Have we all recovered from the loss of Alex Lambert or Lilly Scott?  Didn’t think so.  But while the “right” person doesn’t always win (sorry, Taylor Hicks, love ya, but … no), the Top 12 isn’t always the most talented dozen.  Without further ado.

It’s Rolling Stones night, and rock-and-roll purists of the world grow one step closer to throwing themselves collectively off a bridge.  Bring in Bruce as a mentor, and it’s all over.

“Big” Michael Lynche – “Miss You.”  Wow, I’d totally forgotten Mike had a baby.  Don’t like the chain wallet, dude.  I also don’t like this arrangement, but he sounds fine and swaggers with just the right amount of confidence. A little too much vibrato and falsetto for this song.  The meat of the song is totally ripped out, and it’s just a showcase for runs and glory notes.  But he’s probably fine, even though stuck early in the night.

Didi Benami – “Play With Fire.” Her family gives me the creeps.  Great voice, control of the dynamics, and great stage presence.  Unlike most of these fools, it looks as though she is truly feeling the mood of the song (though I don’t buy her as a dangerous type).  “Couple of pitch problems,” but she sticks the landing when it counts.  And unlike Big Mike, who sang, like none of his song, Didi sings like the entire song.  She’s talented and “commercial,” but what demographic is voting for her?  She’s not a “rocker” or a kid or a diva … she’s just … simply good.

Casey James – “It’s All Over Now.” Total pie-face in the interview.  So the deal with Casey is that he is a hotter Bo Bice.  Bo Bice, shockingly, came in second only to Carrie Underwood that year.  And Casey’s whole package (looks, guitar playing, hair, and yes … I said “package”) is better than just his voice on a platter.  That said, his voice is raw and pleasing to the ear, and I think he’s actually better than he thinks he is.  But I’ve yet to be blown away by any of his singing specifically.

Shut up, Randy.  Shut up, shut up, shut UP!

Lacey Brown – “Ruby Tuesday.” I can’t make up my mind on this one.  I appreciate how she “makes things her own.” Two weeks ago, she took one of my least favorite songs ever (“Kiss Me” by Sixpence) and tweaked it ever-so-slightly so that I liked it better.  She does the same thing here, double-timing the “still I’m gonna miss you” lyric (and changing the last note).  Her tone is pretty, part syrup, part gin, but she doesn’t seem to have as much control as she should, especially when in her lower register.  Last note was rough.  So obviously … she’s never gonna win, but she’s certainly better than I am.  Love her hair, confused by her outfit.  As one friend pointed out, it looks like she has Spanx peeking out from under her skirt.

Andrew Garcia – “Gimme Shelter.”  One of my favorite Stones songs, but WTF is this version?  Ohh, ANDREW.  You are entering Daughtry territory.  It’s like the Stones by way of an early-90s pop producer.  Like … “Gimme Shelter” as covered by Breathe.  And while this song is powerful, and has improved about 10 Scorsese-directed scenes, there isn’t a whole lot going on within to highlight one’s pipes.  He does belt a little at the end, but overall it was stilted and blah.  Not terribly pitchy, though, as Randy claims.

Katie Stevens – “Wild Horses.”  Katie = “Small Wonder.”  And so dern popular! Yawn.  Dress is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and she doesn’t sit like a lady when on the Ryan stool.  Grandma will be disappointed!  Now as for the performance … best she’s done in quite some time.  Stepped up her game huge after last week’s abomination.  Pure tone, good control, powerful pipes.  But she’s still a little fembot (the way she holds the mic proves it), and she won’t win.  Simon name-drops “Susan Boye” in a truly Jacksonian fashion.

Tim Urban – “Under My Thumb.” Oh, sweet little borrowed-time Tim.  Great genes procured from a family of nerds.  He’s cute, humble, and sweet as always.  Hair isn’t as creepily molded, and the guitar is back, which improves things I think, from his confidence to his stage presence.  I think he’s getting better and better every week, really, and is perhaps the second-best guy left?  The reggae take is a little weird/annoying/late-90s, but the song highlights his range and his vocals.  Even the skew into falsetto at the end is successful – how is this the same guy who choked on “Apologize” in Week One?

Shut up, Randy.

Siobhan Magnus – “Paint it Black.” What a lovable little freak.  And a chameleon – she looks different from week to week.  Tonight she looks like Karen Duffy meets Celine Dion meets light socket.  Very cool slow-to-fast version that is accompanied by one hell of a command of the stage.  When she pushes her upper register it sounds a bit strained, all in her throat.  And she can’t keep trying to end every song with a screech (thank you, Simon).  But the girl can sing.  Although I like Didi better.

Lee DeWyze – “Beast of Burden.” Still my favorite. Still not liking the facial hair.  He continues to struggle with enunciating, but his tone his refreshingly gravelly, and he changes the song in such a way as to make it both more catchy and more challenging for his vocals.  Hate this song, though.  Boring.  But I could definitely imagine sitting in an amphitheater somewhere, with sandwiches, and listening to Lee jam for an hour or two.

Paige Miles- “Honky Tonk Woman.”  She looks lovely, and after a rocky start, she rocks it with soul and works the stage like a champ.  To quote Randy’s idiocy, it’s a million thousand gajillion percent better than last week.  Dammit!  There isn’t a clear loser yet tonight (well … maybe Andrew).  And again, shut up Randy.  Paige has been all over the Internets talking about her throat infection.  She should have a throat infection ALWAYS!

Aaron Kelly – “Angie.”  “Rock and Roll with Aaron Kelly,” says Seacrest. I laugh for hours.  Holy hell, he’s Haley Joel Osment.  And of course he’s picked the whiniest song in rock and roll.  The duck-bill/fauxhawk hair is relatively ridiculous. (Not Sanjaya-ridiculous, but it’s all relative).  He’s okay, I guess, he’s got a good range and good control, but I’ still not a fan. Plus he’s got that creepy “I’m a little [probably gay] boy working the f*ck-me eyes” Idol-inspired phenomenon going on.  NERD!

Crystal Bowersox – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”  Is anyone from a non “tiny” town?  This montage with her Dad is weird.  So Crystal has taken this song, which is all booming and children’s choir and organs, and stripped it down to its very soul.  She is singing the hell out of it, yet keeping it so simple.  Can we just say she wins now?  I mean, she’s just amazing, heads and shoulders above everyone.  And she’s looking quite lovely this week, to boot.  We :heart: you!

So … Andrew may be in trouble.  Maybe poor Didi due to her second-spot death slot.  It will be interesting to see the results in, oh … 15 minutes.  Nick of time!

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