Idol Live Blog – Rhythm & Blues

7:51: Happy Tuesday, faithful readers! We’re 9 minutes away from our Top 10 performance show. Who’s excited? Or who’s cautiously optimistic? Who’s drinking? Back soon.

7:53: Tonight’s pre-Idol viewing is the last few minutes of Access Hollywood. Their topics: Heidi and Spencer are being melodramatic! (Duh). Kate Gosselin is causing trouble on Dancing With the Stars! (Double duh). Ricky Martin came out! (SERIOUSLY FREAKING DUH). What ever would we do without Billy Bush in our lives?

7:57: So – any predictions for this evening? Who do you expect to wipe out? I worry for Andrew Garcia and Tim Urban. Their aesthetics do not scream R&B to me, no?

8:00: Wow, that was semi-dramatic. I’m talking about the judges’ kissing session. Just to be clear.

8:02: Fall, Ryan! FALL!!!! Damn.

8:03: Hey, a cluster-eff of sound! That’s a lovely metaphor for the season.

8:04: It’s “low-cut sweetheart neckline night” tonight, apparently. Are you impressed that I knew that phrase? Seven solid seasons without missing an episode of Project Runway, my friends. Tim Gunn, represent!

8:05: I have no interesting comments to make about Usher. He’s very talented. And apparently will be mercilessly pimping his new album this evening.

8:08: Siobhan says “wicked”! Go, New England homegirl!

8:09: “What separates Siobhan from the rest of the pack is her very unique vocal ability.” Okay then.

8:10: This arrangement is very elevator-ish, or maybe ’80s soft rock. And there are some VERY rough notes here. Yeesh. And not to pile on, but is she wearing ski boots?

8:12: Why is there a pink elephant on Randy’s sweater? The multicolor argyle is enough going on, no?

8:13: Dear Simon: Please button about two more buttons, por favor.

8:14: I can’t fault the judges for being brutal; it was her weakest performance. And her talk-back felt a little whiny.

8:16: How much time is there to kill tonight? Because it’s one thing to let Usher talk about his new album; spending an additional three minutes piling on Siobhan feels unnecessary.

8:17: Hey, a Luke Wilson AT&T commercial! I haven’t seen one of those before!

8:20: Awesome idea! Let’s show the green room and chronicle the complete and utter devastation of contestants.

8:21: “This is close as we’ll get to blues.” Yup, right in the title, Casey. R&B, hon.

8:22: This arrangement is not drastically different, but damn if he isn’t killing it. In the good way, Simon.

8:24: Well, that was just…fun. Everyone involved looked like they were having a blast. I hope he’s not a hotter, guitar-ripping Taylor Hicks all over again, though.

8:27: Remember my “who’s drinking” question from earlier? We have our answer: Ryan.

8:28: Liam Neeson as Zeus in Clash of the Titans is Perfect (capital P) casting, no? Although I’m not sure how I feel about the movie in general. We all remember the original, right?

8:31: Props to Fox for switching up the commercials this week. No Subway, Vitamin Water or Ford yet!

8:32: Thank God Big Mike isn’t singing directly to Usher, like he did to Miley last week. That might’ve made Usher uncomfortable.

8:34: I’m going to start wearing sunglasses inside, just like Usher. I’ve just decided. I think I can pull it off.

8:35: This is quite good, methinks. And the sitting-and-not-hamming-it-up setup is working for Big Mike.

8:38: When we get back: Big Mike’s awkward candid camera excerpt! This is a shot in the dark, but I’m guessing he’s going to divulge that he had a lot of fun.

8:40: Was it on the set of Date Night that Tina Fey asked James Franco to guest on 30 Rock? Whenever it was, kudos. He was hilarious. As was Kimiko-tan. (Go watch the episode if that makes no sense).

8:44: I was about to ask aloud how Usher knew Didi was emotional, and then she burst into tears in their practice session. Okay then.

8:46: I love this song, but there are some harsh notes in here. She should’ve played with the arrangement a little more to suit her strengths, as this arrangement – perilously close to the original – is instead exposing her weaknesses.

8:48: Ellen, booing yourself doesn’t work. You’ve tried it for about six weeks running. Just go ahead and criticize.

8:49: Can someone tell Didi that she looks great tonight? In memory of Paula? And so that Didi doesn’t completely lose it up here?

8:50: Ooh, Simon just bitch-slapped Dancing with the Stars! Hee.

8:51: Does Ryan have a crush on Didi? Because she wasn’t going to play the sympathy card, and he just slapped it down onto the table on her behalf…

8:53: Hey, exciting news, b-roll readers! I ordered a keyboard (piano, not computer) today to brush up on my terribly rusty piano skillz. My goal is to join Ricky Minor and the Idol band next year. Fingers crossed!

8:54: May I ask: Who is this girl in the Ford commercials? It’s her in one commercial and Kris Allen in the other, which makes me feel like I should know who she is.

8:55: Colin Hanks? BRADLEY WHITFORD?! And my list of must-see teevee gets longer. Damn you, Fox!

8:57: “When Tim first started singing, I didn’t believe him.” Welcome to our world, Usher.

8:58: Hafta say: Way to hit the nail on the head, Usher. No seriously (no sarcasm). That was EXACTLY Tim’s issue.

9:00: Wow, this is boring. And a touch out of tune. Please, for the love of God, put down the cell phones, teenage girls of America. It’s time for Tim to go gently into that good night.

9:01: Best. Backhanded. Compliment. EVER. After totally and utterly savaging it – “pedestrian” and a “singing waiter” – Randy ends with, “On the plus side, it was in tune.” Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

9:03: Now it’s Simon’s turn to hit the nail on the head! True dat, Simon. I actually applauded at the end of that critique, it was so hilarious.

9:05: Does anyone doubt that J-Lo and Adorable Guy will get together at the end of The Back-Up Plan? Sorry if I spoiled it for you, but seriously…

9:08: Candid camera question: Did Siobhan and Didi forgo the interview because they were too distraught? Or did the camera operators just decide to let them sob in semi-peace by shooting the group room instead? I be curious.

9:10: I know this is an obvious joke, but: Cue the wedding party!

9:12: This is an awesome arrangement, and props for recapturing some mojo there, Andrew. However – this is pretty much the only thing he can do, yeah? Stripped-down accoustic versions of other peoples’ songs?

9:15: That “You better calm down, Mama” might have earned him more votes than the performance. Hysterical.

9:18: Important note: the phrase “Katie takes on Aretha” just caused my entire apartment to gasp in horror. This could end badly.

9:21: Um, Katie? Fantasia rocked this song way back when. Danger, Will Robinson!

9:23: This performance has a lot of attitude, but THERE ARE STILL PITCH ISSUES. I’m running out of ways to say this, as I don’t speak any other languages.

9:25: Simon, thank you for letting the air out of the “Katie is the next Christina” balloon. That was wildly necessary.

9:28: I can just envision the Idol control room as that dreadful judges’ banter thundered along: “For God’s sake, turn the music on!!!” When the music plays you off and you’re not on an awards show, you know it’s bad.

9:35: I like Lee. I really want him to pull this off.

9:37: Wow. This is awesome. And not an off-key note in earshot. Do we finally have an answer to the “Crystal vs. ?” finale slot?

9:39: To celebrate, Lee eats his guitar pick. Whatever works for you, buddy.

9:41: I’m really over the Old Navy mannequin commercials. They really freak me out.

9:43: You know what’s irritating? When you’re on a healthy eating plan, and your main thought process is “I’m hungry, I’m hungry, holy crap am I hungry” and then you see an Outback commercial with sizzling steaks. Not cool.

9:44: Not to make another 30 Rock reference (oh what the hell, that show’s incredible), but does anyone flash back to the Kenneth-Tracy-Grizz-Dot Com-Jenna version whenever they hear Midnight Train to Georgia? Nope, me either.

9:45: Wearing stilettos while sitting at a piano bench is the only way I could wear them, too. Well played, Crystal.

9:46: Damn, this girl can sing. For the record: I would buy her album.

9:49: I agree with all of the judges. Even Simon.

9:50: Did we all catch the Sue Sylvester (aka Jane Lynch) sighting in the audience? GLEE RETURNS IN TWO WEEKS!!!!! Not that I’m excited.

9:52: This tampon commercial is HILARIOUS. Maybe more so to, you know, girls. Props to Kotex.

9:54: Run, judges! RUN!!!

9:55: Aaron’s got a great voice, but didn’t Kris Allen do this wonderfully last year?

9:57: This is a little wobbly – can’t tell if it’s vibrato or nerves. Not bad, but not epic either.

9:59: Some of us do like cupcakes better than main courses. Again: I am hungry. STOP TAUNTING ME, RYAN!

So, as we recap the evening, final thoughts: Lee definitely had a “moment.” Crystal was excellent (well, yeah) and Casey, Andrew and Big Mike were very entertaining as well. Bottom three? Gonna have to go with Tim, Didi and Siobhan. Katie and Aaron were only aight for me.

Overall, it was a pretty good night! There were about three or four songs that I’d actually own, as opposed to last week, when iTunes really would’ve had to pay me. What did you think?

See you tomorrow for the results show!

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