The evening started with a shot from the control room. Does that mean we get more behind the scenes footage tonight? This is the Top 9 of Season 9, and THIS is American Idol!
This week, the Idols took on hits from the Lennon/McCartney Songbook. Season 7 tackled this theme and some great moments came out of that show. Although there's no mentor this week, Paul McCartney taped a message wishing the Idols good luck. That's pretty cool.
Since there was no mentor-mentee footage to show this week, we got to hear things we didn't know about each Top 9 contestant from the other finalists. This was a great addition and, not only did we learn a lot about each person, we got to see everyone's personalities a little better as they described, imitated, or joked about their fellow compadres.
Up first is Yoda. And who is Yoda? Aaron Kelly, not surprisingly. He's little and he's wise beyond his years. We got some great Yoda impressions from the finalists and we saw Aaron hover over big Mike's head in lotus position, and watching him try and not laugh was as endearing as watching him try and not laugh when Mike bicep curled him during the semifinals. Aaron sang "The Long and Winding Road," and I'm curious if he was familiar with that song before this week. Ellen DeGeneres thought the performance became "The Long and Winding Song." The judges were disappointed that he didn't change up the song more, but you could hear a little bit of his country twang on it. Aaron said the song sums up his journey on Idol and he didn't want to change up a good song.
Katie Stevens is really showing her personality this week, between her "Single Ladies" dance and her takes on the other contestants. She is showing that she IS young and fun, and gone is the "pageant" Katie. Katie has received five prom offers, and will go with whomever votes for her the most. She should go with David Archuleta. That would be Idolrable. Katie took the stage to sing "Let It Be," which was risky because Brooke White had her moment with this song on Season 7. She sounded great and pulled back her performance to let her vocals shine. Randy Jackson thought this was Katie's best performance ever, and Kara said, "You've never looked better." Funny enough, Kara and Katie look alike. And of course, Simon took credit for Katie's good performance and called it "country," although the other judges (and I) disagree.
Everyone likes to hangout with Andrew Garcia because he's goofy and energetic. The eight Idols said that Andrew probably has the most personality in the house, even though Simon commented on Andrew's lack of personality last week. Michael and Andrew are Partners-in-Crime and Lee and Andrew are BFFs. Cue the nicknames; how about Leendrew? Andrew sang "Can't Buy Me Love," and said that he didn't want to change it up too much. He performed where Mike sang last week, behind the judges. When it came time for the judges to comment, they were all over the board. Ellen loved it, Kara wanted to love it, and Randy and Simon thought it had corny moments. Andrew was just being himself when he performed, so he said, "If that was corny, then damn I'm corny." Put that on a shirt!
When Big Mike Lynche got on the airplane to attend Hollywood week, he was on the same flight as Katie Stevens, who told her mom, "The Incredible Hulk just got on our plane." Casey said Mike snores loud, which means that the two must be roommates, or Michael has Narcolepsy. The big guy also enters the room with a high-pitched "Hiiiiyyyy!" that the finalists mimic. Michael Lynche sang "Eleanor Rigby" with an orchestra. This was a bold song choice since David Cook rocked this one out during his season, but Mike gave it his own signature stamp. For the most part, the judges loved the song and Mike's vocals and thought that was a song he could put on his album, but Simon thought it was like something from a musical. Randy replied about that being a compliment since Glee is one of the most popular shows on TV. Michael believed that Simon just wants to challenge him to a pec contest. Scary.
When we returned from commercial, we saw backstage footage of Michael's "Hiiiyy" and then he hoisted Aaron into the air. Those two better perform a weight training/aerobics segment on tour.
Crystal Bowersox has come down with that nasty cold that is infecting everyone at the Idol camp. With no sleep and close quarters, it's unavoidable. Elliston, Ohio finally got a sign with their town's name...and "Home of Crystal Bowersox." Awesome. The Idols talk about Crystal being Mama Sox, and not just because she has a baby, but she's very motherly towards her finalists. She said, "Staying true to myself is the only strategy I've had throughout the competition." That's the strategy all the former Idol alumni suggest too. Crystal took on "Come Together," which Carly Smithson sang in Season 7 and Kris Allen sang during Season 8, but Crystal made it her own just as the Idols that sang it in the past have. Part of Crystal making it her own was being accompanied by a didgeridoo, and she looked like she was having fun and she was playing to the cameras. The judges liked her performance and that she had fun with it.
The judges and Crystal invited Ernie, the didgeridoo player, over to center stage. He learned how to play it just three days ago. When we saw Crystal's backstage footage, she and Ernie were hanging out and talking to the cameras like they were best friends. Maybe Ernie can join the Idols on the summer tour!
The Idols stated the obvious about Tim Urban -- the dude is always smiling. Siobhan said, "If teeth could actually sparkle, his would." Andrew describes the way that Tim tosses his hair and how in that moment all he can think is, "I love you, Tim." Who said Andrew lacks personality?! Tim decided to pick a song this week that he could -- you guessed it -- smile to. He took the stage with just his guitar to perform "All My Loving." Tim knows how to pick the right songs for his voice, and he sounded good this week. Randy commented on his Beatles hair 'do, Kara said that Tim's best performances are the ones where it's just him and the guitar because it feels more honest, and Simon commended Tim on always taking the judges' tough critiques like a man. Even better, Simon thought he sounded current and did a very good job this week.
I'm sure no one would've guessed that Casey is the "dreamy one." The good-humored Idols share the "soap opera" names they created for him. They also imitated his loud laugh. Andrew had a great line about how when the light hits Casey from behind his hair glows and he looks like an angel. The angelic one took the stage to sing a John Lennon song, "Jealous Guy." Casey's golden locks met some mousse or a curling iron this week, and he's wearing a blazer. He means business this week! Casey seemed to really connect with the song this week on an emotional level, and it was nice to see that vulnerability. Ellen thought this was his best performance to date because of the way he poured himself into his performance. Simon said, "Goldilocks, I think it was the best performance of the night so far," and then commented on his "ginormous" growth. When Ryan asked Casey what he was thinking about, Casey said, "Being a jealous guy." If it's any consolation, I'm jealous of Casey's tousled golden locks.
Siobhan Magnus' adoring finalists called her "amazing" and "amazingly weird." They talk about how she has her own sense of being, and her crazy big voice. Crystal said, "she hits some notes I've never heard another little white girl sing." This week, Siobhan took on "Across The Universe," and she looks older than 20 in her outfit and with her hairstyle. She showed a more reserved side of her voice with this performance and hit a range of notes. The judges commented that her unpredictability makes her a true artist, and they thought she had a much better performance this week than last week. When Simon questioned Siobhan about what she was thinking during her performance, Siobhan gave a great speech about "nothing's gonna change my world." A Siobhan fan in the back of the studio was rooting for her and booing any criticism from the judges, so he was invited to the stage to give Siobhan a hug. This seemed odd, but there were 15 minutes to go and only one performer left so Ryan found a way to fill the time...with hugs from strangers.
Lee DeWyze is the resident worrier. He always thinks he's going home, even after Simon makes comments about him being the best of the night. The other finalists use this to their advantage and bet him money that he's staying. Then the Lee and Andrew bromance was brought up once again, and Crystal said she was happy for them and they "can have lots of little Danny Gokey babies." Best. Line. Ever. They've been roommates since day one, and I don't know how these two will survive without each other after the tour. Lee sang "Hey Jude" and started with just his voice and the acoustic guitar. There was a staircase behind him but he didn't come out on it, which seemed odd, and I noticed him look back at it once or twice. Everything made more sense, or less sense (I can't decide!), after a bagpiper came down the stairs. It was very unexpected, and the guy almost looked like a monster sneaking up behind Lee. The now-24-year-old had fun with it, and the audience clapped along with the "Nah Nahs." The judges liked the performance and Lee's growing confidence.
Ellen and Simon made hilarious comments about the bagpiper looking as if he showed up on the wrong show, and at the end of the night, when everyone was brought out on stage, the bagpiper stood in the middle with his arm around Lee and vice versa. Ryan said, "Pick the one you love," and Crystal pointed to the highlander.
Personally, I laughed a lot this episode. I really enjoyed the clips packages, unusual musical instruments, and seeing all the behind the scenes footage. What about you?