“American Idol,” 3/10

The Top 13 battled it out tonight with the songs of Michael Jackson.

Memphian Lil Rounds got the show started with “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Of course I thought she was terrific – it’s hard to go wrong with Lil. 🙂 Randy said: It was a great way to kick off the season and she put a new, bluesy feel on the song. Kara said: It was a perfect song choice and she hopes to one day hear Lil on the radio. Paula said: She’s a force to be reckoned with. Simon said: It was a lazy song choice and he was a little disappointed.

Scott MacIntyre sang “Keep the Faith” with his piano. It was nice but I’m worried he’ll be forgotten. Kara said: She’s glad he used his piano this week and that he stayed true to himself. Paula said: He’s “magical” with the piano. Simon said: He hated the song because nobody knows it (to which Scott said he was trying to be “artistic,” and Simon said he can’t be that on “Idol”). Randy said: It was a good, but safe, performance.

Danny Gokey sang “PYT.” I liked it, but it felt kinda shouty. However, I’m willing to forgive him on that since this is the first song I’ve heard him sing that isn’t about being a hero or living life to the fullest. Paula said: He’s on his way to the finals. Simon said: His vocals were brilliant (and likened him to Michael McDonald). Randy said: “When you got it, you got it, and you got it.” Kara said: “You have a joy when you step on stage.”

Michael Sarver sang “You are Not Alone,” and I really, really didn’t like this, at all. Simon said: He’s not the best singer in the competition but made up for it with his passion and heart. He gave it 110 percent. Randy said: He returned to his R&B roots, and he’s definitely one of the best. Kara said: “You really can sing.” Paula said: He’s likeable and he’s a “regular guy with extraordinary talent.”

Columbus native Jasmine Murray sang “I’ll Be There.” She did a really pretty job of the song. Randy said: She did a “pretty good job” and “it wasn’t that bad.” Kara said: She has great stage presence. Paula said: She has “tremendous composure,” and there were both good and bad moments. Simon said: Some of it was “robotic,” and she needs to start “acting her age. It was like a little girl trying to be a grown-up.”

Kris Allen sang “Remember the Time” with his guitar, and I thought it was great. The judges didn’t seem to care for his guitar but that’s what I liked most about it. Kara said: There were a few notes off but it was otherwise good; she also pointed out that he spent much of his time this week aiding other contestants. Paula said: He’s engaging and “adorable sexy.” Simon said: It was “interesting.” Randy said: He liked that Kris used his guitar and it was Jason Mraz-y.

Allison Iraheta sang “Give In To Me,” which I liked, but she’s well on her way to being this year’s Shouty McShouterson. Paula said: She was a rock star. Simon said: She knows what kind of artist she wants to be and her performance was a little dark but very good. Randy said: “When you got it, you got it, and you got it.” She’s one to watch. Kara said: She did a great job.

Anoop Desai sang “My Prerogative, The Sequel,” also known as Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” It was all shades of wrong. Paula said: The song is untouchable and it felt karaoke. Simon said: “Horrible,” and it felt like a really bad Michael Jackson impersonation. Randy said: Wrong song choice. Kara said: He felt disconnected and didn’t show off his vocals.

Jorge Nunez sang “Never Can Say Goodbye.” I wasn’t in love with it. Randy said: He wouldn’t have chosen that song for him and it felt old-fashioned. Kara said: Though he’s usually not emotionally distant from the song, his performance didn’t connect. Paula said: Wrong song choice. Simon said: He couldn’t wait for it to end.

Megan Corkrey wins oddest song choice of the night with “Rockin’ Robin.” And that’s all there is to say about that. Kara said: She puts her style on everything she sings but it wasn’t the most overwhelming vocal. Paula said: She’s quirky and unique, but not a perfect song choice. Simon said: “We like you, but what a stupid song choice.” Randy said: The song didn’t allow her to be Megan.

Adam Lambert comes in third in tonight’s Shouty McShouterson competition with his cover of “Black or White.” I hope he doesn’t try to Adam-ize (read: try to glam rock) every single song like he has with “Satisfaction” and this one. Paula said: Never in the history of the show has a contestant felt this comfortable on stage, and she expects he’ll be in the finals (and, did it look like Paula was going to cry?!?). Simon said: He’s totally in a different league than everyone else. Randy said: He’s the most current competitor and he could have a record deal now. Kara said: “You hit notes I didn’t know existed,” and she hoped Michael Jackson was watching.

Matt Giraud (aka my mama’s favorite) sang “Human Nature.” After the hugeness that was Adam and his Adam-ized song, I’m afraid dear Matt may get lost in the shuffle, but he shouldn’t. His performance was understated and well-done. Randy said: It was pitchy but really good. Kara said: “You are talented.” Paula said: “You’re talented, sexy, authentic – blown away.” Simon said: It was “meat and potatoes” but “very good.”

Alexis Grace finished the night with “Dirty Diana,” one of my favorite MJ songs. I thought she did a terrific job. Kara said: “You’re a naughty girl and I liked it.” Paula said: She doesn’t need to oversing. Simon said: “Not as good as you thought it was.” Randy said: It was over the top but he liked her attitude.

What say you, Scene cats? Who did you vote for? Who do you think will get voted off?

And what’s with this big surprise they’re announcing tonight?

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