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Nine Idolettes tackle Elvis tunes on 'American Idol'

Let's see how many ways this season's Idolettes can find to turn Elvis tunes into muzak, shall we?

The Idolettes are flown to Las Vegas so they can take in Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis show for inspiration.

Saved by the judges last week, will 'Idol' contestant Michael Lynche make it through this round of cuts? (Michael Becker -- Fox) Click on image to see a gallery of perfomance highlights from Tuesday's show.

"I love Elvis," says this week's mentor, Adam Lambert says, adding that it's such an honor to mentor the Idolettes because "I'm just beginning my career," adding that his mission is to be "completely honest, but constructive."

Cut to Seabiscuit who is rubbing his hands in some audience member's hair. Then he sits in the audience with Lambert who explains that the problem with this season's Idolettes is that that they need to "wake up a little bit - have a little coffee." How we miss you, Adam Lambert!

Seabiscuit huffily asks Lambert if he's suggesting this year's Idolettes are "lacking personalities."

Say 'yes', Adam Lambert! Please, say 'yes'!
No no, they all have great personalities, insists Lambert, disappointingly. "I just want them to wake up a bit... I want them to put on a show."

After noting his tongue is not nearly as talented as Adam's - you can hear what sounds like Simon's voice in the background saying "Ryan, Ryan!" - Seabiscuit throws to a video of Crystal Bowersox with Adam in Vegas. She's going to sing "Saved" which Lambert urges her to keep fresh - not that it really matters since no one remembers this Elvis tune. He also advises her to use an electric guitar - and shake her dreds. She uses an electric guitar, and ignores the rest. It's like every other Crystal Bowersox performance - very competent, utterly interchangeable. It's followed by the now-traditional invocation of Bonnie Raitt from the judges' stand - this time from Randy Jackson. Ellen The Generous, who's run out of ways to gush over Crystal, asks if anyone in the audience is having a birthday. Kara DioGuardi dusts off the word "solid," and Simon predicts we're going to hear a lot of Karaoke Elvis tonight.

"It was boring - I was bored," Lambert says of Andrew Garcia's rehearsal of "Hound Dog."

"He encouraged me to change it up," Andrew tells the camera, reporting that his response was, "Yeah, man - I'm up for it." So, Andrew puts his special touch of boring on a slowed-down version of the tune. After the first two bars, we've already heard it all, we think. But no! He's got a twist! He runs the Hail Mary Play of Idol 2010 - a dash to the runway thinggummy behind the judges - where he adds some bluesy variations on the Hound Dog theme. "I hate to say this, but Simon kind of predicted this," Randy says in re the whole karaoke thing. Ellen the Generous goes for some easy niceness-building points and congratulates him, but Kara nicks him for using the microphone as a crutch and Simon calls it "lazy and predictable."

Seabiscuit blathers with his mother, Connie, who is in the audience. Given that they have to slog through nine performances in an hour and 28 minutes tonight, because the judges decided to "save" Michael Lynche last week so there are still nine Idolettes when there should only be eight, we wonder how they have time to perpetrate Connie on us.

Tim Urban wants to sing "Can't Help Falling in Love." Lambert tells him to use a "pretty falsetto" at the end. Tim declines. Seabiscuit wants us to start calling Tim Urban "Turban." We decline. It's undeniably Tim's best performance to date, which yes, is setting the bar extremely low. With that hair, Tim's performance would probably win him Open Mike Night at a bar in a college town. But since the judges have acknowledged they're now judging Tim on a curve, he's tonight's big beneficiary of the Idol Theory of Relativity: "you have gone from zero to hero in two weeks," gushes Simon.

Lee Dewyze needs to "smile a little bit and be playful" when singing "Little Less Conversation," Lambert says, adding "here, there is nothing going on" while pointing at his face. Lee's not bad, but Randy thinks Lee is in "the zone" and Ellen The Generous thinks Lee made the tune "current." Kara has never seen Lee go for it vocally like he did with the Elvis number, only he needs to be more playful. "When you say 'playful' what do you want - kittens?" snarks Simon. Lee says talking to Adam helped him to realize that everyone who has been telling him he needs to smile more is actually telling him he needs to smile more.

Aaron Kelly has picked "Blue Suede Shoes" to sing because, he explains, it doesn't' fit him and is "probably wrong in every possible way." Lambert tells him to growl more and have swagger when performing it. This is like telling the Scarecrow to be smart, or the Cowardly Lion to be brave, before Dorothy clued them in to this Wizard thing. Randy and Ellen The Generous are lukewarm about his performance, but Kara said it made him seem younger and "more current." Simon, on the other hand, thought it was very old-fashioned and made him seem older. We think there are too many judges on this show.

Could Siobhan Magnus and Lambert be any more of a brother/sister act? He advises her to pick up the tempo on her Elvis tune, "Suspicious Minds." She takes his advice and, for good measure, throws in several other tempo changes, like she's running through the settings on a blender. Some of the speeds show off her rich voice - others, not so much.

This is, however, her most coherent outfit yet: Star Trek Summer Casual. The judges aren't happy. Kara is "confused", Simon calls Siobhan's performance"erratic" and says he feels "you've lost who you were two weeks ago." Siobhan comes back with the most devastating Idolette defense ever mounted, calling the judges on their genre narrow mindedness. "Even I can't pinpoint who or what I am and I've always taken pride in that...I don't think it's necessary to be labeled. I just love to sing." Simon looks genuinely abashed. Hooray for Siobhan!

Seabiscuit notes "Idol Gives Back" is next week, in which the show will be broadcast from two venues. He will host the show from the "Idol" studio and, he says, Brian Dunkelman - Seacrest's former "Idol" co-host who lost the gig after the first season -- will host the star-studded portion of that charity episode that will be broadcast from an auditorium in Pasadena, Calif.

"I'm kidding," Seacrest says, but only after his crack brought the uncomfortable audience - and the show - to a screeching halt. And what more appropriate time to make a cruel joke about someone's career-nuking job loss than when announcing details of a charity fundraiser!

Michael Lynche, who should be gone by now, decides to sing "In the Ghetto" after being introduced to the tune by Siobhan. Because it's about a newborn baby - like he, Michael Lynche, now has. Get it? The judges love it in quick time because, as Simon explains, the show is starting to run late - I TOLD you they didn't have time for Seabiscuit's mother - and, Simon might have added, they're not going to push out "Glee."

Lambert tells Katie Stevens that she's mad at the judges and their confusing, contradictory comments, and should let it show when she sings "Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do?" Sure enough, Katie enters the stage in leather pants and boots, looking like a former child beauty pageant winner who's pretty darned frustrated! Ellen The Generous chooses this moment for her second playing of the lesbian card of Idol 2010, calling Katie's performance "very horny" - then shouting about eight times that she was referring to the horn section of the band. Simon pronounces it "very loud...a bit annoying." Is he going to pout whenever Ellen upstages him? Have to watch this development carefully.

Casey James has decided to sing "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," only without trying to give his performance any story arc, or climax, as Lambert has advised. Casey still doesn't get it that he's a good looking guy and his first obstacle is to make us stop looking at him and start listening to him. This performance never gets us beyond "Gee, his teeth are so white, his hair is so blonde, his eyes are so blue!" The judges don't show him much love, though Kara seems to be panting as she delivers her critique.

His performance was preceded by the Seabiscuit Weird Moment of the Night (hey, Ford should start sponsoring these!) in which he worked the mosh pit, first pinning some shocked girl by the shoulders, then prancing around and squealing like Dana Carvey playing a pixie.

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By Lisa de Moraes  |  April 14, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Tim Urban's "best performance to date"? Really? OMG, it put me to sleep. Tim and his hair must go.

Posted by: Retrovirus | April 14, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Seacrest's Dunkleman joke was so rude. One thing, Lisa - Dunkleman didn't "lose the gig" - he actually quit after the first season because he said he didn't sign up to be nasty to people. Of course, now he admits that he's kicking himself for quitting. Whatever, Seacrest would have found a way to get rid of him like he did with that woman co-host he had for 5 seconds.

Posted by: LilyBell | April 14, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Tim Urban can't sing his way out of a paper bag. Didn't like the song Crystal sang. Didn't like Lynche's rendition of the Ghetto song, at all. Didn't agree with the judges - I liked Siobhan last night! After all that negativity, I really, really enjoyed Glee!

Posted by: MrsKirby | April 14, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I really liked Crystal and Mike.

Katie and Lee were good.

Tim was overrated. The arrangement was great, the singing was not. Nice to see him improving, though. Expectations for Tim are so that that the judges are grading him on a curve.

Siobhan was a mixed bag. Sometime I question if her voice is good for pop music. It certainly didn't seem that way in the first half of the song.

I disliked Aaron and Andrew, particularly Andrew. I would like to see them both go home.

With Tim and Katie doing ok, it could be another "surprise" elimination night.

At this point, I don't see how anybody other than Crystal can win it all. She is heads and shoulder above anybody else. Adam was as dominant last year, if not more, but he was very controversial and rubbed some people the wrong way. Crystal doesn't have that negative baggage.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | April 14, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I bailed when LOST came on so didn't see it all. Didn't bother to record.

Of what I did see, loved Chrystal. Song suited her very well.

Andrew Garcia was awful with a capital A.
I don't get at all why anyone who doesn't know him personally would vote for him.

Don't get the love for the Tim Urban performance. He missed so many notes I was shocked Randy didn't call him pitchy.

Ryan is getting so insolent and annoying. Anyone notice how red his eyes are lately? Makes me wonder.

I'm not much of a Siobhan fan but I do love her free-spiritedness and her comeback to the judges. However, the judges have a point in that recording companies will have a hard time signing and promoting someone they can't classify.

Aaron, wasn't so bad but I knew they would call him karaoke. Can they get a new adjective? Haven't heard the cruiseship metaphor in awhile....

Posted by: hodie | April 14, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Seacrest gets less likable with each passing week. The man is earning 15 million a year for this gig alone---plus whatever he gets for his radio show and various red carpet jobs---so why take a gratuitous snipe at Dunkleman? Why be so mean-spirited? His behavior is appalling.

Posted by: chantooz | April 14, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"This is, however, her most coherent outfit yet: Star Trek Summer Casual."

Lisa is my hero.

Posted by: Regis09 | April 14, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Mike needs to go. He still has that "insolent, how dare they vote me off" facial expression", (anyone notice that)? Also, I think Aaron needs to go home. I still think Andrew has "something", but needs to bring it back or he is toast. Crystal needs to cut those dreadlocks and get her teeth fixed, which will show she is actually a pretty girl...My favorites to win: Lee and Siobhan

Posted by: maris1 | April 14, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

niceshoes (10:08 am) makes a good point about Siobahn. Her voice (the timbre or whatever) just doesn't have a pop quality. Maybe fronting some kind of neo-prog band? Certainly the stage, eh. After last night's very able - but schitzoid - song performance she might be in the danger zone.

Anyhoo. It's Crystal's to lose.

Posted by: molsonmich | April 14, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree with "chantooz" - what is up with Seacrest? I really liked him until this season. He is acting very spiteful and I don't get that. Anybody venture a guess as to what's going on? I'm pretty sure it's not as easy as "he's so full of himself". Well, ok, maybe, but I don't think that is it.

Posted by: MrsKirby | April 14, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Agree with maris1 Mike is really getting on my nerves with his cocky attitude, did not like his version last night. I quess I am in the minority I like Andrew, like the sound of his voice. I thought Siobahn sang three different songs in one performance the way she kept changing the song.

Posted by: sivwiz | April 14, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"prancing around and squealing like Dana Carvey playing a pixie"

Please give Lisa the Pulitzer Prize. The only reason the rest of the paper is there is to line the seat so that when I wet myself from laughing so hard I won't leave a mess.

Posted by: pookiefan | April 14, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow what a night; I think Ryan was off his meds. The homoerotic tension between Seacrest and Lambert was like something you would expect to see at Cannes. I kept half expecting Adam to say, "Oh, you dropped this last night." as he handed handed Ryan back his hotel key. Then him squealing with the girls over Casey and talking about something sucking to a random old broad in the audience, not to mention the dig to his former co-host. He was in full on b*tch mode! But anywho, I thought Crystal did a good job singing her Targon commercial theme song "I used to smoke, I used to drink, but then I found the right toothpaste!" Lee was great and Casey did pretty good. Michael chose another sleepy ballad when he could have done something much more memorable, so I think he is in trouble yet again. Andrew was awful, Siobhan's performance was schizophrenic catterwauling and Simon's sweetie cupcake Aaron was laughable with his Disney pop star make over and Katie did her best Carrie Underwood impression. But I reserve my true ire for Timjaya, who no doubt will survive to smile for another week thanks to the ineptness of Andrew, Aaron and Siobahn respectively.

Posted by: ozpunk | April 14, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Hodie, yes, I have also noticed Ryan's eyes (sounds like an Eagles song). Red, puffy...actually, his whole face seems to be aging exponentially. That, plus his incredible arrogance, strange aggressiveness, and complete inappropriateness a number of times this season, make me wonder indeed.

Siobhan's comeback made me applaud. While it is always risky to talk back to Simon, I'm sure she spoke for countless Idol contestants through the years...and for music fans watching. Siobhan, you may not win, but you are one cool girl.

My choice for top 3 remains Lee, Casey and Crystal.

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | April 14, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what to make of Ryan's behavior this year. Maybe he has his eye on Simon's job, but I don't think he is going to get it this way. Simon is also obnoxious, but at least he has something meaningful to say.

Posted by: nthwoods | April 14, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Pookifan, I totally agree, Lisa's comment about Dana Carvey and the pixies was my favorite moment and got me guffawing out loud. She DOES deserve the Pulitzer for this column. I sighed wearily when I found out this was Elvis week. This should die the way of Beatles week.
I actually liked my non-favorites best this week. I almost fell off the couch at Tim's performance, it was beautiful and I have never liked his performances. Mike's was also wonderful, and Katie did not suck!
I am not on Team Siobhan (though she seems like a really cool girl), so I loved when she met Adam and said, "gosh, everyone compares me to you." There was a significant pause. Then Adam faux-sweetly sneered, "oh really?" Followed by another Significant Pause. You gotta love Adam, he was a great counterpoint to the mad dervish that Ryan has become.
Maybe Ryan wants to get kicked off the show so he can join Paula and Simon on the X factor. Don't do it Simon! I would love to see Kathy Griffin or Chelsea Handler as host of x factor. Then it would be funny too. I digress.
Crystal is stlll wonderful. Andrew and Aaron should go, which is sad because I really liked Andrew at the beginning. If he had stuck with a cool Jack Johnson vibe he'd still be great to watch.

Posted by: tmeintermedia | April 14, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

As an African-American woman, I usually try to (albeit acknowledging the wrongheadedness of it) root for the African-American in a group but . . . I see that arrogance in Mike and I know guys like him that are really scary. I think Ryan's contract with the devil is due to expire very soon and we're seeing the effects of that. It's as if he's some socially awkward nerd who doesn't know what to say! It's been hilarious although painful to watch.

Posted by: Kimberly2601 | April 14, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Did you also notice Ryan dancing with an audience member-- a guy, I'm pretty sure-- right next to the stage during Tim Urban's performance? He did it for the whole thing, and it had to be really distracting in person. I was glad to see the that the cameramen did not reward him by showing what he was doing. He's clearly still trying to make himself the focus of the show. Last night he was teetering on the edge of something. Don't know if he's on something or needs to have his meds adjusted, but this is shaping up to be a fairly spectacular crash!

Oh. Andrew definitely to go home tonight, and the second one either Katie or Aaron, depending on whether the teen boys or teen girls got their voting block together.

Posted by: inkydog | April 14, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Hodie, I actually completely agree re Siobhan. While on a personal level one wants to applaud her marching to her own drummer, in the business world, one understands that it's very important to know how to market oneself - that's as true in an office as on the song charts.

If YOU "don't know who you are" - nobody else (audience or employer) - will be able to figure it out, either.

That does not mean you have to be a One Note. You can certainly diversify. I think Linda Ronstadt is a great example of that. Yes - she started in Pop - and by the time she recorded "Lush Life", she established herself as a creditable torch singer. Still later, she did songs in Spanish.

But when you are starting out - you have to have a clear ID.

Posted by: jqw3827 | April 14, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Following up my own comment - before you can become a franchise - you have to establish the first store.

Promoters have to know how to present her music to radio stations and stores to get her foot in the door. Once in the door - then she's free to sing down another aisle leveraging on her established entry.

Posted by: jqw3827 | April 14, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the judges have given up. Their comments were like they weren't even trying. Ellen sat there and was just stupid (and I'm a big Ellen fan). Kara sounded so old and tired that every time it was her turn, my two daughters focused on her thin, weird greasy bang that kept moving back and forth every time she blinked. Randy was same-ole as usual. And even Simon wasn't that meaty.

Their take IMHO: this show's over after May, the cast this season is terribly weak, so what they hey. Sit back, relax, pretend, and see how this painfully pathetic finale season plays out. After all, it's all up to the voters. So pour us all another Coke.

Lisa, your weekly reviews are great. Better than the show.

Posted by: kim4 | April 14, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

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