By Michael Slezak
Updated March 23, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT

Talk about disappointments! I spent the last 48 hours hoping and praying that Miley Cyrus’ guest appearance on tonight’s American Idol telecast was secretly going to lead to a sing-off between the Hannah Montana star and ousted season 9 hopeful Haeley Vaughn, who clawed her way through “The Climb” during week two of the semifinals. Alas, it didn’t go down that way. No tears. No Haeley. No “Surprise, Miley! You might end up in Wednesday night’s bottom three!” Ah well…a boy can dream.

Instead, we had a standard-operating performance night, focused on the (threadbare) theme of “Songs You’ve Heard Over and Over and Over Again During the Past Eight Seasons.” Okay, I lie. Actually, it was Billboard No. 1s. But seriously, Fox execs, are you purposefully ignoring my suggestions for 18 Awesome New Idol Themes? [WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD, west coasters!] Not surprisingly, Crystal Bowersox excelled in terms of song choice, arrangement, and delivery. Honestly, her “Me and Bobby McGee” tonight represented the divine aged Roquefort amidst the platter of processed government cheese cubes served by her competition.

But less predictably, a handful of singers — Aaron Kelly, kinda sorta Lee Dewyze, maybe a little bit Didi Benami, and (despite what DioG called “mad pitch problems”) Katie Stevens — actually attempted to step up their Idol games (emphasis on “attempted”) to prove that, in the words of Daughtry (the band, not the man), “It’s not over.” Well, then again, it could be o-v-e-r for Paige Miles Davis, Tim Urban, or Andrew Garcia, all of whom blundered to fairly disastrous effect on the Idol stage. And then there was Siobhan, madcap as ever, with only half the success of last week’s raucous “Paint It Black.”

But more on that in the morning! Right now, it’s time for me to get rolling on my full TV Watch recap, which will post on sometime around 7 a.m. tomorrow. In the interim, why don’t you head to our message boards and share your own feelings about tonight’s performances. And don’t forget to view our latest episode of Idolatry (featuring’s Dawnie Walton) and sign up to follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak

Tonight’s Set List

Lee Dewyze: The Box Tops’ “The Letter”

Paige Miles: Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”

Tim Urban: Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”

Aaron Kelly: Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”

Crystal Bowersox: Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee”

Michael Lynche: Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”

Andrew Garcia: Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”

Katie Stevens: Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

Casey James: Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love”

Didi Benami: Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good”

Siobhan Magnus: Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”