We're Live-Blogging The Top Nine 'American Idol' Performances!

Jim Cantiello

Buy plenty of bottled water! Say goodbye to your loved ones! Go on a shopping spree you'll never have to pay off! It's “Top Downloads Night” on "American Idol." Contemporary music on "Idol?" CLEARLY the end of the world is near!! This very well could be our final "American Idol" live blog together!??

The contemporary quandary is one that's always plagued the show. How are these contestants expected to compete in a current pop landscape after the show's over when all they've had to do up to that point is sing Barry Manilow and tunes from the Great Depression? It baffles me that TV's biggest show hasn't figured that out yet. Pop music is less about singing ability and more about image. Just ask Lady Gaga. (Oh wait! The contestants can because rumor has it, she's slated to appear in some capacity this week.)??

Ironic, then, that America and the judges are finicky about showing love to "Idols" covering songs still on the radio. Sound too much like the original = failure. (Poor Felicia Barton!) But deviate too much and they send you packing anyway! (Ju’not Joyner and Dead Wife Guy's buddy never stood a chance!)??

That's why I'm concerned for Allison tonight. She shines when she can connect to a song on an emotional level, and there ain’t that much emotion in Akon's catalogue. All signs point to a Kelly Clarkson cover, and it's nearly impossible to tackle one of those without sounding like you're rocking out at a karaoke happy hour.

Megan's doomed too, unless she can find a way to deconstruct a pop song and make it play to her strengths. I guess her strength is her beauty, so perhaps she'd be better off turning her song into an instrumental and just stand there and look amazing. Hell, I'd still vote for her!

MTV.COM user pickles had some hilarious ideas regarding Megan’s always-changing name. She wrote, “Whenever I hear Megan Joy, I always think of Almond Joy. Actually, if her name changes to Almond Joy next week, I don't even think I'd be surprised. She seems to have a new name every week. And the whole 'Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't...' phrase kinda suits her. Ooooh. Maybe she can get Lil on this whole name changing bandwagon and she could show up as Lil Mounds.” Hilarious! And delicious!

And lastly, sad news in the Gokey household, as Danny’s grandfather passed away this past week. But look at the bright side, Gokester. At least you have another corpse to dig up and exploit! That will help you last another 3-4 weeks easily.

But what's with all this projection?! Enough pointless predictions. Let's get live-blogging already!??

7:52 pm - Whew! I'm back from a whirlwind trip to Florida. I got to check out the awesome, brand new "American Idol Experience" attraction. Stay tuned for a blog entry tomorrow.

7:55 pm - Did you miss last week's Motown drama? There's still time to catch up by watching my latest "Idol" in 60 Seconds recap. Clicky.??

7:58 pm - Fun fact: tonight's episode is 85 minutes long, the same running-time as "Cloverfield." And just like the monster in Cloverfield, Danny Gokey is frightening New York hipsters.

8:01 pm - Oh my Zoe! We're only 60 seconds in and there are already too many styling disasters to mention.

8:02 pm - Spotted in the audience behind Randy Jackson: David Spade, a skinny Mandisa and quite possibly the crazy old lady that lives next door to me.

8:02 pm - Seacrest just asked Kara to define artistry. She failed.

8:03 pm - Spotted in the audience throwing their kids around like a sack of potatoes: Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna's massive lips.

8:04 pm - Tonight's theme: any song that's ever been downloaded. And now the Top 9 are hanging out with Seacrest in his radio studio (where everyone is using iPod earbuds to hear him? Woah, Seacrest, how about you spring for some professional audio equipment? Cheap-o!)

8:05 pm - And now Seacrest is playing with a computer that has silly "Idol" samples in it. Basically, Ryan is your annoying co-worker who plays "Scarface" excerpts at inopportune times.

8:05 pm - Anoop is singing Usher's "Caught Up." Douchey Anoop is back.

8:06 pm - I don't even know where to begin. The flat notes, the snarling, or the chain that's wrapped around his left shoulder?

8:07 pm - Dear Anoop. Never brush the dirt off your shoulders. EVER.

8:07 pm - There you have it. As if we needed any more proof that Anoop is a-jerk, his cheering section is a bunch of white frat guys.

8:08 pm - Holy crap. Kara just told Anoop that she feels like a bunch of frat guys dared him to sing that Usher song. Kara is reading my mind! Or, even scarier, is she reading my blog??

8:09 pm - Kara, if you're reading this right now, poke Paula.

8:10 pm - Loopy Paula is back!! She just hiccuped something about developing "signature moves." What do you mean, Paula? Like clapping like a seal, or pulling crayons out from your crotch?

8:10 pm - Seacrest to Anoop: "Let's go back to Kara's comment...because I saw you shaking your head and biting your tongue." Clearly Ryan is just as obsessed with the ShamWow hooker story as I am.

8:11 pm - Stank attitude alert! Raise your hand if you want to punch Anoop right now? Good luck with that r&b career, buddy.

8:15 pm - Megan Joy is rehearsing Bob Marley/Lauryn Hill's "Turn Your Lights Down Low." I feel like it should be called "Turn Your TV Down Low." Oof.

8:15 pm - Megan Joy just said the judges punched her in the mouth last week with their comments. Clearly Megan is just as obsessed with the ShamWow hooker story as I am.

8:16 pm - The good: Megan's finally wearing heels. The bad news: she's taking hair advice from Jason Castro. The worst news: the song is just abysmal.

8:19 pm - The judges hated her. Paula's telling her to sit on a stool and stop dancing. You know you're in trouble when Paula says you shouldn't dance.

8:20 pm - I agree with the judges. That song was just all sorts of wrong. Her vocals weren't the worst they've ever been, but the song had four notes and she just squawked all over 'em.

8:26 pm - Coke Real Moment with Gokey. He mentions the dead grandpa in t-minus three, two...

8:27 pm - Danny is doing a Rascal Flatts number in order to "tone it down." Also, to "pander to the South."

8:28 pm - The beginning of the song felt very cold and calculated.

8:29 pm - It built nicely, and he didn't pull the Taylor Hicks crap this week, but it didn't move me. I still think he's overrated. (Points for not exploiting the dead, though.)

8:30 pm - Paula wants to push "repeat" in her heart after hearing that performance. Does that mean she's gonna call Emilio tonight?

8:31 pm - Okay, judges. Let's not go crazy. Sure, Anoop and Megan were craptacular, but let's not anoint Danny the "Idol" just yet. Ugh.

8:33 pm - Allison is playing the guitar and singing No Doubt's "Don't Speak." Three lines in and I'm tearing up. This is beautiful!

8:34 pm - I'm not feeling her hair at all. Remember that scene in "Mannequin" when Kim Catrall and Andrew McCarthy lip-sync to the Starship song? She's wearing that wig.

8:35 pm - Randy is dissing her outfit. The judges have it out for this girl. The conspiracy against Allison continues.

8:36 pm - OMG now Kara is complaining about her outfit, too. NOOO! Not one word about her mindblowing vocals? Seriously, Kara?!! So much for "artistry."

8:36 pm - Thank you for doing your job, Paula. Abdul: "You can outsing artists who are twice your age." But let's be honest. Gwen Stefani is three times this girl's age, no matter how many songs about high school she records.

8:37 pm - I give up on this show. Seriously. Simon's claiming her silly outfit distracted from her vocals. And then he claimed she shouted the song. COME ON DUDE! The first third of that was 4000X more emotional than I've ever heard that song.

8:42 pm - If "Glee" is not a huge hit, I have no faith in TV viewers. How amazing does this show look??

8:44 pm - Adult contemporary Scott is singing the adult contemporary staple "Just The Way You Are." This is Scott's best performance to date, but that's like celebrating the recent stock market bump. The economy's still f*****, folks!

8:46 pm - Kara likes Scott's new look, which is essentially Sharon Stone's look from that scene in "Basic Instinct" when she showed us her ladyparts.

8:46 pm - Paula Abdul: "Out of all the contestants that have graced the stage, I'm most proud of you and I want the audience to know it has nothing to do about your challenge but everything to do that makes me forget about that challenge." So......it's about the challenge then.

8:47 pm - Question: is it worth giving a blind man a standing ovation?

8:48 pm - Congrats, Scott. You sang a song on tune this week! Let's give the man a parade.

8:53 pm - Matt is already coming off more likeable in his Coke Real Moment.

8:54 pm - He jumped his cue and started the song while Seacrest was introducing him. Mistake #1. Mistake #2? Letting "Idol" position him out in the audience with a keyboard. The crowd could not look more disinterested in him, and he's standing - literally - four inches from them. Mistake #3? He's wearing leather again! Dear Matt, you are not Chris Martin.

8:56 pm - Paula just used the word "aborted" in reference to his performance.

8:57 pm - Call it, doctors. This dude is a dead man.

8:58 pm - Lil Rounds is up next. She thought long and hard before choosing Celine Dion's "I Surrender." She should have thought harder and longer.

8:59 pm - Forget Lil Mounds, from this point on I shall call her "Crooked Wig."

9:01 pm - Poor Lil. This feels desperate and depressing. At least she hit some big notes in there.

9:02 pm - Did anyone else just see David Spade put chewing gum under his seat? Nasty!!

9:03 pm - Simon compared her to a wedding singer. Matt G is very happy that Lil choked. He might be safe after all.

9:04 pm - Instead of a post-"Idol" interview, Seacrest ran over to Lil's baby girls and interviewed them. (The interview went slightly better than an Allison Iraheta chat.) Annnd now Randy Jackson is holding one of Lil's priceless little babies. as;dsadfkkkkkkkfjiwfj. Sorry. That's what melting looks like.

9:05 pm - Matt G is so pissed right now.

9:09 pm - HA! Coming back from the break, Seacrest is now where Lil's baby was when we last left off, as if the baby morphed into Ryan. That silly trick is something we'd do on "Detox!"

9:09 pm - Old Adam Lambert is back singing "Play That Funky Music." I miss "RuPaul's Drag Race."

9:11 pm - America, welcome to the Bar Mitzvah from hell.

9:12 pm - Things that are more funky that Adam Lambert: LL Bean, Clay Aiken, Velcro.

9:12 pm - Paula compared Adam to Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler in a long soliloquy that she obviously memorized and wrote long before the cameras started rolling.

9:13 pm - Kara's trouble with numbers continues. "It's like Studio 57 up in here." LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!

9:19 pm - Kris Allen is aching to have a "moment." So he's singing "Ain't No Sunshine" behind a keyboard with a string quartet.

9:20 pm - Moment achieved! This is really great. I think he's oversinging it just a tad, and that last note was akin to saying "Studio 57" on live-TV, but this was a fantastic offering.

9:22 pm - Congrats Kris! Now you should celebrate with a nice shave. The stubble is starting to make you look like a child molester.

9:23 pm - Phone number montage: Allison's "Don't Speak" was by far my favorite. And I think Matt is almost certainly a goner.

9:25 pm - "The Osbournes" begins. I have never reached for a remote faster.

So what did you guys thing? Are you infuriated by the judge's constant snubbing of Allison's genius? Was her outfit really that awful? Are you happy Scott finally did well? Do you prefer Tender Anoop or Swagger Anoop? And who else thinks Kara should go back to kindergarten?

Let me know what you thought in the comments! As always, my favorite comment will get a shout-out in next week's "Idol" live-blog.

Thanks for reading and watching!