The show started with the Judges being corny in the back acting like they were making out.  They really have to stop these farces.  Paula’s gone….it doesn’t work with anyone else.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Ellen, but enough with the faux cupcaking!

Ryan had the crowd get in on the fun by shouting who their favorite contestant.  I couldn’t understand anyone, but I’m a fan of Crystal, Siobhan and Aaron.  But I’m fickle, I can be easily swayed with one good performance.  So, I hope they bring it.  Tonight, the Idols will be singing Soul and R&B Hits.

Usher is the Guest Mentor tonight.  I am definitely a fan of Usher.  He warned them that he will be brutally honest with them and he hopes that he will help bring out the best in them.  He wants them to shine and own their moment.  And he is in the house tonight.  I like me some Usher.  Randy got funny and put on some shades so he could have a conversation with the ever Sunglasses clad Usher.   Coincidentally, His new album ‘Raymond Vs Raymond’ comes out today.  Usher’s new album has alot of personal struggles that he has overcome in the next two to three years.

Also tonight, we see the contestants when they go backstage and their reaction to the Judge’s critiques

Siobhan Magnus:  She sang ‘Through The Fire’ By Chaka Khan.  Seriously?  Really nervous for her, because I like her and we are talking Chaka Khan.   Siobhan is really excited to meet and be mentored by Usher.  He thinks that she has the voice to pull of this song.  Usher counseled her to tone down her wardrobe, so people aren’t distracted by it and pay attention to her performance. 

Oh…..this didn’t work at all.  She was really really pitchy.  It was bad.  I don’t know why she picked such a big song and it just kept getting worse and worse.  Pity.   Randy thought it was a big song that didn’t catch on pitch wise, but he still loves the courageous  and conviction she has, no one else would have taken this on.  Not your best at all.  Ellen agreed and she could tell that she knew she was off.  She loves her, but not her best.  Kara concurred.  She thinks her nerves got the best of her.  She usually delivers, everyone has an off night.  At the end of the day, still a great singer.  Simon thought that it sounded like she ran a marathon and she was singing while she sang.  And she looks all over the place.   It was your worst performance by far.  When she hears it back she will know it is true.  (ouch)    Video  866.436.5701. 

Casey James:  He sang “Hold On, I’m coming by Sam and Dave.  Usher thought this was a perfect song for him.  Casey was pretty juiced that it was R&B week, because it was the closest thing to the Blues they will get.  Also, Usher thinks that Casey is a guy to keep your eye on, if he wins or not.  Usher is probably thinking that Casey will look good on his label.

Casey is rocking his Red Guitar.  I like Casey.  Great energy and his voice makes me smile.  I think that Simon will give him grief for not bringing anything new.  We’ll see.  Randy thought that this was another hot night for him.  He loved it.  He showed alot of vocal range.  Perfect song for him.  Ellen thinks what is great about him is that he is consistent.  But she thought it was a little generic.  She thought it was a safe song for him.  Kara thinks that he has more range in him.  He keeps picking songs that are too safe.  Simon thought it was his strongest week he has had in the competition.  He liked that he didn’t do a sound a like song.  He liked he took on a R & B song (Kara looks pissed off at this point).  Simon says he was really impressed with him.      Video   866.436.5702     

Michael Lynche: He sang ‘Ready For Love’ by India Arie.  On hearing this song, I am thinking that Michael made a good choice, this song will perfectly match his voice.  Michael will sing with his guitar.  Usher gave him pointers on connecting with everyone in the room. 

As I predicted, this was the perfect vehicle for Michael tonight with his only accomplice being his guitar.  Nice.  Very nice.  Randy thought he was in the zone.  He is loving every performance.  He likes that he showed his sensitive side.  Ellen didn’t like that he sang behind her back.  It was beautiful.  Kara loved it.  She thought he did an incredible job and connected with it.  She never heard it before he picked it.  Simon thought this was the first time, since he entered the live shows that he can take him seriously as an Artist.  This is the difference between being an original who is having a moment instead of singing silly Karoake.   Simon thought he was terrific.  Congratulations.  Video  866.436.5703

Didi Benami:  She sang ‘What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmie Ruffin.  I hope she surprises me.   Didi says that she is feeling this song.  She started crying after she sang.  I don’t think that Usher really gave her feedback on her singing.  He gave her feedback on her crying.   Honestly, this wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I think that I have always loved the soul in this song and yes, she made it her own, but on an R &B night, she took the soul out of it.   I wasn’t a fan of it.  Randy loves this song, but he thought the performance flat lined.  It wasn’t great.  Never quite caught.  He didn’t get it.  Ellen thought it was dramatic, but not her best performance.  Kara thought it was overdone.  She thinks that she has changed and lost her way.  She doesn’t know who she is.  She is puzzled and confused.  Simon thought it was like swimming in jelly.  So over the top, so old fashioned and so out of melody.  Just didn’t do it.  She has completely and utterly lost her way.  He compared it to when one of those ‘Dancing Shows’ have the singers murder a song (a little dig at ‘Dancing With The Stars’ for moving their result show time’).  Video   866.436.5704

Tim Urban:  He sang ‘Sweet Love’ by Anita Baker.  Hmmm…I hope this works.   Usher stopped Tim during performance and told him that he didn’t believe it.  He encouraged him to create the one person that he is singing to and connect with them when he is singing. 

They are calling him ‘Teflon Tim’ because of his ability to take the Judge’s wrath and keep smiling.  I hope he is wrapped in Teflon tonight.  Again, this is Soul and R &B night.  If you drain the soul from the song, it is a bad thing.  Even if you look like Keith Partridge’s love child.  Doesn’t work.  Randy thought he looked like a ‘Singing Waiter’.  He thought that he was in tune, but there was not swagger to it.  Nothing.  Fell flat.  Ellen thought that even though he is adorable, that was the wrong song for him.  Why did he pick it?  Why?  Kara thought it was like Broadway and Vegas.  He took the Sould out of it.  He made himself so commercial.  Tim is laughing at the critiques.  Simon thinks he is laughing,  because he doesn’t think it makes any difference what the Judges say.  It is a completely inappropriate song.  It is like a Mouse taking on a fight with an Elephant.  But it doesn’t matter, you won’t win,  you will smile and the audience will vote you through.  See you next week.   Tim thought they were nicer than he thought they would be (Talk about low expectations).   Video  866.436.5705

Andrew Garcia:  He sang ‘ Forever’ by Chris Brown.   Usher  could tell that he was completely nervous, so he actually took his shades off.  He must really want Andrew to do well.  Usher thought by the end of the reheasal that Andrew had relaxed enough and was sounding better than the original. 

 Hmmm   This sounded much better tonight than it did in rehearsal.  But there wasn’t any ump to it.  Chris Brown’s is so hyped that I’m looking for more.  But better than I thought it would be.  Randy thought it was his best performance in a long time.  Ellen thought it was an amazing performance.  She loved that he smiled and enjoyed it.  Kara thought it was one giant leap in the right direction and that he was back.  Simon thought it was miles miles better than what we heard before.  The only problem is that as a person, he comes across as boring.  Compared to the guy before who is getting  by on his.  At this point, your personality is very important.  Carlos’ Mama came up on the stage to dispute Simon’s claim that her son was boring in English and Spanish.  Video  866.436.5706

Katie Stevens: She sang ‘Chain of Fools’ by Aretha Franklin.  I hope this works….Not only does she have the original to live up to, but Fantasia killed it when she was on and Simon loved it.    Katie says that she met Usher before at Epcot Center.  Usher was impressed with her vocals and energy.  He encouraged her to connect with one person.  Usher kind of does a rubber stamp Mentoring deal.  It is simple, everyone needs to connect. 

Tonight, Katie sounded good, but she is just so flat.  She is truly like watching paint dry.  But this girl can sing and she is pretty, so who knows.   Randy thought that the performance was a little disconnected.  But one of the best vocal performances of the evening.  She is like a young Christina Aguilera.  Nice vocals.  Ellen thought the vocals were great, but she wished the song had been a little more current.  Kara thinks it is one of her best R & B performances.  Has to make it young and commercial.  Simon thinks the comparison to Christina Aguilera is crazy.  he thought it was pretty good.  Very robotic.  Came across as   Wouldn’t have taken on that song.  Reminded him of Star Search.  He thinks Kara is wrong with an R & B  future for Katie.  He sees her in Country.  I think she is Country. Video   866.436.5702

Lee Dewyze:  He sang ‘Treat Her Like a Lady’ by The Cornelius Brothers.  Usher thought this was a special treat.  Usher thinks that he has a critical voice and encouraged him to be confident in his voice.  If Lee doesn’t believe it, no one will.  Usher really liked him. 

 I like Lee too.  His voice is so strong and he makes me want to listen.  He can learn the stage stuff.   He rocked the house!  Randy thought it was great.  Unbelievable.  Best he has heard in weeks.  The bomb.  Ellen thought it was the best performance of the night.  Kara thought it was amazing.  Simon has always believed in him.  He encouraged him to go home and watch the show, because tonight may be the night that changes his life.    Vote   866.436.5708

Crystal Bowersox:  She sang ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’  by Gladys Knight.  The only contestant that I think should take on Gladys.   Usher figured out her surprise for American Idol.  She is playing the Piano tonight instead of the guitar.  He thinks that Crystal is a Sweethart and she is going to be great.  This girl is the complete package.  I love her interpretation of this classic.   Beautiful.  Wait….She has on stillettos!  She shook things up!   Randy loved her look and he thinks that Gladys would love her performance.  Ellen loved that she showed another side of her.  Wonderful idea.  Kara loved that she took that risk.  So many things about her that she loves.  Simon thought the choice of song was sensational and at times the vocals were incredible.  You were uncomfortable at the piano.  Do not let this process suck the identity out of you.   She didn’t need the background singers.  He thinks she was absolutely fine before.  She knows that she should be doing what she is comfortable doing.  Crystal countered by saying that she would never do anything that she wasn’t comfortable with.   Video  866.436.5709

Aaron Kelly:  He sang “Ain’t No Sunshine’ by Bill Withers.  Usher was impressed with Aaron’s vocals.  He really wants him to take control of the song.  Usher believes that if he can tell the story, he can score high. 

Aaron’s performance was okay.  I think that even when he picks songs that are beyond his years, he has pretty good control of the song and he never tries to do too much.  Most important, Aaron has a great personality and people like him.  Randy thought it started rough, but it worked itself out.  Ellen thought it was a good song choice and good job.  Kara liked it, he could have done more.  Simon thought if you compare it to other performances, it was  like a cupcake.  It wasn’t as good as last week, but there is no chance that you are leaving the competition tomorrow.  I agree.   Video  866.436.5702

Weak Links tonight?  Siobhan, Didi and Tim.   Didi may be going home.