American Idol's Top 6 ninth-season finalists took to the stage during last night's live performance show broadcast on Fox.

This week's mentor was country superstar Shania Twain, who gave the finalists her advice on how best to sing their interpretations of her country songs.

The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the Top 6 finalists 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 be eliminated based on home viewer votes cast immediately following last night's broadcast, resulting in the season's Top 5 finalists.

Lee Dewyze, a 23-year-old from Mount Prospect, IL

Song: "You're Still the One"

Randy said: "Listen, this is one of my favorite songs of all time, the great Shania Twain -- not just because she's here [in the audience].  I love the song, it's one of the greatest songs I think ever written.  And I think, listen, I was a little worried about you doing this.  It started out a little pitchy but you know what I loved, midway through the song you found a way to make it your own because it was low in your register and you found your sweet spot.  So I think you did a pretty good job with it dude."

Ellen said: "I think you did better than a pretty good job.  I think every song you take you make your own, it always sounds like your version instead of you just singing someone else's song exactly like it's been sung before.  And you couldn't look cuter, and I say all aboard the Shania Twain!"

Kara said: "Lee, the sound of your voice on every song makes it sound so relevant, and all I could think is look how far we've come.  Look how far you've come!  Really, since the beginning until now.  And that's a love song and I don't know if you related to it in the love portion of it but you cracked a smile a few times, and that's when I was like 'Alright, maybe he's feeling the song.'  But I thought it was a good job, it was."

Simon said: "I agree with everything everybody has said.  I thought that was absolutely the perfect song out of Shania's catalog to choose -- it really, really was.  It started out a little bit hesitant.  When you watch it back you'll realize you were pulling some kind of weird faces, however...  I don't think it was a smile."

Additional Notes: Kara interrupted Simon's "weird faces" comment to insist Lee was smiling.  "I don't know what it was, I was just singing," a perplexed Lee said.  "Look at that, that's a great face -- keep that face!" Kara shouted afterwards.

Michael Lynche, a 26-year-old from Astoria, NY

Song: "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing"
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Randy said: "So here's what I love, man.  I think you've really found your zone on this show, you're definitely that ballad dude, that love, kind of R&B singer.  What I love about a great song -- I say this always, it can be a country song, a rock song, and R&B song, whatever -- you did a great job and you were really in the zone of who you are.  And I hope you keep that in the future man, because there's a big, wide open space for you.  Very good."

Ellen said: "Yeah, I gotta say I was a tiny bit nervous, you taking on a song like that on.  But it felt like Luther Vandross, it felt like Luther singing that song. I felt your emotion, I felt you get into it, and I think you really needed to follow [Shania's] advice and show us that emotion.  I thought it was beautiful."

Kara said:  "One of Shania's greatest gifts -- other than being an incredible songwriter -- is how connected she is when she sings, and I always feel that from you.  I always feel that you go to that place that relates to you and that's what I appreciate most.  The melody is so beautiful, and I just thought it was so great that you didn't change it too much but you changed it enough that you put your mark on it.  So great job."

Simon said:  "Yeah, I know what Ellen meant when you were using the comparison with Luther.  Until you mentioned it I didn't recognize that, but it was spot on, it was a good analogy.  I thought the performance however was a little bit wet -- as if you were, I've said this before, in a musical acting out the words."

Additional Notes: Randy and Kara questioned what Simon meant by "wet."  "Well it's the opposite of dry... In other words, it was a little bit girly for you," he replied.  "It is a girly song!" Kara said.  "It's a song written by a girl!" Randy noted.  "Well that's probably why," Simon joked.

Casey James, a 27-year-old from Fort Worth, TX

Song:  "Don't"

Randy said:  "Wow, yo dude, let me tell you something -- for me, this was one of the best Casey James performances ever!  And you know what, you know what else, I hope that you really learn something here.  Because as you are thinking of going forward as an artist dude, this could be a great thing in your wheelhouse with what you already do with the guitar, so nice job baby."

Ellen said:  "I was going to say the same exact thing -- you sang that like that's really where you belong.  And I'm not saying you shouldn't be because you've got that Bob Seger sound about you that's great rock, but [it was] beautiful.  And I actually think it was your best performance that you've done to date."

Kara said:  "Casey, artists do not hide.  The good, the bad, the ugly -- they show it all and that's what you did in that performance.  You didn't hide, you didn't cover it up with guitar.  You were vulnerable, you were raw.  And that's what you need to do and if you keep doing it you'll be at the front of this competition for sure!"

Simon said:  "Look Casey, I think last week was a much, much needed wake-up call for you, because you weren't for me taking part in the competition.  I actually agree with Randy, I think this was probably your best performance so far.  It actually felt that you were singing the song, it didn't feel like somebody else's song and I suggest you come down here and give [Shania] a kiss on the lips."

Additional Notes: Casey did come down off-stage and Shania gave him a hug.  "You nailed it!" she shouted.  "I loved it, it was my favorite one yet," Casey told Ryan about the performance afterwards.

Crystal Bowersox, a 24-year-old from Elliston, OH who currently resides in Toledo, OH

Song:  "No One Needs To Know"

Randy said:  "Listen, I kind of love the whole Nickel/Creed kind of version with the acoustic bass and the snare drum and the whole thing... I thought it wasn't my favorite performance but I still love you and I love seeing you try different things and mixing it up.  And I'm happy somebody tonight is doing more of a country version of one of Shania's songs, so I like it."

Ellen said:  "It is country week.  You know, I say it every week, there's just nothing you can't do, you have a great voice.  It was not my favorite performance if yours either, but that's like saying what's your least favorite color of the rainbow.  I mean you're just brilliant and you're always going to be good but it wasn't my favorite performance."

Kara said:  "I agree with the guys.  I mean it's kind of impossible for you to not be good because you're always coming from a place of truth and it always feels honest.  It was believable and that's why I always respond to you.  Was it your best?  No, but you're still amazing."

Simon said:  "Okay, shocker, we don't like Crystal this week.  I think that's really the story.  I thought it was limp.  It was very much something you'd expect -- and I've seen this happen before when you're in a coffee shop and they hire a band to sing to you when you don't particularly want them to -- and that's kind of what it reminded me of.  I didn't feel any conviction from you and I thought -- sorry Shania -- was a little bit forgettable compared to some of the other songs.  So this was the only week where I haven't actually liked your performance, I'm afraid."

Additional Notes:  "That's okay... I still love you Simon," Crystal told Simon after his comments.  "And I still love you, by the way," Simon replied.  During her pre-performance video clip, Crystal revealed the song was a not-so-subtle message to her boyfriend.  "I'm just dropping hints here and there.  He'll man up one of these days," she said.  "I'm blushing," she joked to Ryan after he noted there was now "pressure" on her boyfriend, who was also in the studio audience.  "I'm trying to help you out," Ryan replied.  "I know," I know," Crystal laughed.

Aaron Kelly, a 16-year-old from Sonestown, PA

Song:  "You Got a Way"

Randy said:  "Aaron, dude this is definitely your wheelhouse, this is definitely your lane, you are our country artist on the show this year.  And dude I think you did a really good job." 

Ellen said:  "This is going to be tough.  This is going to be tough because everybody is doing well, and I still can't get over the fact that you're 16 years old and you sang that... I mean the amount of emotion and depth you showed when you sang that song just now, the maturity you had to embrace those lyrics, good job.  Tomorrow is going to be real tough, that was great."

Kara said:  "Ellen, I completely agree with you.  I mean it was like you really felt those words, you were really living them -- and you changed one of the lines.  It was 'when we make love,' which was very smart because it's not something -- well I don't know, but you know what I mean.  You know what I'm saying, I appreciated that."

Simon said:  "Well look Aaron, I'm going to be honest with you, okay.  I know you're only 17.  I think the last two or three weeks, you've really struggled, particularly last week.  Just didn't get it at all.  However, tonight you were like a different artist.  You know why, because this was the kind of record, if you're going to make records, you should make.  For the first time in weeks it actually felt sincere, it felt believable.  And once again it didn't feel like you were singing somebody else's song.  I think you did really well tonight, well done."

Additional Notes:  Aaron corrected Ellen when she said he was only 16 years old.  "Seventeen.  Seventeen now," he smiled.   "Seventeen now?  Oh, never mind, then I'm not as impressed, I thought you were 16," she joked back.  Aaron told Kara he changed the song's line because he was singing to his mother.  "Aw, to your mom," Kara replied.

Siobhan Magnus, a 20-year-old from Barnstable, MA who currently resides in Marstons Mills, MA

Song:  "Any Man of Mine"

Randy said:  "Listen, I loved it!  I loved the whole kind of punk, country look with the boots -- the whole nine, the big notes, I loved it.  I loved it!"

Ellen said:  "Yeah, way to pull the Shania Twain into the station!  Good way to end the show, fantastic."

Kara said:  "Yes!  Alright, guess whose back?  Siobhan!"

Simon said:  "You know what, I really, really liked that song, and I'm not normally kind of a fan of country music.  But I thought the song was perfect.  I think the screaming at the end may have gone a little bit [too much] -- the audience is with me on this one -- it was like you were giving birth up there at the end.  I mean if you just heard that note in isolation you'd kind of think something else was happening.  No, but it was fun, it was good."

Additional Notes:  Randy and Kara objected to Simon's comments on Siobhan's closing scream.  "No it was good, it was good!"  Randy shouted.
About The Author: Steven Rogers
Steven Rogers is a senior entertainment reporter for Reality TV World and been covering the reality TV genre for two decades.