'American Idol' Top 12: Siobhan Magnus, Didi Benami beat Crystal Bowersox

sioban-magnus-didi-benami.jpgRolling Stones proved to be a good week for most of the "American Idol" Top 12 contestants.

Color me surprised. It seemed like the Stones was going to be hard for the majority of this year's finalists, but almost everyone turned in a solid performance and a couple really stood out.

Here is our list from best to worst:

No. 1 Siobhan Magnus
 

Kara's assessment that Siobhan's "Paint It Black" had shades of Adam Lambert was spot-on. Siobhan gave a dark performance that showed off her smoky low tones and still let her rock out on some money notes. The big shriek wasn't as good as the one in "Think," but it fit the song. Between the goth outfit, the red stage and the minor key of the song, it felt like we were standing at the gates of Hell, but in a good way.

No. 2 Didi Benami

This may not be a popular opinion, but Didi's "Play With Fire" was the rock-less version of what Siobhan did. It was dark, haunting and compelling. Her vocal was beautiful and the song took on a whole different feel with a woman singing it. Didi Benami just went from folksy and quirky to sexy and dangerous. Really well done.

No. 3 Crystal Bowersox

Crystal showed some weakness tonight and part of the problem is that she does the same thing every week. She stands there with her guitar and gives a very good vocal. But she can't do the same thing for 15 weeks and expect to win. People will get bored with that. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was a perfectly fine vocal, but nothing special. It needed a little more panache to it, though she is still a frontrunner.

No. 4 Aaron Kelly

This was the first week where I've understood why Aaron Kelly even made the Top 24. His "Angie" was beautiful. Simon was dead-on in saying that Aaron didn't try to go outside his vocal abilities, but it was nonetheless a gorgeous vocal with an emotional connection. The judges rightly praise him (after really tearing him down last week), so it's nice to see the little fella get some encouragement, especially when it's completely deserved.

No. 5 Casey James

Casey masters the art of rocking out on his electric guitar and not forgetting to sing, unlike what he did for "I Don't Wanna Be." The vocal was growly and rough; Casey's best performance to date. He still hasn't had his one really amazing week where he grabs the competition by the throat, but he's working it out.

No. 6 Katie Stevens

Katie finally got it right. "Wild Horses" was the exact right song for her voice. It reminded me of the Sundays version from Buffy's prom. The low stuff on the verse had a nice huskiness to it, while she hit the big chorus notes with a clear tone. She's not quite Susan Boyle, but that'll do, Katie. That'll do.

No. 7 Lee Dewyze

Randy was right in saying that Lee's "Beast of Burden" was a safe choice. It completely was, but that doesn't mean he didn't sing well. I could absolutely hear this in an intimate venue at a university. But like Ellen, I was expecting more out of Lee and that's why he's so low. He's shown he can do good vocals, so now we need him to step it up.

No. 8 Lacey Brown

Lacey's "Ruby Tuesday" was a good choice for her quirky little voice, but she was overshadowed by the other solid performances. The verses really suited her weirdness but the big notes on the chorus got a little away from her. I would've liked to see her change up the chorus to keep it subdued and coffeehouse because that would've suited Lacey better than going for the big notes. Still solid.

No. 9 Paige Miles

Laryngitis considered, this was excellent. However, "Honky Tonk Woman" is a song you scream along with in a bar with your buddies. It's not really a song for a singer. The chorus is boring, the verses are too low to show off. It didn't work. But if she has laryngitis, then well done, Paige.

No. 10 Michael Lynche

Michael didn't pull it off tonight. While I appreciate that he tried to put his R&B spin on "Miss You," it took away what is great about the song. There was no oomph, there was no chutzpah. It was a very blah performance. Michael will be completely safe because he's lovable and has turned in some great past performances, but this week was not good for him. And the stomping-around-the-stage form of dancing is not working for him. It's kinda silly.

No. 11  Andrew Garcia
 

I'm with Kara on this one. It's completely fair to wonder if someone has any concept of what a song was about. This song needed intensity and anger and punch behind it and Andrew was way too weak on it. There were bum notes all over the place and the energy was so low. Really not a good week for Andrew, but he'll be safe because...

No. 12 Tim Urban

Tim's Rastafarian Stones on "Under My Thumb" was horrid. Absolutely terrible. The reggae vibe doesn't fit this song in any way and Tim didn't sell it. The difference between Tim and Michael Lynche is that Lynche is trying to be R&B and it just happens that his R&B spin on "Miss You" didn't work. Tim isn't a reggae artist. It's like he got out his "Change Up the Song So the Judges Like Me" dartboard and blindly threw a dart at it. The dart landed on Rasta and away he went. Does he even know what the lyrics are he was singing? "The way she does just what she's told ... under my thumb." Really? A mellow reggae vibe? Awful. And even leaving out the terrible interpretation, the actual vocal wasn't respectable either.

Who's Going Home?

Andrew and Tim, either one should go. Andrew's been better overall than Tim, but neither one of them got it right this week. However, both of them have voting blocs, as does Michael Lynche, so Lacey Brown and Paige Miles might be in some trouble.

Meanwhile, Crystal having an off week might be just what she needs. When people think someone has it in the bag and is safe all the time, they stop voting. Hopefully this will make Siobhan and Crystal continue to step up their games, though in the changes-it-up department, Siobhan has the edge. Crystal needs to surprise us one of these weeks.

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Photo credit: FOX

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