American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "3 Finalists Compete"

Season 9, Episode 40
Episode Synopsis: The final three contestants each perform two songs---one a judges' choice and the other a choice of their own.
Original Air Date: May 18, 2010

American Idol Episode Recap: The Final 3 Perform Season 9, Episode 40

The singers have almost made it to the finish line of this season's American Idol, and while one contestant seemed to be losing steam, another was just hitting his stride. After a night when the judges proved better at choosing songs than the singers (shocking!) Season 9's top two contenders have never looked more inevitable. So, who is most likely headed for the Nokia Theater?

First, I must say this: This was perhaps the worst footage ever of the Idol contestants in their hometowns. Usually we're treated to long packages full of tears and interesting nuggets, but this time we saw nothing more than the singers reading text messages from the judges in front of a small crowd. (In Lee's case, we didn't even see him get off the plane!) Maybe the show always uses more of the footage during the final performance show and I'm just losing it, but this seemed shoddy.

Anyway, on to the singing. I have grouped each singer's songs together.

Casey James

His Pick: "OK, It's Alright with Me"
He got off to an awkward start thanks to fumbling his guitar pick when Ryan threw to the performance before Casey was ready. I thought Casey sang the song very well, but it's not a song I've heard very much. And even if I knew it, I don't think Casey showed us anything we haven't already seen from him. At the same time, Casey said this is what he is as an artist, and the judges always say that's what they want. I guess they prefer Crystal's brand of occasional diversity to Casey's.\
Judging the Judges:  B Randy called it safe and easy and Kara said choosing a little-known song doesn't give him the chance to go to the next level and have a moment. Simon called the song choice a dud and hoped the performance was the salad to his "main course" second performance.

Judges' Pick: "Daughters"
Randy and Kara picked this John Mayer song because of Casey's bluesy singer-songwriter vibe and because Kara thinks his audience of women and girls like seeing Casey vulnerable. He definitely played to that with this very quiet, stripped-down version of the song, and his vocals were nearly impeccable. The song wasn't flashy, but he nailed it, even if it was again a bit more of the same.
Judging the Judges: B+ Randy patted himself on the back and said the song fit Casey like a glove. Ellen said it was beautiful, and Kara thought Casey showed his artistic side, but Simon said it was missing the wow factor.

Crystal Bowersox

Her Choice: "Come to My Window"
I couldn't help but think that the arrangement was a little fast and I found the harmonica a needless distraction. Crystal delivered the vocals in her trademark style, and though she is soulful, her voice didn't cut through the track like it should. I think this performance was just as safe as Casey's first outing, though at least people knew the song.
Judging the Judges: B- Randy and Kara said Crystal was fighting with the arrangement, but overall they liked it. (Though Kara wished Crystal had had a moment.) Simon praised her for not compromising herself and being honest. (I guess Casey is a liar.)

Judges' Choice: "Maybe I'm Amazed"
Unlike Casey, Crystal did get to show diversity in Ellen's pick. Putting down the guitar and going after some huge notes (for her), Crystal earned her spot in the finals with this number. Unlike "Falling Slowly" a week ago, she hit those big notes without sounding like she was shouting, and she didn't look as awkward without the guitar as she has before. Well done.
Judging the Judges: A Randy said she was in it to win it, and Ellen said Crystal did her proud. Kara said Crystal's risks paid off and Simon said it was terrific.

Lee DeWyze

His Choice: "Simple Man"
Lee clearly made the best song choice for himself compared to the other contestants. Like the others, Lee stuck to his bread and butter, which is fine, but I would have liked Lee and all the contestants really try to grab new fans by mixing it up. Overall, there wasn't much to complain about with this performance, but at this point of the night, I was just getting a little bored. (Even more boring: Lee's continuously long-winded response to any question he's asked. Maybe he's the reason the show keeps running long.)
Judging the Judges: B Randy said he can tell Lee is in it to win, while Ellen wasted time talking about baby lambs and gazelles. Kara said Round 1 went to Lee and Simon said Lee was "on the money."

Judges' Choice: "Hallelujah"
I'll confess: I would probably like any version of  this song I heard, but Lee stole the show with this one. Simon's pick for Lee was perfect, and Lee took just the right kind of tasteful liberties with the song. It didn't hurt that he had a backing choir, but Lee sang this song extremely well, and for the first time this season, really made me believe he was worthy of all the raucous applause he received afterward.
Judging the Judges: A Randy said it was unbelieveable and it was Lee's best moment. Ellen called it stunning, Simon called Lee a fantastic singer and Kara went for hyperbole, calling Lee the "heart of the show" and saying his "epic moment" owned the entire night.

What did you think of the performances? Who do you think will make it to the finals?

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The singers have almost made it to the finish line of this season's American Idol, and while one contestant seemed to be losing steam, another was just hitting his stride. After a night when the judges proved better at choosing songs than the singers (shocking!) Season 9's top two contenders have never looked more inevitable. So, who is most likely headed for the Nokia Theater? read more

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Premiered: June 11, 2002, on FOX
Rating: TV-PG
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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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