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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 9: The Lennon-McCartney Songbook
April 6

Make that 3 straight bottom 2's that Haterade has called. Can he make it 4 in a row? We'll check this week out for who will be the Sergeant of the Lonely Hearts Club Band and who should have Let It be as we once again revisit the Lennon-McCarthy Songbook.

The Top 9 are ready to perform for your votes. Well, it's actually the Top 8 and whatever Tim Urban decides to unleash on us this evening. We'll eventually get to that. Right now, it's a return to the Lennon-McCarthy songbook.This is what David Cook used to win Idol and what David Hernandez used to sing himself back to obscurity.

Randy wants the singers to bring it. Ellen wants 'Blackbird', 'Michelle', 'Daytripper', and other songs she won't hear tonight. Kara talks about relevancy. Simon talks about song being changed and not exactly like the original (again, like what David Cook did, and not what Jason Castro did when he murdered Michelle (well, figuratively, not literally). I want Jason Block and Chico Alexander to provide color commentary this week, and they do.

Aaron Kelly, Aaron Kelly(who is called Yoda by the group) begins the episode as he sings 'The Long and Winding Road'. This is one of my personal favorites from the songbook. Will it still be when he's done singing it? 
The Good - He bails himself out with the money note at the end. He looks preppy, which is a nice way to perform the song. If he was going to be on a long and winding road, he should at least be comfortable walking it.
The Bad - Very pitchy on the high register. The tremolo does indeed take Aaron to the dark side. Ellen calls it a 'Long and Winding Song' and she's right. He was so pitchy that I thought he'd be starting for the Anaheim Angels tomorrow. 
The Jason - Not a good way to start. His voice was way off pitch and this version put me to sleep. Judges were on point here. 
The Chico - Really bad song choice. The bridge was flat, it was a play by numbers performance, and don't think I didn't notice that lyric flub. Aaron had absolutely no control over that performance. And Ellen is right, Aaron made that sound "long and winding." 
The Verdict - Randy is 100% right. If Aaron made this country, it would have been a winning performance. But the pitchiness, combined with him in the first spot tonight, makes me wonder if he's going to have a very long wait tomorrow in the bottom 3. 

Let's talk about Katie Stevens, who's wound up in the bottom 3 for 2 straight weeks. She does the 'single ladies dance' which makes her look even more of a robot. Her choice of song is 'Let it Be'. Will she let it be a great performance or should she have let that song be? Hey, the stuff writes itself tonight, folks.
The Good - Technically, this is the best that I've heard her. She can belt out the notes and she does have some nice long sustainable pitches in there. 
The Bad - Chico and I discuss whether or not Katie is actually a robot. This performance doesn't help my cause. I mean it sounded good technically, but there was almost zero musicality to it. I'm looking for volume range and emotional connection and there was none of that in this performance. 
The Jason - Simple, plain arrangement. The only problem was it was a half-octave too HIGH. Otherwise, a much better arrangement than Aaron, which means big trouble for him.
The Chico - She hit a homer this week. She knows her limits and keeps it simple, and at the same time, she isn't afraid to take some risk. Welcome back, Katie.
The Verdict - If she does escape the bottom, it could be the performance, but it could also be that the Didi Benami voters will be going to her. Either way, I don't think she's leaving.

Andrew 'Dreezy' Garcia is proclaimed by the contestants as 'the person with the most personality. Now we need to see it in his performances. Will 'Can't buy Me Love' do it for him? 
The Good - It's a very good song choice. It's the second straight 'solid' performance; not spectacular, but solid. The breakdown section was nice. It's a little take back to the 19760's with the Wall of Sound and Phil Spector...
The Bad - ...which is very problematic when you're trying to be current and relevant. It sounded like something you would hear if he auditioned for Micahel J. Fox's role in Back to the Future 4, with Marty McFly's guitar from 20 years ago. For those of you who get the reference, you know what I'm talking about. 
The Jason - I loved the swing, Brian Setzer like arrangement to this. This was very very good. Two weeks in a row, his risks paid off. But was it enough for him to stay? Not sure. 
The Chico -Nice little twist on the arrangement. This is one of those songs that you can twist around (ask Teddy Riley and Michael Buble) and it'll still sound great... except when Andrew is over-emoting it. It sounds a little... "tinny". And it's a shame, because I wanted to like it.
The Verdict - It's another competent performance. It was 'Good', but it wasn't something I'd get out of my seat to vote for. How long can Andrew stay out of the bottom 3 and sing songs that aren't going to get him new fans? 

So far after 3 singers, I'm not feeling 'Let It Be' as much as I'm feeling 'Lethargy'. Sing along. La la la la lazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.......

Maybe Michael Lynche will wake me up from the doldrums. He's going to use his family tradition and sing 'Eleanor Rigby'. This is what David Cook sang. Can Michael, who had been called 'The Incredible Hulk', give us an incredible performance?
The Good - From an emotional standpoint, it's a hit. He uses volume control to get his point across. He does take a chance and he certainly makes the song his own... 
The Bad - ...because I don't ever think we'll hear like this (nor do we want to) again. The opening is putrid, cheesy and pointless. I don't know where he's going with this version of the song, but it didn't decide if it wanted to be pop, R&B, rock, or a musical mutt. And I don't want to see either Michael or Simon's pecs, so don't challenge Simon to a manly contest.The last person who did that was Joshua Gracin, and he left that week.
The Jason - And the goodness continues. Not as momentous as the David Cook version two years ago, but this is still a very competent version of this song. He is not going home. His voice reminds me of Seal. 
The Chico - The good news is that Big Mike has actual history with this song, thanks to his stint with the Lynche Mob. The beginning is hauntingly beautiful. The rest is classic Lynche, just the right amount of soul combined with the right amount of grit to back it up.
The Verdict - I hated this. He will have no problems tonight, and he gets points for creativity, but yuck. He's got enough on his portfolio to be safe, but once again, the attempt to court new fans to his side isn't going to work out too well. 

It's now Crystal Bowersox's turn to sing - and it's her turn to get sick. Ugh. It's also her turn to sing 'Come Together'. Can she put her spin on a song that Carly Smithson did an excellent job with?
The Good - Now this is how you get a song going. Start low and soft, then proceed to get higher and louder. That's a course in vocal marksmanship, and that's how you come up with a performance that will get people talking about how well you performed the next day.
The Bad - The didgeridoo sounded much more like a didgeridon't.And her aerobice-styled outfit made it seem like something she wore right out of the sick bed as she was throwing up her colors onto her outfit. 
The Jason - Four in a row. She took this arrangement and made it sound like Melissa Etheridge in tone and feeling. I liked this one too. This is right in her wheelhouse. 
The Chico - She called it a "fun groove"... Yes it is. I probably would've lost the didgeridoo, though.
The Verdict - This is the first performance that I liked tonight. It was a really nice country-rock edge to the song. Sick or no sick, she's going to have no problems this week. 

It's time for Tim Urban, who's always smiling. I'm glad he is, because he makes me cringe. He wants to put a smile on people's faces, so he's going to go with 'All My Lovin''.
The Good - He actually makes this relevant, in a way. He has no problem keeping the pitch, and he does make this contemporary with the electric guitar. And he does look like a little Beatles whammy, bowl cut and all.
The Bad - I'm not saying that this is good, by any stretch. There's no emotional connect over it and it sounds like what a wedding singer would perform at a wedding with a Beatles theme.
The Jason - Holy crap, I like what Tim Urban did. This was fun. It wasn't as good as the previous four. But I liked it. Will it be enough to get him through to next week? I think so. 
The Chico - It didn't really come together for me. I mean, it's good for Tim to step out of his comfort zone and pick up a cherry axe to play with... but his voice isn't nearly as polished for this song, and the band drowns him out. And 24 hours from now, that's not going to be a performance I'll remember.
The Verdict - Why is Simon being all nicey nicey? Because he's hoping that the audience won't vote as much because they won't think he's in danger, and then concurrently not vote enough to keep him on the show. He may get his wish tonight. 

Casey 'Goldilocks' James isn't a 'Jealous Guy'. He just acts like one on tv. And he'll sing like one because he selects the song of the same name. 
The Good - I'll give him some points for taking an acoustic risk. He was very passionate in his performance. If he was going to a Sgt. Pepper revival and wanted to dress up like a Bee Gee, and audition as Maurice Gibb, then he's well on his way with the white suit and golden weave.
The Bad - Horrible song choice, because the vibrato is all over the place. If john Lennon had a Billy Goat which could sing in tune, I'd say the goat was doing a better job because at least he's keeping the pitch, which Casey couldn't do. Ba-aa-aa-aa-aa-aah. 
The Jason - Ooooh, does this risk pay off? I am not sure. The timbre in his voice was annoying, the song choice was bad and this was a major misstep for Mr. James. This is his bad night. What were the judges listening to? 
The Chico - It's a good song choice for Casey, and he makes it work to be sure, but the tremolo didn't really work for this song. But otherwise, really beautiful. I think this week we're going to see how strong Casey's fanbase is due to his switch-up. 
The Verdict - Ugh. Pitchy all over the place and just terrible. However, he's got 3 judges who loved him taking a risk and a lot of screaming girlies who'll love this performance and will vote to keep him in. Bah.

Last week, Siobhan Magnus screamed her way to a bad performance. Can she sing 'Across the Universe' without belting out a song that makes glass shatter? She promises she will. We'll see. 
The Good - That was a really nice, controlled performance. She sang that with emotional and passionate, and tender. And yes, she didn't sing something that shattered glass. 
The Bad - I wonder how many Scottish Terriers they sheared to make that overly poofy dress. And a special boo to Randy and Kara who called it restrained. Of course it's restrained if you sing it this way, and you wonder what exactly they are looking for. 
The Jason - It sounded really well done, but Siobhan needs to learn how to control her breathing. Nothing takes away from the performance like a giant **inhale**... 
The Chico - This is why we love Siobhan. She takes herself down about 10 notches and shows that she can sing a quiet, introspective song in a clear, expressive way. No longer just the screamer, she is a true vocalist. 
The Verdict - MUCH better than last week's mess. It was a different side of her, but a welcome different side of her. She sounded really good and added to her portfolio. A nice bounce back week for her.

Finally, Lee DeWyze gives us 'Hey Jude', dedicating it to... who knows, though his singer-competitors think it's to Andy Garcia, his best buddy. Can he dedicate this to his audience?
The Good - He gets it going after the first set of lyrics. Once he proceeds with verse #2, it's a nice performance. 
The Bad - The opening verse that he sang on, he didn't completely hit that high register. And what in the world is the bagpipe player doing during the song? Is this strange instrument week? What? Was? That? 
The Jason - Not the best performance of the night. I didn't like his vocals as much as the others, but he has enough to stay on. And what's up with the bagpipes?
The Chico - It's the night of the weird instruments. First the didgeridoo, now the bagpipes. He captures the tone of the song, but he's a little out of voice. I don't know if he's got the crud or what, but it's good enough to stick around, because he commands the performance. 
The Verdict - Not nearly as good as it was last week. The bagpiper reeked of indulgence and I think Lee lost some credibility here. He could have some issues. Maybe not tonight, but down the road...

Overall Verdict: It was ok, if not uninspired. I mean all these singers are 'good', but with the exception of Crystal, not great. There's nothing here that leads me to think that no one but Crystal is going to skate for the title. As for the bottom, me and the judges royally disagree here. I would have put Casey, Michael and Lee in the bottom 3, but I know that's not who's going to be there. Here's who will be there: 

Trouble: Tim Urban, Andrew Garcia, Aaron Kelly

This time, we will see Aaron and Tim in the bottom. And this time, Tim will be leaving because the audience who love him will think he's safe and won't vote for him as much. Ironically, a good performance from him will be his undoing. 


The Jason: The top is definitely separating from the bottom. 

TROUBLE: Aaron Kelly, Casey James, and Andrew Garcia 

Casey is going to be safe. Andrew Garcia was good enough to be voted on. Aaron Kelly was boring. 

OUT: Aaron Kelly 

The Chico: We have a clear top... and we have a clear bottom... And unfortunately for Tim, Katie outdelivered... 

TROUBLE: Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia, Tim Urban 

Now Tim also knew that he needed a lights out performance and while he wasn't lights out, he was better than he was last week. Andrew, though, took a risk... and it didn't really pay off as much as he would like. But both are put to shame by someone who just started the night really poorly. And the lesson learned by Didi Benami last week will be learned again by... 

OUT: Aaron Kelly 

Join us in 24 hours to see who won't Get Back to where they once belonged.


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