Anyone have a copy of Billboard from the last 20 years besides Young Katie Stevens who finally looked young?  With that lower register, she’ll never sound young, but at least she covered Fergie.   Tonight’s Top 11 sing-off was marred by some of the worst song choices imaginable and they had the entire Billboard #1 catalog to choose from. Amazingly, only Katie sang something recorded after the 1980s.

Miley Cyrus your surprise mentor

If you watched,  vote now in the Sonic Spring Singing Contest.  We’ll open the poll in a new window so you can save your spot.  And remember–the winner gets a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

Making the Top 12 is always big, but making the Top Ten means touring and learning  performing chops (sorry Alex Lambert) while making friends and alliances.  A beautiful formula with suspense cutting to the Top 12 and then again when Paige Andrew, no probably Paige, doesn’t go on tour.

Here’s what happened.

Lots of early vamping.  Idol is still in two hours slots, but the contestants are still only singing one song.  When the show gets interesting, we’re down to one hour, which is rush, rush, rush until the end of the season when we’re back to three or four people.  So the show starts with Ryan Seacrest who adlibs as well as anyone on television vamping madly.   Kara and Simon continue looking like a married couple, and you have to wonder when Ellen bops Simon for the scripted faux gay asides.

Tonight’s BIG MENTOR REVEAL is… Miley Cyrus?

She got hers later in the show from Casey James, and no, not like that because Hannah Montana is still only 17.  Dude told her he was a big fan of her father and his one hit.

Lee Dewyze opens, a smart choice given the buzz.  Lee immediately puzzles everyone by singing an update of a 50 year old song.   And then he doesn’t sing it well.  He may have thought he was doing Springsteen.  He sounds hoarse-screechy and his body language is closed all the way up to his hunched forward shoulders.

Paige Miles, the best pure singer, rushes and then hesitates through Phil Collins’ Against All Odds.  Then she sings it in several keys, sometimes in the same measure.  There is no denying Paige’s vocal prowess.  She’s in the Bottom Two for sure though.  Speaking of the Bottom Two, have you played Sonic Clash’s AI contest yet?  That’s the one from several paragraphs ago you may not have clicked on.

Ryan makes me laugh with the segue of  “Under the tutelage of Miley Cyrus…”   before Tim Urban massacres Crazy Little Thing Called Love, complete with a slide to the audience, while he gladhands the teenyboppers and AI drones in front.  Every judge slams him for acting like a star instead of the guy who got picked up when one of the finalists was disqualified.  Sadly, he will likely tour.

One guy belonging on the tour is Aaron Kelly.  This week is Aaron’s turn for laryngitis, which he blames on tonsillitis.  Holy Cow!  The judges love his Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, but he covered Lonestar’s song about a guy missing his family and now a song that two grown up acts had hits with in a very sensual tone.  This teen wants to be too old, but sadly only Simon even mentions how old Aaron’s choices make him sound.  Seacrest recovers by calling him David Archuleta, but eh..  Aaron could win this contest.  I called him a darkhorse in our annual American Idol podcast.  He can still make it to the fourth spot, maybe even third.

How can Crystal Bowersox go wrong covering Janis Joplin?   She can’t, she doesn’t, the judges fawn and Ryan joins her sitting on her own little carpet on the stage.  Crystal is still top 3.  Kara compares her to Janis and Simon compares her to Pink. Can’t go wrong.

Miley Cyrus looks more like a waif standing next to Big Mike Lynche who delivers a technically fine version of When A Man Loves A Woman complete with crystal clear falsetto.  Everyone thinks the choice is sound but safe.  Lynche hasn’t blown it yet, but the judges aren’t as impressed as they’ve been.

Andrew Garcia perhaps alters the course of his career by singing Motown while his glasses slide off his nose and he prances in a jacket he stole from Kim Jong Il.  The North Korean leader didn’t ask for it back, but Simon Cowell rhetorically asks if everyone didn’t overestimate Garcia because of his catchy cover of Straight Up.  The others say the version was brilliant, but Simon is right back at them.  It wasn’t brilliant, says he.  It was catchy, quirky and had a Paula connection.  Damn if he isn’t right again.  Idol will miss him.  If Paige is voted off, Garcia joins the tour where he will sing Straight Up and several group numbers.  You can then catch him Thursdays and Fridays next year at the Van Nuys Ramada.

Katie Stevens rocks out to some Fergie and doesn’t cry because she’s a big girl.  The judges love her.  I love her hearing a song recorded before the 1980s.  Katie looks young and relevant.

Looking less relevant to me every week is Casey James who covers The Power of Love. Dude didn’t work it out, as Randy claimed, because the song was harmlessly dated when it was made famous 25 years ago as the theme for Back to the Future.  I would have preferred Michael J. Fox performing the song if I wanted nostalgia.   Casey goes on tour and then joins Ace Young working as a poolside bartender at a Sandals resort.

Casey is Country Constantine(tm).

Seacrest blows pronouncing Didi Benami’s name, which is okay because I just spelled it wrong twice. She sings yet another 70s song, and while she looks sharp in a tight skirt and black stockings, everyone agrees she appears to be playing  a character as she warbles You’re No Good.  I scream that it’s hokey cabaret and think she’ll be fine in the Houston company of the musical Chicago next year.

After a commercial for Fox’s Human Target dissolves into Chi McBride looking bored in the AI audience, Ryan introduces The One Who Could Beat Crystal.  Yes, it’s Siobhan, known to GG fans as “crazygirl” and to CJ fans as “snaggletooth”.  I think she’s cute and a great performer.  She looks like a girl I know in 10th grade when she goes to meet Miley (love the big glasses!) and then looks like Peter Pan on stage.  She crushes Superstition as well as anyone not named Stevie Wonder and signs off with her trademark scream.  Simon suggests she open the next song with a scream and then sing to mix it up.

I heart Siobhan.  I have for weeks.  I would buy a Crystal concert ticket, but I would buy a Siobhan ticket and an album.  What do you think?  Good show?  Bad show?  Who is in it to win it?

Tune in to Sonic Clash tomorrow for GG’s wrap on the results show!  And once you’re done voting here (you did enter the contest, right?), check out our buddy Roheblius’ And Then There Were Eleven.