Why has American Idol decided to embrace rock’s biggest, most important bands of all time during its Season of Suck? First, the Rolling Stones, and next week songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Idol has been here before: twice in Season Seven (remember Brooke White’s “Let It Be” and David Cook’s “Day Tripper”? Both are worth watching again for crazy Paula action).
Hopeful Mike Lynche also heard the words he feared most — “Ladies and gentlemen, our Velvet Teddy Bear is back: Ruben Studdard!” — on last night’s episode (remember, the world is big enough for only one of these sensitive big guys). There was a brief Justin Bieber cameo, a performance of “OMG” by mentor Usher and Will.i.am that required three split screens to capture (that bowler hat required its own quadrant alone), and a blinding performance by Diddy’s new electro group Dirty Money that required a strobe-light warning.
Somehow, the show also found time to eliminate a contestant. Though Tim Urban clearly earned the boot, and Katie Stevens didn’t deserve her spot in the bottom three, Didi Benami — who got emotional for reasons she’d rather not discuss with Ryan Seacrest on national television — received the fewest votes and sang Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” as her farewell. She failed to earn a judges’ save, which means the panel has four more weeks to use it. So who are they saving this save up for? An errant Siobhan Mangus week? An Aaron Kelly misstep? Here’s hoping this week’s three best singers — Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze and Casey James — can keep Fab Four week from being unworthy.
• Usher Guests, Bowersox and DeWyze Score on American Idol