'American Idol' recap: Blindsided

american-idol-season-11.jpgBig opening tonight. The celebrity-spotting-camera picks out Jason Derulo in a bedazzled black neck brace, as well as Marlee Matlin, who, it later turns out, picked the wrong night to come. There will just be too many actually good performances for her to not hear. Ryan comes out, encourages the sign-waving, and calls the top nine out onstage. Once they're all out there with him, Ryan panders, "May the odds be ever in your favor." Cool, are they going to start killing each other? No, tonight's theme is each finalist's idol, which is not so much a theme as "what the hell, let them do what they want."

We then cut to Tommy Hilfiger talking to the finalists en masse and then leading them over to a display of clothes to try on. Which takes care of all the Tommy-footage for the night right there, which I am more than fine with. Back in the studio, Ryan tells us that in addition to their solo performances tonight, the finalists will also be singing in trios, and mentions the "megastar" that Jimmy brought in to be this week's mentor: his old friend and collaborator Stevie Nicks. "Megastar" is his word, by the way. Then Ryan shows us a couple of old clips of Stevie Nicks in the studio with a young, very hairy Jimmy Iovine, which don't get nearly the laughs he expected them to. No matter how much time he gives them.

Then it's off to the rehearsal room with old, bald Jimmy and old, not-bald Stevie Nicks, who not only greets Colton warmly but won't let go of his hand as she tells him not to cut his hair off. He's singing "Everything" by Lifehouse, which goes right to where she lives, possibly even more than I suspect Colton already does. On the live stage, he performs with female string players scattered at random, and it's all emotional and vulnerable, like emo but without emo's aloof detachment.

Afterward, Steven gushes about Colton's star quality, and Jennifer says he sang it beautifully. They'll be showing each finalist's official Twitter handle on the screen under their faces tonight, so you can feel free to send them personal message that they'll be sure read every one of during their thirty seconds of unscheduled free time. Randy talks about Colton's believability, and then calls the performance unbelievable. Way to snatch your remark from the jaws of coherence, Randy. And then for some reason he gets all Wrestlemania announcer about how Colton wants to win. Unlike, you know, the others.

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