The save was used last week, so the Top 9 part deux performance night was of utmost important since two would be leaving the competition on Wednesday. When the Idols took the stage, they looked nervous. Who could blame them?!
These lucky Season 9 Idols got to take on songs by The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, they've been mentored by Miley Cyrus and Usher, and now they're taking on Elvis songs with help from Adam Lambert. Season 8's runner-up has been compared to Elvis in terms of his performance style, swagger, and appearance. Adam traveled to Las Vegas to mentor the Top 9, who were there to watch the new Cirque du Soleil show, "Viva Elvis." As the first Idol alum to be a mentor, Adam told Ryan he focused on being honest and constructive. Ryan begged Adam to perform "Whataya Want From Me" on Wednesday's results show, and next thing you know the conversation turned to the topic of "talented tongues."
Crystal Bowersox kicked off the night with "Saved," which would've been an appropriate song choice for Michael Lynche after last week's results. Adam encouraged Crystal to bring out the electric guitar for her performance, and not only did she play one, it was beautifully bedazzled, just like Adam. Crystal made the song gospel and bluesy and she was energetic. Randy Jackson compared her performance to the "second coming of Bonnie Raitt," and Simon Cowell was happy this performance didn't come across as being karaoke.
Andrew Garcia chose the Elvis hit "Hound Dog," and from one song changer to another, Adam encouraged Andrew to change it up. After Andrew performed his slightly altered version of "Hound Dog," Randy said it was "definitely not good karaoke." However, Ellen liked it, but just wanted to see more swagger. Simon said that all of Andrew's coolness is being sucked out of him. Will Andrew's fans find him cool enough to stick around for another week?
Ryan introduced the next performer with help from a very cute Connie Seacrest. Tim Urban sang the song Adam Lambert said he would've performed, "Can't Help Falling In Love." Adam liked Tim's voice and guitar work, and he encouraged Tim to push it up an octave at the end. Tim was selected as this week's contestant to perform behind the judges, and he gave the type of performance Kara likes to see from him -- pulled back with just a guitar. I really thought he was going to reenact the slide from Top 11 week again, but no such luck. The judges thought this was one of Tim's best performances, and Simon said he went from zero to hero in two weeks!
When Lee DeWyze met with Adam, he worked on singing from the heart. Adam ended the session by encouraging him to smile. Lee performed right in front of the judges, and he was practically standing on the video footage on the floor of his singing face. He played up the raspy nature of his voice in "A Little Less Conversation" and showed more stage presence. Randy thought he was in the zone and then called it "very dude." I'm thinking that was supposed to be "very good," but I think it was a compliment either way. All of the judges thought Lee nailed the vocals, and Ryan encouraged him to smile even more, so Lee gave an exaggerated grin with thumbs up.
Aaron Kelly learned to emphasize the growl in his voice during "Blue Suede Shoes." He was worried what the judges would say about his ability to relate to the song. It's not that he doesn't love fine footwear; it's that line about drinking liquor from an old fruit jar. Aaron's performance received mixed reviews from the judges, with the ladies liking it more than the men. Simon compared it to somebody doing a concert at a high school, and with the actual cast of GLEE sitting behind Simon tonight, I think they prove that "high school concert" is now a compliment.
Siobhan Magnus is a true Elvis fan. She did a report on him in the sixth grade and sputtered off some fun facts about Elvis. Siobhan selected "Suspicious Minds," which has the same initials as her name. How's that for a fun Elvis fact?! When she sang for Adam, he gave her the same critiques that the judges gave her last week: good vocals, but a little sleepy. Siobhan sped it up and she told Adam that she was compared to him, which Adam took as a compliment. Aww, inter-season love. Siobhan started her performance with her back to the audience, which was a cool visual for us at home viewers. All four judges mentioned that Siobhan has two voices, and Simon said Siobhan is losing who she is. Siobhan had a great response: "Even I can't pinpoint who I am, and I've always taken pride in that." Would Siobhan be sent home on the week she got to sing a song by her Idol?
Ryan announced that there will be a second Idol Gives Back venue in Pasadena, "which will be hosted by Brian Dunkleman, just kidding, it will be hosted by Queen Latifah." Poor Dunk probably became really excited for a split second.
Back from the save, Big Mike was ready to rock. Adam said to keep an eye on Mike, because he may go far in this competition. Siobhan suggested "In The Ghetto" for him, and he impressed Adam. He sang it from the heart and sat on the edge of the steps, but he's so tall I thought he was on a stool at first. The guitar worked nicely with the song, and Ellen said she's glad they saved him. Simon took a page out of Randy's arithmetic book and said that was "a million billion times better than last week."
Katie Stevens found Elvis' "Baby What You Want Me To Do" as a fitting song choice since the judges are always telling her to pursue country or R&B or Pop or Techno-fusion. Adam told Katie, "You've got the pipes, you've got the look, now just make us believe it." In an attempt to look young, Katie took the stage wearing every accessory from the wardrobe closet. Kara was a fan of this performance, but Simon found it to be "very loud and a bit annoying." I wonder if Jane Lynch is taking notes on Simon's commentary for her role as gruff Sue Sylvester.
Casey James was the last performer of the night. Adam suggested that Casey make the song more dynamic and tell the story with an arc and a climax. A hyper Ryan introduced the performance while jumping around with people in the pit. Casey gave a performance of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" on the acoustic guitar that was very "Casey James" -- bluesy, soulful rock. The judges said that they love his voice, but the performance wasn't memorable enough. Perhaps he left out the denouement to his song-story.
Which two will go home tomorrow? Will Adam stick out his "talented tongue" when he performs? Will Ryan still be over-caffeinated? Tune in to find out!