Lee DeWyze, who had the best performance of the top 10 Tuesday night on "American Idol."

Lee DeWyze, who had the best performance of the top 10 Tuesday night on "American Idol."

On Tuesday night, we tuned in to “Idol” with at least some skepticism — and some fear for our favorite contestant. After all, it was R&B. And here’s what we found…

Maddie: First off, what is with this new guy (at least, I assume it’s a guy) announcing the names of the judges and Ryan? No one can announce Ryan’s name. You just… can’t.

And to Usher mentoring, for R&B week, he was the natural choice. Usher is smooth, cool and the poster boy of the genre — after all, not everyone can wear sunglasses inside at night without looking as ridiculous as Siobhan does in her specs.

Although seeing Usher without his sunglasses on gave me a clue as to why he always wear them: his eyes are not the most attractive part of his face. They’re actually rather far apart, akin to Dory’s from “Finding Nemo.”

Emmy: Glad this week’s mentor is OLDER or at least around the same age as the contestants…not some super slutty, 17-year-old named Miley. I’m glad I wasn’t writing during the Miley week because I would bee too obsessed hating Miley because I cannot stand that too-much-black-eyeliner-idiotic-next-Britney Spears 17-year-old.

Hey, what’s with the new guy announcing? What did I miss?

Siobhan

M: Let me just say this: R&B is not Siobhan’s strength. Siobhan’s key strategy thus far in the competition hasn’t been a secret — she screams, shrieks and screeches her way to a standing ovation.

And usually, it works. She, quite like — and I can’t believe I’m admitting this — Season 8 standout Adam Lambert, nails the loud and theatrical numbers, not in the least because of her excellent upper register.

But that strategy failed tonight, and it wasn’t because of some sudden lack of scream-power — her scream was as loud, powerful and obnoxious as it’s always been. But that scream didn’t fit a slow R&B song, and that’s where she struggled. You can’t shout your way through all songs, and this was one of them.

But hey, Siobhan, at least you definitely looked prettier tonight than Usher does without his sunglasses on.

E: First off, I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THIS GIRL. She wails and shrieks and makes unpleasant sounds…almost sounding like a dying animal. Those loud long notes are getting tired after two weeks. She is loosing that wow factor that she supposedly had.

R&B is not Siobhan’s strength. Like Kara said she screams and it wasn’t her best performance (what WAS her best performance?).

Oh Simon, I love you. You are so blunt and gives great analogies. I totally agree with you on the screaming at the end.

Casey

M: While the video before Casey’s performance seemed to say, “This is going to rock!” because of Usher’s interest in Casey’s musical ability, I was a little skeptical when Casey stepped up to the stage with his guitar to tackle “Hold On.”

I mean, just because Usher wants to keep his eye on him doesn’t mean much — Usher was the guy who decided to keep his eye on Justin Bieber, after all. And last time I checked, he had still yet to hit puberty.

But whether or not Usher was on par with signing the teen who got his claim to fame by catching management attention on YouTube, Usher was right tonight.

This was the Casey America has been waiting to hear since his bluesy Hollywood debut.

Besides his perfect vocals and attention-grabbing showmanship, Casey was clearly just comfortable with himself on stage. A hit at its best.

Hey, maybe he should wear his hair in a ponytail more often. Not only does he seem to sound better — he looks a lot better, too, no matter what Kara says.

E: I will admit, I am tired of Casey. He lost me a while ago. I’m tired of him and his guitar…which I never thought I would say that I’m tired of a guitar. But this is a singing competition not a guitar playing competition. If it was my guitar teacher would be the Guitar Idol, that or our friend Cliff.

I think Usher has lost it. First Justin Bieber NOW Usher?! Justin Bieber sounds like a girl SO very much, I actually thought in his “Eenie Meenie” song he did with Sean Kingston that Justin was a girl. I had compeltly forgot that Justin was singing it. But at least Casey doesn’t sound like a girl. He just sings the same notes over and over again, as well as he plays the same guitar chords all the time.

At least Casey has some great stage presence. He’s excited to be there and happy. It is easily seen how happy and how excited he is to be there on that stage and playing a song.

The judges seem disappointed this whole performance…well except for Simon who seems super happy that Casey performed well. Even though it didn’t seem as R&B as others. it had a rock-ish touch.

Big Mike

M: Not for the first time, Big Michael (Big Mike is starting to feel too generic) had another night of solid vocals that breathed truth with every word. I can’t complain — it was good. But like Dawg said, it wasn’t so exciting. And usually, that would bother me, but for the first time, Big Michael wowed me in the way that he has wowed the judges and the rest of America.

Previously, while I’ve felt the quality in his voice, I haven’t felt the quality in him as, like Simon said, an artist, but tonight Big Michael proved himself. It was, as Simon said, believable. Not flashy, not fake — believable. And that, America, is what gets votes.

Or, more accurately, a record deal.

E: I am tired of big Mike as well. He is like a Ruben Studdard, and shouldn’t win. What happened to Ruben? He went NO WHERE and another Idol winner should not be wasted. R&B really doesn’t mix well with American Idol.

Big Mike looked like a fish in his preview. HA!

Big Mike’s guitar looks like a ukulele. it’s so tiny and the last time he used a guitar, he didn’t actually use it.

This is just weird. He is BEHIND the judges and they aren’t even looking at him, but hey they got fancy screens in the table and in front of them.

Obviously Mike is going to get good marks and all that stuff he normally receives from the judges. But no matter what I am sick, sick, sick and disgusted with Big Mike. After being in Florida during Spring Break, where Big Mike is from, all in the newspapers and little Florida newspapers, where stuff about Big Mike. Now even with everything here in Mount Prospect, I don’t mind seeing Lee because he’s not full of himself that I know of.

Is that security guards around Usher or are they his best friends, dressed similarly? I wonder if they planned that.

Didi

M: Just a general note: If a song makes you cry in front of one of America’s most famous rap and R&B artists, then it just might be too much for you.

And that, Didi, was your problem tonight.

I’ve never been a hater of Didi’s actual voice; compared to Lacey Brown’s, hers is practically angelic. But then again, compared to Lacey Brown’s, even Tim’s (gag) can’t be called terrible.

So the problem wasn’t so much the voice as much as what she did with it: Didi forced her voice through a song that does not fit her voice. The entire performance felt just that: forced and unnatural.

And yes, Simon: Just like those singers on “Dancing With the Stars.” And I thought I was the only one who noticed!

E: Didi needs to get out of here. Why is she in this competition when she CANNOT sing? She has a whiney crackling voice. She is like Rice Krispies, snap, crackle and pop, or should I say whine. She holds one of the traits that I cannot stand: over emotional. She easily demonstrated that with Usher. Just after singing for Usher she flipped out and started crying. And now cue the elderly couples being touched.

DIDI WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? You look super duper BAD! For one, you have such a pale complexion and the make up and hair didn’t help. You are the opposite of Hooker. I might need to recommend you some Hooker clothing. Just call her up and ask her.

I am bored with your performance and am very tempted to fast forward through it, since I DVR-ed it, which I just did. The rest of the performance was blah and boring. It was too long and dramatic is not what the stage needs. The only dramatic-ness it needs is Adam Lambert with his guy-liner and sparkles.

For once, the judges and I agree. Except they wouldn’t say this:  get her out of here!

But of course, Didi has to get emotional at the end. Sympathy votes insert there.

Tim

M: Well, it’s official: Whether or not he survives the week, Tim Urban has now tied Sanjaya for the longest-lasting Vote for the Worst contestant. If he makes it through to the Top 9, he will beat them all, our old ponyhawk-rocking friend included.

And no, I am not kidding.

If it weren’t for Vote for the Worst and America’s abundance of Jonas-obsessed girls, I would have probably stopped watching the show for disbelief that Tim has remained in the competition so far. He’s only had one good week up until this week, after all, that being “Hallelujah,” slow, steady and, most importantly, almost impossible to mess up.

And Tim went back down that road this week in a clear attempt to save himself from last week’s sing-and-slide crash. And he did, as the judges pointed out, stay in key — and smile. And that was basically it.

But the thing is, that — by which I mean his smile — just might be enough to pull him through. Because Simon’s right: It doesn’t matter how he does anymore. It all comes down to who can vote faster — the people that actually vote based on talent or the 13-year-old girls.

But then again, with texting on their side, those screaming tweens may just have the upper leg.

E: I kind of like Tim. He probably won’t  be around much longer, but at least he is better than Didi.

Tim’s performance tonight was one of his better ones. I mean he’s still a little rough and not the best, but it was one of his better ones. I liked it for Tim. It wasn’t wowing.

Yes! Tim hit the notes right! Even if it was flat a little. He hit them! I’m so proud of you!

Now the screaming tween girls will be texting and calling their votes. I have a feeling Tim is sticking around.

What is with the guy always screaming in the background? He’s shouted out things almost every contestant.

Andrew

M: Garcia, kid: You’re back. So, so back.

Finally, the days of “Straight Up” are back. So, so back.

His performance was the definition of smooth with the subtle acoustic guitar and the slow, natural-sounding vocals that represented the entire performance: natural.

Naturally amazing, that is.

And finally, the judges agreed. For once, they got it right.

But I do have one bone to pick with the judges: Simon, Garcia is not boring! How can someone bold enough to wear glasses that look generic enough to be bought at a gas station be boring? Seriously. Just no.

Katie

M: Even if her outfit (and hairstyle — what the heck is with all the poofy ponytails all of the sudden?) made me cringe, Katie’s performance, in contrast, managed to impress me instead.

Because, Simon, you are wrong: Country does not equal Katie. R&B does.

For the first time in weeks, Katie’s voice was not pitchy — anything but. Her voice, so smooth and within her range, blended into the song naturally, my new favorite word for the night. Not that I’m a fan of Selena Gomez’s single with which my younger neighbors are now obsessed, but it’s fitting a lot of performances tonight.

So, Katie, whatever you do, listen to Kara, not Simon. Or you will fail. I promise.

E: This girl needs to get the heck out of there. She has grown a big head and an attitude. She believes she is all that, but she isn’t. I want people whoa re full of themselves OUT of this competition. I don’t care if Miley “helped” (how could Miley help?!) Katie in any way because those two both have big heads and think they are the center of the world. So BLAH to you guys. Blah, blah, blah.

First off, Katie’s outfit stinks. Is that a skirt or a pair of shorts? It is as confusing and makes me feel lost like her song is. I’m bored when I watch her. Why is she in this competion? but she isn’t as bad as Didi, jsut if she could get out within the next three weeks if not less. I would appreciate that tons.

And that last note at the end? Who is she trying to be? Siobhan?

See Katie if you wouldn’t be so “I’m not doing R&B I want to be a pop princess and swim in money” then maybe you would have gotten my appreciation. But right now it’s going to take a lot to get the sour out of me when it comes to you.

Big Mike what happened to your jacket? No one wants to see your big muscles and tatooes.

Lee

M: Thank you, Usher! He echoed what I’ve been saying all along: Everyone else believes — but not Lee. As Lee stepped up to the mic to see “Treat Her Like A Lady,” I hoped for one thing and one thing only: that he would just believe.

And when he broke into the chorus, his rocker edge even managing to tackle R&B, his fingers moving furiously on his guitar and the soul in his voice carrying him where his lack of a camera face can’t, I knew that he finally did.

And that was enough to bring Lee back to frontrunner status.

Thank God I finally got around to buying a T-shirt at lunch — I’ll need it for weeks to come.

E: Yay for Lee! Yay! Yay! Yay! Yay! I’m excited to see what Lee is up to. I didn’t get to see his whole performance last week which was a major bummer, but I was in Walt Disney World wearing my neon yellow Lee shirt promoting him. I met some interesting Lee fans from all over the country. I also talked to my Auntie while I was down south and she keeps calling Lee, DeWyzie. Now my dad says that. Ha.

Walking pneumonia! WHAT! WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?! Gasp!

Self confidence and stage presence is what Lee needs. Usher easily saw that.

I am in love with the performance already, night as he hit that first note.  Awww and he’s smiling and having fun and is totally rocking it! A milion hearts to Lee!

If the judges rip him up, well he’s singing with walking pneumonia what does he sound like when he doesn’t have it?

I am totally, totally in love with this performance and Lee and just am totally excited. Lee is safe. Safe times a gazillion.

Best performance of the night! Yeah Ellen!

See Lee, you have had Simon’s vote all along!

Hey! Putting the guitar pick underneath his tongue. That’s a new spot. I normally stick it in my phone.

I’m actually re watching this performance of Lee’s because I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! I am actually going to buy the video of this performance off of iTunes. I LOOOOOVE IT!

It was unbelievable.

Crystal

M: While a pair of stilettos may have been the change in her exterior that surprised the “Idol” audience tonight, it was the changes in her performance that made the biggest difference of all.

Playing the piano and showing another side of her vocal power, Crystal wowed America again in a new way than before — only not, as Simon may have suggested, while compromising her personality, style or beliefs.

America just saw a different style of Crystal than we had before, and that, I’d argue, is far from a bad thing. If anything, it just showed her flexibility as an artist as much as her character as one. The heels weren’t a mistake.

But I have to say, a one-sleeved top might be taking it a little far.

E: Ryan why are you surrounding yourself in a crowd of crazy people.

I love Crystal…not as much as Lee…but I like her tons. She has the star quality and like Lee, isn’t really changing during the competition like other contestants (cough cough Katie Stevens cough cough cough). She’s down to earth and simple.

Also my Spanish teacher and I agreed earlier Tuesday morning that Crystal is great.

Crystal showed tonight that she works well without he trusty sidekick, the guitar. I love how she showed a different side and showed us what she can do.

Aaron

M: Aaron! What were you thinking? You can NOT perform “Ain’t No Sunshine” on “American Idol,” not after it was the single performance that catapulted Kris Allen forward from no-name to winner in Season 8. By choosing a song so successful just last season, you’re just inviting comparisons to performances by past contestants — even worse, performances by past winners.

I said the same thing when Lee chose to audition with the same song, and if I didn’t make an exception for a fellow member of the Prospect community, then there’s no chance that another — albeit slightly better-looking — David Archuleta could impress me. After all, this was the song that first made me a fan of our most recent winner, and no one can top that.

Needless to say, Aaron’s version of the song didn’t live up to K Allen’s rendition last year. He did a decent job with it, but the arrangement was awkward, as was his attempt to make a song that had been sang to perfection so many times before his own. But as Simon said, he’s safe. Just like Archie, Aaron ain’t going home any time soon.

E:His performance wasn’t memorable and just was plain. He’s going to be sticking around for another week because he wasn’t as bad as some (cough DIDI cough).

Overall

M: Tonight was a night for the very good and the very bad. For the first time this season, I finally felt the true competitors come out and shape the line-up for the season. The standouts stood out, and a few contestants in particular brought an energy to the stage that I hadn’t seen for weeks. Tonight might have literally saved the season; my hope in “Idol” has been restored.

The Hits: Lee, Garcia, Crystal, Casey

The Misses: Tim, Didi, Siobhan

The Bottom 3: Tim, Didi, Katie

On the Way Out: Timmy

E: Best Performance: Lee–and I’m not being biased. He was unbelievably amazingly spectacular.

Hits: LEE!!! Andrew

Misses: Didi, Katie, Tim

Bottom Three: Didi Tim And KAtie

Bottom Two: Didi and Tim

Who I’d like out: Didi PLEASE

–Maddie Conway and Emmy Lindfors