The “American Idol” Top 12 sang the songs of the Rolling Stones Tuesday, and for the most part, it didn’t suck nearly as bad as I thought it would.
I guess licensing the songbook keeps Mick, Keith and the boys in adult diapers, Werthers candies, Bengay cream and future hip replacements. I digress.
The whole bit with the judges walking out on stage and Miss Seacrest coming down the stairs like Norma Desmond (“I’m ready for my close up, Mr. Cowell”) is just ridiculous.
I guess they had to pad out the two hours somehow. They also moved to a bigger studio set, which looked like some left over effects from “Tron.” I digress again.
Michael Lynche: He once again set the bar high for the boys with a funky, R&B version of “Miss You.” A couple of bum notes at the end, but this almost sounded ready for radio. Simon thought it was desperate and corny, Miss Seacrest challenged him, and Simon said they could sort it out in his trailer later. Uh-huh…
Didi Benami: The arm-waving robots were back in the front row for her cover of “Play with Fire.” She flubbed it a bit by dropping the melody at the beginning and pushing the notes too hard, but this was probably her best performance.
Casey James: Cougar Bait brought out his electric guitar to cover “It’s All Over Now,” which gave it a Southern rock sound. His blonde locks were dirty and tangled, the shirt was open, Kara was double-clicking her mouse, and all was right with the world. Ellen made a joke about being a lesbian and was wearing my Aunt Brenda’s scarf.
Lacey Brown: She put on her Pat Benatar gladrags for a chamber orchestra version of “Ruby Tuesday,” which was interesting, but a total bore. It sapped the energy out of the song and was too mannered. She might be in trouble.
Andrew Garcia: He should have gone home last week (instead of poor, mulleted Alex Lambert), and this rough version of “Gimme Shelter” proved it without a doubt. Flat, tuneless and his voice cracked on the power note at the end. Ellen must have stepped out to munch on Portia, because she thought it was his best performance ever. Maybe the scarf was cutting the oxygen off to her brain.
Katie Stevens: She also should have gone home last week (rather than Lilly Scott), but she was back tonight to ladle some pageant stank on “Wild Horses.” She was mostly on pitch, but it was bland and stripped of emotion. The ugly babydoll dress wasn’t doing her any favors either.
Tim Urban: From the moment the reggae arrangement began, I knew Lego head was going to totally fuck up “Under My Thumb,” and he didn’t disappoint. Maybe if he had come out and took off his shirt, it would have distracted me from the flat, off-pitch mess of a song.
Siobhan Magnus: The dramatic, tango-like arrangement of “Paint it Black” threatened to overwhelm her in the beginning, but then she unleashed her voice, the tempo picked up and the demented scream at the end was just crazy. I loved it.
Lee Dewyze: Deweezie mumbled through the lyrics of “Beast of Burden” apparently trying to find some middle ground between Dave Matthews and John Mayer. He took a Stones’ classic and turned it into Frat Rock Light. Hated it.
Paige Miles: She tweeted earlier in the day that she had a throat infection, but it didn’t seem to affect her shouty version of “Honky Tonk Woman.” It wasn’t great, but it was her best vocal performance in weeks. Maybe she should have more throat infections.
Aaron Kelly: He gave “Angie” his usual country twang, and it wasn’t bad. It was also his best performance in weeks, and the tween girls are surely pausing from shrieking over Bieber and “Twilight” to vote for him.
Crystal Bowersox: She knocked it out of the park again with a bluesy, Joplin-esque version of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” I can almost imagine a finale with Crystal and Siobhan facing off.
Who’s going home tomorrow night: Tim, Lacey or Lee.
Collin Kelley is a poet, Atlanta-based journalist and author of the recently released novel, “Conquering Venus.” Follow him on the Modern Confessional blog at collinkelley.com.