"American Idol" - Top 11 Performance Show - March 23, 2010
Randy points out that tonight is a big one because only the Top Ten go on the tour. Ellen says people should vote. Kara says every song has a story and the performers have to tap into that. Simon agrees and apologizes for saying differently last week.
Theme: Billboard Number Ones. We get a video package on the Hot 100, the lists from which the contenders can take their number one songs.
Mentor: Miley Cyrus. We get a video package on Miley Cyrus who has sold over 15 million albums. She wants to make them feel comfortable. She's in the house. They talk about Randy's love of the word of "pitchy."
Contestant #1: Lee DeWyze
Song: "The Letter," The Box Tops (featuring the late great Alex Chilton) Miley thinks he has an amazing voice but lacks stage presence.
Performance: He goes kind of big band-y with it in a suit jacket with a horn section. He moves around a bit. His voice sounds really good. He's helped visually by having the horn section and back up singers on stage with him. He did well, but he looks happy it's over. He gets a great response.
Randy: Thinks he knocked it out of the box.
Ellen: Makes a tortured pen metaphor to say she thought he was good.
Kara: Says he's never sounded better or looked more comfortable. She wants him to believe he's good.
Simon: Is really surprised he chose that song because it wasn't a recording song and he calls it corny. He thought it sounded good but the song didn't define him as an artist today.
Contestant #2: Paige Miles In Ryan stool chat Paige shows off a ring she got from a fan in the audience. She's a little concerned about her high heels. She says the atmosphere has gotten more serious and quiet.
Song: "Against All Odds," Phil Collins. Miley thinks she's beautiful and says her voice is good but can be pitchy.
Performance: She starts out seated on the stairs singing softly. She sounds tentative and wavery. When she hits the middle, she hits the power part of her voice and it gets a little better, but she does have big pitch issues.
Randy: Says it was terrible. The pitch was bad but it didn't come together.
Ellen: Is glad she didn't fall down and thinks she look great and then turns over the music critique to Kara and Simon.
Kara: Thinks somewhere along the way she stopped competing and stopped listening to them. She says it was the worst vocal of Paige's and possibly of the season.
Simon: Asks what she thought. She admits she struggled with her pitch. He says she was like five people and none of them were good and he knew exactly when she knew it wasn't working. He thinks that song has killed her and it's too bad because he thought she was good.
She tells Ryan she is in it to win it and she's been struggling mightily with song choice.
Contestant#3: Tim Urban
Song: "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," Queen She thinks Tim has gotten bad reviews for being boring but she doesn't think he is. She tells him to switch it up and do something different.
Performance: If there was ever a time to use a guitar this was it. His vocal is pretty good, a little rough on the low parts. He does a stage slide and jumps onto a satellite stage surrounded by cheering girls. He ends on a good note.
Randy: Wasn't wowed by the vocals and he thought the dopest thing he did was a stage slide. He seems almost angry.
Ellen: Felt like it was an audition for "High School Musical" and it was corny and pushed too hard. She says there will be a large group of people who will love it and she didn't get it.
Kara: Says Ellen hit it on the head, too Zac Efron and the stage moves were like he had already made it.
Simon: Doesn't think the sliding around was the problem because it distracted from the song which was good. He says it was pointless and silly and he can't believe it was a number one song. He says he has no chance of winning unless he takes some singing lessons and takes it more seriously.
Contestant#4: Aaron Kelly. In Ryan stool chat Aaron says he picked up laryngitis and tonsilitis. Ryan scribbles on a notepad "Are you ready?"
Song: "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," Aerosmith. He has a little crush on Miley and sang "The Climb" during his first audition. She liked it. She makes a face while he sings because she didn't realize he was so good.
Performance: He's really coming into his own and does a nice job given that he's sick.
Randy: Says it wasn't perfect but he was much better than the two before him and he's a fan.
Ellen: Calls it a perfect song choice and could tell he was sick since he's normally pitch perfect. She sees his career already.
Kara: Agrees with Ellen on the song choice. She says maybe one week he's off but he's got good consistency.
Simon: Says it was very brave and calls him a "try-er" but says for his age he's making himself old-fashioned but there's zero chance he's going home.
Contestant #5: Crystal Bowersox
Song: "Me and Bobby McGee," Miley likes that she did something a little different and says she should try and push herself a little more. Crystal is nervous about the high notes but Miley thinks she can do it. She has Miley sign her guitar.
Performance: She starts solo acoustic. She looks beautiful with her hair up and in a long dress. The band kicks in and she ambles through it nicely. She pumps it up for the scatting close and hits some higher notes with grit and aplomb. The crowd loves it.
Randy: Says that's what is called being a star and she slayed it. He says he's so happy now.
Ellen: Says she heard it on the radio the other day and thought of her. Says she would like to see her be a little less stoic, especially in the face of the audience response. Crystal says she has big plans for next week.
Kara: Says she felt more from her tonight. Kara asks if she would ever put the guitar down. Crystal hints that's what her big plans are for next week.
Simon: Says not to change anything. Says she was as good as Pink covering that song. He says she's seen her progression and is glad that her only gimmick is a carpet.
Crystal and Ryan sit on the carpet to give out her numbers.
Contestant#6: Michael Lynche
Song: "When a Man Loves a Woman," Percy Sledge. Miley loves him and thinks it's impressive that he looked right in her eyes.
Performance: He does it as a piano ballad with strings, starting very tenderly. When the band kicks in he kicks it up a notch power-wise. He holds one big mighty note and ends on a sweet falsetto. It's a strong performance.
Randy: Doesn't think it was his best vocal but loves that he knows who he is and he sang the you-know-what out of the song.
Ellen: Thought it was a safe choice and he has a great voice and she loves him.
Kara: Technically she thought it was really good but boring and lounge-y at times and over-indulgent with too many riffs.
Simon: He agrees saying you want one scoop of ice cream and you got 11. He thinks it should've been simpler and agrees it was a bit lounge-y. He says he's got tons of charisma and a great voice and that people like him.
Contestant#7: Andrew Garcia
Song: "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," Marvin Gaye. He stumbled a bit on the lyrics in front of Miley. She tells him to put down the guitar and to work the stage and be less stiff. He's worried about it.
Performance: Even without the guitar he's a little stiff in terms of enunciation and stage movement. The vocal is okay but the stage moves are a bit rough.
Randy: Says it wasn't good and a bad song choice since it's not the kind of vocalist he is.
Ellen: Says she loves him and hopes his fans vote for him since it wasn't good enough to get new people on board.
Kara: Feels bad for him because he's chasing his first good moment and he seems confused and the moves didn't make sense.
Simon: Thinks they overrated that moment from the beginning and says Miley was right to tell him to lose the guitar but the arrangement was bad and he sucked the soul out of the song and ruined one of the great pop songs of all time. He says he doesn't know who he is as an artist.
Contestant#8: Katie Stevens
Song: "Big Girls Don't Cry," Fergie. She asks Miley about negativity. Miley tells her to remember who she is and to edge it up. Katie feels more confident now.
Performance: She handles the song well. She has a few pitch problems, a couple glaring, but she moves well and does seem more confident.
Randy: Doesn't know if it's her best performance with pitch issues but he liked that she listened to their comments and went younger both musically and image-wise.
Ellen: Thought it was her best performance yet.
Kara: Says this is the lane for her, pop with r&b leanings. She says she's still got mad pitch issues but this is where she belongs.
Simon: Thinks meeting Miley was really good for her, especially image-wise. He still thinks country might be her lane since they would be loyal to her but having said that it was a good performance.
Contestant#9: Casey James. In Ryan stool chat Casey says he's going to try to push himself more onstage.
Song: "The Power of Love," Huey Lewis. He tells Miley he's a big fan of her dad. She tells him to make eye contact with the audience.
Performance: He starts it with some nice quick riffs. he gives it a little southern blues bounce. He skips the bridge sadly but he does a solid job.
Randy: Says he's probably the best musician they've had on the show. Didn't love the song choice but thought he did well.
Ellen: Calls it the best vocal of the night.
Kara: She says he's on another level and ready to make an album, she tells him to stay in his zone.
Simon: Says it's not personal but he doesn't know what Kara's talking about because it was old-fashioned and that it was like listening to an '80s cover band and he didn't do anything interesting with it.
Contestant #10: Didi Benami
Song: "You're No Good," Linda Ronstadt. Miley likes her vibrato. Miley admits that she too gets nervous a little before going onstage. Miley tells her to go even better. Didi hopes to overcome her nerves.
Performance: She slows it down to start with acoustic guitar and bass and makes it a little torchy. She gets into the lyrics and gives disapproving faces to her invisible bad man. She looks great and sounds mostly good too.
Randy: Loved the idea of it and the outfit but that it was never quite on pitch.
Ellen: Is confused by the song choices tonight including this one.
Kara: Felt like she was playing a character and it left her confused.
Simon: Thought it was ironic that she was screeching "you're no good." She says it was like a bad part of the musical.
She says she wanted to do something different and have fun and she did.
Contestant #11: Siobhan Magnus
Song: "Superstition," Stevie Wonder. Miley is a big fan. She admits she's rocked out to Miley. Miley tells her to bring her swagger out even more. Siobhan thinks it's wicked cool that Miley thinks she has swagger.
Performance: She puts her own little sass on it and sounds great. She does a little scatting and screaming that veer off pitch but she's adorable.
Randy: Thinks she's fearless and thought she was great.
Ellen: Loves her.
Kara: Doesn't think it was her best performance but loves that she expresses herself and thinks her final notes are amazing.
Simon: Thinks viewers will be split, some will like it and others won't. He's not sure about the singing and then screaming and half-jokes maybe she should start with the screaming at the beginning next week and then go softer. He thinks she didn't hit the high notes near as well as she did previously. He tells the whole field to start pushing themselves because he wasn't very excited by tonight's show from a relevant recording artist standpoint.