'American Idol's Top 10 ninth-season finalists take the stage, perform
By Reality TV World staff, 03/31/2010
American Idol's Top 10 ninth-season finalists took the stage during Tuesday night's live performance episode broadcast, singing R&B songs.
While several finalists continued to deliver performances that underwhelmed American Idol's judges, two others -- Andrew Garcia and Lee Dewyze -- managed to use the opportunity to wow them and re-establish themselves as solid competitors.
The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the Top 10 finalists, who were mentored by Usher, sang. Also included are comments from each of the four judges -- Randy Jackson, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell -- as well as any noteworthy additional information about each finalist's performance or comments to Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
On Wednesday night, one finalist will -- pending the potential use of "The Judges' Save" -- be eliminated based on home viewer votes cast immediately following last night's broadcast, revealing the season's Top 10 finalists.
Siobhan Magnus, a 20-year-old from Barnstable, MA who currently resides in Marstons Mills, MA
Song: "Through The Fire" by Chaka Khan
Randy said: "Big song. You definitely got a big voice [but] I don't know if it caught on pitch-wise, it was a little all over the place for me. I don't know if this was one of your shining moments but I still love the courageousness and the conviction. I mean only you would have taken on that song. I like the outfit though.... but yeah, it wasn't your best performance babe. It wasn't your best performance at all. Kind of rough."
Ellen said: "Yeah, I have to agree with that. I think there were a couple -- and I could see you looking at us when you went off a bit... it felt you like were kind of going, 'Oh, I'm off," and then you kind of freaked out about it. But to start off the evening with you, it's like desert before the meal. I loved it. I love you but I thought it was not your best performance."
Kara said: "I've got to agree with them. I think you got a little nervous up there tonight too. I should have worked for you -- parts of it did, the screaming parts, but the other parts just weren't there. Your lower register, it wasn't strong enough. But I have to say, you have delivered pretty much every week, so every performer has an off night and you're entitled to one. You're been here, you're come through every week and I have to say at the end of the day you're still a great singer.
Simon said: "I'll tell you what it sounded like to me Siobhan, it sounded to me as though you'd run a marathon and you were singing while you were running out of breath. It was so all over the place... [and] I think you looked all over the place tonight. I'm just being honest with you. If this was the first time I'd ever seen you... you're kidding yourself if you think that was a good performance because it wasn't. And when you hear it back it's going to sound even worse than you know. It was by far your weakest performance so far and the song didn't suit you. And I am getting bored of the screaming at the end."
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Randy said: "Listen, I'm going to make this short and sweet, dude. This was another hot night for you, you stayed in your element. I loved the song, you showed a lot of vocal range -- you know, the great Sam Moore, all those vocals. I thought it was a perfect selection and choice for you. Nice job baby!"
Ellen said: "The thing about you is you're consistent, you're always good. You have a great voice, you have a great tone. I felt -- and I know everybody loved it, and I loved your vocals -- it felt a little generic. I mean I wish I would have seen another song from you. I know it, I know, but it's true. You sang it great, but that's a safe zone for you. Listen, you have a great voice, there's nothing wrong with that performance."
Kara said: "Yeah Ellen, I think what you're picking up on to is that you've [only] been using this part of your range , you only go top at the very end. I think you have more range in you and these songs where you're playing the guitar and they're limited in terms of the chords and the many notes, they're not showing us how much more you can do. And that's what I'm concerned about for you, I want to see you go back to many an acoustic guitar and just sing. Show me everything you've got, because I think you've got more."
Simon said: "Casey, you know I've always wanted to be honest with you like I am with all the other contestants and last week you know I was completely in disagreement with these three over the performance. This week, in my opinion, it was your strongest week you've had so far. I liked the fact that you didn't do what you did before, which was to do a sound-alike. I think the fact that you took on an R&B song, for me, it showed a completely different side of you as an artist. I thought it sounded authentic and I'm really, really, really impressed with you this week Casey."
Additional Notes: Casey said he already had an acoustic guitar performance planned for next week if he manages to advance to the next round.
Randy said: "Yo man, I liked the guitar, I liked you coming back to that. Very sensitive song, beautiful kind of ballad. Dude listen, I'm telling you what baby, you are in the zone. I'm loving every performance, dude! Look, it wasn't as exciting but it's good to kind of pull it back every now and then and show your sensitive side. You know, me and you, we got the whole sensitive thing, you know what I'm saying? Former models, we're sensitive."
Ellen said: "That was beautiful, I loved it. Beautiful."
Kara said: "I hate to admit that I'd never heard that song until you chose it and I went and listened to it. And I have to say, you did an incredible job with it, you really did. You mastered the intention behind it, even though you're so far from that in your personal life you got to the true emotion of the song. It was tasteful, it was lovely and one of my favorite performances."
Simon said: "This is probably the first time since you've entered the live shows where I can actually take you seriously now as an artist. Because even though it is a little bit gloomy, the song, and not one of my favorite songs in the world, what you demonstrated tonight -- which is really important -- is the difference being original [and] having a moment or being a silly little karaoke singer. And that's what you managed to prove tonight. I thought you did a terrific job and most importantly I actually believed that performance, I thought it was terrific, congratulations."
Didi Benami, a 23-year-old from Knoxville, TN who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA
Song: "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" by Jimmy Ruffin
Randy said: "For me, it wasn't even about the song. I love this song but the whole performance kind of flatlined for me, you never really moved from here. It just stayed right here. It just wasn't great. I was waiting for any kind of moment. You hit the big note at the end and that was kind of sharp -- it just never quite caught man, I didn't get it. Didn't get it."
Ellen said: "Alright, I'm going to boo myself. Booo! Didi, I just didn't think it was -- it was dramatic and it was, and you know I love your voice and I'm a fan of yours. I just thought that was way dramatic. Way dramatic and not your best performance."
Kara said: "It's over, done girl. And I'm just so confused because when you first came to us in Hollywood week and you sang 'Terrified' and you did that singer-songwriter thing. You've changed, you've lost your way. Your vision is not what it was and I don't know who you are anymore. I thought I knew -- singer-songwriter -- and tonight, this is very confusing. It leaves me puzzled."
Simon said: "And me. Cue lots of boos because it was like swimming in jelly. In other words, it should be something easy to get through. It was so over the top. So old-fashioned. So off-melody. And as Randy said, that song is actually an incredible song and it has a great climax at the end. It just didn't do it and I think Kara's right, you've completely and utterly lost your way. You've no longer made yourself contemporary, everything's too old-fashioned. And if you listen to one of those dancing shows, they always have a singer murdering a song on it. That's what kind of -- if you've ever watched it -- sounded like."
Additional Notes: Randy also agreed with Kara's comments. "Yeah," he shouted. Randy also asked Simon to elaborate on his thinly-veiled shot at Dancing with the Stars, which began airing against American Idol last night. "What sort of dancing show?" he joked. Ryan repeatedly attempted to get Didi to reveal why the song "meant a lot" to her but she refused. She sang that song for someone, we can leave it at that," Ryan finally said.
Timothy "Tim" Urban, a 20-year-old from Duncanville, TX
Song: "Sweet Love" by Anita Baker
Randy said: "Listen, there are some pluses and minuses for me with this performance. I mean when you first started I felt like, you know, it's kind of got this 'singing waiter' thing. Somebody's in a restaurant, singing a song. It just felt so pedestrian and not like American Idol, searching for the next superstar, the best we can find. The good plus part about it is, I got to tell you what, at least you sang in tune. I mean it was mostly in tune, but there was no vibe to it, dude. It had no swag on it. It was just -- once again it just kind of laid flat, even your 'in sweet love.' It didn't even have a (unintelligible) on the 'love.' You did nothing man, it was just,,, you know what I'm saying? You can put a little grease on it, do a little something, show me there's a little connection somewhere. It felt flat for me again man, I don't know."
Ellen said: "Well Tim, I heard that there's a drinking game going on at home every time I call you adorable, so I'm going to call you adorable right now because those people may never drink again. I feel like I can't just keep riding on that, because you are adorable -- there they go, again -- but man, that was, I just kept going 'Why did you choose that song?' That is a tough song to sing and you mostly were in key but it just was really -- and the way that you were walking like you were sneaking into a bedroom. You kept walking... like we see you coming at us, we can see you, you are heading right toward us, don't try to be so sneaky! But, I don't know. Good for you for taking that on, but oh boy, why?"
Kara said: "Tim, Tim. It was like Broadway at times and like Vegas at times. It was just, argh. And you took the soul out of the song and you made yourself so uncommercial, and young, and current -- which is why all these people love you. They see that in you. And I just don't understand why you keep doing this. Why are you laughing?"
Simon said: "I'll tell you why he's laughing, because I don't think it makes any difference what so ever what we say! It's like a completely inappropriate song, it's like a mice picking a fight with an elephant, you know, you're not going to win. But, doesn't matter because you're going to smile, the audience is going to vote for you, nobody cares and you'll be here next week, so well done!"
Additional Notes: Before his performance, Ryan had asked Tim about the "Teflon Tim" label he's picked up by continuing to not be voted off despite delivering underwhelming performances. "Well it's really funny, it made me laugh. I guess it was in reference to me getting beat up a little bit by the judges a little every week and standing there smiling," he said.
Randy said: "Listen, here's what I love. America, Andrew is back. Here's why, I liked the outfit, I think that the outfit is like made dope. I think it's dope that you took a Chris Brown song that was almost a kind of slow, dance kind of record and you turned it into your own. I think this is your best performance for me in a long time!"
Ellen said: "Yeah, every single week we've been saying you've been trying to compete with that other song and you finally all of the sudden, just on it's own, that was a really amazing, strong performance. And when you smile, I love when you smile. And you know what you say, when you smile the whole world smiles back at you."
Kara said: "Andrew, nothing makes me happier than to say that is one giant leap in the right direction. Huge! And I'm going to leave it at that."
Simon said: "Yeah Andrew, I think it was miles, miles better from what we've heard from you over the last couple of weeks. Miles better, because you're back where you are. The only problem I have with you right now is as a person -- and don't take this the wrong way -- you come over as very boring. And I'll tell you why, because if you compare Andrew to the guy before, he's getting through... what I'm trying to do is be constructive and say that you've got to start showing some personality, that you care. Because I know nothing about you as person and at this point in the competition I promise you personality is as important."
Additional Notes: "Can't we just be nice to him for one night?" Kara snapped at Simon when he began criticizing Andrew's personality. "He can do that next week. He's back in the game [this week," she added afterwards.
Randy said: "Couple of things, I know that you're like mad young [but] the performance was a little disconnected vocally. But here's what I love: to me, this was one of the best vocal performances of the night. Here's why: what you did was you showed that you definitely have the pipes. I mean you're like a young Christina [Aguilera] in weird sort of way, so you've got to own that and embrace that because you can really go there. The song started a little rough, but just try and find a way to connect it all now, because it just felt like moments, small moments. It'd be nice to make it one big moment. but nice vocal man, nice vocals."
Ellen said: "And you have like a little Snooki puff going! A half a poof going on. I thought the vocals were great. Again, look ,you have a great voice [but] I wish that the song had been a little more current. You sang it very well, but again, you kind of always sound so mature, which is a compliment, but at the same time I want you to make a song a little younger, a little more current."
Kara said: "Katie, you found where you belong. It's right here, R&B pop. This is one of your best vocals performances. But I agree kind of what with what she is saying, you need to go back to making it young and commercial now. But good job on the vocals tonight."
Simon said: "Yeah, look, I think for Randy to compare you to Christina there is just crazy... I thought it was pretty, pretty good. I thought it was very robotic. You actually came over as quite cold tonight in that performance. And you're a young girl, as Ellen said, you've got to make it fun. I personally wouldn't have taken on that song because I thought it was all a little bit, I don't know, there was that show years ago called Star Search. My problem is that I think the advice that Kara has given you is wrong. I don't believe you are that kind of artist, I genuinely, genuinely don't. "
Additional Notes: "No, no, she's not there yet. But I'm saying she has that potential," Randy said when Simon questioned his Christina Aguilera comment. Kara insisted Katie was a R&B pop artist despite Simon's comments. "I 100% know you are," she told Katie. Randy agreed. "She's not country, she's really a pop singer with a little R&B leanings," he said.
Song: "Treat Her Like a Lady" by The Cornelius Brothers
Randy said: "Check this out! Unbelievable! Best I've heard you in weeks! Unbelievable! Lee, that was the bomb, baby. The bomb."
Ellen said: "There you go! Now the night's started. Unbelievable performance, best performance of the night, probably that you've done so far [on the show]."
Kara said: "You brought the song in your world. It could have been on your record, it was amazing. Amazing!"
Simon said: "You know Lee, I've always believed in you, from pretty much the beginning of this competition. We've had some frustrations with the fact that you didn't believe in yourself, even the fact that when you're talking you find it difficult to make eye contact. Which means that something has happened, I don't know what. And this has been your problem throughout. But I want you tonight to go home, watch the show back, and understand that this is the night that your life may have changed forever."
Crystal Bowersox, a 24-year-old from Elliston, OH who currently resides in Toledo, OH
Song: "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and the Pips
Randy said: "I love the outfit, I love the whole ensemble, I love the whole stilettos. You know, it's a funny thing, I'm working on a record with the great Gladys Knight right now and she would say you did that song proud. I liked the way you switched it up. I loved seeing you playing the piano like this, I thought it was another great performance by you."
Ellen said: "You're never not good. You're always great and that was another side of you, which means that you really are competing now. You are in it to win it, and that was a wonderful, wonderful high heel."
Kara said: "I'm so you took that risk, I really am. I wanted to see another side of you and there's so many things about you that I love. I just can't wait to see what you do next week."
Simon said: "I think your choice of song was sensational. I thought the vocals at time were incredible, any moments. The problem I have very quickly is that the backing vocalist shouldn't have been there because it made it old-fashioned, you were uncomfortable with the piano so you were overthinking it, and what I'm most concerned about here Crystal is -- regardless of the advice you're been given -- do not let this process suck the identity out of you. Because what you were doing before was absolutely fantastic, I've had no issues with you what so ever... all I'm going to say is that you're the kind of artist, rare. who actually knows what they should be doing. And I promise you, and I really, sincerely mean this, with your talent -- and I love your personality, because you're real -- just do what's comfortable with you and don't change into something you're not. Because you don't need it."
Additional Notes: As she had teased to Ellen and Kara last week, Crystal "took a risk" and gave up her guitar to play the piano for this week's performance. In addition, she also wore a dress and heels.
Randy said: "Listen, it started a little rough but by the time you hit your power zone and your power notes spot it kind of worked itself out a little bit. I think you've got a little bit more soul flavor than that, so it was kind of alright for me. Just alright for me."
Ellen said: "Well, if I had that much confidence when I was 11 -- how old are you? Sixteen? I thought it was a good song choice and I thought it was a really good job."
Kara said: "I liked it. I wasn't in love with it. I think you could have gone up high in your register, a little more energy. But I still liked it."
Simon said: "Yeah, I think it you compare it to some of the really good performances tonight -- like Lee as an example, which was the 'main course' -- that was a little like a cupcake. I'm not jumping out of my chair and the trouble is I've heard that song so many times sung brilliantly on this show. It wasn't as good as last week because I don't think you believed it as much as you did last week. Having said that, there's absolutely no chance you're going to be leaving the competition. It was okay."