American Idol Season 9: Top 5 Week

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

Harry Connick Jr. The songs of Frank Sinatra (which I guess means any song he ever touched). Five singers left. Everybody looks fabulous. Expect lots of caps tonight. So let's get 'er done.

Harry is not only mentoring but also arranging and playing piano with the band tonight. That's fun!

Something is amiss with my cursor. That is not fun.

NANCY SINATRA IS IN THE AUDIENCE. HER BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING, PEOPLE. Nancy and her less ass-kicking sister Tina give Simon one of Ol' Blue Eyes' monogrammed handkerchiefs. Gross? Simon is touched.

Up first is Little Aaron. Harry tells Aaron real stuff about music and how one of the notes he picked doesn't work over the chords Harry's playing. You go, Harry. (Sidenote: I am flashbacking to music school in a big way. Jazz standards! Arrangements! Awkward dancing!)

So Aaron sings "Fly Me to the Moon" with his hair kind of slicked and looking better than it ever has with the spikes, but he does nothing interesting with the song and just kind of wanders aimlessly around the stage before standing spread-eagle with a bouncing leg, as is his wont. This kid CANNOT swing, yow. (Not that it's easy, I'll allow.)

Randy calls Sinatra one of the best singers ever in the world, which: debatable. He thought Aaron really brought it. Ellen cracks a joke about the pitchy piano, har har. She, like Randy, was worried about Aaron on this, but she claims she didn't hear any country in it (oh, but if you listen again and listen closely!) and he did a beautiful job. Kara and her gorgeous, shiny, straight hair didn't like it as much because he needs more charisma and wasn't as strong as last week. Simon is with Kahra because he wanted more commitment or something, but he does concede that Aaron is a lovely boy and people like him for trying so hard. And also, Simon loves his hankie.

Casey loves HCJ, has always loved him, will never stop loving him. Harry is letting Casey be not about the lyrics but the groove instead.

Casey sings "Blue Skies" looking ten kinds of hot and sounding fifteen kinds of something. This is blues more than big band and I could probably do without the horns (generally I feel this way about life except for The Cat Empire), but I just dig this whole thing because Casey is so hot again. I missed that, the hotness.

But Randy hated it! He says it was horribly pitchy and it was Casey's worst yet. Ellen disses the piano again, but her comment to Casey is that he was too stiff and he was missing the smoothness and the swagger. Kara says it took him too long to warm up in the performance, but she congratulates him for holding some frigging notes for once -- but she points out the sheep-y vibrato that we've all been talking about for weeks. Simon was not a fan and thought Casey seemed embarrassed and/or awkward... I don't know, I see their points, blinded though I was by the hotness... but I think he'll be so very, very safe because everybody gets scared when the judges are mean.

Casey cops to being uncomfortable when Ryan asks, and then Harry tells Ryan that Casey sang it better in rehearsal, which doesn't help him that much... except for how they show the rehearsal footage in the recap at the end. So maybe.

Crystal next, sandwiched right in the middle of all these boys. She's doing "Summer Wind" and HCJ appreciates her connection to the song and pretty much can't give her any advice because she knows, you know, who she is and stuff. She doesn't need advice.

Her gown is all strapless and mermaid-y and gorgeous, but tells me too much about her scary back tattoo. For the record? I hate back tattoos. But I like dreads. Anyway, Crystal is back to being amazing, like maybe if this song had more words she would be at "Stuff Like That There" levels here, as far as Idol big band performances go. So, so pretty.

And thus I have to watch it again. I should mention that she starts out sitting at the piano with Harry and plucks a note for him before walking to her mic at centre stage. Cute. And upon my second listen, here is where I decide Crystal MUST win this show. You probably decided that weeks ago, but sometimes I can be stubborn. I'm sure you're surprised.

Randy, such a downer, doesn't think it was different or special; in fact, he thinks that it was sleepy. WHY DO THEY LET HIM TALK FIRST???? Gaaaaahhhhhh. *headdesk* Also, *rage*. Jackson, get out of here. I was TRANSFIXED. Ellen wanted it to be looser, but at least she calls Crystal impressive. WHY ARE THE JUDGES SO GROUCHY TONIGHT? Kara "kind of liked it," and picks out Crystal's phrasing as especially good. I kind of LOVED it because it was gorgeous and she felt it. Simon calls it a bit indulgent and he expects better, but it was ok. OH I GIVE UP.

Crystal and Simon argue a bit, but it's fairly respectful on both sides, and one thing I know is that Crystal? Is about the music, you guys. She says so like every week.

Big Mike, ugh. I bet the judges are going to pee themselves over his overindulgent cheesetastic crap. He's doing "The Way You Look Tonight." Oh, I am SHOCKED. Harry says not to dick around with the song and just be direct. (I paraphrase.)

It is, as expected, well sung but cheesy as shit front to back. He slow-jams a lot of it -- also unsurprising -- and I am left uninspired.

Randy LOVED the arrangement and the vocal and Big Mike is in it to win it! OH my GOOD GRIEF, I hate this stupid frigging show with ever fibre of my being. Ellen says Big Mike is comfortable on stage, more so than the rest of our kids, and has lots of charisma and stuff. Kara appreciates that Mike found the drama in the song, and that he didn't lose himself in the song, which she could tell because he did things that she could recognize as Big Mike things. LIKE SLOW-JAMMING IT. I WANT TO THROW THINGS AT THESE PEOPLE. Simon says Big Mike brought them back in the game after three mediocre performances or something and I just want to barf. Let's move on.

All right, Lee, cleanse my palate, even though the judges will inevitably hate it. Harry's wife thinks Lee is really cute. Well, I think Harry's wife's husband is really cute too. Harry says that Lee looks like a new and improved version of himself. Harry tells Lee to give half an hour to the words "puppet" and "pauper." Oh yes, he's singing "That's Life."

So he sings it and Harry gets to play a sweet organ that I will admit I cannot immediately identify. Shun me. Anyway: best of the night. Lee can kinda swing, even. This is also the best he's ever, ever sung. Clear, precise and so, so tasty. (I hate when people use "tasty" to describe music, but I CANNOT come up with a better word for what that was.)

Oh! Surprising! Randy didn't hate it! He commends Lee for staying "rocker dude" through that. Ellen teases Harry again and then she says that if this was the last night of performances, Lee would have just won the whole thing. Yeah. Quite possibly. GUESS WHO'S IN IT TO WIN IT NOW, SUCKAS. Kara asks Lee a question: does he think he can win? He says he does. She wants him to BELIEVE it, because he CAN and he was just AMAZING. The judges and I are back on the same side again. Simon commends Harry for being awesome in general, and also for managing to bring out Lee's personality, which may have been missing this whole time. Best of the night, he declares. I said it first!

Harry and Lee are besties now. There is major bromance going on here.

I have no predictions for the Bottom 2 and who is going home! My heart tells me Big Mike and Casey, with Casey going... even though I just said he'd be safe 'cause the judges be hatin'.

Results: featuring Harry Connick Jr. and Lady Gaga! Now there is a match made in heaven.

So I feel I should elaborate on something. I said that I felt Crystal should win, and then Lee delivered the most outstanding thing he possibly could. But I stick by what I said because Lee is the same as David Cook and Kris Allen and that would make three in a row of the same guy! Like maybe the show's voting demographic is not as diverse as one might think! So that's pretty much my only reason at this point.

Let's see what happens here, though. Maybe one of them will go! In a SHOCKING! Elimination!

OH MY GOODNESS I THINK THE GROUP SING MIGHT BE LIVE. Or at least they recorded it live instead of in a studio, even if they're not actually singing it. BUT I THINK THEY ARE! It's so unbelievable and exciting! And it doesn't suck because Harry probably arranged it! The choreography still pains me, but at least it SEEMS like they're singing live. Maybe. I still can't tell! Crystal seems live! Lee seems live! Aaron and Casey don't! Big Mike never seems real! Anyway, I watched the whole thing instead of fastforwarding as usual, so that's a good sign. I can't believe I've spent a whole paragraph on this.

Ford commercial set to the Plain White T's "1234."

An inside look into Tuesdays for the gang. We even get a close-up of the stand-in judges! Simon's is the only one who looks remotely like the real thing. This inside look is amazing and I thank the show for giving me this gift.

Chatter chatter chatter, let's get on with it.

Lee is first to hear his results and... he is safe. On the one hand, duh. On the other, phewf.

Lady Gaga "Bad Romance"s at the piano and then does some spoken word right into interpretive dancing her way through "Alejandro." She is predictably crazy and incredible, but it's all a little... low energy. I would have liked "Telephone" more. Beyoncé could have come too!

More HCJ rehearsal footage, basically a gag reel. IT IS SO FUNNY AND THE BEST THING HE SAYS IS THAT "PITCHY" IS NOT A THING! YOU ARE EITHER SHARP OR FLAT! YES! HIRE THIS MAN PERMANENTLY, SHOW. I wish I could quote this whole thing verbatim, but here are some favourites:

  • Casey trips walking into the room and Harry starts playing circus music on the piano.
  • Harry tells Crystal she has a bird on her ear.
  • Harry considers being a centaur instead of a mentor.
  • Harry calls Casey's mom and tells her that her son is a real "ugly son of a gun, like coyote ugly," but the real problem is his personality because "he thought I was Chris Isaak."
  • Harry tells Mike to drop the baby thing already.
  • "I'm extremely famous."

Basically? I love HCJ.

And then he sings all pretty and stuff too.

Another group sing by the Idols, with Harry on piano this time. Maybe he only arranged this one and not the other one. I am almost pretty sure they are probably singing live.

Harry tells a good Frank story.

More results! Ryan sends Crystal to the far side of the stage and Big Mike to the near side. Aaron is placed with Big Mike and Casey is sent over to Crystal. Ryan asks Lee if he would pick the safe group if he had to. Lee says no. That was anticlimactic, but for a second there... So Ryan asks the audience instead. They yell some.

And then... Big Mike and Little Aaron are the Bottom 2. Crystal and Casey are safe. All is as it should be. PHEWF.

And the for real results: Aaron goes home. Aww. Dear Little Aaron.

Harry Connick Jr., you are adorbs.

Tags: american idol, recap

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