All contestants performed the music of the Rolling Stones onstage on “American Idol” on Tuesday, March 16, 2010. As Ryan Seacrest said in his introduction, “The Rolling Stones are the most iconic group on the planet, period.” I would second that, having seen them, live, in concert, on 12 occasions over the years.

I worried that the crop of musicians that has advanced to the Final Twelve did not have the swagger necessary to pull off the Stones’ best songs. I was right to worry, but let’s start with the good.

Opening the show was Michael Lynche (“Big Daddy”). Michael had the swagger. All of the judges liked his rendition of “Miss You” except Simon, who said that, while he liked the singing (especially the falsetto), “The dancing was kind of corny, verging at times a tiny bit desperate.” Sorry, Michael, but I agree with Simon. I turned to my companion and commented that one particular movement Michael made during his dancing should be dubbed the “Doggy Doo Dance.” (It looked as though Michael had just stepped in…well, you get the idea…and was trying to shake it off his sneaker.) It wasn’t great. Kara thought Michael had “swagger, style and attitude” and Randy felt Michael had “slayed it,” while Ellen said, “What’s not to love about that??” In answer to Ellen’s question, what’s not to love about that was the Doggy Doo Dance, for which I have no film. (I did have video of the Dora the Explorer Dance in a previous review, but not this week.)

Siobhan Magnus, singing “Paint It Black” was amazing this night. She looked good, in a fey way, with a short strapless black cocktail dress paired with black boots. Simon called her rendition “The standout performance of the night,” and I would agree. She really screeched out that high note and Randy said, “That was hot!” while Ellen said she “Loved it” and that she “loved the look.”  Kara had the best critique, saying, “You rise above, like Snooky’s pouf.” (This remark an homage to the Jersey Shore’s Snooky, one assumes). Kara’s final word:  “The best interpretation tonight.” True.

Others who did not suck this night: Casey Jones, singing “It’s All Over Now” (It’s cool that Casey is from Cool, Texas), Lee DeWyze, who lacked intensity but did a decent job with “Beast of Burden,” Crystal Bowersox, with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (also lacking in intensity) and Aaron Kelly singing “Angie.” Once again, Simon gave Aaron a left-handed compliment, saying, “You haven’t got a big voice.  You chose absolutely 100% the right song. It was in tune, it was within your range.” Also, despite the judges’ lukewarm reception, for the first time I liked a song that Andrew Garcia sang, which was “Fade Away.” The judges were not as kind. Simon said, “I genuinely hope you survive another week.” This week, I concur.

Those whose performances had some major problems:

  • Katie Stevens (de rigueur) singing “Wild Horses.” (Bad dress. Pitchy. Never technically perfect. Simon disliked the second half of the arrangement. I have disliked every song Katie has sung, so far.)
  • Lacey Brown: Weird. Sleepy. “Some issues where you hit the notes right,” from Kara. Just the usual boring stuff from the redhead. (Lacey sang “Ruby Tuesday”).
  • Didi Benami: Simon:  “Solid, not brilliant.” Didi sang “Play With Fire.” It was dark and dreary. Lighten up. Do a fast song for a change.
  • Tim Urban: “Under My Thumb.” A reggae version of “Under My Thumb”? Really, Tim? (Just shoot me now, or provide me with earplugs.)
  • Paige Miller: Suffering from laryngitis. Sang “Honky Tonk Woman.” Considering her health issues, did okay. Needs to do better.