American Idol Top 9 Redux: A Queen Trumps the King

Elvis has been dead for 32 years, but tonight, with the help of Adam Lambert, Our Dear Show is going to dig up his grave and remind us that its not the songs that make the star, it’s the singer singing them. The perk: after this week’s performances, two contestants will be sent packing. I, for one, would like more perks of this nature. This is American Idol. “There’s four letters in my name, Rod. How can there be enough room on your joint for four letters?”

Remember Elvis? He was alive once, and very famous. He had many hit records, which were generally terrific, and he made a bunch of movies, which were generally terrible. This one time, he got mad at the TV, so he shot it. This other time, he died on the toilet.

Remember Adam Lambert? He was on this show last season, and he won it using his talents of screaming, being lit theatrically, and knowing how to apply eyeliner. Once, he went on national TV and dry-humped a dancer and kissed a man, as half of America almost died from the shock.

Tonight, Elvis is the theme. Adam is the mentor. And if there’s any doubt, let me assure you that while the recipe sounds delicious, the result has the distinct taste of meh.

Crystal Bowersox is singing “Stay.” (Whoops! It’s actually called “Saved.” Thanks, Erika!) This is an Elvis song? I grew up in an Elvis-happy household, yet this one has managed to escape me. (And even with the corrected title, I don’t know it.) Curious. Adam advises Crystal to play the electric guitar, ’cause acoustic is so yesterday. Crystal obeys, for all the difference it makes. The arrangement is quick-time blues-y, but Crystal is drowning in a sea of backup singers and an annoying horn section. If her guitar is plugged in, I don’t hear it. Still Crystal brings her voice and natural talent, so even though she’s first, with a semi-forgettable performance, she ain’t goin’ noplace. Randy calls it “the second coming of Bonnie Raitt” as Kara babbles in agreement, looking like she just rolled out of bed.

Andrew Garcia, better known as This Season’s Biggest Mistake, will sing the tired classic “Hound Dog.” In rehearsals, Adam ‘straight up’ tells Andrew that his performance is boring; that it needs punch. Andrew: “He encouraged me to change it up. He knows that’s what I do to songs and that’s what he does with songs.” I’m no fan of Lambert’s, but I have to say, with all due sincerity…bitch, please. What Andrew does to songs is drain them like a Vorvon. His live performance is a creeping act of desperation, as he drags his mic all over the place like a corpse — and at one point, I think, attempts to make love to it. The judges are like, “By what accident of the universe do you still exist?” Simon calls it lazy, which in itself is a kindness.

Tim Urban will perform “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and totally sways Adam at rehearsals with his power of dreaminess. Adam suggests Tim sing the end of the song in a falsetto, but I think that’s just so he can find an excuse to keep the conversation going. The performance is calm…maybe a little too soft-spoken (or soft sang-en), but in a season overwrought with on-stage musicians and aggressively irritating covers, this one pretty much works. Hell, on the Tim-scale, this is pretty good. He doesn’t end in falsetto (although he goes there briefly), as Adam suggested, which is a smart move, because that would’ve been poop. The judges are pleased by the outcome of this. And Ryan liked it so much that he was dancing in the aisle with ex-Idol Michael Sarver. No, I don’t understand, either.

Dweezil is singing the theme tune from the TV show Las Vegas. Adam thinks he’s good, except for how he’s dead in the face. “Could you be a lamb and fix that?” Dweezil will try. His performance is acoustic (till the band cuts in) and growly and rough. It’s very Dweezil, by which I mean very Eddie Vedder, which is totally okay if that’s your thing, but it wasn’t mine, even in 1990. Still, Dweezil is a sweety. The judges throw him love, saying that he seemed confident and sounded fab.

Little Aaron Kelly will perform “Blue Suede Shoes.” Adam spends their rehearsal time trying to talk the boy’s testicles into dropping. Maybe if Aaron sings gruff enough, puberty will strike. But whatever, he could still kick Justin Bieber’s ass. This song…it’s of the same value as “Splish Splash,” without the benefit of having a story arc. “Do anything that you wanna do, but lay off of my shoes…” Really? I can burn down your house — that’s an actual lyric — but so long as I don’t touch your shoes, we’re good? Ah, the ’50s…wasn’t that time? Aaron is in over his head with this one. He’s everybody’s little cousin singing on his My First Karaoke playset. You know what that means: it’s time for our weekly awww. Ready? Awww. Kara says the performance made Aaron seem current and young. Simon says the performance made Aaron seem old-fashioned. Somebody is right (and it’s the somebody from British).

Siobhan Magnus will sing Elvis’s best song, “Suspicious Minds.” Adam wants her to sing it faster than originally planned, and also for her to stop Single White Female-ing him. She shows up for performances dressed like the Back to the Future Part II version of herself — after marrying Biff Tannen, but before getting the implants. The performance lacks sparkle, emotion, and Sparkle Motion, which would have helped immensely. And of course, she screams at the end, making me wonder…yeah…yeah, I think I’m over Siobhan. The judges are disappointed, and Simon totally co-signs my time travel observation. ‘Cause our young girl looks like old Dana Delaney right now.

Uh-oh. Next week is “Idol Gives Back.” And what’s this?! Brian Dunkleman is hosting a portion of the show?! Oh. Seacrest is being funny. Twat. There but for the grace of a flat-iron go you, Ryan.

Big Mike is singing “In the Ghetto.” The Cartman version? Oh, please make that be true. If I can’t have Dunkleman, give me this. No. Stymied yet again. Adam wants Mike to connect to people’s hearts…maybe eat fewer Drake’s Cakes. The performance is vocally strong. Emotional, I guess. But so much of Mike’s schtick is this insincere-sincerity in both his song choices and performances that I can’t be objective anymore. It’s a low-key undertaking, though, and that’s nice. Just him and his guitar. The judges, in essence, are glad they saved him.

Katie Stevens continues to vex me. Why is she still here? How can nobody hear how awful she is? Who is voting for her? She sings “Baby What Do You Want Me to Do.” I want her to go home. The judges lavish her with praise. I don’t understand. Lost makes more sense than this, although Simon, my hero this season, calls Katie “a bit annoying.”

Casey James has chosen to sing the blues-y “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” Adam wants Casey to build an ark into the song. So the animals can come two-by-twosies? Oh, right. An arc. There goes my hope for divine intervention in making this shit interesting. Personally, I think Casey does right by this song. I mean, he doesn’t rock its pants off, but it’s well-performed and three million times better than the ever-gurgling fish that was Katie Stevens. But the judges are like, “Boring. Expected. Disappointing. No.”

So who goes home? I’m gonna say Andrew is out of gas, and Siobhan might have done herself in. But it’ll probably be Tim and Aaron.

Regardless, it doesn’t matter. Two are going home! Two!



    1. I’m gonna say andrew and katie are going tonight….or maybe andrew and aaron….hard to say. most of them are so deserving of the honor to go home.

      also, I’d never heard of it either, but I think the bowersox song was called “saved”.

      enjoyed your review as always.

      • Frank Pittarese says:

        Good call, Erika! And thanks for the heads-up on the song title. It’s been fixed, with a shout-out to yourself!

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