After another long and winding performance show due to a surfeit of ballads, the Top 9 results show hit the stage live from Hollywood Thursday night (March 21) with only a few things to do: Provide a stage for returning "American Idol" finalists Casey Abrams and Jessica Sanchez and kick off one more contestant. Or perhaps the judges would use their save. Either way, it would still be more exciting than the previous night's ballad-drenched snorefest.
Host Ryan Seacrest tells us we might be in for a surprise at show's opening, but that could mean nothing. Still, we watch...
Jimmy Iovine gives his critique of the Top 9 performances. He puts Amber Holcomb, Kree Harrison, and Candice Glover in his top three. He notes that if ever "Idol" had a natural singer, it's Candice.What about Angie Miller? Well, Jimmy thinks she's too dramatic, but he believes they can get that out of her system in the next couple weeks, hopefully in time to make a run on being the next "American Idol." He was annoyed with Burnell Taylor's ignorance of the Beatles, but he likes his voice. Janelle Arthur is Jimmy's "dark horse," and he gives her kudos for making a great song selection the evening before. He also likes Devin Velez' voice. He thinks Paul Jolley isn't ready for the spotlight just yet and sees him in the bottom. And Lazaro Arbos? Jimmy said Lazaro's performance was the worst of the Top 9. "No matter how America votes tonight, this was the bottom of the pile."
The Top 9 do their group number next: "Got To Get You Into My Life," the Earth, Wind, and Fire version from the movie soundtrack to the jukebox musical film, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." It has more life than anything done the night before, even Candice's quasi-cover of Aerosmith's version of "Come Together," which was also from that soundtrack.
Ryan steps in and sends all the Top 9 to the sideline seats, except for Paul Jolley. Instead, he hands him a proclamation from the city of Dresden, Tenn., which declared March 16 Paul Jolley Day. But with the good news came the bad: Paul was in the bottom three.
He was going to have to wait a while to find out his fellow bottom dwellers, because next up was Season 10 finalist Casey Abrams. In keeping with the Beatles theme of the week, Casey performed a jazzy rendition of the Fab Four's "I Saw Her Standing There." One thing's for certain: He's still the creative Casey we all loved back in Season 10. It is unclear why Casey didn't perform from his self-titled debut album, which produced the Top 10 Smooth Jazz song, "Simple Life," and the Adult Top 40 and the Hot Adult Contemporary Top 40 hit, "Get Out."
After Casey, it appears Paul will have to wait a few minutes longer by his lonesome as the five girl finalists perform "Here, There, and Everywhere."
And then Ryan's back. He gets Devin to stand up, asks him about the judges' criticisms the night before. Devin says he just needs to find a connection to his songs. The American viewers thought he wasn't connecting either and Paul finally had a companion.
It's Lazaro's turn. Ryan wants to know if the judges were too hard on him. Lazaro dodges the bullet by telling him no. Asked what he needed to do to improve, he said he needed to sing the songs he loved and not change songs like he did the previous night (his choice, "In My Life," was his third choice). But it didn't matter. Lazaro was safe.
That twitpic Jessica Sanchez sent out earlier in the week showing her at rest in a dance studio was a bit of foreshadowing. The Season 12 runner-up hit the stage with Ne-Yo and showed off some of the moves she's been practicing. The two performed "Tonight," Jessica's first single off her debut album, Me, You & The Music (due out in April). It was catchy and a departure from Jessica's strong ballads from last season, but if memory serves, she did a few uptempo songs as well that weren't as well received by the judges. But now America's wallet will be her judge. The single drops Friday, March 22.
Back to the results...
Kree is the person Ryan next says is safe. She's followed by Candice and Angie. Janelle is next, also safe.
Ryan isn't revealing where the finalists placed this week, so it's looking like the leaderboard idea has been scrapped (maybe they, too, thought it was too much like "X Factor").
Two left: Burnell and Amber. And despite Jimmy Iovine's earlier prediction, Amber received fewer votes and lands in the bottom three. When asked what he thought, Randy said he was "shocked" she was in the bottom.
In the final reveal, though, she and Devin are safe. Paul has to sing for his life. Remember that "victory song" he chose, "Alone" by Heart? (Not a great choice, by the way.) He got to sing it but it did him no good. The judges couldn't reach a unanimous decision to let him stay, so...
We're down to the Top 8.
"Idol" returns next week to see who makes the Top 7. The eight remaining finalists will be tackling songs from "Motown."
"American Idol" airs at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox Television.