Judge Simon Cowell said this is the first time Crystal Bowersox is beaten by another contestant who reminded Kara DioGuardi of Adam Lambert.
Six girls and six boys who survived the ax last week continued their journey on "American Idol" with fiercer battle and bigger stage. The theme this week is The Rolling Stones' music and audience will also get a glimpse of the contestants' home life.
Michael Lynche opened the show with "Miss You". Randy Jackson said, "Dawg, you slayed it. Way to start the show." Ellen DeGeneres said, "At some point I'm going to be disappointed, but not yet." Kara DioGuardi said, "Being hot on stage - you did that." Simon Cowell blasted Mike's performance as "corny" and "a tiny bit desperate".
Didi Benami was the first woman on the stage. She sang "Play with Fire". Randy said, "That was one of your best performances. You're on fire." Ellen thought she was "great" while Kara said, "What I liked tonight that I saw was an intensity. Both weeks you're moving toward who you are as an artist." Simon praised the song choice and added, "I thought you were going to loose it 30 seconds in, twice. Solid, not brilliant performance."
Casey James performed "It's All Over Now" with electric guitar. Randy said, "You're back to the Casey I love. I loved it - you are back." Ellen thought Casey was "fantastic". Kara said Casey was not just trying to be a rock star but he was a rock star. Simon said, "You sang it well. For me, that was like an audition performance. But you've got to push yourself. Not just a guy standing there with a guitar. Just be a star."
Lacey Brown picked "Ruby Tuesday". Randy said, "Definitely very interesting arrangement. I actually was pleasantly surprised." Ellen called it "sleepy" while Kara said, "It was 50-50 for me." Simon said Lacey performed like an actress and it was not a compliment. He told her to stop over thinking and just letting it go.
Andrew Garcia ditched the guitar and went with "Gimme Shelter". Randy said, "You know I love you, but it was just pitchy everywhere, it wasn't great." Ellen on the other hand said it was Andrew's best performance so far. Kara did not see intensity, emotion and connection to the song. Simon said he was kind of in the middle, adding "I think you gave it 100 percent."
Katie Stevens sang "Wild Horses". Randy thought she sang the ballad well and Ellen agreed. Kara said it was technically not right but added, "What I liked about tonight was you made some nice variations on the melody." Simon did not like the second part of the arrangement. However he noted that this is the first time Katie is connected to the song.
Tim Urban sang "Under My Thumb" and turned it into reggae. Randy said, "I didn't get that, dude. It didn't serve you or the song well." Ellen described the atmosphere, saying "I felt like I was at a resort, drinking a pina colada. It just didn't wow me." Kara also didn't like it but nevertheless complimented Tim's effort to make it his own. Simon laid it flat, "A lot of people who are Rolling Stones fans are turning their television off at this point."
Siobhan Magnus sang "Paint It Black" and she made it a ballad. Randy gushed, "Bringin' the drama to Season 9. That was hot!" Ellen loved the way she looks and sounds while Kara had flashbacks of Adam Lambert. "It was the standout performance of the night," she said. Simon compared it to Snooki's poof which is a stand out. "Some are going to hate it, some are going to love it - that's a good place to be. It's better than being boring," Simon said.
Lee Dewyze sang "Beast of Burden". Randy said it was a cross between Rob Thomas and Dave Matthews, adding "Dude I thought it was dope, one of your better performances." Ellen made a joke about a hospital gown that doesn't quite come together. Kara said, "You are growing better with every week. Tremendous growth." Simon loved Lee's vocal but hated the fact that he lacked personality.
Paige Miles who got a sore throat sang "Honky Tonk Woman". Randy said she did it alright. Ellen thought she sounded great although she was struggling with the voice. Kara said this was the performance that made Paige back. Simon called it old-fashioned and told her to bring back the big voice that they loved in Hollywood.
Aaron Kelly picked "Angie". Randy loved the tender moments and thought it was "hot". Ellen approved the song choice, saying it was "beautiful". Kara kept it simple, saying "Really great, really powerful." Meanwhile, Simon gave a nod to the song choice and said, "I think that what you did cleverly, you sang the song within the limits of your vocal. Well done."
Crystal Bowersox was the last act of the night. She sang "Can't Always Get What You Want" but Randy thought it was not her best performance. Ellen said, "You are born to be on stage. You started adding a little more personality tonight. Just let yourself have fun on stage." Kara agreed with Randy, saying "It wasn't your greatest vocal performance. But it's easy to watch." Simon said, "You chose a song that didn't have what you needed. This was the first time when I think you were beaten by someone, Siobhan."