About LauraBelle

Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol 9, March 30 – Ushering In the Top 10


I must admit, I’m kind of interested to see how Usher will do with these Idols. I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of Miley Cyrus, but at the end of the night, I had to admit, she’d done okay. As far as the theme, I think everyone “could” do well with R&B, but obviously, everyone won’t.

Ryan Seacrest walks through the judges and Idols, and the judges look really cozy, as Simon Cowell announces they’re making out. He’s caught indisposed with Ellen DeGeneres. Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi also look quite cozy. It’s an interesting start to the show.

The top 10 are definitely excited to meet Usher, and everyone is smiling. He notes he’s going to be more critical and challenge them, then says he’s just kidding. Seriously, he does tell them that he will be brutally honest with them and wants their permission. He says soul music will last, and having been a contributor to it, he’s proud to be here to mentor them. Tonight’s important, as they made it here, but it’s not the finish line. It’s up to them to own their moment.

Live tonight, Ryan sits down to have a chat with Usher, sunglasses to sunglasses. Usher hopes his words of advice paid off. Ryan asks if he taught Aaron Kelly the Usher moves, and he says you just can’t teach that in one sitting. In other words, there’s no hope.

Up first tonight is Siobhan Magnus who says if someone had told her when she was 6 or 7 that she’d be standing here with Usher, singing to him, she would have told them to shut up. She apologizes when she meets him, explaining she’s “wicked nervous.” She’s singing Through the Fire, and he says she actually has the voice. When he first met her, he never would have thought she had that voice. He asks about her wardrobe, and she notes sometimes people think it’s too shocking, but he tells her not to have so much going on that people get away from what she has to offer as a vocalist, as he thinks she has a true shot. Her voice is on target until she has to go up for the chorus. There she goes off in a majorly noticeable way. Maybe that’s why she screams, because she can’t do the high notes like that. I’ve just never heard her be pitchy.

Randy tells Siobhan it’s a big song, and she has a big voice, but he doesn’t know if she caught on pitch-wise. It was a little all over the place, and may not have been one of her shining moments, but he loves her courageousness and conviction and her boots. Ellen agrees, saying she could see her looking at them when she went off a bit. It was like when you’re hiking and you miss the trail, and you’re really lost. To start off the night with her, though, was like dessert before the meal.

Kara agrees, and thinks Siobhan got a little nervous. The parts with the screaming worked, but her lower register didn’t. Yet, she’s delivered every night. Every performer has an off night, and she’s entitled to one. She’s been there and come through everything. She’s still a great singer. Simon says it sounded to him like she’d run a marathon and was singing while she was running out of breath, as it was so all over the place. It was the first time he’d ever heard her off, and he says she’s kidding herself if she thinks it was a good performance, as it was by far her worst.

Siobhan tells Ryan it was the hardest song she’s chosen so far, and she knew that, but wanted to prove she was willing to try, even if she didn’t kill it. Ellen is surprised, as she thought Siobhan was going to kill it, and also surprised she thought it was a challenge, feeling it was like “gilding a lily,” as they already have the high notes, so to do it at the end was like pushing it too much. Kara agrees and thinks she was scared and concentrating in the moment. Randy tells Siobhan to trust herself with the big songs, as she could have sung it great.

Casey James is up and brings in his electric guitar to play for Usher. He’s singing Hold On. I’m Coming by Sam and Dave, and Usher notes it’s a perfect choice of record for him. Casey says it’s a great week, as it’s not going to get any closer to blues than R&B. Usher responds it’s roots and where it all comes from. He was really impressed with Casey, even when he forgot the lyrics, as he played it off, as he has a tool, which is his guitar. Usher tells him he has an incredible voice and that he’s already a rock star, forgetting his lyrics. Casey thinks it’s a good feeling that someone like Usher would make those comments about him. Usher’s going to keep his eye on him. Casey is definitely in his element taking the stage tonight. You can tell he’s excited. Usher’s right; this is the perfect song choice. You can tell he is having the time of his life.

Randy makes it short and sweet. This was another hot night for him, staying in his element. He loved the song and showed a lot of vocal range. It was a perfect selection and choice. Ellen says the thing about him is he’s consistent. He’s always good with a great voice and great tone. She knew everyone loved it, but it felt a little generic. She wished she would have heard another song from him. He sang it great, but it’s a safe zone. Kara notes that Casey is only using a certain part of his range, but he has more range in him, and the songs he’s doing are limited with chords and notes that aren’t showing what he can do. She wants to see him go back to acoustic and do more.

Simon always wants to be honest and says last week he was completely in disagreement, but for him, this was was Casey’s strongest week so far. He liked the fact that he didn’t do what he did before, a soundalike. He thinks it showed a different side of him as an artist, and he’s really impressed with him as an artist. Ryan wants to clarify that when Kara said show it all, she meant music, because of her earlier telling him to take off his shirt. Casey says he’s always going to play because that’s what he does. But if he makes it, he has an acoustic song picked out for last week, which is just what she asked for.


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