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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, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Ryan Seacrest
Judges Simon Cowell
Ellen DeGeneres
Kara DioGuardi
Randy Jackson
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Tues & 9p Wed, Fox
Available In High-Definition Where AvailableStreaming Online

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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

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Round of 11: Billboard #1 Hits
March 23

Why is tonight unlike any other night? Because it's a $100,000 ticket to go on the American Idol tour that's on the line. 10 of them go and one of them doesn't. Tune in to see which Idoler is going to see a lot of money go away.
The theme this week is #1 hits from Billboard Magazine (1958). Any time between then and now. Any genre. Our mentor is...Miley Cyrus? Really? Ms. Hannah Montana (who's dad had an Achy Breaky Heart) gets to show the kids how to do better. unfortunately, she can't grow their vocal chords for them. Miley's advice is to connect to their fans. 'I don't know what I can tell them what they are doing wrong when I don't think they are doing anything wrong'. Thanks for the sound advice, Miley.

We start with, Lee DeWyze, 
who sings 'The Letter' by The Box Tops (though this version sounds more like Joe Cocker's version) 
The Good - The pitch is right on point. This is the first time that he's sang on top of the pitch for the long notes, instead of under the pitch. He hit the long notes in style, and he finished with a nice flourish. 
The Bad - Here's the problem I have with it - it's not a 'pop' song. It's a nice bluesy lounge song version, which is good, but it's not a 'pop' song, and I'm wondering how much of the voting audience would be inspired to vote with that sort of song. I'm wondering if he was better suited singing the Box Tops version and rocking it out. 
The Verdict - It's the best that I've seen him. It's the best performance of the song. That being said, I also agree with Simon that it was the wrong arrangement of it. I don't think it hurts him, but I'm still with SImon that he needs a moment and hasn't gotten it yet.

Paige Miles 
was one person away from being jettisoned from the show last week. She's trying to go against all odds to make the Top 10 with 'Against All Odds' by Phil Collins. Can Paige keep her shaky pitch in check while wearing very high heels? 
The Good - Ummm...she didn't fall down? And she looks like a Yin/Yang cookie, which are quite tasty after dinner.
The Bad - Can Paige keep her shaky pitch in check while wearing very high heels? Very quickly, the answer is no. Flat all over the place. Missed words as well. I wonder if it's Against All Odds to see if I can run to my local supermarket, grab some ear plugs, and run back before we get to commercial break. On second thought, I'm hoping I can miss the performance. 
The Verdict - Somewhere, Lacey Brown is throwing a spiked high heel of her own at her TV set wondering how she is off the show and Paige is on. And she may throw her other show at the tv set tomorrow night if America is stupid enough to keep her in the competition for another week.

Tim Urban, 
according to Miley, needs some personality. Tim is going to be doing 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' by Queen. Without even hearing the performance, I'm wondering if this is going to be bad enough to bail Paige out of her crapterpiece. 
The Good - Despite Simon and Randy complaining, it was actually good, pitch-wise. And if you've heard his previous performances then you know that this was a huge stride for him.
The Bad - Again, horrifically bad song choice. He's the second coming of Jon Peter Lewis, and if you remember, he didn't last too long during season 3. And he took his baseball slide from the Taylor Hicks school of choreography, though in his defense, no one will blame him for doing steroids for either his legs or his throat. 
The Verdict - This performance encompasses all you need to know about Tim: The girlies like him, and they are why he's still in the competition. They will be voting for him in force this week, because 1. they loved that performance and 2. he was in danger last week. Despite Randy's whining, he will be safe this week because the little kiddies will love it. That also puts the guys who get the little girlies voting (Aaron, Andrew, etc.) on notice. 

Speaking of being on notice, Aaron Kelly 
has laryngitis. Keep in mind that he sang 'The Climb' during his audition. Now he'll be singing Aerosmith's 'Don't Want to Miss a Thing' during this week's audition. 
The Good - This is the first time that he chooses a good song. It's relevant and it fits his vocal range. It fits within the kiddie boppers who will vote forever, since they don't want to miss him.
The Bad - I want to miss this performance. He and Paige are competing for the worst vocal of the night award. He constantly undersings the notes and he also rushes through the song. Let's blame the cold. Sure. It's the cold's fault. 
The Verdict - Unfortunately, the cold may or may not be a factor. This performance wasn't good, and America may forget to vote for him because they think he's safe. I disagree with Simon - this could be a problem tonight. 

Crystal Bowersox 
gets an autograph from Miley Cyrus. She could have a signature performace with 'Me abd Bobby McGee' by Janis Jooplin. Will she make Janis and writer Kris Kristofferson proud?
The Good - Vocally, it was a lot better than last week. You can feel the passion that was missing 7 days prior. And the carpet she was performing on is nice and plushy.
The Bad - But she isn't making this her own at all. This is a carbon copy of Janis Joplin's version. She may get a pass because the younger generation hasn't heard the song, but didn't make the song her own. 
The Verdict - It's a good performance of the song (made better by the fact that everyone else has been midling, bordering on terrible), but Ellen is dead-on accurate. She needs to find a connect point and I'd like to see her move on stage without that guitar. I'll disagree with Simon here a little. She needs to let go once and switch up on a song. If she stays static, she'll get far, but she won't win.

Michael Lynche, 
wants Miley to be nice. He sings 'When a Man Loves a Woman' to Miley. Now he has to sing it to the rest of America. 
The Good - It's a great song choice for him. He nails the vocal out of the park (well, 98% of the time) and he does carry the money note off with style.
The Bad - It was safe. He's the only person in R&B, so he's not going anywhere for awhile. So while he has the time, why not be more daring and cross over? It felt like I was in a lounge waiting for my table in a 30 minute wait and was slumped in a waiting chair, falling asleep to the dulcet tones of Michael Lynche. 
The Verdict - I don't think he's going anywhere. That said, he went backwards. He could have been relevant and taken a chance, but he didn't. I would have loved to have seen that song being brought into today's R&B style. He's safe, but he's doing nothing to build up his fanbase, and that could be an issue later. 

Andrew Garcia 
needs to do something with his Twitter fans. He wants to be a Miley fan, but he fumbled the words with 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine'. Miley wants Andrew to lose the guitar. Will he? And will he sound good doing it? 
The Good - The performance aspect was there. He has no problem with being on that stage and giving out 100%. Well he did have fun. And I'm, glad he had fun. 
The Bad - Because I had zero fun. He's doing absolutely nothing with this song. This is a song built for riffs and improvs (which would be an open invite to do all sorts of arrangement improv), and instead it's singing by the numbers. And the trenchcoat makes him look like an oversized beige grape that's waiting to be squeezed. And don't threaten to kiss Randy. Ew. 
The Verdict - I keep saying that we're going to find out how loyal those Twitter fans are. I think he's got greater issues because a lot of people will be calling to bail out Tim and Paige, and Andrew didn't give people a reason on why they should bail him out instead. 

Katie Stevens 
is hoping that 'Big Girls Don't Cry'. That's a song by Fergie, and we hope that she shows confidence. Will that be enough to get her on the tour?
The Good - I love the choice of song. Her choice is amazingly good, as well as her presence. And the tone sounds like something coming out of a seasoned veteran, not a teenager. 
The Bad - Unfortunately, her coming out of her shell comes at the expense of her pitch. She's incredibly sharp and foregoes the money note. 
The Verdict - From a pitch standpoint, yuck. From a performance standpoint, it's very good. She's THIS close to getting a moment on the stage. She just has to get it all together, and I think she'll get a chance next week to do so. Simon is 100% correct right on the genre though - there's a lot of pop singers and only Casey James in the country field. If Katie crosses over to either country or R&B, she'll have a much longer competition shelf life. 

Speaking of him, Simon challenged Casey James 
to push himself. Casey is going to go uptempo with Huey Lewis and the News' 'Power of Love'. What sort of power will he get from the voters? 
The Good - It's a great song choice for him. He rocks out and goes into a different genre for him, which should gain him some fans.
The Bad - He sounds copycat good. It's Karaoke-safe. I want MORE out of him. Take some musical risks on a song and hit some range on it. 
The Verdict - It's a solid vocal. He finally picked the right song, and what works is that he transcended into a different genre. That's the good news. The bad news is that Simon is right and he needs to come out of the box to grab an audience. He'll get some more audience from that performance though, and that's what matters.

Didi Benami's 
will sing 'You're No Good' by Linda Ronstadt. Hopefully, it won't be used to describe Didi. 
The Good - She looks slinky and sultry in that black dress. Her flowing blond hair is nice and shiny. The conception was good.
The Bad - The execution was bad. Her flat pitch is no good. And neither is the arrangement, which once again I could hear in any smoky NYC lounge with her playing a character in a high school musical stage play. What's up with lounge night this evening? And arguing with the judges is not helping her cause.
The Verdict - If Didi sticks around, it's only because Paige, Tim and Andrew were infinitely worse than she was.

The last singer of the evening is Sioban Magnus 
, who will give us some 'Superstition' from Stevie Wonder. 
The Good - What I like the best is that she's creating her own new 2010 riff to a song that's not so current. And once again, that money note scores. 
The Bad - Siobhan needs to be very careful about consistently screaming out her high note. She's been great on songs like 'Wicked Game' and 'House of the Rising Sun' when she didn't do it, and consistent use of it could turn her from a singer to a caricature. And we know what Sanjaya Malakar has been doing since he lost on season 6. He's been styling other people's hair. The Siobhan-hawk? It's no good, it's no good, it's no good, baby, it's no good. 
The Verdict - Second best performance of the night, but she needs to switch it up with her vocals, or she could be the 'shocking upset'. We know she is multi-talented, so let's see some of said talent. 

Overall Verdict: Tonight did absolutely nothing for me. We didn't have any great performances, and only a handful of good (Crystal, Siobhan, Casey, Michael). You could justify any of the other 7 being in the bottom three, but I can only put three in there. As for those three...

Trouble: Paige Miles, Tim Urban, Andrew Garcia

Usually, the people in the bottom two get saved by the voting fans and get themselves out of the bottom, but this season, there's no justification for them to escape. Add the fact that Lacey's vote will go to Didi and Aaron Kelly has the Archueta vote, and Andrew will bounce down here. He'll escape to safety, and it will be down to the people who gave the 2 worst performances of the night. I think Paige gets to go home (though again, I could be severely wrong here, and you could make a case for Tim, Andrew, Didi, Lee, Aaron or Katie here instead. Yes, it was that unmemorable.)


We'll see in 24 hours who just lost a lot of money.


To see this episode in its entirety, go to www.americanidol.com.