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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Quisla Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN

Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson
Announcer: Mark Thompson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 TV, FremantleMedia North America
Origin: CBS Television City, Los Angeles, CA
Airs: Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 8pm ET and  at 9p ET on Fox

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Round of 9: iTunes Most Downloaded
March 31

In an hour and 25 minutes, Sharon Osbourne brings the rest of her family back to television, but first, some REAL entertainment, courtesy of the final nine.

Randy thought that the top 9 brought it last week, and we'll see who brings it this week. Kara defines artistry as taking a song and making it unique. Simon's looking forward to an amazing show. And Paula... has no props under the desk.

And the soundtrack to your Tuesday night this week... we're doing the iPod shuffle, as the singers will perform songs that are popular downloads on iTunes. So all we can say is to expect the unexpected.

So how do the Idolers prepare themselves to learn about digital airplay? By visiting Ryan at his OTHER day job, deejaying the American Top 40 radiocast, the hits from coast to coast. Yay cross promotion.

Trivia time:
- Casey Kasem created "American Top 40" in 1970.
- Idol finalists have had 29 top 40 hits over the past seven years, many of which went to number one.
- Ryan has a soundboard dedicated to this show. No, seriously.

First up is Anoop Desai, who's getting back into a groove with Usher's "Caught Up". He's hoping to rely on stage presence and energy, and this song screams both. We'll see if Anoop screams both, or if we're just screaming bloody murder.

What they say: Randy says he picked up the swagger, but he didn't think it was the right choice for him, but vocally, it was cool. Kara says that it was an Usher imitation, saying that it sounded like a bunch of frat guys told you to get up and sing Usher (C-Note: talking with a fellow UNC Men's Glee Club alumnus Eddie Howard... How did she know?). Paula likes that he went back to the playful side, but he needs to work on stage presence. Simon thought it was a complete and utter mess, coming over as a wannabe, and headache-inducing.

What we say: If you close your eyes and don't look, it's actually decent. But invariably you look. It's kinda like a car accident on the highway or a trainwreck. You can't help but look away. And like Euripides... then you ruin it. Call it morbid curiosity, American Idol style. Oh yeah, and it's also pitch. Oh, and the chain on his shoulder? What the France is that about?

And ONE MORE THING: There's a difference between trying to be an R&B artist... and BEING an R&B artist.

So we didn't have a good start. Can we start it again with Megan Joy (Corkrey), who'll be singing "Turn Your Lights Down Low" by Bob Marley. She thinks the judges will feel her this time. We'll see about that.

What they say: Kara thinks she's in trouble (C-Note: hey, that's OUR line!). "It's just NOT the song choice. That part of your register is even getting irritating!" Paula wants to see something stripped down with a sensitive ballad. Simon says "boring", "indulgent", and "monotonous". Randy agrees, saying it took forever to finish.

What we say: *makes crazy gyrations of disapproval* I think she's having some kind of seizure on stage. Definitely better-sounding than usual, but she looks like she forgot her medication. And the song choice was boring. It's like she was overcompensating because she knew she was boring!

Okay, we haven't had a good performance in 30 minutes. Danny Gokey, save us. He's doing "What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts, which actually covered S Club's Jo O'Meara. Take that, country boys. He thinks he did it well. This is before he actually sings, and given what we had to deal with, we're just incredibly jaded.

What they say: The audience says it all as Paula says that this is where he thrives, Simon says that it's was better than the first two, Randy says that the show is finally on, and Kara says... something about audience connection.

What we say: Here's the thing about this song. It's not so much a country song as it is a tender ballad sung by a country band. Now he did flub a lyric ("when your gone" was noticeably missing), but it didn't matter as he covers it very nicely. Had we not known about it, we wouldn't have cared. Even now we don't care. It's outstanding.

From the big voice of Danny to the little body of Allison Iraheta. It's a hard act to follow, but "Don't Speak" by No Doubt ought to help her cause. Maybe.

What they say: Randy is fixated on the outfit... Kara says she doesn't need to dress the part, because she is a good singer. Paula liked the axe, thinking that she's serious about this performance. Simon... is also fixated on the outfit.

What we say: It's good to see Allison on stage with the guitar. The arrangement.. a little haphazard, but she makes it work. It's a rock chick singing a rock performance... Too bad it sounded a little rushed and soundalike AND lookalike. The thing about Kelly Osbourne's look is that it works.... for Kelly Osbourne. And if I haven't said it before... Yay cross promotion.

And ONE MORE THING: ... What the (^_^) is up with her hair?!

Scott McIntyre is going into his wheelhouse to do justice to another famous piano man with "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel. We're still looking for emotion. Will we find it this week?

What they say: Kara says that the performance came from an honest place. Paula is proud of him and his taking a big risk. Simon says his best performance by a country mile. Randy says it's one of the best of the night.

What we say: Scott's fans have two reasons to vote for him... 1) the simplicity and beauty of this stripped performance and 2) the fact that he was in the bottom three last week. The rest of us have multiple reasons NOT to vote for him. 1) The fact that he was offbeat. 2) He's not telling the story 100% of the time. 3) It's just... OKAY. It didn't suck. Given tonight's other performances, that's saying something. No doubt he will be saved tonight, but not by this performance.

Matt Giraud drew the number 6 this evening, and he relives last week, when he was both one of the judges' favorites, and in the bottom three. He'll choose a song that is made for him.... "You Found Me" by the Fray, one of Matt's favorite bands. He says it's a powerful song, and that he needs something powerful this week.

What they say: Paula basically called it an abortion.... of the things that they loved about him. Simon just called it an abortion... and not very commercial. Randy calls it an abortion... of a song choice. "Apologize" by Onerepublic would've been better. Kara says to commit to a side of pop, either rock or R&B.

What we say: Good stage presence, but I cite unwritten Idol Law #4... Just because you like a particular song or singer doesn't mean you should sing them. This song pales in comparison to the original. The good news is that he found his comfort zone. And as for saving graces... see what we said about Scott. He'll be saved because his fans will bail him out.

Lil Rounds has been singing well - but not well enough for the judges liking. Will Celine Dion's "I Surrender" do the trick?

What they say: Randy liked it but thought it should be younger. Paula liked it but wanted joy. Kara liked it but wanted her to let it out. Simon liked it but agreed with the judges.

What we say: It was good. That's the problem. Lil is singing well enough to not be in danger - but not well enough to win the whole thing. These past set of performances are the reason why Lil right now is looking at finishing in 3rd or 4th instead of 1st or 2nd.

What is Adam Lambert going to do this week? He'll be playing some funky music, white boy (by Wild Cherry). This is definitely in his wheelhouse.

What they say: Paula calls it true genius. Simon was glad that it eliminated some Karaoke-like efforts. Randy puts him in the star zone. Kara can't wait to see what he does next.

What we say: Usually at this point, you see the singers that have a career, regardless of what they do in the competition. You can file Adam in that category. I'm still not sure he wins the competition, but he doesn't have to worry about what he's going to do after this - he'll be getting plenty of job offers.

Finally, Kris Allen ends it with "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers. He's got the end spot, so this is going to be good...right?

What they say: Randy calls him in the zone. Paula thinks it should be the first cut of his album. Simon thought it was his best performance to date. Kara called it artistry (and got the number of words right).

What we say: I still don't think Kris can afford to have a bad performance, and he still needs to knock one out of the park. But if he can get Matt Giraud out of the competition and make a song his own - and I mean really his own (in an Adam Lambert sort of way), then Kris is a dark horse to get to the final 4.

So how do we like the electronica? Frankly, disappointing. You had good performances, but with people given free reign as to what to perform, I expected a lot better. When you give people enough rope, they can either build a rodeo or hang themselves. This week, we got to see a bit of both.

Buying the CD: Danny, Adam, Kris
Downloading on iTunes: Allison, Scott, Lil
Not Even Worth It on Limewire: Anoop, Megan, Matt

Come back next time to see who'll RETURN for the next round, and who'll be DELETED.


To see footage from this episode, visit the official website at