LOS ANGELES — The "American Idol" top nine took the stage once again Wednesday night hoping to avoid yet another elimination by singing their hearts out ... and did they ever. Taking on songs by their own personal idols, the two-hour broadcast was filled with tearful moments, five [article id="1682019"]standing ovations[/article] and, in Mr. Randy "In It to Win It" Jackson's words, strong contenders for the title.
[article id="1681954"]Heejun Han[/article] may have made the biggest surprise comeback after being blasted last week by Jimmy Iovine and Steven Tyler for not taking the show seriously. Not to mention his leaving half of America scratching their heads as to why he was still in the competition after his goofball antics. This week it was obvious Han had a wake-up call as he took to the stage with a sincere rendition of Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You," ultimately bringing the judges to their feet.
"What I can tell you at this point," Han explained backstage after the show, "is that when someone doesn't believe in himself and at that point someone said, 'You don't belong here. I'm not going to sign you. You're not going to win,' then my automatic reaction has to be 'I know. I don't want this.' I never actually believed in myself anymore and even before. But from last week there were so many people that still believed in me and supported me, that's when I realized I really want to do this. I'm not going to let anyone down anymore and that was a turning point."
And speaking of turning points, let's not forget "Idol" contestant DeAndre Brackensick, who was also one of the five performers to get a standing ovation from the judges after being in last week's bottom three. Taking on Eric Benet's "Sometimes I Cry," Brackensick even had J.Lo begging the audience to pick up their phones and vote.
So, with some finalists back on the "Idol" radar while other's outshined their own performances from the week before, who will America vote for to stay in the competition? Will this be yet another shocking results week, bringing the final nine down to eight, or will the judges finally be forced to use their one and only save for this week's stellar performances?
"No matter who is in the bottom three tomorrow [Thursday] night, they are going to be shockers because there were five standing ovations," Colton Dixon, who sang himself to tears opening the show with Lifehouse's "Everything," explained. "Tonight was a great night for 'American Idol.' It was for every single one of us. We all left everything we had on the table and on the stage."
"I definitely think [Thursday] night will be shocking," added Joshua Ledet, who brought the house down once again singing Mariah Carey's version of "Without You." "Honestly, I think everyone was so great tonight that the judges might use their save tomorrow because it would be crazy if they didn't."
"It's gonna be hard for us because, you know, when you get a standing ovation, it doesn't necessarily mean you are gonna go pass through," Han said. "It's not really a matter of who's on bottom three, but it's really a matter of who's going home and who's gonna stay. At this point, I'm really happy with what I did, and if I were to go home, then this is the happiest moment where I can go."
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.