This episode of American Idol started quicker than some of the previous ones. Ryan went straight to the judges' table for a little bit of banter. Simon apologized to Kara for always disagreeing with her while he treated Ryan like a dog saying "Stay...Stay...Good!" In retaliation, Ryan kissed Ellen (cute but why was that a retaliation?). Then the top eleven singers walked out on stage, and there was an introduction about the theme: Top Billboard 100 List (the Hot 100). At the end of the video it was revealed that Miley Cyrus would be the guest mentor. Some have criticized American Idol producers for having such a young mentor, but considering all her success and talent, it felt appropriate. Plus, she did offer some decent suggestions based on the clips that were shown.
Even with Miley's advice, the performances were all very sub par. The only people who have relatively good performances every week and consistency are Crystal, Michael, and Siobhan. I've really been disappointed with the judge's selection this season because they are not as strong as in previous years. At least a lot of them have engaging personalities that make people want to vote for them. Without that, some of the contestants wouldn't have made it this far.
The night began with Lee singing "The Letter." It was a bluesy version of the song, but I didn't think it was fantastic despite Ellen's high praise. She likened him to her favorite pen that was losing ink and suddenly came back to life. She has the funniest analogies for the contestants! I love them even if I disagree with her opinions. Unfortunately Paige Miles, the second contestant, was much worst than Lee, who has at least been improving since being on the show. Paige's singing has been going downhill with each episode. Simon was quoted as saying "that performance killed you," and I also admit that it was probably one of the worst performances of the season. Tim Urban rounded out this set of three with another silly and not so great performance. Like Miley, who announced in the result's show her favorite part about Tim's performance, the best part was the slide across the stage. Everyone likened it to a High School Musical audition and that it was too silly and bad karaoke. I was left wondering the same thing as Randy Jackson: What show am I watching?
Luckily, Aaron Kelly was able to pull us back to the original concept of American Idol by reminding everyone that it's a reality music competition. Though he caught the same cold that Paige had last week, even worse because he had Tonsillitis and Laryngitis, he sounded a lot better than all three of the earlier performers. The worst notes came toward the end of "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," but he still sang practically pitch perfect. I expected more to be wrong with the song, but Aaron showed that he wants to win this competition even if he is sick. I also don't agree with Simon who claims that Aaron is making himself too old-fashioned. I've loved almost all the songs he has sung thus far, and his personality endears him to America. I especially thought it was cute when Aaron said he might have a "little crush on Miley." It would be cute if the two dated!
The real and only star of tonight's episode was Crystal Bowersox who performed "Me and Bobby McGee." It was simple with only one red carpet underneath the mike as she played her guitar. She is very "down to Earth" and comfortable with her capabilities. Some of the judges wanted to see more emotion from her, but they are crazy! She was and continues to be perfect. She was the only thing right tonight and to change it up would be a crime! She left the audience with the cryptic statement: "I have big plans for next week." I just hope she doesn't jeopardize her position in the competition by trying to be too flashy. She should focus on pleasing America and not the judges!
The next three singers could not compete with Crystal's performance, not even Big Mike. He sang another sappy love song, which actually bored me. I agree with Simon: Mike is being old fashioned, boring, and safe. Time to liven it up again, Mike! The next person was one of my early favorites, Andrew Garcia. I think the song was a vast improvement from his past performances, and I disagree with Simon who said that he "sucked the soul out of that song." I don't think the judges overrated Andrew at all, but I do think they are looking for bad performances every time he steps out on the stage. They need to relax. There are plenty of worse singers this season, but they seem particularly focused on him. The last person of the set was Katie Stevens. I couldn't stand her performance of "Big Girls Don't Cry." Her voice felt too deep for the song. She can't handle a pop/R&B genre, not compared to some of the amazing performers that are dominating that genre style. She really needs to listen to Simon's advice if she wants to "make it" in the singing world.
The three final singers that ended the night were Casey James, Didi Benami, and Siobhan Magnus. Out of the three, only Siobhan was able to compete with Crystal's performance. She sang "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder. She had a "cute" twist to the song, but it was not of the caliber she's given in the past. I also agree with Simon about not having a "shout note" in every song. Casey's and Didi's performances were at the same level. They were "ok," but there were no "wow moments," as the judges have repeatedly been asking for. The most depressing thing about Didi's performance was that she lost the "twang" to her voice that she is well-known for. She shouldn't try to branch out and show what else she is capable of singing. Her voice isn't strong enough for those types of performances. I agreed with the judges when they said her performance was pitchy and overly dramatic. She was playing a character. She was not being Didi.
Again, American Idol failed to deliver an exciting episode. How many seasons are left of the show with such a weak season nine? I'm very disappointed with the singers, and the only reason this episode is getting a positive review is purely because Crystal Bowersox sang. If she wasn't part of the show, there would be no reason to keep watching. Hopefully, she gets to the final two and wins the American Idol title. She's the only one who deserves it thus far.
Here is the full lineup of all the contestants and what they sang for this episode. I included as much information as I remembered:
Lee Dewyze, 23, IL, "The Letter" by The Box Tops
Paige Miles, 24, FL, "Against All Odds" by Phil Collins
Tim Urban, 20, TX, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen
Aaron Kelly, 16, PA, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith
Crystal Bowersox, 24, OH, "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin
Michael Lynche, 26, FL, "When a Man Loves a Woman" by Percy Sledge
Andrew Garcia, 24, CA, "I Heard It through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye
Katie Stevens, 17, CT, "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie
Casey James, 27, TX, "Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News
Didi Benami, 23, TN, "You're No Good" by Linda Ronstadt
Siobhan Magnus, 19, MA, "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder
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Adrianna Simone (Adrianna)
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