. Not just because of the neck tattoo.
5) Casey James: "You'll Think of Me" by Keith Urban
So here's a question: So Katelyn Epperly does her hair like Carole King Tuesday night and the judges comment on it favorably. Why can't Casey James do his hair in the lil' feathered Keith Urban look? And why is Randy Jackson naming the original artist in all his critiques? It sounds like he's trying to prove he knows what he's talking about. And why am I not talking about Casey's performance? Because it doesn't matter. He's a pretty, pretty prince, so he's safe.
6) Aaron Kelly: "I'm Already There" by Lonestar
Hey Aaron Kelly, speak up. Oh no wait, don't! That was pitchtacular. He hit like one note out of every ten. It sounded like he was singing in a stadium and he was terrified when the echo came back to him. That being said, he's 16, and there is something to say about his poise on stage compared to train wreck Katie Stevens last night. Oh, Aaron, just comply with Simon's wishes and sing something that will bring in the Bieber money.
7) Todrick Hall: "Somebody To Love" by Queen
Smart choice, Todrick Hall -- you didn't frill it out beyond recognition, taking on Freddie Mercury proves you can sing -- and plus, it was on "Glee" so the young "AI" audience will know the song. This was so, so much better than his previous weeks. That being said, he let the backup singers do a lot of the heavy work in order to keep it in his range. I could not be more surprised that it was one of my favorite of the night.
8) Michael Lynche: "This Woman's Work" by Maxwell (among others, ahem.)
Michael Lynche, you actually give me hope that all the guys aren't going to be voted off in quick succession after the guys and gals merge next week. This was terrific. No wonder you got the pimp spot. And I'm not surprised that you made Kara DioGuardi cry, but I am surprised you spurred Simon to give her a comforting hug. The iceman melteth.
So who's gonna go? Oh, I am cranky. I wish I could get over this thing on guys' night where I think, "Oh, Kris Allen would have done that better" or, "Oh, Adam Lambert would have done that better." Sigh, nostalgia. I say they're all at risk except for Casey James and Michael Lynche. If I were Aaron Kelly or Andrew Garcia -- gasp! -- I'd be worried.
Check back with Billboard after every "American Idol" performance night for our recap and predictions, and follow us on Twitter @billboarddotcom for our live blow-by-blow of each episode.
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