It’s a good thing contender Crystal Bowersox recovered in time to perform Wednesday on “American Idol,” or she would have been automatically eliminated. She—and the show—reaped the rewards.
The news of her possible disqualification came from “Idol” producer Ken Warwick on Miss Seacrest’s radio show Wednesday morning. Luckily, Crystal was released from the hospital today (complications due to diabetes, according to media reports) and opened the show.
Crystal Bowersox: She came back firing on all thrusters, setting the bar high for the rest of the girls with a beautiful cover of “Long As I Can See the Light” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Even before Kara DioLaguardiaAirport said it, I had written “effortless” in my notes.
Haeley Vaughn: I never thought I’d be praising Miley Cyrus’ vocals, but after hearing Haeley’s nightmarishly out of tune version of “The Climb,” Miley is fucking Maria Callas by comparison. Is Haeley a simpleton? She can’t stop smiling even when being massacred by the judges.
Lacey Brown: She should have gone home last week after desecrating “Landslide,” but Lacey decided to take Kara’s suggestion and cover “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer. It was karaoke at best, with some odd, unnecessary flourishes. I think she should go back to restoring furniture.
Katie Stevens: I used to like Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On,” but it’s been so butchered over the years by “Idol” contestants that I can’t stand it. Katie was off-key and forgettable, but cute enough to stick around a few more weeks.
Didi Benami: We found out that Didi prays and meows before each performance, but neither of those things helped in her screechy cover of “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers. The judges reduced her to tears with their criticism, but I’ll give her a thumbs up for the outfit, which I think Lindsay Wagner wore while fighting the Fembots on the “Bionic Woman” in 1976.
Michelle Delamor: If you need someone to sing at your wedding reception, give Michelle a call because she’ll be available soon. She’s got a good voice, but she’s got no star power. She is what she is: a corporate/party singer who can adapt to any genre required, even an adult contemporary version of Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open.”
Lilly Scott: I figured out tonight that she kinda reminds me of a cross between Tina Yothers from “Family Ties” and old MTV vj Nina Blackwood. The judges relentlessly pimped her (“best of the night,” “riveting”) after covering “A Change is Gonna Come,” but I agree with Simon that she wasn’t better than Crystal.
Katelyn Epperly: She sat at the piano and took Coldplay’s already dirge-like “The Scientist” and made it into a funeral march except the weird power note at the end that went totally off key. Ellen was so bored she thought Katelyn was playing the guitar. It did sound like Natasha Bedingfield’s version, but, you guessed it, Natasha is a better singer.
Paige Miles: I thought she did a serviceable job of Kelly Clarkson’s “Walk Away,” but it was no big whoop. She just leaves me shrugging my shoulders. Kara wrote the song, so she had to tell the backstory of the guy who did her wrong and…zzzzzzz.
Siobhan Magnus: She took a big risk covering “Think” by Aretha Franklin and somehow managed to carry it off, even hitting the big note at the end. She’s just weird enough to stick around to the Top 10.
Who’s going home tomorrow night? Should be Haeley and Didi, but Paige and Lacey are possibilities.
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.