The remaining Top 11 contestants on American Idol perform Billboard #1 hits tonight, with guest mentor … Miley Cyrus? Miley Cyrus?
They’re kidding, right? Good grief.
Well, tune in tonight to see what words of wisdom the teen star can offer to these aspiring artists.
Here we go, and already this looks interesting. Is Siobhan sporting a mohawk? Or was it just ths shadows and lighting?

Ellen’s dressed in white tonight, and she looked like Teen Angel coming out on stage, under all of those lights.

Ryan welcomes everyone, sends a shout out to Lacey and wishes her the best, and chats with the judges. Randy explains that whoever goes home this week misses the summer tour. Ellen reminds everyone to vote, and it’s clear that Kara is becoming the new Paula. Goody, flirty, and a little frightening. Simon warns Ryan to stay back – “Stay, stay, stay stay stay” – so Ryan kisses Ellen. Simon says going home this week is like getting 5 out of 6 numbers on a lottery ticket.
Ryan introduces the contestants – and yup, Siobhan is wearing a weird Sanjaya hairstyle.
We learn that Billboard is more than 100 years old, and the Hot 100 was started in the 50s, which means the song choices are unlimited.
The contestants eagerly await their surpise guest mentor; they don’t know it’s Miley Cyrus. At 17, she’s been called to mentor singers older than her, and she tells Ryan that she was nervous, and she was excited to help them learn to connect with their audience.
First up is Lee Dewyze, singing “The Letter.” Miley says he’s a great singer, just lacking in stage presence, so Miley tells him to give the audience something they’re not expecting. He’s turned this into a cool jazzy performance; makes me think of Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. The band and backup singers are on stage, it’s a cool vibe. Lee seems a little stiff still; you can see his shoulders hunched and he’s not using much of the stage. But that’s OK; it’s a Lee Dewyze performance, and that’s all it needed to be. Randy says it was cool he chose a bluesy version and he “knocked it out of the box.” Ellen compares him to your favorite pen; she comes up with the most hilarious but apt analogies. Kara says he looks comfortable never sounded better and he needs to believe he’s good. Simon says he could have chosen from 1000s of songs, because this wasn’t a recording performace. Simon calls it corny, saying he sounded good, but it wasn’t the “moment” performance.
Paige Miles is up next; she’ll be singing Phil Collin’s “Against All Odds.” Miley says she needs to watch her pitch. I hate this song, just for the record. It’s one of the most boring songs every written. And right out of the gate, Paige is all over the place. I can’t even listen. Why is the crowd clapping? Are the thrilled it’s almost over? Poor Paige; I’m embarrassed for her. It’s that bad. Randy doesn’t even have words to describe what he thinks, and then says, “That was honestly terrible.” He tries to blame her voice. Ellen starts with the positive, “You didn’t fall down” referring to her high heels – “You look stunning, you look beautiful, and I”m not going to turn over the music critique to Kara and Simon.” Kara calls it the worst vocal, maybe of the season. Simon asks her how she thinks she did, and Paige says it was all over the place and she struggled with her pitch. Simon say he agrees with Kara, that it seems like Paige stopped competing or believing in herself. Paige tells Ryan she’s in it to win it, but she’s struggling with song choice.
Tim Urban is up next. He’s singing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” This could be another … interesting … performance. Miley points out Tim’s bad reviews about his personality. She says it’s not his personality but he needed to add some riffs. She gives him a hug and says he’s great. Well, there you go. Hannah Montana gives Tim Urban two thumbs up. OK, Tim really does have a good voice, and while this is a little karaoke he’s having fun, sliding across the stage, getting the girls in the audience all worked up. It’s like watching Michael J. Fox sing at the prom in “Back To The Future.” Cute, fun, but next to Crystal? Randy asks Tim if he had a good time – yes – and Randy says this is a singing competition and the contestants need to wow the judges. He says the dopest thing Tim did was the slide. Ellen says he has a lot of fans who love him, but it felt like an audition for “High School Musical.” Kara says Ellen hit it on the head, and says little girls will love it. She says he can’t grab at the audience because he hasn’t made it yet. Yeesh, Kara. Simon says the sliding wasn’t the problem because it distracted from the song, which was good. He says it was “completely and utterly pointless and silly.” He says Tim has zero chance of winning, he’s just singing and dancing and needs to get his act together and become contemporary and relevant. Tim tells Ryan he picked the song so he was able to move around and have some fun. Being panned by the judges is the best thing that could happen to Tim; his fans will turn out en masse to make sure he stays.
Aaron Kelly is up next, with larangytis and tonsilitis. Aaron is a little starstruck with a crush on Miley; she tells him she saw him sing “The Climb”. Tonight’s he’s singing “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” and Miley’s a fan. This is a good song choice for him; it’s too bad he’s having voice issues because while he’s pulling it off, he might really soar if he was 100%. Randy says it wasn’t perfect because of his voice problems and says “Thank God” because the two before him were so bad. Ellen says it was a perfect song choice and says it was so good. Kara says the best song choice of the night and he’s consistant in his song choices. Simon says it was very brave to sing with tonsilitis and says for his age he’s a little old fashioned, but there is zero chance he’s going home. And Simon starts to tell him he should go out with Miley, but before he can get it out, the crowd starts clapping, and as the camera cuts to Miley she’s laughing and shaking her head.
Crystal Bowersox is up with “Me and Bobby McGee.” Seriously, what can Miley Cyrus teach her, other than “push yourself”, which she’s told everyone so far. Crystal looks great tonight, in a prairie dress. What can you say about Crystal? She’s flawless. Randy says she’s a star, and she slayed it and he’s so happy now. Ellen says she heard this song on the radio the other day and thought Crystal should sing it. She says Crystal is great, but she’s missing a little something between her and the audience, she wants to see just a little more connection. Kara says that it’s interesting Ellen brings it up, and she feels a little more after last week, when Crystal said last week she had a lot on her mind. Kara says maybe she should consider not playing the guitar. Crystal says she has big plans for next week, which might mean getting rid of the guitar. Simon says he wouldn’t change anything. He says her only gimmick is a carpet, which she brought out to stand on because it makes the stage homey.
Big Mike Lynche is up next, singing “When A Man Loves A Woman”. Miley is impressed that he was able to sing it to her the whole time, adding, “I’m in love with you.” He’s good; it’s kind of what you’d expect, the song is good, he’s got a great voice, but it’s nothing really spectacular. Randy says it wasn’t his best vocal or the perfect song choice, but he knows who he is. Ellen says it was a safe choice, like driving the speed limit, you got therel, but “this woman loves that man.” Kara says, “Mike you know I love you,” and says technically it was good but it was “boring and loungey” and had too many riffs. Simon kind of agrees with Kara; “It’s like you asked for one scoop of ice cream and got eleven.”
Andrew Garcia is singing “Heard It Through The Grapevine,” and believe it or not, he was a little flustered in front of her. Creepy. She convinces him to put the guitar down and work the crowd. Really? I think the guitar is better. He’s singing it really well, but his hand movements seem … angry? Clearly “working the crowd” isn’t his thing, at least not like this. Lots of bending and squatting and pointing and hand waving. I’m bored. Randy says, “It wasn’t good.” It was the wrong song choice. Ellen says she loves him but that wasn’t enough to get people on bored to vote. Kara says she feels bad for him because he’s chasing that moment he already had, and his performance was all confused. Simon says that maybe in hindsight they just overrated that “moment”. Simon says he sucked the soul out of the song tonight and ruined one of the great pop songs of all time and made himself really, really corny. Simon says he doesn’t know who he is as an artist.
Andrew says his goal was to have fun – what’s with the “have fun” mentality? This is a singing competition, not an amusement park ride. Although it has felt like we’re at an amusement park.
Up next, Katie Stevens with fellow 17 year old Miley Cyrus. Katie is singing “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. This is probably the best mentoring opportunity Katie could ever have. Katie is singing really well, but she’s still learning how to work the stage. Randy says it was a little pitchy but she actually listened to the judges, even with the outfit. She does look cute. Ellen says it sounded great and she’s evolving, calling her the Dakota Fanning of American Idol. Kara tells her pop with R&B leanings is the place she belongs. Kara tells her she still had “mad pitch issues.” Simon says her meeting Miley was probably the best thing that could have happened to her, but he’s still not sure Katie is still believable as a pop artist and perhaps might find a more loyal audience in country. But it was a good performance.
Casey James is up next, with “The Power of Love.” Wait, two Michael J Fox performances in one night! Ryan asks him about the judges’ advice last week to push himself, and he feels like he needs to move around more. Casey says to Miley, “I’m a big fan of your … dad’s …” Her only advice is to make more eye contact with the audience. He has such a good voice, but he just comes off so corny and goofy. Just like this song. Yeesh, I already lived through the 80s and it wasn’t that great the first time around. Randy says he loves him playing the guitar, and while he wasn’t a fan of the song choice but he played it well. Ellen agrees. Kara says he’s just ready to make an album. Simon says this isn’t personal, but he has no idea what Kara is talking about, calling it an identical version of the Huey Lewis song. He called it a cover band version. I agree with Simon. Kara just blinded by her lust for Casey. Ryan asks if Casey should advance, and the judges say yes. I can agree with that. There were worse tonight.
Didi Benami is singing Carole King’s “You’re No Good.” I love Carole King; I hope she pulls this off big. Miley loves the vibrato in Didi’s voice. Didi says she’s nervous and asks Miley if she ever gets nervous. Miley says everyone is a little, which makes Didi feel better. She’s annunciating some of the words weirdly- I hate how she says “baby” like it has three syllables – and she’s clearly a little nervous. It’s a big corny but I love her voice. Randy says he loved the idea but it was really pitchy. Ellen says she doesn’t get the song choices tonight. Kara says she felt like she was playing a character. Simon says, “There was a certain sort of irony, her screeching out ‘You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good’ over and over again.” Didi should have just done this song iwth her guitar or sitting at the piano. Or even picked a hit Norah Jones song and stripped it down at the piano instead of this “Glee” performace stuff.
Miley tells Siobhan Magnus that she’s excited to hear her. Siobhan is singing Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” Siobhan says she’s been different her whole life and she’s glad someone like Miley noticed it. Um, we all noticed it. Different, yes, but also fantasatic. Not loving the hair too much, but she sounds fantastic, and clearly is comfortable on stage. Oooo, a little screeching, more screeching, and OK, I’m lost. But she gets a thumbs up from the gum chomping Miley in the audience. Randy says he’s always excited to see her and he thought it was great. Ellen says, “More, please.” Oliver reference. Kara says Siobhan expresses herself every week, and she seems most comfortable on stage than anywhere else. Apparently she also loves the screeching voice. Simon says some people will like it, a lot won’t. He says the screaming at the end? She didn’t hit the notes. He says they all, with the exception of Crystal, need to push themselves.
Recap clips: Lee sounds good but looks constipated, Paige is so off key I can’t believe my dogs aren’t howling, Tim channels Michael J Fox, Aaron warbles out a love song despite tonsilitis, Crystal rocks, Big Mike oozes soul, Andrew is a puppet, Katie at least makes a good attempt, Casey annoys, Didi annunciates, Siobhan screams.
That’s two hours of my life I can’t get back.
And if that isn’t enough, tomorrow we get performances from Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Joe Jonas. Great.
But what do you think? Who’d you love? Hate? Vote for?
American Idol season 9 auditions and recaps – complete list of posts
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