March 17th, 2009
10:30 PM ET

Top 11: A night of more highs than lows

Almost every "American Idol" season, country music night is the one to be feared.

Top 13

Even the strongest of singers have stumbled over this theme.

But this time around, it wasn't as painful as it could have been. While favorites like Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey didn't exactly deliver the chill-inducing performances one might have expected, there were still some nice moments.

The shocker of the night was clearly Anoop Desai, who delivered in a way that many viewers probably didn't expect after last week's debacle.

Now it's up to the voters. Who has sung their honky-tonk swan song?

Filed under: American Idol judges • television

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. louise vitton

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    July 2, 2012 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. shaun

    Adam is far from original. That version of Ring of Fire was 1st performed by Jeff Buckley and followed by a female contestant on Rockstar: INXS. He's better suited for Broadway. Could you honestly imagine his voice on the radio? As someone who has worked in A/R for a major label, I think not.

    March 19, 2009 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gabba

    Adam's rendition of Ring of Fire was fantastic and unique. How many other singers could manage such a complicated score with such finesse? Hopefully, the music powers that be, are listening and taking notes. Don't let this talented person fade into obscurity.

    March 19, 2009 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. carolyn

    to all of us that get upset when our favorites gets kicked off, may I remind you of Jennifer Hudson. If you have talent, someone out there
    will notice you, and give you the opportunity, even if Simon and
    the judges say they are good enough to be the next american Idol,
    and people like me are too lazy to vote, when its their turn they will
    get all thats coming to them.Jennifer got voted off, and she went on to
    win an oscar and a grammy.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joyce

    Megan reminds me of last season's Christy Lee Cooke who lasted way too long. Scott is OK and valiant though should be gone by the midpoint as a not-rockin' singer. Cute though–and I hope he gets a break. Adam is a little creepy in his persona though has great stage presence. Seems like he doesn't connect with the audience enough, like it's all about him. Kris? Not much there. The rocker girl is too one-sided. Michael Sarver should be out soon. Final winner? I think it will be Danny.

    March 19, 2009 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. mary

    Adam is a little weird, but he is smart too. Everyone is talking about him and he is already getting fame from his rendition of JC's song. Sure he left everyone speechless...except for Simon, but I guarantee you will not soon forget him.

    March 18, 2009 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. AH

    Travis, I am with you Megan is the best!

    March 18, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Travis

    Great job Megan! I still believe that a very powerful performance is yet to come that will seperate her from the rest. I hope you feel better soon!

    March 18, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Zanne

    Adam was incredible! Dolly Parton was asked about Whitney Houston when Whitney recorded "I Will Always Love You". Dolly said that when she (Dolly) recorded it she had money to put in the bank, but when Whitney recorded it, she (Dolly) bought the bank. Adam's version of Ring of Fire was fabulous. And if he recorded that today, it would be top of the charts and most downloads. Cash family would be buying some banks.

    Like him or not, Adam is the best performing artist on American Idol If he doesn't win, he'll be better off like Daughtry– which the judges were not really in love with because he wasn't 20 making the giggly girls phone in. Best selling artist of 2007–sans "Idol" title.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. T

    I thought Adam was terrible, he is an over active theatrical performer. He consistently yells. I cannot stand to watch him.

    Anoop was wonderful as well as Danny, Kris and Matt.

    March 18, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cheryl

    Adam is the MAN! Yes, his rendition of "Ring of Fire" was different but different in a good way...I'm not the biggest rocker but he ROCKS! Always entertaining. Close competition but he will win this year...I have picked every winner for all 7 seasons so far–even Taylor Hicks during his audition–Everyone laughed. Who laughed all the way to the bank?? I picked Adam during his audition as well...Don't usually decide this early...Will come down to Adam, Danny and Matt. All are talented and will go far. Lil Rounds is the only female with half a chance this year.

    Continue to "bring it" Adam. Kudos.

    March 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. T Bone

    Adam Lambert is one of the most if not the most original artists to ever grace the Idol stage. I love what he did with Ring of Fire and to say the JC would be rolling over in his grave is just silly. JC was an innovator, a rebel, and a perveyor of many types of music. I think he would have loved the creativity and trueness to Adam's artistry that was involved with the performance. Anoop and Matt also brought it!! This year has so much talent, it's a joy to watch.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. April

    Too much talk from the judges!!! Blah, blah, blah.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Annie

    I wish I could download Adam's version Ring of Fire! It was pretty clear that the judges and most people wouldn't get it or appreciate it. You really can't win on that show- they rip some people for not "making the song their own", and then rip them if they do "make it their own."

    March 18, 2009 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Faye

    I watched Adam last night in complete shock. WTF was that?! Seriously horrible! Trying to weave a song to suit your style is fine but to do it at any cost?! Ugh. Simon took the words right outta my mouth – self-indulgent rubbish.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  16. Annie

    Adam's verison of Ring of Fire gave me chills-it was great- the judges were right; it was like a Nine Inch Nails Led Zeppelin combo- so unique! Love, love, love it!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  17. Andy

    I love country music and I thought most of the top 11 did a good job.
    I am on the side that Adam ruined a classic.He's becoming self-indulgent and smug.
    Danny didn't wow me last night. Neither did Lil.
    Kris and Matt were my two favorites last night.
    Allison is incredible.
    Alexis is slipping a little bit.
    I liked Michael. He had energy and showed a different side.
    Scott's version of Wild Angels was a little weird for me.
    I was shocked at Megan's good reviews from the judges.I just don't understand the Megan thing.
    Anoop was much better this week,but still not my favorite.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  18. JDK

    Adam disgraced country music fans with that stupid crap he did. He also disgraced Johnny Cash. He never should have been allowed to do that. For the people here that think he was awesome, listen to a country singer batter one of your favorite punk songs and see if you think that was great. It was a disgrace.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  19. Grimshawn

    Don't like Adam's attitude...too cocky, too self-absorbed...but he knocked me senseless with that take on Ring Of Fire. He's got a voice that matches current alternative bands such as The Darkness or Muse. Like his attitude or not, the boy has talent and I forsee him making it into the top 3.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  20. Kitty

    I think Lil is one of the best although country is definitely not her thing!
    Adam Lambert was a train wreck in my opinion! He sounded like a dying dog doing "Ring of Fire." I'm sure Johnny Cash would roll over in his grave if he heard it! I hope Adam is gone this time!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  21. terri

    Didn't like Adam's song last night AT ALL !!! It was supposed to be 'country', not 'weird'! He's good, but too different for this show. I like Danny G., he's GREAT!

    March 18, 2009 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  22. Scott

    Adam didn't claim that his rendition of Ring of Fire was original. He told Travis that he had "found another version." I loved it, though I thought the falsetto was the weak point (not his normal high range, but the falsetto.) I think that Mr. Cash would have appreciated the different interpretation. Anyway, it was my favorite performance of the night.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  23. dalton

    Loved Adam,,,,,the most interesting , with terrific voice,,,,,
    The only unique one. Hope america can handle UNIQUE!

    March 18, 2009 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  24. SJ

    If Adam would've sung that song in tryouts that way he would've been booted off the stage and never made it to Hollywood. I think it was not only the worst performance of the night, but the worst I've ever seen on Idol. I've had enough of his lip-licking and heavy breathing.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  25. Derek

    Randy is a phony. He has been in the business over 20 years and has NEVER seen black nail polish on a guy? GIVE ME A BREAK and that wife of his with her stony demeanor who never applauded for anyone sitting there in a bad wig looking like a retired dominatrix. EWWW...

    March 18, 2009 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  26. JenNYC

    There is also a rock version of "Ring of Fire" by Social Distortion that came out in the 90s.

    March 18, 2009 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  27. J S Ragman

    My favorites last night were Megan Joy and Kris Allen. Alexis Grace was also very good regardless of what the judges said.

    March 18, 2009 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  28. Paula

    Way to go Megan, sick with the flu and still managed to pull it off. This little lady has a ton of talent and we would like to see her make it to the top!

    March 18, 2009 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  29. Debbie

    I'm almost done w/that show. Dropping Jasmine did it for me although there are a few I am still rooting for.

    March 18, 2009 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  30. TLC

    Just want to add a comment that Randy Travis was a true gentleman on the show. What a class act!

    March 18, 2009 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  31. Keri

    Yeah, wheres Allison?! She did awesome last night, actually shes done awesome every night in my opinion! If Allison, Danny, Lil, and Alexis make it to the final four, ill be ecstatic!

    March 18, 2009 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  32. Diane

    LOVED Adam Lambert, his performance was over the top GREAT. Reminded me of Zeppelin or Jim Morrison. I would definitely buy his version of ring of fire; Johnny Cash's song. You would have even know it was a country song. But then again I hate country music. So as a die hard rock enthusiast, I really dug it.

    March 18, 2009 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  33. Jennifer

    I thought that Adam's performance was incredible....what he did with that song it made me want to download it if I had AT&T. I thought everyone did a nice job...I was surpised about Anoop and I think that Mike Sarver may be going home....I hope America liked and understood what Adam did and I think Randy nailed it when he said NIN does country!!!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  34. Beth

    Who would want to waste their time on a fifties show like American Idol. How lame!!

    March 18, 2009 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  35. stilllbraddyfan

    Where are the reviews of Alison and Michael Sarver? Don't tell me you've forgotten them?

    March 18, 2009 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  36. Annette

    The judges will have a tough time this year, all the singers are amazing. Adam's song last night was very strange but I thought he did an amazing job with it. He is so talented and charismatic, I could listen to him all night, Lil Eound definitely is no country girl, hehe but I think she will be safe tonight.

    March 18, 2009 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  37. KarynC

    Adam's version of Ring of Fire was not all that original. A little gal named Dilana put that version together on a similar show called Rockstar: Supernova a couple years ago.
    Only she did her version much better – sounded a bit like Siouxsie and the Banshees type of music. Adam's version was OK – they guy's got chops. But I don't think he did it as well as Dilana. And I'll be mad if he gets any credit for originality – he totally stole that from her.

    Also – I thought Alexis' version of Jolene was beautiful. Similar to Dolly's but different enough to make it her own. She didn't get enough credit – I think her performance last night was the best.

    March 18, 2009 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  38. Lee

    Man, people still watch this show?

    March 18, 2009 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  39. Mike

    American Idol is AWFUL. A bunch of starstruck bozos singing corporate muzac.

    I can't wait for it to go off the air.

    March 18, 2009 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  40. Susan P

    Adam Lambert was awesome!!! It's the only performance of the night that I wanted to hear over again. He reminds me of Freddy Mercury from Queen – he has an amazing vocal range and really puts himself out there. I thought it was hypnotic and highly entertaining. He could sell that version today.

    March 18, 2009 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  41. CherylS

    Usually my husband and I can tell who will end up in the bottom 2. Not this time. Although everyone wasn't spectacular like Anoop and Kris, no one was bad. It'll be a tough call – maybe the judges even will use their save.

    March 18, 2009 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  42. arona

    anoop rocked and he aint there by chance – he can sing! His voice is untouchable! I loved Matt too. These 2 are the ones to look out for!

    March 18, 2009 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  43. Joy

    Where's the guy with the blue sweater?!? I liked the guy with the blue sweater. And Jesse, where's Jesse??? Oh right, they didn't get in. Dang.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  44. Jeff

    Adam Lambert's rendition of Ring of Fire, though "creative", was histrionic, overwrought and completely self-indulgent. It's all about Adam Lambert when he performs, and rarely about translating a song in a way that makes the audience care about its message. But what do you expect from a contestant renowned for Googling his name in between shows? Very L.A.

    At least Anoop learned from his self indulgence last week and got back on track with a performance that was heartfelt and vocally strong. Same with Kris Allen. Adam Lambert is perfect for California. The others know how to perform for the bigger world beyond la-la land.

    March 18, 2009 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  45. Stephanie

    Danny is still the best!!! But, I liked Adam – he did a goth version of Ring of Fire – kinda creepy, but I liked it!! Megan needs lessons on what to do with her body! They were all awesome tonight.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  46. TexasPatriot

    Anoop was indeed surprisingly good. Lambert's performance was a disorienting shocker, but by the end he had won me over.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  47. Joan

    Based upon the performances tonight, my top five are: Adam, Megan, Anoop, Alexis, and Matt (in that order).

    The rest were rather "ho hum" and didn't even compare to their prior performances. Very disappointed with Danny tonight.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  48. Nick

    Adam's rendition was incredible! His vocal ability is wicked!

    March 18, 2009 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  49. Janet

    How come there is no write up on Michael Sarver?

    March 18, 2009 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  50. Joan

    I don't think the judges appreciated what Adam did with Ring of Fire. Only Paula seemed to understand how difficult it was for Adam to put a rocker twist to a country classic. Frankly, he blew me away!

    March 18, 2009 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  51. Leslie

    I enjoyed Adam's performance of Ring of Fire - It was definitely strange, but I was entertained by it.

    I absolutely love Megan Joy's voice and I hope to see her around for a lot longer. Anoop did floor me tonight.

    I'm not a fan of Danny's though.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  52. invisible

    I am not really into Country Music, but tonight's performances were awesome.....there is a lot of talent this's amazing.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  53. Char

    OMG, That Adam is such a fox. He certainly made that song his, whatta voice. And yeah, old here too, lolol

    March 18, 2009 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  54. Anne

    I think Michael Sarver might be the one to go. He didn't choose a song that showed his range or vocal ability. Anytime they pick a "fun" song, it never bodes well. Too bad since he seemed more serious last week when he made an excellent song choice.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  55. JustJeff

    IDOL is awesome this year....Danny...Kris...and Adam are out of this world....MY GOD....that Adam can sing

    March 18, 2009 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  56. Eric

    Adam's perfermance was pretty much the worse perfermance of the night. I hope he is sent packing tomorrow.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  57. Daniel

    People actually watch this show?

    March 18, 2009 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  58. Felines for Freedom

    I loved it too, but disagree JC would've rolled over. Remember, he covered NIN's Hurt. Clearly he is a fan of a wide-range of music, including alternative interpretations.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Brad

    I thought Lil was awesome and did a great job with the McBride classic.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Joan

    Anoop Dog was the man of the night!

    March 17, 2009 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Vinny

    Somebody needs to shut Paula up... she seams like she's high on something and will not shut up.... I hope the rumors are true that she won't be back next year... If it were up to me, i would get rid of her now... She is a long winded idiot....

    March 17, 2009 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  62. RJT

    Way to go, Edie!!

    March 17, 2009 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  63. ylrak

    Edie: I said the SAME exact thing about Johnny Cash. Simon was right, it was utter rubbish. I'm not an Adam fan at all, but if someone does sing a song well, I give credit where credit is due. This wasn't sung well.

    On to other matters, Lil Rounds reminds me more and more each week of Fantasia Borrino, another alum I do not care for. Their voices, attitudes, their stage presence, it just doesn't work for me.

    I'm rooting for Allison, Anoop and Danny. Megan is also a pick. She's very different. Sometimes all of the contestants start to sound like eachother.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Susan

    What about Allison? I thought she was great! And country was definitely out of her comfort zone...

    March 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Mandi

    Go Danny!!!!!!

    March 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  66. dina

    I loved Adam.....he's original. Although I like Johnny Cash's rendition of that much more, Adam did a wonderful up job of staying true to who is really is as an entertainer.
    Still not a huge Megan fan, though....despite the flu.

    March 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  67. nikky

    Hey though it was sooo different than we have ever heard of that version..i thought that this guy is diffinately gifted as a what.. its different...i like.. i actually really liked it.....

    March 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Edie

    Johnny Cash probably rolled over in his grave at Adam's rendition of Ring of Fire, but Adam has a gift. He can entertain me any time and I'm not your average rocker fan at age 65!

    March 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |

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