Now this is what American Idol was made for – major suckage. There were so many bad performances that this show made dear Lacey Brown’s departure actually look like an error in judgment. The judges were so disappointed in so many of the performances that we’re just going to let them speak for us and write our performance reviews Zagat-style, because there are a lot of good quotes we don’t want to leave out. Miley Cyrus was on board to be the “mentor” for the show’s Billboard #1’s theme and her advice to the contestants was about as enlightening as her lyrics.
Lee DeWyze’s performance of The Box Tops’ “The Letter” was a timely homage to Alex Chilton who died last week. We say it was “better than a lot of the other crap we had to sit through” but it wasn’t “great”.
Miley Cyrus said Lee “lacks stage presence” but “if he pushes himself he’ll do fine.” Ellen DeGeneres, fresh out of ripe banana analogies, told him that while he was once dried up and out of ink, this week “My favorite pen is back.” Simon Cowell said the performance was “something quite corny. You were missing the point I was trying to say last week about having a moment.”
Paige Miles had what was perhaps the worst Idol performance at this stage of the game that we can remember. We wrote down “head voice! chest voice!” because girlfriend couldn’t decide which one to use. Paige got some of the harshest, most hilarious criticism of the night. Against all odds, we think she won’t be back next week.
Miley said Paige was “really beautiful and got a good voice” and “as long as she watches her pitch she’ll do really great.” Randy Jackson stumbled “Yo man, yo. Wow. Really, honestly, that was honestly terrible.” Ellen said “I’m gonna start with the positive, you didn’t fall down. You look stunning, You’ve never looked better and I’m now going to turn the music critique over to Kara and Simon.” Ouch. Kara DioGuardi said it was the “worst vocal of the season,” and Simon Cowell told Paige “there were 5 of you singing that song.” And none of them were good.
Tim Urban, in his boring blazer and jeans, showed that he hasn’t got an ounce of Freddy Mercury in him, but went ahead and sang “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” anyway. Urban proved once again that there’s no need to burden oneself with showmanship when you have pretty hair. At one point he tried to do a knee slide across the stage that was aborted by his sticky, stiff jeans that acted as a brake, and he tried to touch the hands of all the girls in the front row. Awesomely, none of that went unnoticed by the judges.
Miley’s pre-show comments were that “It’s not the personality Tim’s lacking, it’s just adding riffs and switching it up.” Randy told Tim “the dopest thing you did was the slide” but “the vocals were like karaoke.” Ellen said “it felt to me like it was an audition for High School Musical 6 or 7. It was corny. There are a lot of people who will love that performance and then there’s me.” Kara harshly told Tim that he should have toned down his audience schmoozing, saying “you acted like you already made it and you haven’t,” and Simon told him “I don’t think the sliding around was the problem because it kind of distracted from the song so I understand why you did that” and that he has “zero chance of winning.”
Aaron Kelly, sick with laryngitis and tonsillitis, was so giddy to meet Miley that it was kind of adorable in a “We don’t understand the appeal, but kids today sure are easy to please” kind of way. He actually had one of the better performances of the night singing “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”, a song we automatically thought we’d hate, but because it wasn’t Paige Miles singing “Against All Odds,” it was very welcome to our ears.
Miley said that when she was listening to Aaron practice “I made a face because I didn’t realize how awesome he was.” Randy couldn’t even finish his thought, telling Aaron “Thank God you came on stage and started singing because the two before you…”
Ellen, commenting on Aaron’s youthful, Mily-loving demeanor told him “You’re pretty much always pitch perfect and you’re, what, in third grade or something?”
We groaned at the idea of another version of “Bobby McGee”, but the fact that it was Crystal Bowersox performing it made things better. Rather than playing up her raspy side, Crystal made the song more melodic and less Jack Daniels-soaked than Janis Joplin and we actually for the first time ever, could tolerate it.
Miley said that Crystal “got almost gospel but I think she could do it more” during practice. Randy, as only Randy can, said “Yo, listen check this out. This show is called American Idol and that’s what’s called being a star. That’s what it’s about. This is what it’s about. She’s what it’s about.” Simon told CB “I wouldn’t change anything. Up until now we have listened to a karaoke competition,” and “You’re doing your own thing, you’re not sliding all over the stage all gimmicky. Your only gimmick is a carpet,” which Crystal then sat down on with Ryan Seacrest.
Michael Lynche fared better this week than he did last week, and he made a fan of Miley by singing directly into her deeper than thou soul. His “When A Man Loves A Woman” though was still not one of the best of the night and didn’t garner rave reviews. (More shots of his infant will always warm our hearts however.)
Miley’s constructive criticism was that “Mike has got such personality to him, I’ve got nothing bad to say.” Ellen told him “It was like driving the speed limit, it was safe,” and Simon didn’t like Mike’s riffing, saying “It’s like you want one scoop of ice cream and you got 11, it was too much.”
Miley told Andrew Garcia to lose his guitar while singing “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, and while that may have helped him remember the lyrics to the song, it made for some super-awkward hand choreography and air punching. Andrew was certainly not the worst of the night, but the judges seem to be regretting their initial support of the Paula-impersonator.
Miley thought she was being helpful when she said “I made him lose his guitar because it blocked him and he was stiff,” but we’d take stiff over weird stage moves. Kara said she felt bad that Andrew seemed to be “chasing that moment” he had with “Straight Up” and commented on his not-so-smooth moves, saying “These motions with your hands it was like someone was moving you like a puppet.” Simon told him “the arrangement was horrific” and “you sucked the soul out of that song. You sucked it out and tortured it.”
For all we know, after the show Katie Stevens and Miley became BFFs, because they seemed to form a real bond during their time together as mentor and mentee. (All of a sudden we’re craving Mentos.) We once had no faith in these young contestants, but Katie, along with Aaron, was strong singing “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and we’re eating our words.
Miley told Katie to “edge it up” which we assume means writhe on a pole. She did not. Ellen told Katie “I think it was your best performance so far it sounded great, you looked great, you’re evolving and changing you’re like the Dakota Fanning of American Idol,” and Simon taught us a new colloquialism when he said “I think you meeting Miley Cyrus was probably the best thing that could ever happen to you, the way you look tonight compared to the pageant horror from weeks ago was chalk and cheese.” Chalk and cheese. Look it up.
Casey James would easily go out this Halloween as Sawyer from Lost who has decided to be in a Huey Lewis cover band. His cover of “The Power Of Love” was totally dated and uncreative, but we thought his voice sounded good this week. And finally, it seems Kara has started to not think of him as her next American Escort. Casey won us over when he told Miley “I’m a big fan of your…dad’s,” which seemed to catch her off-guard, as if she had literally never heard anyone say that.
Miley told Casey “You rock so I don’t have anything crazy to say.” Randy told him “I love you playing the guitar, you’re probably the best musician and guitar player we’ve ever had,” and Simon said “it was like watching and listening to an 80s cover band. Maybe it’s just me. I’m English.”
Didi Benami went totally 70s, singing “You’re No Good” which had about the same effect on us as when Katelyn sang “I Feel The Earth Move”. The judges were unimpressed.
Miley told Didi not to “let nerves take over,” and Simon said “there was a certain irony, you screeching out ‘you’re no good’ over and over again.”
Siobhan Magnus sang “Superstition” and proved once again that this is a competition between her and Crystal. While her outfit was an amalgam of every bad 80’s trend that ever existed, her voice almost made us forget her lace and back-combing.
Ellen got all musical theatery and said “To quote ‘Oliver': More please! You’re so good,” and Kara marveled at her high note, saying “that end note that you do, how do you not say that’s amazing?” Simon still wasn’t sold and said that her screeching would be divisive, and his vote still goes to Crystal.
Maybe Ke$ha‘s medrocrity rubbed off too much on these kids last week – everyone did well then, but this week, not so much. Aside from Crystal and Siobhan, we’ve lost hope in pretty much everyone. [Photo: Getty Images]