American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "Michael Jackson Songbook (Top 13 Perform)"

Season 8, Episode 19
Episode Synopsis: The Top 13 finalists of Season 8 perform the songs of Michael Jackson. Adam Lambert sings "Black or White" and Kris Allen renders "Remember the Time." Other performances feature "The Way You Make Me Feel"; "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"; and "Beat It."
Original Air Date: Mar 10, 2009

American Idol Episode Recap: Top 13 Perform Season 8, Episode 19

The Top 13 take the big stage at last, and the stakes have been raised. Since there are 13 contestants this time around, Simon announced that two hopefuls will be eliminated Wednesday night instead of one.

Yo, dawgs! Massive thanks to Mickey and Adam for covering for me while I was out sick. It's good to be back after a week, and what a week it was! The wild card show (or farce as I like to call it) brought us an extra Idol to the gang, making this the first Top 13 in competition history. Can I just say that I'm really upset that Jesse and Felicia did not make the cut? I used to really dig Megan, but it's clear to me that Jesse and Felicia (and Mishavonna for that matter) all have stronger voices, and just as much commercial appeal. And, don't even get me started on Tatiana being allowed to waste a wild card slot! And what the heck is with her Whitney Houston fetish? But, what's done is done, so let's move on to tonight's performances!

Hold on, can we just pause for a moment to mock the cheesetastic introduction of the judges? The stage opens to an awkward looking Randy, Kara and Paula — and Simon, of course, loving the attention — as all four walk out to their seats before a screaming crowd. At least Ryan has the sense to make fun of Simon for being an attention whore. Once the crowd settles, Simon informs the contestants and the audience that two people will be eliminated tomorrow night. Ouch! Tonight's theme: Michael Jackson.

Lil Rounds
Lil's tackling "The Way You Make Me Feel," and she sounds great. She knows how to work the stage and the song. But can I suggest she ditch the '90s-style, high-waisted white pants? Randy says that was the way to start off the night, and she made the song new again with her bluesy vibe. Kara thinks the other contestants will say "Uh-oh, I need to step that up!" Paula (I hope that bird on her shoulder doesn't attack her) compliments her on the soft palette of her outfit and makeup (Oh, shut up). Simon actually tells her she made a lazy song choice, the second half was better than the first and he hates what she's wearing. I agree with Simon, but I think the other contestants should definitely step it up based on her performance.

Scott MacIntyre
Scott finally gets some time behind the piano with his version of "Keep the Faith." Don't get me wrong, I think Scott is so sweet and a lovely artist, but compared to some of the other talent on the show, he's just not up to snuff. Will that hurt him in the competition? Probably not, since he's so darn likable. This particular song is super boring in the beginning but really picks up in the end. Kara is glad we get to see the piano-playing side of Scott and loves that he picked a song with a hopeful message. She admits he's not the most dynamic performer, but she clearly doesn't care. Paula says the composer of the song (who was in the audience) would have loved his version. Simon says he must apologize to the composer because he hated the song. Ha! He explains to Scott that he likes him and his piano playing, but hated the song. Randy says the performance was too safe for him and wants to see some sparks next time around.

Danny Gokey
Danny's sporting a dark red shirt and matching glasses as he busts out "P.Y.T." He certainly gets the crowd going and looks like he's having a blast. It's hard to really hear how great the vocals are in this song, but I think the judges will like his showmanship enough to give him some props. Paula says the true test of an artist is if you can hear someone even with your eyes closed and know exactly who they are. She's totally choked up, guys! What is up with her? She even predicts he'll be in the finals. Come on, Paula! We're three people in to the show, and you're pulling that card? Simon thinks the vocals were fantastic (but then compares him to Michael McDonald... a white guy with soul. I don't think I'd take that as a compliment). Randy says he loved the singing and goofy dancing, while Kara praised his joyfulness on stage.

Michael Sarver
Michael sits on the edge of the stage (cue sappy music) to sing "You Are Not Alone." He's such a nice guy; it just oozes out of him as he sings. I'm not in love with the song, but I think he sings it well enough. Simon says Michael's not the best singer but he makes up for it by having passion and heart. Simon, you have such a soft spot for Michael! Randy says that he's glad Michael returned to his R&B sound and thinks he's one of the best of the night. Kara says he proved that he could sing and hit those hard notes by choosing this song. Paula says he's got so much going for him and that he sounded lovely tonight.

Jasmine Murray
Jasmine's singing "I'll Be There," and starts out softly and then picks up major steam and soul in her voice. My one problem with her is that she doesn't seem to have much of a personality. She can sing, but she's a little boring on stage. Randy plugs his own version of the song (Mariah Carey's version) before telling Jasmine he thought she did a pretty good job. Kara agrees and says she has great stage presence, and I want to laugh. Really? Poise is one thing, but it was just boring. Paula says she's not sure if she could hear herself a few times (meaning she was off on a few notes), while Simon said it was a good attempt but a bit robotic.

Kris Allen
Kris takes on "Remember the Time" with his guitar in hand. I'm excited to see more of this guy. I thought he was pretty forgettable until now. I really liked his version of this song, even though he hit a couple of clunkers near the middle and end of the song. Kara says his guitar brings out a different side of Kris, while Paula says he's adorable and sexy. Simon says it was interesting and a bit clumsy, but Randy thought his guitar was cool and like Jason Mraz.

Allison Iraheta
Allison's looking very cool and rocker-chic as she belts out "Give It to Me." Man, does this girl have some pipes! Paula says she sounds like a rock star and that she should stay true to herself. Simon says the good thing about Allison is that we all know exactly the kind of artist she wants to be, but wants her to lighten up a bit. Randy says she's "got it" and can sing anything, not just rock songs. Kara tells her to keep being the rocker girl that she is. I think Allison is amazing but her goofy facial expressions with Ryan definitely show her age. I kinda love how real she is, you know what I mean?

Anoop Desai
Oh jeez, why does Anoop want to sing "Beat It"? Why? It's one of those songs that isn't about the vocals. I love Anoop, but this was a bad song choice. Luckily, I think he's likable enough that he'll get another chance to redeem himself. I've heard him sing well and love his voice. Just pick the right song, Anoop Dog! Paula says that she loves Anoop, but that song belongs to Michael Jackson and everyone else just sounds like karaoke in comparison. Simon thought it was horrible and lightweight. Randy says it was just the wrong choice, while Kara says he didn't get to show us that he can sing and there was no connection with him and the song.

Jorge Nunez
Jorge sings "Never Can Say Goodbye," and even though he really can sing, there's just something I don't like about it... maybe that he's a little too intense with his staring into the camera? Maybe it's just the song? Randy says this song was a little old fashioned and he had some pitch problems. Kara didn't feel his emotional connection, while Paula says this was the wrong song for him. Simon says the arrangement was awful and he couldn't wait for it to end. Ouch.

Megan Corkrey
Wow, look at that outfit. Va-va-voom! She sings "Rockin' Robin" and though she really seems to have some fun, it's a strange choice. And please someone make her stop the hip-shaking! I don't understand why the judges are so completely in love with her. I get that she's pretty and funky, but so far they all act like she's the best thing since sliced bread. Kara says she puts her signature on everything she does, but she wants to see more range from her next time. Paula loves her quirky sound, but feels like she didn't hear it in this performance. Simon says it was a stupid song choice and her dancing was ridiculous. Randy agrees and says that song was definitely not "Megan."

Adam Lambert
Adam's version of "Black and White" starts off really shaky. It's like he's in the wrong key or something. Plus, he's so over-the-top -- but judging from Paula dancing along to the song, she thinks he's money! I think he was born in the wrong era: he belongs in a '80s hair band. Paula says she's never seen anyone as confident and comfortable on stage in the past seven seasons of Idol. Simon says his performance was in a totally different league than everyone else's because to sing Michael Jackson you have to be over-the-top. (Whaaa???) Randy says he's the most current artist they have and he could make a record right now and sail to the top of the charts.

Matt Giraud
Matt gets behind the piano for his version of "Human Nature" and I love it from the first note. He has so much more appeal to me than Adam does! He's more Justin Timberlake than Steven Tyler... I guess it's just a matter of taste. Randy says he's got that Robin Thicke/Justin Timberlake thing going on, while Kara hopes to see him for many more weeks. Paula and Simon both liked it as well.

Alexis Grace
Alexis, the pint-sized soul machine, belts out an amazing version of "Dirty Diana." She is another young lady who is way beyond her years in stage presence and vocal ability. Kara says she's a naughty girl and she liked it, Paula says she liked it but to watch oversinging (Um, were you not listening to Adam?). Simon says it was not as good as she thought (jerk) and Randy thought it was OK and liked her attitude.

Who do you think will be the first two to get sent home?

For the latest on American Idol, tune into TV Guide Network's Idol Tonight every Wednesday at 8 pm/ET and Idol Wrap every Friday at 8 pm/ET with co-hosts Kimberly Caldwell and Justin Guarini. Plus get more on your favorite Idols every Friday with American Idol Rewind at 7 pm/ET.


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The Top 13 take the big stage at last, and the stakes have been raised. Since there are 13 contestants this time around, Simon announced that two hopefuls will be eliminated Wednesday night instead of one. read more

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Premiered: June 11, 2002, on FOX
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (3,327 ratings)
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Premise: The smash reality series showcases wannabe pop stars competing for a record deal by crooning for a panel of judges, including, most entertainingly, the acid-tongued Simon Cowell, who departed the show in 2010 after serving for nine seasons. The judges review a performer's talent (or lack thereof), and at-home viewers then vote for their favorite potential star. The show helped launch the careers of such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.



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