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'American Idol' recap: Top 9 perform

Boy George mentors, Salt-n-Pepa pushes it, and David Hasselhoff wears sunglasses.

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American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

Last week was kind of rough, you guys. It was a boring episode until the last minute save of Qaasim, which I’m still a little shocked by. And remember, that means we’re losing two contestants tonight. (I’m so sorry, but please let it be Maddie and Danny.) But what cures all American Idol views? THE ’80s. Yes, that’s right. Harry’s boldly wearing a T-shirt that says “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME,” and that can only mean two things: It’s ’80s night on Idol, and Boy George is our guest mentor. I love everything about that sentence. EVERYTHING.

David Hasselhof delivers the results envelope to Ryan, and most of the crowd, including Harry, jumps to their feet. Hoff says he doesn’t remember much about the decade (mmmhmmm) and swaps his suit jacket for a leather bomber, throws on some aviators, and sings a medley of ’80s tunes that is honestly so uncomfortable that every single person in my apartment falls silent. It’s like that moment at your cousin’s wedding when your already-disgruntled uncle gets drunk and gives an inappropriate speech. It’s truly painful to watch, but I can’t look away. Harry’s still standing and applauding for this man. Harry, sit down, please.

So after that painful travesty, Boy George shares the stage with our contestants (who sound great) for “Karma Chameleon.” I’m digging the vibe of tonight’s show, you guys. Joey is doing her best to channel Andie Walsh and Clark is wearing a vest! American Idol knows me so well.

First through for the evening? Daniel Seavey. A person who was born in 1999. Nineteen-ninety-nine, you guys. America, you’re letting me down. Boy George thinks Daniel has the musical chops. Admittedly, compared to his performance last week, this take on “You Make My Dreams Come True” is roughly 1,000 times better. But he’s just not strong enough. Harry asks him what he enjoys more than anything, and Daniel says “to make people happy.” I want to cradle this precious baby in my arms for all of time, but I do not want him in my Top 9.

Quentin is next to take the stage in roughly 7” platform boots. He is so cool! He’s far too cool for Idol. I feel so blessed that he has graced this primetime Fox show with his infinite hip-ness. (Boy George loves Quentin’s turban so much he’s giddy over it.) Quentin, let’s be honest, has one of the best voices of this group. A spooky version of “In the Air Tonight” is a brilliant choice for Quentin. How spooky? Commentary from the couch: “I feel like he was in Twilight.” I loved this performance, and I think it was a big night for him. I like to use my baby boomer parents’ reactions to predict how the nation will vote, and before tonight, they didn’t quite get Quentin. But I think they got it today. (Sure enough, a text from my mother regarding Quentin: “Outstanding. Loved it, every part of it!”)

Joey’s next to move through. Joey, bless her heart, can hardly even believe she’s in the same room with Boy George. She’s doing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and he gives her some great advice: Make it more interesting, vary the depth, volume. I hope she listens. The song opens and she’s hopping all the hell over that stage. The vocal on this is kind of rough, you guys. I know, I know, I always complain about her vocal affectation, but stylistic choices aside, the girl has a great voice. But she faltered tonight. The vocal was all over the place, and she was totally unfocused. What’s up, Joey?

Tyanna is through, thank god. (Remember, she struggled with “Circle of Life” last week.) This brilliant girl is singing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” There’s a nice dance beat supporting this arrangement—Harry says she “housed it up,” which is definitely the coolest thing he’s ever said—and it makes the song feel super fresh and young. Our girl is back in full force this week, guys, and NAILS the big key change, which is the whole point of this song. Keith looks so so so proud of her.

NEXT: Jax tackles Bon Jovi, and Nick takes a look in the mirror.