'American Idol': Expert Bloggers Size Up the Final Nine

What do Elvis Presley, Adam Lambert and a group of somewhat talented singers have in common?

They were all a part of Tuesday night's "American Idol."

This week's theme was Elvis, and it had some competitors shining and some singing as if it were karaoke night at the closest dive bar.

Video: Simon Cowells dig at Dancing with the Stars.
Simon Cowell and Dancing with the Stars

The mentor was Lambert, last year's "Idol" runner-up, and the first contestant to ever return as a mentor. Lambert told contestants to put some more "show" into it. "Elvis was a showman," Lambert told Ryan Seacrest, "so let's put on a show."

"Adam was awesome," Victoria Leigh Miller, "American Idol" blogger for the news Web site Associated Content and "Idol" superfan, told ABCNews.com. "He was one of the best mentors they've had so far. He was really honest and blunt, and he told them to step it up with their personalities, which is really what they need to do."

MJ Santilli, fellow "Idol" superfan and blogger for the Web site MJ's Big Blog detailing everything "Idol," agreed that Adam did a good job as a mentor.

Pants on the Ground
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"They really needed advice from someone like Adam," Santilli told ABCNews.com. "He is well-spoken, and he knows how to make a performance come alive and capture the audience's attention. When you watch Adam on "Idol," what he did every week was craft a performance that is vocally, visually and emotionally exciting, and that is what they need to do."

Excitement is what television and entertainment journalists said the entire season could have used more of.

"I am waiting for this season to come alive," Santilli said. "There is just something missing this year. There haven't big enough big watercolor moments."

Tonight, two contestants will be kicked off. Here's a look at the remaining top nine, and our expert bloggers take on last night's performances.



Andrew Garcia

Andrew Garcia

Garcia, 23, who ranked in the bottom two last week, is from Moreno Valley, Calif. Before he joined "American Idol," Garcia was a YouTube celebrity with more than 30,000 subscribers to his channel. Garcia has a son named Caeland, a name he's had tattooed on the side of his neck.

Last night he sang the Elvis classic "Hound Dog," but most of the judges agreed that Garcia's been delivering boring performances.

"He is in trouble," Miller said. "I was really hoping I wouldn't have to say it, but for too many weeks now he has sounded the same."

Santilli agreed. "He is going home this week," she said. "Something is just not clicking. He doesn't know how to translate the popularity of his acoustic YouTube songs to the "Idol" stage.

Both Santilli and Miller agreed that Garcia was in their bottom three, and shared a strong suspicion that he is going home.



Aaron Kelly

Aaron Kelly

At 16, Kelly is one of two high school students in this year's top nine -- he was in the bottom three last week. This is not Kelly's first television appearance. When he was 11, he appeared on "America's Most Talented Kid."

In last night's performance of "Blue-Suede Shoes," he seemed nervous, even saying that this may have been a bad song choice for him. The judges agreed.

"If I closed my eyes, I liked it," Santilli said. "But when I opened my eyes. I just didn't believe it. I totally agree with Simon that even though he has a good voice, it sounded like a high school production."

Miller said that while Kelly has a good voice, last night he showed his immaturity.

"He was so nervous singing that song," Miller said. "With this week's theme it was noticeable how young he was, and the entire performance just wasn't believable."

Miller and Santilli have also ranked Kelly in their bottom three.



Michael Lynche

Michael Lynche

Referred to as Big Mike, Lynche, 26, is a personal trainer in St. Petersburg, Fla. During "Hollywood Week," his wife gave birth to a baby girl. That was not the only good news for Lynche. He was slated to be eliminated last week but after he sang for his life, the judges decided to use their one and only "save" on him, keeping him in the competition for another week.

Big Mike sang "In the Ghetto" this week, scaling his normally theatrical performance down to just a stool and his guitar, which the judges generally liked.

Santilli said Lynche did "pretty well" and was "smart to scale his performance back," but that it all still depends on the fans.

"He didn't have the fans to save him last week," Santilli said. "So he might not have them again this week."

Miller said that Lynche's performance was only OK but still preferable to last week's.

"It was a bit boring in the beginning," Miller said. "But at least it was better this week."

Both bloggers consider Big Mike safe, meaning he won't be in the top three, but he wont be in the bottom three either.



Katie Stevens

Katie Stevens

Stevens, 17, is from Middlebury, Connecticut and is currently a high school senior. Stevens plays the guitar, piano, flute and cello, but hasn't played any instrument yet on the show.

Lambert told Stevens that she had the pipes and the look, but she has to make the audience believe in her. And the judges were split on whether she did that with last night's rendition of "Baby What You Want Me to Do?"

"I like her voice," Miller said. "I am just not sure if she has the fans to stay in the competition, because she has been in the bottom three a lot."

On the other hand, Santilli said that she might be making a comeback.

"She's not as wooden or robotic as she used to be," Santilli said. "She has become more confident and commanding on stage. I think in the last two weeks something clicked for her, and that was a connection to the song she was singing. Before she had no connection to the song, but these last two weeks she has had a connection and has done well."

Miller thinks Katie will be safe, while Santilli has her in the top three.



Tim Urban

Tim Urban

Urban, 20, from Duncanville, Texas, has nine siblings who were all homeschooled by their mother. Before Idol, Urban played the Dallas Christian music circuit with his band.

This week Urban slowed down his performance and sang the Elvis classic "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You."

Surprisingly, the judges all agreed that he had great vocals, and that his performance was extremely "current" in the vein of today's singer-songwriters.

Santilli said that Urban was an interesting example of "someone who has a limited vocal ability but works within his niche.

"He is working in the teen idol niche," Santilli said "He is cute and sweet. I really think he will last a while now. He could get into the top five if he keeps this up."

"This was much better than the Queen song when he was sliding across the stage," Miller said. "He was much better just sitting and singing a song. I think he is one of the competitors taking the advice of the mentors and listening to the judges and really learning."

Even though they were surprised to say it in light of his past, not great, performances, both bloggers believe Urban will end up in the top three.



Siobhan Magnus

Siobhan Magnus

Magnus, 19, is known for her large vocal range and ability to belt out high soprano notes. She used to sing for the alternative rock band Lunar Valve, which broke up in 2009. She is an apprentice glassblower when she's not off stage. Magnus sang "Suspicious Minds" this week. Besides getting advice from Lambert, Magnus also channeled the ex-idol through her hair, which was blow-dried into a hairdo any soccer mom would envy.

Simon said that Magnus was "pitchy" during her high-pitched scatting, and Miller agreed.

"I love her, but I kind of agree with Simon about the screaming and the screeching," Miller said.

Santilli said that Magnus has totally lost her way.

"She has a big voice but she doesn't know what to do with it," Santilli said. "Her performance was messy, and vocally all over the place. It was boring when she started in her mid-range voice and then she oversang and was a little pitchy when she started hitting those big notes."

Santilli believes Magnus will hit the bottom three, while Miller said she'd be safe.



Casey James

Casey James

James, 27, from Fort Worth, Texas, had a series of accidents that put his career in jeopardy. First, he had a bad reaction to the whooping cough vaccine that could've caused brain damage, but didn't. Then he was in a motorcycle accident that doctors said would leave him unable to play guitar, a prediction that was obviously incorrect.

This week James sang "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." The judges seemed indifferent about the song but said James needed to pick it up in the coming weeks if he wanted to stay in this competition.

Santilli agreed. "Casey went backwards a little bit," Santilli said. "He just doesn't really come alive on stage at all."

James is Miller's favorite because "he is so adorable" and she "loves the sound of his voice."

"I thought he did great," Miller said. "But Simon really didn't like it, so I don't know how that will affect the votes."

Miller, possibly because of her personal bias, said Casey may be in the top three but Santilli puts Casey as merely safe.



Lee DeWyze

Lee DeWyze

Before "Idol," DeWyze, 23, had two CDs, which were released independently, leaving him still eligible to compete. His influences include soulful singers like Eric Clapton and Simon & Garfunkel.

After performing "A Little Less Conversation," the judges said that he really went for it vocally and they really liked his performance. DeWyze himself also seemed to be smiling and enjoying the competition more than he has in the past. "He had the best performance of the night," Miller said. "He really picked a great song for his voice."

Santilli said that DeWyze had great vocals, but was a bit tense on stage.

"He wasn't playful enough while singing," Santilli said. "He needs to connect with audience more: make eye contact, flirt, smile."

Both bloggers have DeWyze in the top three.



Crystal Bowersox

Crystal Bowersox

A one-time struggling musician who played for money at train stations, Bowersox, 23, is now safely in the "Idol" top nine. She has been known to be a bit offbeat in her musical selections, including adding a didgeridoo to the Beatles song "Come Together."

During the discussion of her performance of "Saved," the judges said she sounded great, and Randy called her "the second coming of Bonnie Raitt."

Bowersox impressed both of the bloggers with her performance.

"She always picks the right songs," Miller said. "She makes everything seem easy. She has never had a truly bad performance."

Santilli said that despite a great performance, Bowersox could appear a bit aloof, which viewers might take as sign of being full of herself.

"When you're on "Idol," Santilli said, "You have to eat a big slice of humble pie. Overconfidence does not work on "Idol," so there may be a backlash against her at some point."

Whatever happens in the future, Miller and Santilli have Crystal firmly in the top three for tonight's elimination.

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