American Idol Season 9: Top 9 Week (Again)

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

The Top 9 (again) will delight us with Elvis Presley songs tonight, guided by dear Adam Lambert. This is the one time in my life I'm thankful for Glee, because its return means that the performance episode can only be 90 minutes long. PRAISE BE.

Adam, unsurprisingly, wants to be honest but constructive. He hopes to help the Idols give us something to listen to, look at, and feel. Well, I do appreciate that. Ryan jokes inappropriately with Adam in the audience, and we're off.

Crystal is up first tonight, with "Saved." Adam advises her to play electric guitar this time, and throw her dreads around a bit. Crystal loves this straight-up gospel rock stuff, so you know she'll have a great time with this, and she does. It's wonderful. (Like that needs to be said.) This is not an Elvis song with which I am familiar, and I kind of doubt that will be the last time I say that tonight. Elvis? Not my thing.

Randy calls Crystal the second coming of Bonnie Raitt. Ellen is tired of telling Crystal how great she is, so she uses the opportunity to say happy birthday to anyone in the audience celebrating one. Kara loves that Crystal's performance came across to the audience better tonight and also she loved the arrangement. Simon appreciates that Crystal didn't choose an obvious song, but found something that suited her, thus avoiding karaoke hell.

Andrew's up next. Aw man, I forgot he was on this show still. Adam thinks Andrew is boring, for real. Andrew is singing "Hound Dog," and it's like this blues arrangement, all slow and stuff. Not terrible; not life-changing. Pretty creative, but still not well enough performed.

Randy calls it "not-good karaoke." Ellen would have liked more swagger, but she thinks he pulled it off, whatever that means. Kara says you have to own Elvis if you're gonna do Elvis, but Andrew had some nice moments. Simon thought it was lazy and "unpredictable," but I think he means predictable. The audience is all about booing, although as evidenced by last week, they're not translating the booing into voting.

Tim Urban will be singing "Can't Help Falling in Love with You," which Adam thinks he does real pretty. He wants Tim to sing the end in falsetto, so let's see if he does that. Ryan calls Tim "Turban" now. I bet he made that up himself. Tim sings the song (from behind the judges) very, very well, to be honest. He picked the perfect key, and his guitar playing is also very good. If I had one complaint, it's that he scoops the beginning of almost all his phrases. Ryan seems to be slow-dancing with the piano player in the audience. I don't know. I don't even know. Tim doesn't do the falsetto at the end, but he does have a good power phrase, and personally I thought it was probably better than if he had taken Adam's suggestion.

Randy is shocked that he liked it. Ellen likens Tim to tequila. I'm not going any further into the metaphor than that. It was Kara's favourite Tim performance ever. That is not a high bar to beat, lady. Simon comments on Ryan's dancing, and I think Matthew Morrison is in the audience -- promoting That Show, of course. Simon says Tim has gone from zero to hero in the past couple of weeks and even congratulates him. Simon only congratulates when he means it, you guys.

And if you're curious, Ryan was actually dancing with Michael Sarver.

Now we have Lee. Adam advises Lee to be more playful and not act like he's in the recording studio. Adam is so wise. Lee's doing "A Little Less Conversation," and I think he might have gotten a haircut, or at least it's spiked higher than normal. He's always cuter than the last time. And hey, you know what? Good job Adam, because Lee is more comfortable on stage than ever before, and he's also singing better. Good fun.

Randy says Lee is in the zone. Ellen says Lee made it current and also remarks on his improving confidence. Kara is proud of Lee for really going for it vocally, but she thinks he could have been even more playful and kept it a little lighter. Simon wonders if Kara wants kittens, but she says something about loose and sexy. Which, I mean, Lee is getting better at every week, so don't get carried away, lady. I keep calling her lady. Simon says, "That was on the money, full stop."

Little Aaron has chosen "Blue Suede Shoes," and he surprises Adam with his vocal prowess. Adam wants Aaron to believe in himself and go for it, but... I dunno if he has it in him yet. Let's see. Aaron definitely has more swagger than ever before, and as a result is almost cute in a grown-up way instead of that very special high school talent show way. I will say it's by far my favourite of his ever, but again, that is not a very high bar that's been set previously. I probably like it because it's less country than usual.

Randy dug the second part, which Aaron did in a half-time blues, but the rest not so much. Ellen says some stuff but I forget what and I've already rewound once. Moving on, Kara liked it. Simon thinks it was too old-fashioned for Aaron, but that's like how he always is, dude.

Siobhan is doing my very favourite Elvis song, "Suspicious Minds," but probably not like this guy. This is one of those songs that I am just waiting for someone to do a perfect cover of; I am guessing tonight will not be the night. Siobhan starts by singing facing a camera at the back of the stage. Weird. Overall, I hate it. I find her singing voice so very affected, and it hasn't really worked for me since way back in "House of the Rising Sun." This song is so much better than the treatment Siobhan is giving it.

Randy kind of liked it, but especially the half-time part, again. Ellen says she looks fabulous and she also liked the second part where she went bigger vocally. Kara is still confused by Siobhan, and not in a good way. Simon says something about a time machine that doesn't make sense, and he thought parts of it were terrible -- erratic, screechy, and lost. Nevertheless, Siobhan refuses to exist inside their prescribed box, thankyouverymuch.

Big Mike now, with "In the Ghetto." This should be more along the lines of two weeks ago when he was nigh unto delightful. Adam thinks he might just be able to redeem himself this week. And the vocal is nice, but it's so, so boring. Fastforward!

Randy calls it sleepy, "but this is a singing competition and those vocals were hot!" Yes, because people do totally vote on who hits the most notes. Ellen is glad they saved him last week, and Kara and Simon are equally complimentary. They're running behind so we have to hurry now!

Katie's turn now, with "Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do," which I have never heard or heard of. Adam wants her to let her frustration out in the song, I think. Katie's performance outfit is hideous. And despite her evident conviction, it's still boring and Katie-like, and she's like, crazy with the pitch at times. Not in a good way.

Randy was entertained. Ellen makes a bad horn joke. Kara thinks Katie sure showed us judges! Simon found it loud and annoying. Me too.

Oh look, the cast of Glee.

Casey! Here to rescue us from our ennui! Maybe! He's doing "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." Another one I don't know! Adam says some stuff but I am so done rewinding for the night. Casey's hair is back in a ponytail again, which I like so, so much better. And the performance is very much what you would expect for Casey the Blues Man, so let's move on to the judges.

Randy calls it solid, Ellen says he looks great but it could have been more exciting, Kara says he's capable of more, and Simon says it was a wasted opportunity -- good vocal, but forgettable song.

To recap, everybody was boring except Lee, Crystal and Tim, believe it or not. That's a fun change of pace.

Aaaaaaaand, results! Let's keep this short. There will be performances from Brooke White, Adam Lambert, and someone else whose name I missed. That's nice. Also, group sing and Ford commercial. I only care about the results.

Casey (with Farrah Fawcett hair), Little Aaron and Andrew are brought to centre stage... and just like that, Andrew is eliminated. Casey and Aaron are safe.

Guest singers: Brooke White and I guess Justin Gaston, who looks like Gaston from Beauty & the Beast. How convenient.

Then all of the rest of them are called onto the stage. Crystal is safe. She appears to have a mini harmonica on her necklace. One that actually works. Siobhan is also safe. Lee is safe (Ryan drags it out so long; poor Lee). Tim, Big Mike and Katie have to wait until after Adam sings to learn their fates.

After all that loudness, Ryan sends Tim back to the couches, and I am relieved because this is the first week since "Hallelujah" that he was genuinely good. And so... Mike or Katie? Ryan reveals that one is going home and other was not even in this week's Bottom 3, and the one going home is... Katie.

That rolled out about right. Good for Big Mike for coming back from last week's save and surviving another week; that's an accomplishment. Katie's sing-out ("Let It Be") is very teary and sad, but she holds it together mostly. Aw.

I used the word very a lot tonight. I'm sorry. It is my very favourite adverb.

Next week: Idol Gives Back. Does that mean no one will be eliminated? Oh, please say it isn't so. This season has already felt about nine years long. Hasn't it?

Tags: american idol, recap

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