American Idol Recap: Who's Leaving the Building?

American Idol handed its nine remaining contestants a formidable task: Perform an Elvis hit and have it sound fresh and fancy-free and Ke$ha-flavored for relevance. Sounds doable, right? Except totally impossible? Right. Luckily, the surviving balladeers were also granted the help of Adam Lambert, who established himself as the best mentor of the season. But the real judging is up to us: Which two contestants should 'return to sender' during tomorrow's results show? Movieline's rankings pile up after the jump.

9. Andrew Garcia, "Hound Dog"

Oh, here we are. Just the way "Hound Dog" was meant to be performed: slowed-down, with sleepwalking, in a prolonged wheeze that sounds like my fisherman Uncle Gene's Old Style belches. Bra-va! I understand Andrew was performing the original "Hound Dog," the not-so-boogie-woogie Big Mama Thornton version, but that makes his rendition even worse. Big Mama Thornton, Andrew? Come on. You're Little Brother Eggbert, and you know it.

8. Katie Stevens, "Baby, What Do You Want Me to Do"

Aren't you glad she asked? Ahem: Katie, I want you to stop the unferocious head sways, for starters. You've got all the soulful nerve of Miranda Cosgrove as she shoots a Sidewalk Chalk commercial. And secondly: I wanted you to choose a song with an addictive hook, and you biffed there too. To be fair, Katie had no shot of invigorating the Elvis oeuvre with relevance. "Baby, What Do You Want Me to Do," an attempt to counter the judges' remarks about finding a genre and sticking with it, was probably the best she could do. Unfortunately it made you want her to choose a new genre called "quietly leaving."

7. Aaron Kelly, "Blue Suede Shoes"

Aw, look: The whole nursing home started clanging bedpans and Sea-Bond packages together when Aaron Kelly crooned the most dated tune in Elvis's catalog. "Blue Suede Shoes" completely misses the Idol demo; it's either for people over 60 or people like Aaron who are waiting to turn zero. Fetus the Magnificent, we'll never declare "A Star is Unborn" is this rate. Step it up! Without blue suede kicks, please!

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  • Mike says:

    I think last night was one of Idol's more interesting episodes this season. Proven contestants like Crystal, Casey, and Lee continued to perform, but the more interesting surprise was Tim and Katie - who I think both gave really solid performances. Looks like Andrew, Michael, and Aaron should be nervous tonight.

  • Jasmin says:

    I'll dispute Lee's performance as the "best of the night." I never understood the enthusiasm for this guy. People say Siobhan screeches (and sometimes that's true--end of Paint it Black) but Lee SHOUTS entire songs, adding growls in every now and then. I know he's going for this 'gruff rocker' vibe, but the whole thing feels so...forced. When singing in front of Adam, Lee had a lot less of the growl and shout, and to me that was a million times better than his performance. It seemed a lot more natural for him.
    That's the exact same reason I haven't liked Mike as of late. He's not...him. He came into the competition strumming an acoustic guitar and singing Jason Mraz. THAT'S what he wanted to do. But ever since he ventured into R&B, the judges have loved him. So now he does the stereotypical big-black-guy-singing-R&B-and-soul thing, and I don't appreciate that.
    I think sometimes that Idol kind of ruins these people. The judges are so desperate to label them that the contestants lose what made them individuals.
    That's why I like Crystal and Siobhan. They stick to their guns.