American Idol 9 Top 10 Performance – Recap

Ruben Studdard, Diddy and Usher will perform on tomorrow’s results show

So, here’s a new thing: The kids will be greeting the press after the show tonight. Interesting.

So, tonight’s show was a VAST improvement over last week.  I’m convinced there was some behind-the-scenes turmoil last week connected to the theme change that threw a wrench into the proceedings.

There were some very good performances tonight, notably from Lee Dewyze,   Mike Lynche and Crystal Bowersox. But I gotta say, if I don’t grade this bunch on a curve, and taking earlier seasons into account, I don’t think we had any big “moments” tonight.

Yeah, I’ve turned into that person, comparing the new season of Idol unfavorably to the past.

A couple of new twists tonight: Ryan chases contestants backstage after their performance to catch their reaction–it’s not very exciting. But, I guess we need some new time-wasters as we loose contestants.

One twist we didn’t see: The contestants met with reporters after the show wrapped up tonight.  That’s something COMPLETELY new.  I suppose the producers are worried about the lack of buzz on and the general haterade over the current season.

Live blog and Videos after the Jump…

Ryan is back stage with the contestants and the judges. He makes Simon kiss Ellen on the lips. Huh? He enters the stage from the back. A little bit of a twist, right there. Then, the judges are introduced and they walk down the stairs, Ryan follows.

Ryan introduces the Top 10, who all line up on the stage.  He introduces the theme, Soul and R&B. The Usher video package rolls. Usher says he’s going to be so critical and challenge them…oh he’s just kidding. He’s going to be kind. “This is their time to shine, this is their stage to do it on, ” says Usher.

Usher has shades on, so Ryan puts on his.  Usher says he wanted to give them a few pointers to boost their confidence. He thinks they made progress. Did he teach Aaron Kelly to dance? “Not really, ” says Usher. Raymond vs. Raymond is out today, btw. Raymond vs Raymond is  his  “dichotomy” explains Usher (pretentious!). Some of the songs are really “personal”.   After the album pimp, it’s time for Siobhan.

Siobhan Magnus – “Through the Fire” by Chaka Khan – She’s been a big fan since she was 6 or 7 years old. Usher gave her advice about her wardrobe. “You want to make sure that you don’t have so much going on, that it distracts from what you have going on.” Usher says she has a true shot at being a true artist. She’s rocking “Missy Elliott” boots. Oh, pitchy pitchy pitchy! Uhm. She goes for the high notes, she’s not screeching, but she’s not nailing the notes. Chaka is effing hard to sing. You better have damn awesome vocal control–something Siobhan does not have. This is a HOT mess. Randy says, “Big song…I don’t know if it quite caught on pitch wise…not one of your best, I like your courageousness and conviction…kind of rough.” Ellen says, “I loved you, but I thought it was not your best performance.” Kara says, “It should have worked for you…your lower register was not strong…every performer has an off night…I think you got nervous up there.”  Simon says, “It sounded as if you’d run a marathon and you were singing while out of breath. You were all over the place, I think you look all over the place…It was by far your weakest performance. I’m getting bored with your screaming at the end.” – Siobhan says it was the hardest song she picked to date. She wanted to kill it…but not in that way! Simon calls it “manslaughter.” Ellen says she thought she was going to kill it, and thinks her voice can handle the song, but the song didn’t need the big high notes at the end. Kara thought she got out of the moment, because she was scared. Randy tells her to trust herself. They are propping her up, because she totally tanked. – 1-866-436-5701VIDEO

Oh, we’re getting a look backstage! There’s Siobhan looking dejected.

Casey James – “Hold On, I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave – Whoa he sounds awesome singing in front of Usher. He forgot the words, yet Usher was still impressed. Usher says he’s got the swagger and the confidence. The song has never been performed on the Idol stage, says Ryan. Casey’s got electric guitar in hand…Oh man GREAT SONG CHOICE. His gruff vocals are spot on, as usual, although, he’s getting swallowed up a bit by the background singers on the verses. Randy says, “This was another hot night for you, you showed a lot of vocal range, perfect selection.” Ellen says, You’re always good, I loved your vocals, but it felt a little generic, I wish I’d seen another song from you, it’s a safe zone for you.” Kara says, “You’ve been using this part of your range, I think you’ve got more range in you. I want to see you go back to acoustic guitar and show us more.” Simon says, “This week in my opinion, it was your strongest week you’ve had so far. I like that you didn’t do what you did before, you took on an R&B song, showed us a different side of you as an artist, I’m really really impressed with you.” Casey says he’s always going to play the guitar, because that’ what he does. Good for him. Another solid performance from Casey. 1-866-436-5702. Casey’s feeling pretty good backstage! – VIDEO

Michael Lynche – “Ready for Love” by india.arie – Usher tells Mike to project to the back of the room. He demonstrates how to look through the camera to connect to the audience. It’s a little creepy! Big Mike gets his guitar back, sits on a stool and sings. No big stage moves this week. A very quiet performance–for the most part, Mike has extraordinary vocal control. Very pretty. This is very different from what he’s been doing in the live shows. Will the judges find it boring? Randy says, “Very sensitive song, you are in the zone, I’m loving every performance, it wasn’t as exciting, but it’s good to pull back once in a while” Ellen says, “That was beautiful.” She also makes a joke about Michael performing with his back to the judges (they had to watch it on a monitor) Kara says, “I never heard that song before you picked it, you did an incredible job with it, you got to the true emotion of the song, tasteful, lovely.” Simon says, “This is probably the first time that I can actually take you seriously as an artist, although it was a little gloomy, you were being original, having a moment, instead of singing silly karaoke, I believed that performance, I thought it was terrific. Usher says, “You did it man.” 1-866-436-5703. Backstage, Mike says he was in the moment. – VIDEO

Didi Benami – “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffiin – Didi gets all weepy singing a song that is “very personal” to her. Usher gives her a big hug and says if she connects to the song, she’ll do well. Didi is worried it’ll be too much. Hm. I’m not sure this was the right song for her. It’s a little boring. Actually, I don’t feel her connecting to the song, at all. She’s got a long gown on, full band behind her, like she’s singing for the queen. Not liking the arrangement at all. She gets a little pitchy on the high notes. My least favorite performance of hers so far. Randy says, “The whole performance kind of flat-lined for me, it just wasn’t great, the big note was kind of sharp, didn’t get it.” Ellen boos herself first, “It was dramatic, I love your voice, I thought it was way dramatic, not your best performance.” Kara says, “It’s overdone girl, when you did that singer songwriter thing during Hollywood…you’ve changed, I don’t know who you are anymore…this is very confusing, it leaves me puzzled.” Simon says, “It was like swimming in jelly. It was so over the top, so old fashioned, so off melody, it just didn’t do it. You’ve completely lost your way, ” Simon says she sounds like the singer on “that dance show” that’s always murdering a song. (He’s talking about DWTS hee) Didi says the song means a lot to her, it moves her, but she’s not an R&B singer. Ryan presses her, trying to force Didi into confessing who the song is about. Shut up Ryan. She doesn’t want to talk! Backstage with Didi–the contestants are hugging her. – 1-866-436-5704 – VIDEO

Tim Urban – “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker – Ryan is sitting down with with Tim before his video package. They talk about the media calling him “Teflon Tim”, because no matter what the judges say to him, he makes it to the next week. Usher suggests he sing to him like he’s a girl he’s in love with. He says, “Make sure you’re feeling it…more than a great voice.” Yeah, since he can’t sing.  He’s sitting on the steps. Nice suit.  Oh. This is bad. So boring. Pitchy.  He can’t hit the notes really. He goes all soft when a note is out of his reach. But his little girl fans will love this, because they’ll think he’s singing to them, looking through his bangs with his big puppy dog eyes. GAH. Randy says, “When it first started, I thought it had a singing waiter thing, so pedestrian…it was in tune but no vibe, no swag…no vibrato..just nothing man…you can put a little grease on it.”  Ellen says, “I hear there’s a drinking game, people take a drink every time I call you adorable.  I’m going to call you adorable, because they may never drink again. Why did you choose that song? it’s a tough song to sing, you were walking like you were sneaking into a bedroom Oh boy, why?” Kara says, “Like Broadway at times, like Vegas, you took the soul out of the song, I don’t understand why you keep doing this.” Tim is laughing off all the critiques. Simon knows why he is laughing, “I don’t think it makes any difference whatsoever what we say, it’s a completely inappropriate song, like a mouse fighting with an elephant, you’ll keep smiling, but people will vote for you, and you’ll be here next week.” “I never thought people would pick on me for smiling, ” says Tim. – 1-866-436-5705. Backstage, Tim says they were nicer than he thought ??? – VIDEO

Andrew Garcia – “Forever” by Chris Brown – Usher says Andrew was nervous as all get out, and analyzing too much. Andrew sits on a stool with his acoustic guitar. One week, Andrew should loose the band, he’s overwhelmed by them. But this is actually not bad. Ok, I’m actually digging the bridge, where his vocal comes alive. It’s not a huge moment, but it’s nice. A big improvement over last week. Randy says, “Andrew is back, I like the outfit, I think it’s dope that you turned it into your own, your best in a long time.” Ellen says, “That was an amazing, strong performance.” Kara says, “Nothing makes me happier to say, that was one giant leap in the right direction.” Simon says, “It was miles better from what we heard from you, only problem is, as a person, you come over as very boring. You’ve got start showing some personality, that you care…at this point in the competition, personality is important.” Simon is correct. Mama is pissed at Simon for calling her baby boring! She approaches Simon…”Calm down mama” says Andrew. She’s yelling things in Spanish. Simon hugs her. Oh geez. Mama’s got some personality. – 1-866-436-5706 – VIDEO

Katie Stevens – “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin – Oh they met before, and his body guard wouldn’t let her take a photo! Usher told her to personalize her performance. He tells her she’s wise beyond her years in terms of energy. This is one of Katie’s better vocals, for sure.  It still feels like so much play-acting, though. I’m not blown away. It feels very “high school recital” to me. Randy says, “the performance was a little disconnected, but it was one of the best vocals of the night, you’re like a young Christina…you need to connect all the little moments and make one big moment.” Ellen says, “You have Snooki poof going! I thought the vocals were great, I wish the song had been a little more current, I want you to make the song young.” Kara says, “One of your best vocal performances, but you’ve got to go back to making it young and commercial.” Simon says, “Comparing you to Christina is crazy…I thought it was pretty good, but very robotic, quite cold, you’ve got to make it fun, it was all a little bit Star Search..I think the advice Kara is giving you is wrong.” Kara is arguing with him. Oh man, Simon is trying to make Kara look like an idiot. Simon doesn’t care what she sings. Katie says she’s going to listen to “myself”. – 1-866-436-5707 Katie gets big hugs backstage. – VIDEO

Lee Dewyze – “Treat Her Like a Lady” – Gets a sit down with Ryan. Lee is going to try to create a moment, he tells Ryan. It’s mentioned that Lee has “walking pneumonia” (what?) but he insists he’s fine. Usher says Lee has a tremendous voice, but he just needs to own it. Lee talks a bit about his confidence problem. He’s performing with an acoustic guitar this week. I like this arrangement, love the guitar. It’s rock with a strong R&B flavor. Lee’s vocals are terrific. But I’m still not blown away.  Still not seeing that confidence and charisma.  Lee is improving though, bit by bit. But the vocals? Excellent. Crowd loves it. LOVES IT. Randy says, “UNBELIEVABLE. Best I’ve heard you in weeks, the bomb baby.” Ellen says, “Now the night’s started, best performance of the night.” Kara says, “You brought the song into your world, that could have been on your record.” Simon says, “I’ve always believed in you…I want you to go home tonight and watch this back and know that your life may have changed forever tonight.” Wow. It must have been awesome in the studio. I’m still seeing awkward. The panel is rushing through judges remarks now. Backstage, Lee says he hopes it is the night that changes his life, because he wants to do this forever. – 1-866-436-5708 – VIDEO

Ha. Crystal is wearing stilettos!

Crystal Bowersox – “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips – Crystal’s surprise is that she’s playing piano. I don’t think that’s what the judges had in mind! She hasn’t performed piano in years, she says… This is…different. Not a fantastic vocal, but she’s having some moments. It’s obvious she’s out of her comfort zone, but she had to do that to prove she could stretch. Now, Crystal, please go back and do what you do best? Thank you. Randy says, “I love the outfit, I’m working with Gladys Knight now…you did her proud, another great performance.” Ellen says, “You’re never not good, it’s another side of you. you are in it to win it, it was a wonderful idea.” Kara says, “I’m really glad you took that risk, I can’t wait to see what you do next week” Simon says, “Choice of song was sensational, vocals at times were incredible, You were uncomfortable with the piano–do not let this process suck the identity out of you, what you were doing before was fantastic, I had no problem, you know what you should be doing, just do what’s comfortable for you.” Crystal says she would never do anything that wasn’t comfortable for her. Crystal says she thinks her risk paid off. – 1-866-436-5709 – VIDEO

Aaron Kelly – “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers – Usher tells Aaron to make the “I know I know I know” more personal. Aaron sounds pretty good singing in front of Usher. But, he sounds nasally and goatie on the Idol stage. Not impressed by the verse. He’s not bringing much soul to this. He’s all twangy on the “I knows”. Eh. Blah. Pretty boring. Randy thought he worked it out eventually. Ellen says, “I thought it was a good song choice, good job.”  Kara says, “I liked it, I thought you could have gone higher in your register.” Simon says, “That was a little like a cupcake. I’ve heard that song so many times sung BRILLIANTLY on this show, it was OK, but there’s no chance you will be leaving this show tonight.”  Simon compliments Kris without naming him. Heh. – 1-866-436-5710 – VIDEO

About mj santilli 33186 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!