Crystal returned tonight, and Idol is back on track.
Crystal Bowersox sang “Long as I Can See the Light” by Creedance Clearwater Revival. This girl has got some serious soul. I loved the beginning without the guitar, but I also loved when the music got going. Crystal has an incredible voice, and I'm so glad she's back tonight. Randy said Crystal is true to herself, and he loved her performance. Ellen said Crystal has "pure, raw, natural talent." Kara said Crystal is focused and makes it look effortless. She said Crystal hit a new level tonight. Simon said it was a great song and he underestimated Crystal last week. He said she's a serious artist.
Haeley Vaughn sang “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus. She wanted to try a serious song this week. She changed the melody a bit; some of the changes were good, some were not. I thought she did a good job with the first chorus, but when she hit the bridge the song fell apart. Randy said Haeley's performance was excruciating and pitchy. He said she had no connection with the song. Ellen said Haeley is adorable and told her to keep smiling, but she didn't feel a connection either. Kara believes people are rooting for Haeley because she's open and real, but she's inconsistent and needs more vocal training. Simon said the performance was a complete and utter mess. He said, in theory, the song choice should have worked, but it didn't. He also said it was ironic that Haeley sang a song about climbing when she actually fell off.
Lacey Brown sang “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer. The first line was terrible, and the first verse wasn't great. However, the chorus was better. Overall I thought it was an okay performance, but Lacey needed to be great this week. She hasn't won me as a fan yet. Randy said it was a good song choice, but it sounded karaoke. He said there was nothing special about it. Ellen said Lacey is adorable, and she thought Lacey picked the right song and did great tonight. Kara said the song showed off Lacey's unique vocal tone, but she needs to step it up now. Simon said Lacey did better than last week, but he feels like she's trying to compete rather than trying to show off her artistry.
Katie Stevens sang “Put Your Record On” by Corinne Bailey Ray. Katie has a beautiful voice and tone. I thought the song suited her, but it's still not the "current" sound the judges want to hear. Randy said Katie's upper register (higher notes) was really good, but she didn't captivate him from the beginning. He said she needs to tackle bigger songs and show off her vocals. Ellen said Katie has a great voice, but she still wants to hear her sing a young, hip song. Kara agreed with Ellen. She said the ending was great, but the beginning was too low for Katie. She said Katie needs to make an impact. Simon said that Katie took the judges' advice, but she still needs to decide what kind of artist she wants to be. He said it wasn't a winning performance, but it was good enough to stick around.
Didi Benami sang “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. The key was way too low for her. She improved in the chorus but had no dynamics. The ending improvisation was not in tune. Randy said the song showed more of Didi's imperfections than her talents. Ellen said Didi has a great voice, but this was not the greatest song choice. Kara said this performance was just not good. She said Didi is lacking consistency. She said the song felt karaoke and Didi lost the uniqueness of her voice in her interpretation. Simon said the vocals were all over the place. He said Didi was screeching, and the song choice was generic.
Michelle Delamor sang “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed. I still don't know this girl's name. When Ryan said she was next, I said, "Who?" I thought the song was too airy; she needed to belt it out more. Randy said there were pitch problems and she didn't do enough with the song. Ellen said she appreciated how Michelle changed the song; she forgot for a moment that it was a rock song. She loved the song choice, but the performance wasn't quite right. Kara said this was her favorite performance of Michelle's because it was believable. She said it wasn't technically perfect, but Michelle took a risk. Simon agreed with Kara; Michelle attempted to make the song her own, and she got it 80% right.
Lilly Scott sang “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. Lilly was in her element tonight. This was a great song choice for her, and she had great stage presence. I really liked her performance. She has definitely improved. Randy said Lilly is unique and this was a tough song, but it was his favorite performance of the night. Ellen said Lilly has got the "it" factor. She said she forgot it was a singing competition; she just just a fan in a seat enjoying the performance. She also said this was the best of the night. Kara said Lilly just had her first "moment." Kara was riveted. She said Lilly is going to change the game for Idol because she's such a mismatch on the show, but she's doing so well. Simon thought Lilly's performance was good, but he said Crystal's performance was stronger.
Katelyn Epperly sang “The Scientist” by Coldplay. Katelyn played piano tonight, and it was cool to see that artistic side of her. The song was simple, but Katelyn has a beautiful and pure voice. I really like her. I feel that she connects to the music well. Randy said the song was slow, but it was nice to hear Katelyn on piano. He said it was a great performance until the last couple of notes. Ellen said it was too slow and sleepy. Kara said Katelyn has an incredible voice, but she needs to figure out who she is as an artist. Simon said it was a smart song choice, but Katelyn's performance was a little corny. However, he said she's contemporary and improved from last week.
Paige Miles sang “Walk Away” by Kelly Clarkson. I felt like Paige didn't know where to breathe during the verses, which made her changes in the melody awkward. The chorus was bridge were really strong. She has such a powerful voice. I liked this performance. Randy said Paige has a big voice, but he didn't like the song choice. He said he wants to hear her voice, not a bunch of choppy words. Ellen loved it. She said Paige changed it up just enough and had great energy on stage. Kara said she can hear Paige having a hit with that song. She likes the soul/pop/rock genre for Paige, but she said the song needed more angst. Simon said Paige got lost in the song. Once again, he said she has a strong voice, but it was a forgettable performance.
Siobahn Magnus sang “Think” by Aretha Franklin. At first I thought this performance was awkward. There were a few rough patches, but it was a strong vocal overall. That note at the end was sick. Randy said Siobahn made a bold and fearless choice tonight. He said her performance was "dope." Ellen said Siobahn took a risk in choosing such a big song, but it was really good. Kara said she was blown away by that high note. Simon said Siobahn is interesting and very talented. He said the high note was incredible, but there were parts of the song that weren't so good.
My favorites tonight were Crystal, Katie, and Katelyn. Lilly also killed it, but she's not my favorite style.
I think Didi and Lacey are going home.