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'American Idol' Top 12 done in by Rolling Stones

It was Rolling Stones night on "American Idol." Be yourself, know who you are as an artist -- but surprise us and sound like you mean every word. Oh wait! It's Rolling Stones week! Three-chord songs with limited vocal range that never sound good performed by anybody but the Rolling Stones. Nevermind.

'Idol' contestant Siobhan Magnus performs on Tuesday night's episode. (Fox) -- Click image to see gallery of show highlights.

Michael Lynche sings "Miss You" while moving a lot around the stage. If a Transformer could bust some moves, that would be Michael. Judges Randy Jackson, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi all agree that Michael led off the night right. But Simon Cowell thinks his performance very corny and desperate. Show host Ryan Seacrest, who has finally figured out he's not the star of "American Idol" and is going down without Simon next season, walks to the podium and gets all up in the camera and Simon's face, insisting Simon say something constructive to Michael and making us so happy we do not have a 40-inch screen. "We can sort this out in your trailer afterwards," Simon snaps. Ryan scampers back to stand in Michael's shadow. Takeaway for Michael: Don't let Ryan draw you into a "My Bodyguard" thing, it's not gonna make you a star!

Didi Benami goes for hot and sultry with "Play with Fire," but her voice is too itty bitty so it's more like flicking a Bic. Great teeth, though. Randy thinks she's "on fire" -- gee, didn't see that coming at all. Ellen the Generous says the way Didi turned the word "Fire" into two syllables was "Gerr rate"! Kara likes that Didi got all "dark" but with a "sweetness in her voice." Simon praises her for beginning to show us the artist she is going to be. Takeaway for Didi: Be sweet, be dark, and keep on flossing!

Casey James brings back his electric guitar to let Cougar Kara know "It's all Over Now." Ellen The Generous tries out her first gay joke, noting that most women's hearts will start racing when they see him, "but for people like me -- blondes -- I thought it was fantastic." Big we're-so-cool-with-that laugh from the audience. Kara notes that last time he brought out his electric guitar, she had to nick him because he was trying to be a rocker. Now that she's gotten a second look, she's decided he "is a rocker" after all. She doesn't say it all gushy though; yes, the Casey/Kara thing is really over. Simon notes Casey looks great, sings well and plays the guitar well but he needs to take the stage and "just be a star." Seabiscuit tries to steal Ellen's moment with "I didn't realize you were -- a natural blonde." Hardy, har, har. Takeaway for Casey: Go with the whole gay-joke-bystander thing, it's working for you!

Lacey Brown keeps going weak in the knees every time she comes out on stage and sits down. This time while singing "Ruby Tuesday." Ellen the Generous notes her penchant for sitting on the edge of the stage and warns her never to go to the Grand Canyon. Ellen is starting to show us who she is as a judge -- the funny one. We thought she'd settle on that eventually but it's a relief to see her find her way. Simon says Lacey needs to stop performing like an actress. Which, loosely translated, means "Stand up for goodness sake!" Takeaway for Lacey: Bring a stool!

Andrew Garcia is only in the competition at this point because he's a cool dude. He sings "Gimme Shelter" but we know the judges are all thinking "Why can't you sound like when you did Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" during Hollywood Week?" Kara thinks he didn't connect with the song's anti-Vietnam-war lyrics. "What is he supposed to do -- come on stage with a tank?" Simon asks. In the heavily caveated world of 'Idol,' where a singer is compared to his last week's performance, his audition performance, other Idolette's performances and Susan Boyle, Simon is now grading on a curve and says Andrew "gave it 100 percent" in order to unch him along. Takeaway for Andrew: You will never make these judges happy. Next time, just do "Straight Up" and get it over with.

Katie Stevens, this year's Baby Beauty Pageant Idolette, tells Seabiscuit she has no option but to go old tonight since she's stuck singing a Stones tune. In answer to his question, she guesses correctly that Mick Jagger is the lead of the Rolling Stones. She's picked the tune "Wild Horses" because she always wanted a horse and the tune spoke to her. She is dressed for afternoon tea. Simon says it's the first time Katie has picked the right song for her but then goes all Randy Jackson on us as he talks about when he recorded this tune with Susan Boyle. Takeaway for Katie: For the rest of the competition, they're going to keep telling you to sing like your age, then keep sticking you with old people's songs. It's 'Idol.' Deal with it.

Tim Urban decides it would be a great idea to take his very last opportunity to sing on "American Idol" (if there's a god in heaven) to perform a reggae "hand me another spliff" version of "Under My Thumb." None of the judges like it, though they all, including Simon, applaud him for "doing something different." "It's quite a boring song anyway," Simon notes. Like we said -- grading on a curve. Tim tells Seabiscuit he was only worried about "having fun." Which is such a coincidence because we're only worried about having to hear him ever again. Takeaway for Tim: Don't worry, be happy.

Siobhan Magnus is from Cap Cod. Her very large family looks like a Where's Waldo picture. Her large family makes her house look like a Birkenstock showroom. Naturally she's going to sing the depression anthem "Paint it Black." In her version, it's an Andrew Lloyd Weber number, and she's at the opera, only she's lost both her glass slippers, but some mysterious man with half a face loans her his army boots. She lets out this piercing scream when she sees the gnarly side of his face and holds the note for an eternity. It's a brilliant interpretation. The judges take turns saying glowing things about her, including Kara, who has apparently been following our little blog because now she too is saying she's having Adam Lambert flashbacks. Simon notes a lot of people are going to love Siobhan's interpretation, but a lot are genuinely going to hate it which he says is great compared to being boring. Seabiscuit brings out Siobhan's mousy glasses and coerces her to put them on, totally ruining her fabulous look in some kind of weird Cinderella-step-sister power play. Takeaway for Siobhan: Seabiscuit is not your friend.

Lee Dewyze used to work in a paint store. Seabiscuit wonders if he knows what the color Snuggle Puss is. Seabiscuit is really selling it this episode! Lee sings "Beast of Burden." It's the usual Lee performance. Ellen the Generous likens it to a hospital gown -- it almost came together in the back. Kara says Lee is growing faster than anyone else in the show. Ellen is now making more sense than Kara. Simon calls it forgettable and orders Lee to stop thinking the other people are better than he is. Lee appears to be fighting tears. Takeaway for Lee: Just keep asking yourself "What would Dave Matthews do?" and you'll be OK.

Seabiscuit is now seen standing in the "American Idol" mosh pit, surrounded by nubile young girls. Seabiscuit -- still not the star of this show.

Paige Miles does a very old-fashioned performance of "Honky Tonk Woman," and her voice sounds the strongest it has in weeks, which is ironic since she's got laryngitis, which Ellen and Kara note but which is news to Simon. "Oh My God!" Simon gushes when they tell him about it. "Taking that into account -- you did great." Takeaway for Paige: Sleep with the window open at night.

Little Aaron Kelly picks "Angie" and it's a good choice for his vocal range. Ellen the Generous notes he's gotten an American Idol makeover and is now wearing his hair like hers. It shoulda been been Alex Lambert and his mullet getting that makeover! Waaaa! Randy likens him to Justin Timberlake. Really, Randy? "I beat you up good last week but you showed me tonight," Kara says coyly. Ick ick ick. Simon calls it "100 percent the right song." Takeaway for Aaron: You're no Justin Timberlake, pookie, but love the new hair.

Crystal Bowersox gives another of her extremely relaxed, always interesting performances -- this time to "You Can't Always Get What You Want." The judges take turns fawning over her until Simon, who notes she has been 100 percent the clear favorite -- Simon's all about 100 percent this week - but that she lost this round to Siobhan. Crystal shoots back that she does not think she is 100 percent the clear favorite to win this competition. "But thank you for saying so," she adds tartly, picking up a few thousand more votes. Takeaway for Crystal: Practice your mantra while the judges are blah, blah, blah-ing.

PHOTOS: See highlights from last night's show.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 17, 2010; 7:08 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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What has happened to the poll? I want to see who everyone thinks is going home.

Posted by: sivwiz | March 17, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I think Tim Urban goes home. Not a fan of Michael's. Loved Siobhan! Aaron did well and so did Lacey. If this week is anything like last week's slaughter, one of the better ones will go this week but I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: MrsKirby | March 17, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I thought they all were terrible except maybe Chrystal. This has to be the weakest group ever. Most of them can't keep their notes true, have tremors in their voices and are not engaging. I thought the whole night was cringe inducing. Maybe I am too critical, but can you really envision any of the songs from the performances last night on the radio?

Posted by: barbnc | March 17, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

What a smarmy column. Tim Urban has more star power than any of the other male singers. I can just see him now with his own movie: Urban's Happy Trails To You

Posted by: hugmekatie | March 17, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I think Lacey, Lee & Andrew are in trouble. Andrew not due to any lack of talent, but rather because the judges have been throwing him under the bus for weeks and people are starting to believe him. Lee's good but he's just too nervous. He's never going to amount to much in the music biz if he can't get his nerves in order.

I thought that overall the performances were better than I'd expected. I liked the reggae take on Under My Thumb & thought it was one of Urban's best performances. Certainly enough to give him a good chance to stay this week. And Paige was a surprise.

Siobhan was amazing, Crystal was excellent. I can still see them as the top two.

Posted by: Duodenum | March 17, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry...I have to disagree with alot of folks, including the judges. Siobhan, who I normally like, RUINED "Paint It Black". If the votes were votes against someone, I would still want to keep her in, but I really thought her performance was horrible, and I hated the look.

Posted by: hlef | March 17, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Paint It Black was the first thing all season I'd actually consider downloading.

Really, is there any other point?

Posted by: Hillman1 | March 17, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Hope judges haven't convinced Siobhan to do the Lambert Scream every song now. Girl can sing, but she's also awfully nasal. Think Lacey is underrated...and she always makes me smile. Shades of Maria Muldaur. Lee's beautiful, sparkly eyes put me in a a nice way! And I like his rasp. It will be interesting to see how they all improve as they get their nerves in check. And as they learn to block out the judges' very contradictory advice this season. Is Simon trying to be Mr. Nicely this year in an effort to woo us to watch X-Factor? Or is he happy at last in love?

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | March 17, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Siobhan and her "dramatic" performance were laughable. They always harp on people for being cabaret, or broadwayesque, but somehow she gets a pass? Lee and Targon were my two favorite performances last night, but still nothing stellar from anyone in the top 12. Paige did do much better this week though, and Baby Elmo redux did okay. Oh well, this show is definitely withering before our very eyes and Simon seems to be enjoying every second of it.

Posted by: ozpunk | March 17, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Siobhan's Lambert-esque scream made me cringe. I thought the judges would slam her for that- shows what I know! Now I guess she'll work it into every song-oh joy.
Crystal is heads and tails better than the rest. They all seem to be trying too hard to come up with unique arrangements and melody-changes, while Crystal -to use one of Kara's expressions - makes it seem so effortless.

Posted by: faywray | March 17, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

If you entered last night's episode knowing nothing about the Stones, you could have exited it thinking they were one and the same with the Bee Gees.

Posted by: jd121 | March 17, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I thought all of the judges seemed sort of subdued last night. It was like they were playing it safe. I wonder what is going on behind the scenes.

Posted by: nthwoods | March 17, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

By far and away a forgetable night of "mee too" performances. The performers mostly seem to playing "not to lose." We want to see playing "to win." KNOCK THE LIGHTS OUT!

Posted by: rmorris391 | March 17, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

You can count me among the 50% who are NOT among the Lambert screech fans.

Siobhan has a very good voice. Had she held her high note and not shifted into holleration, her vocal would have been very good (though I agree that at times she's totally nasal) - but I'd have dinged her for lack of originality for copying Lambert.

For that reason, she didn't beat Crystal on my ballot. The way Crystal delivered "You Can't Always Get What You Want" somehow reminded me of Carly Simon's sassy "reply" type singing to Jagger in "You're So Vain". I'd like to hear her do that song - and NOT Little Voice (a/k/a Didi).

Posted by: jqw3827 | March 17, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Lambert was a theater geek posing as a rock star. Inauthentic. Siobhan is legit weird. I liked last week better and am afraid the machine is influencing her. She could have made that song so dark we'd still be grim. The folk singer act's getting tired.

Posted by: DoorKnob1 | March 17, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Awww, Lacey? That's Idol for ya. I thought she was really good. Maybe not the ultimate prize-winner, but really liked her vibe and her musical styling. God bless, honey.

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | March 17, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

it's funny how we can all listen to the same thing and have very different opinions. I thought Lacey was the right one to go home last night. I rank Siobahn the best of this group with Andrew second. I don't know what the judges like about Lee, he seems like Elliot from a couple seasons ago but not as good aas Elliot. Crystal to me is just ok, one trick pony of a style.

Posted by: sivwiz | March 18, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

And just how many tricks did the ponies Clarkson, Studdard, Barrino, Hicks, Underwood, Sparks, Cook and Allen have? Every single one of Studdard's, Underwood's, Hicks', Sparks' and Cook's songs have exactly the same style. Clarkson, Barrino and Allen could change it up a little bit, but were very predictable.

I don't get the "one-trick pony" comment. If she veered all over the place, I'm sure you'd call Bowersox "inconsistent". Let's cut back on the shorthand (I'm not a fan of "self-indulgent" either) and be a bit more specific. Otherwise, just say you don't like a particular style, without saying that contestant is limited...since, in truth, they all are.

Posted by: SheldonAlexandria | March 18, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Keith Richards first live performance at age 12

Posted by: chelskeith | March 18, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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