‘American Idol’ In 60 Seconds: Shania Twain Gives The Boys A Boost

Siobhan Magnus and Crystal Bowersox struggle on country week.

This week, the top six had to sing [artist id="50102"]Shania Twain[/artist] songs, but the contestants were completely upstaged by Shania herself, who displayed a perfect blend of characteristics from all the “Idol” judges. She had Simon’s sharp insight, Paula’s sweetness, Kara’s songwriting chops and Randy’s passion for peculiar cardigans. Plus, it was so nice of Shania to bring along the woman who takes care of her horses. (Seriously, who was that expressive lady sitting next to Shania all night? She should sit next to every guest mentor from now on.)

Ironically, when it came time to sing the Shania Twain songbook, the guys fared better than the two remaining women. Casey James got serious (and seriously good) with “Don’t!,” Aaron Kelly turned a song about making love into a tender tribute to his mama, and Lee Dewyze sang “You’re Still the One” softly UNTIL HE SHOUTED THE CHORUS. (Nothing says “I love you” like an aching eardrum.) Meanwhile, Michael Lynche’s “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing” garnered raves from the judges and tears from Shania. (And with the way the exchange rate is going now, Canadian tears are worth about the same as American tears. So good job, Big Mike!)

Unfortunately, the remaining ladies struggled with the country sound. Siobhan Magnus sang/shrieked “Any Man of Mine” while high-fiving audience members, and Crystal Bowersox hid behind a bluegrass band … except when it came time to air her dirty laundry out on live television. You see, her custom T-shirt-wearing, no-good boyfriend is dragging his feet when the word “marriage” comes up. (Cue “Single Ladies”!) Bummer that the backstory was far more engaging (no pun intended) than her throwaway performance. (The song had something to do with cupid. And being stupid.) The lesson is that Crystal can’t do everything, like making bluegrass cool and receiving criticism gracefully.

On a “jam-packed” results show, Rascal Flatts performed their new single “All Our Songs Sound the Same (So Why Bother With a Title?).” Carrie Underwood pimped out her buddies Sons of Sylvia (formerly the Clark Brothers, formerly the Great American Band, formerly Hey Record Label Execs, You Can Change the Name of the Group All You Want But America Still Won’t Give a Crap). Then 19 Entertainment continued their frustrating habit of taking a perfectly good solo song and forcing it to be a duet for no reason whatsoever by making Shakira perform “Gypsy” with Gary LeVox. (To quote the Mighty Bowersox, “Bigger isn’t always better.”)

Highlighting the fact that “Gypsy: The Duet” was pointless, Lady Antebellum showed up to sing an actual duet, their irresistible hit “Need You Now.”

Four musical performances, an extended promo for “Shrek Forever After” and a vampire-themed Ford commercial later, the bottom three were revealed. Big Mike sat first, leaving Siobhan and Casey on the chopping block. Ultimately the Glassblower joined the elite club of People Who Had the Pimp Spot and Were Sent Home Anyway (chairwoman: Lilly Scott). Her farewell was pretty shocking and emotional, but let’s look at the bright side: At least her elimination caused a cameraman to run up to Casey James’ mother’s face, giving us a sassy reaction shot that was more entertaining than 99 percent of this season of “Idol.” If only we could vote for Mama Casey.

Next week the top five will do Sinatra songs with the king of Sinatra impressions, Harry Connick, Jr. I wonder if he’ll bring his gun to rehearsals.

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