Ryan, who is looking so dapper tonight, tells us that THIS is American Idol. Duh. He also tells us that tonight's theme is Stevie Wonder songs. Haven't we slaughtered Mr. Wonder's songs enough, finalists? I think the producers must have been partying with Paula's medicine cabinet when they chose this theme. Oh, I dearly hope that no one drags out "I Just Called To Say I Love You". That seriously would just be the end of me.
Blah, blah, more filler about how the Top 12 became the Top 12. I guess to fill in those who don't watch until the finals? So here I am, sitting through the montage, thankful for extra shots of extra-hot Chris.
Now Ryan is asking the judges about what they think about this year's group. Paula Abdul, master (mistress?) grammarian, invents the term "most diversed". Hmm. Maybe "most diverse" or "most diversified"? I guess Paula, super genius, knows best.
First up is Ace the Hottie. He's going to sing "Do I Do", a Stevie Wonder song that I have never heard. Aww...isn't Ace so cute? Too bad he's abysmal and shouts the entire song. Much easier to look at than to listen to. Randy agrees with me, and says that Ace's performance was, and I quote, "aight". I guess that means "all right"? Boy, I'm nitpicky with words today. Paula, of course, loves the performance and asks him back to her place later. Well, not in so many words as to actually ask him, but you know, with her low cut top. Simon, voice of reason, says that Ace will have to do better.
Performer Number Two tonight is The Pickler. She's going to sing "Blame It On The Sun", which is such a lovely song. I like that in Kellie's interview video the producers didn't dumb her down. They let her talk naturally and use words like "genre" and "challenging". In other words, they let her be her goofy, likeable self. Personally, I think that Kellie looked absolutely fabulous in her black strapless dress and red shoes that I would probably beat somebody up for. Her hair is curled and sure, she looks a bit older than 19, but looks pretty nonetheless. Her performance, in my opinion, is restrained and subtle, and overall, good. Randy, Paula, and Simon disagree with me, telling her that it was boring, too safe, and basically everything was wrong with it. Wow. Hard to see the judges turn on someone so quickly that they basically married in the previous rounds.
Next is Elliott, who was born for this round of competition. I really wanted to hug him when he started crying at the thought of singing with Stevie Wonder. Such a nice guy. He's singing "Knocks Me Off My Feet", and his voice is so smooth that I don't even mind his teeth tonight. Anyone else think that maybe he saw a dentist over the last week to have his teeth whitened? Wow, he's good. I could listen to him over and over. Randy thought that it wasn't his best, but still very good; Paula makes the obvious assessment that Elliott loves Stevie; and Simon said that it was good, but that he didn't have the 'wow' factor. I decide to vote for Elliott anyway, because it's not fair for Elliott to go home on Stevie Wonder night.
Oh, yeah, up now is my girl Mandisa, singing "Don't You Worry About A Thing". I love Mandisa's shoes, but she tells Ryan that her feet hurt, so he kneels down in front of her and removes her shoes. My heart skipped a beat, just a little, because I have a little crush on Ryan. So Mandisa is awesome, and singing barefoot in front of millions of people. Go, girl! Randy said that he liked some of her other performances better, but it was still the best so far; Paula agreed with Stevie Wonder, in that Mandisa can, in fact, sing anything; and Simon agreed that it was definitely the best so far.
Wow! Bucky washed his hair! And it looks amazingly like Jessica Simpson's. He's singing "Superstitious" and is growling his way through it. Bucky is not long for this competition, y'all, because he can't stop growling the songs. It's not horrible, but it's just not great, either. Randy also said that it wasn't great; Paula said that she enjoyed it; and Simon also made the Jessica Simpson reference and goes as far to say that it was Bucky's best to date. We're all over the place tonight!
Sixth up is Melissa, who gets a dressing down from Stevie about messing up his lyrics. Dang! He's cold! She's attempting to sing "Lately", and it's shaky. She flubs the words again (!), and you can tell that her nerves are really getting the best of her. Randy said that she can sing, but is upset that she forgot the words; Paula thinks that she should wear dresses more often and that Melissa's voice is soothing; and Simon believes that it was also her best performance.
Next up is Lisa-bot, who kind of shot Stevie Wonder the kind of look that said, "Finally, another professional to with whom to work!" because y'all know that she always uses proper grammar. It's programmed in her motherboard. She's taking a chance tonight and singing "Signed, Sealed, Delivered", which is the most up-tempo song that I've ever heard come from her. She finally seemed young, but I was just not into this performance. I may have yawned, I can't remember. Randy says that he was also bored, but that the end was good; Paula's happy for some indiscernible reason; and Simon says once again that this was one of her best, and that she's got "it".
Okay, I'm taking a break here to say that Simon is being so nice tonight, that I think Paula may have dropped something in his Coke glass.
Oh, dear, heavens. Kevin is going to freaking sing "Part-Time Lover". He is obviously the comic relief for the show, and part of me believes that he's in on the joke. He's working that stage like there's no tomorrow, dancing around like an 80-year old man who just discovered Viagra. I have nothing else to say about Kevy because I was laughing so hard that I couldn't write. Randy is in love with Kevin, and is amazed that he sang it well and in tune; Paula wants to squish him and is likewise shocked that he sang the song in time; Simon, surely making Kevin go home and cry, tells him that this was the part of the show where Stevie turned down the volume. It was appalling, said Mr. Cowell.
Katharine "McPhever" McPhee is singing "Until You Come Back To Me", and is reminding everyone why she is in the Top 12. Her vocals are awesome, her prescreens is powerful, and yet she insists on wearing what looks like maternity clothing. Disappointed in Katharine's sartorial choices. She's got a good body--why is she hiding it? Randy says that "Kat is back!" and that her performance was unbelievable. Paula tells Katharine that she pierces the heart, and that it was her best ever. Simon, who almost gets flashed by the McPhee, makes a Kelly Clarkson comparison. Stunning.
This half of the performances is really blowing me away as Taylor sings "Living For The City". He's looking sharp in his black jacket, tailored pants, and crisp white shirt. It's Clooney-esque, possibly, and just downright great. Randy told him that it was hot; Paula agrees, and notes Taylor's passion for singing while Simon gives him a backhanded compliment about drunk dads at weddings.
Cutie Patootie Paris is singing "All I Do" and her vocals are spot on. She even looks like a cute little girl tonight, and I am just impressed beyond words. Randy said that she finally came around, another hot one; Paula said that she looks like a seasoned vet (take that, Lisa Tucker!); and Simon finished off by saying that it was brilliant, and that she looks like a doll. Awww, that's so sweet!
Finally, the man I've been waiting for. Chris takes the stage with force and sheer animal magnetism, making me a little weak when he sings "Higher Ground". Mmm...my heart is pounding, my palms are sweating. I think I'm in love. He is so awesome. So, so awesome. Mind-glowingly awesome. He makes me want to throw spare undergarments onto the stage! Awesome. The crowd is so excited that it takes Randy a minute to get to throw his two cents in, telling Chris that no matter the genre, he makes it his own; Paula says that she never worries when Chris takes the stage; and Simon rounds us out by saying "Thank God for Chris." and that his performance was the only 'real-world' performance, and that he could have a hit record with his version. Excuse me, I need to fan myself.
Bottom Three: Ace, Kevin, Melissa
The next American Idol: Chris