By Michael Slezak
Updated March 30, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT

All together now: “Yeah, yeah yeah. Yeah yeah. Yeah.” Or something like that. ‘Twas the night Usher came to American Idol to school a bunch of Jason Mraz-lovin’, Lilith Fair-attending singers how to get down with the get down. And whaddaya know? [Warning: SPOILERS ahead, west coast viewers!] As a whole, the to-date-disappointing cats of season 9 proved cooler than expected — and started competing as if to say “Hold up! Let’s not give the season 9 crown to Crystal Bowersox just yet!”

Lee Dewyze still looked a little bit like he was going to experience a case of the voms, but his vocal was authoritative, sexy, and soulful on “Treat Her Like a Lady” — the night’s best performance. Big Mike left the cheese in the refrigerator and gave a credible, touching take on a kinda dull an obscure India.Arie track. And for the first time since Hollywood Week, Andrew Garcia did not get sent to the blackboard to write (100x) “I am sorry for stealing my spot in the finals from Alex Lambert and/or Jermaine Purifory.” I’m not exactly sure he did enough to vault back into full contender status, but let’s take some forward momentum where we can get it. (Yes, Katie Stevens, you sang in tune, too!) And then there was a clearly nervous, but nonetheless gorgeous, Bow!Er!Sox! — at the piano!

Of course, there were a few contestants from this troubled Idol season who seemed to think the R&B of the night’s theme stood more for “ridiculous” and “boring” rather than “rhythm and blues.” Tim Urban and Didi Benami might be in trouble during Wednesday’s results show, but so too could Casey James, who was blandly competent as usual on “Hold On, I’m Comin’.” And even though none of the judges could be bothered to mention his name, it needs to be said that when it comes to the Idol stage, “Ain’t No Sunshine” belongs to season 8 champ Kris Allen. And it was not fun to watch a child scribble over his legacy with a magic marker, thank you very much.

But more on all those contestants in the early morning, when I post my full TV Watch recap right here at Until then, share your thoughts in the comments section, and do please watch our latest episode of Idolatry embedded below. Oh, and to get the latest updates on all my Idol news and musings, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak. Related: ‘American Idol’: 20 Songs We’d Ban from the Show Forever! (Yeah, I know which song needs to be added to the list, yo!)

Tonight’s Set List

Siobhan Magnus: Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire”

Casey James: Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin'”

Michael Lynche: India.Arie’s “Ready for Love”

Didi Benami: Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”

Tim Urban: Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love”

Andrew Garcia: Chris Brown’s “Forever”

Katie Stevens: Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”

Lee Dewyze: Cornelius Brothers’ “Treat Her Like a Lady”

Crystal Bowersox: Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia”

Aaron Kelly: Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”