‘American Idol’: The Top 10 Girls Perk Up When Siobhan Magnus Hits A High Note

You’ll have to excuse us—our ears are still ringing with the sound of Siobhan Magnus literally channeling the Queen Of Soul herself by hitting a mind-blowing note while performing Aretha Franklin’s “Think” last night on American Idol. Much as with the the guys on Tuesday, it was a bumpy night for the ten remaining ladies of Season 9. But with Crystal Bowersox back among the ranks after a brief hospitalization, the girls certainly gave it the old college try.

Crystal Bowersox: After her brief bout in the hospital, tough cookie Crystal is back and ready to go. The theme of the evening’s pre-performance contestant montages is things we might not know about them. So Crystal reveals she has a twin brother named Carl. And that she carries good luck trinkets in her pocket—which seem to be working, because after Crystal does a fairly low-key rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Long As I See The Light,” the judges are thoroughly wowed. That’s kind of weird, because as mentioned, for us it was just a’ight. Oh, well—we’ll give her a pass since she’s in recovery. Simon says he completely “misunderestimated” (oh, Simon) rockin’ Bowersox, and goes on to compare her to Kelly Clarkson. He caps it off by noting, “I think we’ve got a serious artist on our hands.”

Haeley Vaughn: Look, 16-year-old Haeley isn’t the best singer, but she’s just so damn likable. And screw you, Simon, for telling her last week that she smiles too much. The happy-go-lucky singer (who reveals that she likes to make headbands and hair accessories) does Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” Now granted, she fumbled with her pitch a little at the end, not to mention went sharp on that last high note, but c’mon—she makes hair accessories! That counts for something, right? Sigh. Inevitably, Randy and Ellen chew her out for having no connection to the song, while Simon points out the certain irony to Haeley singing a song about climbing when she “completely fell off.”

Lacey Brown: Lacey heeded Kara’s note last week to perform Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me,” stating that she already loved the song. Her voice is shaky at first, but she eventually finds a groove. That said, it’s still a pretty sedate rendition of the 1999 hit, and, well—we don’t expect to be seeing Lacey much longer. Ellen thinks she’s adorable, but Simon says he feels like she’s simply taking part in a competition (imagine that) rather than showing America what kind of artist she is. Don’t worry, Simon—America isn’t too bothered.

Katie Stevens: The snoozy streak continues. Teenage Katie’s informs us that she can say “give me a kiss” in Polish, German, Portuguese, French, Spanish and, naturally, English—the little minx. Last week she was told by the judges that she needs to do more age-appropriate songs. So this week Katie goes for Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On”—which, sorry, still sounds like an old song. Katie warbles her way through the tune, and we can’t help thinking we’d rather just go back to hearing her say “give me a kiss” in six different languages. As expected, Ellen tells the 17-year-old she wants her to do something she wouldn’t hear in her dentist’s office. In other words, Katie, just do Britney’s “3” next week.

Didi Benami: Didi announces that she’s doing “Lean On Me,” and we quickly pray for it to be the Club Nouveau version. Alas, it’s the Bill Withers original. Poor Didi just doesn’t have the soulful chops to pull it off, and the judges rip the performance to shreds. After the critique, she begins to cry, leading Ryan to console her—and us to think she just might not be around after tomorrow night. It’s at this point that things really seem like they can’t possibly get any worse with the girls.

Michelle Delamor: If we’re being completely honest, Michelle is pretty, dresses like a million bucks and has a decent voice, but there’s just not much personality there. We tend to forget she’s in the competition half the time. Like Katie Stevens, Michelle takes the judges’ comments from last week (to take more of a risk) and applies them to her latest song choice—Creed’s 2000 chart-topping schmaltzfest, “With Arms Wide Open.” Randy and Ellen are unimpressed, but Kara loved it and—OMG—Simon points out that Vera Wang is in the audience! (See? Once again, we’ve already forgotten about Michelle Delamor.)

Lilly Scott: Thank goodness for Lilly Scott, because up till now, this night had us longing for the vocal dynamics of Sanjaya Malakar. If we’re to get down to brass tacks, this competition really belongs to Crystal and Lilly. And up till now, we were rooting for Crystal. But something about the way Lilly went at Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” with such ease and assurance was absolutely hypnotic to watch. Randy says it’s his favorite performance of the night, Ellen says Lilly has “It” and Kara says multi-instrumentalist is going to “change the game.” And Simon—well, we tuned that jerk out when he told Haeley to stop smiling.

Katelyn Epperly: Sometimes you have to wonder if the judges have a certain quota of disses they’re required to fulfill. Case in point: Katelyn Epperly. Though she knocks out a beautiful, heartfelt version of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” while playing the piano, Ellen says it put her to sleep. To that we say: pop some NoDoz, baby. You’re not getting paid a bucket of cash to sit on your ass and sleep on the job. Rest assured, Katelyn’s performance was not a snooze. In fact, it was the second best of the night. And, yes, we’re putting her ahead of Crystal—which places her just below Lilly.

Paige Miles: Here’s a girl who knows what’s up. Or at least thinks she does. Paige, who last week was deemed by Simon to have the best voice of all the girls, chooses Kelly Clarkson’s “Walk Away” to sing this week. And with one judge under her thumb, she’s clearly looking to keep the momentum going—”Walk Away” was co-written and co-produced by none other than Kara DioGuardi. But sorry, Paige—Lilly already stole the evening by this point. Kara points out that she was just too smiley while singing the breakup jam, and Simon warns that Paige has now failed to choose the right song two weeks in a row. American Idol is a fickle lady, it seems, and it’s going to take more than choosing a song by the series’ very first winner to clinch this dog and pony act.

Siobhan Magnus: Here’s our favorite “what you might not have known” reveal of the night: Siobhan had a mohawk a year-and-a-half ago.  A couple photos are flashed on the screen, and quite, er, frankly, we think she looked like Frankmusik with that ‘do. The 19-year-old chooses Aretha Franklin’s “Think,” and we’ll readily ‘fess up that we were thinking, Girl, have you lost your mind? Siobhan bounces through the song ably enough, but suddenly—out of nowhere—she completely nails an Aretha-worthy note that bowls both viewers and judges over.

Witness:

And thus Idol ends on an up note, to say the least.

Best performance of the night: Lilly Scott. Call her different. Call her indie. Whatever it is, she’s what American Idol needs to shake it up in its ninth season. ‘Cause the other competitors just don’t seem to have that X factor.

Worst performance of the night: Michelle Delamor. Looks only get you so far in a talent competition.

Final thoughts: There are really only three female contenders after tonight in our book. And here they are, in extremely particular order: Lilly Scott, Crystal Bowersox and Siobhan Magnus. Conventional choices? Hardly. But it’s 2010, Idol‘s in its ninth season and Simon Cowell has one foot out the door already. If you want conventional, hop in a time machine and scoot on back to the glory days of 2002.

Tomorrow night it’s the results show, where two girls and two guys get the boot.