We can only hope that tonight's performers learned something from the disaster that was last week's American Idol and will up their game. (And pick good songs. And sing well. And not lose it on stage.)

I wasn't going to recap all of Ryan Seacrest's banter with the judges, but then Kara DioGuardi says that there are no second chances. Huh, I guess she forgot about: WILD CARD.


Ryan goes over the rules: guy and girl with top votes, plus the other top vote-getter, get through each week. That will take us to nine of the Top 12. Ryan goes on: "Then the remaining positions will be awarded during the wild card show." So they are still being unspecific about the wild card slots, but I'm pretty sure from reading the press release on the Fox site that the remaining three come from the Top 36.

Tonight's 12 performers are: Jasmine Murray, Matt Giraud, Jeanine Vailes, Nick MitchellAllison Iraheta, Kris Allen, Megan Joy Corkrey, Matt BreitzkeJesse LangesthKai Kalama, Mishavonna Henson and Adam Lambert.

Let's see how they do, shall we?

Jasmine Murray: This 17-year-old says her mom said all last season that Jasmine was going to be on American Idol some day. She's going to sing "Love Song" by Sara Barellies. This is notable because Kara basically told Ann Marie last week that she should have sung this song. Jasmine does all right with it, but she definitely has a number of pitch problems. Randy Jackson says, natch, that it was pitchy all the way through and that it had good and bad moments. He says he doesn't think this was the right song. Kara says it was really all over place, and she lost it in the beginning because she started too low. Paula Abdul says she wants to disagree with the others, but she agrees. She adds that Jasmine clearly tried to make the song her own by interpreting it, but she ended up singing all around it, and it didn't work (which is extremely cogent, for once). Simon Cowell says he is disappointed because she's got a great look and great attitude, but she just doesn't have a great voice. "I think you're a couple of years too early." Oh, and they all go on and on about how commercial she is. I know that is a compliment from this crowd, but it just doesn't sound like it.

Matt Giraud: Matt is the dueling piano player, which I know I needed reminding of, but now I remember his initial audition. He plans to give Coldplay's "Vida la Vida" a soulful twist. He's very heavy on the vibrato -- I don't know if that's on purpose, or nerves, or both. So it's kinda ... odd. For some reason, Kara goes first. She tells him he blew her away at Hollywood week, but not tonight at all: "That song doesn't lend itself to that kind of interpretation." Paula says he was "right up there with my top top top notch," but not so much today, though he did better than his rehearsal. Simon says it was verging on horrible: "You turned into a wannabe pop star in a jerky, uncomfortable way." Randy says he has mad talent, but he should stay away from these simple songs.

So ... are people really buying these performances from the early rounds off iTunes? Just curious.

Jeanine Vailes: Jeanine is a bartender from D.C., and she's going to sing Maroon 5's "This Love." And ... yeah, I don't really know what's going on here. I feel like everyone took from last week that they needed to pick current songs, but no one is choosing songs that suit them. This is pitchy, awkward, lots of weird runs, just not great. And since she's gotten so little screen time until now, I think Jeanine is in trouble. (Also, tiny jean shorts for an audition of this magnitude?) Paula says she has great legs and it's season 8, and then says, "Simon?" Uh, really, that's all you can manage? Also, why are the judges going in a random order every time? It's supposed to be Randy-Paula-Simon! Simon says it was terrible. "Completely the inappropriate song for you, but you do have very nice legs." Randy says he loves Maroon 5, but, "The best part was the end, that it was over." Kara says she is trying to figure out what else about her is pretty and compliments her lips. She says everything about it was wrong and overdone. Jeanine says she had to prove something since she hadn't gotten any screen time. Randy: "It was all pitchy, though. It would have been better if it was in tune." Yikes.

Nick Mitchell: Though he looked like himself and not alter ego Norman Gentle in the intro, when Nick starts his performance, he is alllllll Norman. (Sigh.) He's going to sing "And I am Telling You." Again. He camps it up big time, like nothing we have seen on a live broadcast before. I cannot believe they let this guy through to the live round -- I just can't. But that said, this is by far the most entertaining performance of the evening so far. (I laughed when he name-checked "Doogie" in the middle of the song -- Neil Patrick Harris is in the audience for the second week in a row. He, by the way, looked totally dumbfounded.) They make Simon go first: "I hope I am speaking on behalf of America here when I pray that you do not go through to the next round. ... Why are your mom and dad looking at me like that? I am doing you a favor." Randy says it was one of the most entertaining performances tonight. Hey, Randy, I beat you to that one. Kara says, "At least we remember you. ... You wear the same shirt like Simon every week. (Ha!) ... I don't see you in the music market, but I enjoyed you." Paula says a lot of things, and she finally calls him a true performer, though she's not sure this is the stage for him. I think they made a big mistake sending him through because Nick basically spent the whole time making a mockery of their show. What a weird night.

Allison Iraheta: Allison is yet another teenager this season. She has a really weird awkward conversation about "Idol School," where she has to go to class since she can't go to her school. I just want it to stop so she can get on stage. She's going to sing Heart's "Alone," which is pretty gutsy. Thankfully, she's pretty good, and she seems to be able to blend with the backup singers better than most of the contestants we've seen so far this season. In the intro, the judges said she had raw talent, and she definitely has some raw moments in the performance, but she's still the strongest thus far tonight. Randy says this is a funny show and that she just "blew it out the box ... might be one of the hottest tonight." Kara says, "You're serious. ... From now on, you can be sure that you are great. ... With the right song, you could have a hit on the radio right now." Paula says (GACK) that she could sing the telephone book. Oh, shut up. Seriously, that is the stupidest line ever, and it's had its day on this show too many times. I'm pretty darned sure that "The Telephone Book" would end up in the "crappy song choice" category. *eyeroll* Simon says, "You're the best tonight by a mile. ... What's amazing is you were so boring upstairs with Ryan," but as soon as she started singing, she "turned into a different person."

Kris Allen: We haven't seen much of this guy, but apparently he had a good Hollywood audition, especially when he got to play his guitar. Sounds good, I think. Then he says he's going to sing "Man in the Mirror." Oh, no, I think. So ... his voice is pretty good, but the awkward faces and the awkward dancing make it extremely difficult to watch. Why that song? Why? Kara says the "back half" of the performance was way better than the first, but it still doesn't come close to his Hollywood week. "This was just the wrong song." Paula disagrees completely, saying that he nailed it, and that he was charming and confident. Simon actually agrees with Paula, and she kisses him. Wow, really? "You showed some confidence and personality," he goes on. "You actually gave it a go, and you may have put yourself back in the running." Randy says he always wonders if he can do it without the guitar, and tonight he did. I'm sorry, but I cannot be the only person who thinks about Michael Jackson singing, "I'm looking at the man in the mirror and I'm asking him to make a change," and whose mind goes directly to his plastic surgery problem? I can't hear that song without thinking of that.

Megan Joy Corkrey: Simon said Megan was one of his favorites during the initial rounds. She is charming, it's true. She's going to sing "Girl, Put Your Records On." Her voice is different, and she definitely picked a song that suits it, but it's a little odd at times. And I think her stage fright is manifesting itself into this strange, twisty dance move. Paula says she picked the right song, and she is just gorgeous, and she is interesting and relevant, and she "did everything right." Simon: "You're a funny little thing, aren't you?" He says it started out really well, but she got overexcited and shouty in the second part. "I thought I rocked that part," she says. He says she is relevant and current, but he wished the vocals had been a little better. Randy says she has the same vibe as Adele and Duffy, and she did a nice, nice job. Kara says she is "a package artist" because she has the look and uniqueness. She says with the right song and video, Megan could be viable in this market. So I guess Kara is positioning herself as the judge who can give market-based career advice.


Matt Breitzke: Matt the welder is going to sing Tonic's "If You Could Only See." This is a fakeout kind of thing for me. Sounds like it's going to be a great choice for him, but the performance is rather bland. Simon says he really likes him, but he "absolutely hated that song. So I'm frustrated. ... It was boring, it didn't suit you. ... I wanted you to do well." Randy says the performance was so boring that it didn't show off what he showed at Hollywood. He says it was a cool performance, but it should have been more edgy. Kara says it didn't show any side of him, but that he really can sing, so it was all about song choice. Paula says she knows he put everything into it, but it didn't really show. Matt says he disagrees because he loves the song. Sorry, dude, but the judges are right on this one.


Jesse Langesth: Jesse didn't get a lot of screen time until she had to sing for her life at the end of Hollywood week. She sings "Bette Davis Eyes." Thankfully, she can sing, and she seems pretty comfortable on stage. She's got a smoky tone that calls Duffy and Adele more to mind than Megan did. Randy says he thought it was an "OK performance," but that right now everyone should blow them away, and it wasn't really that exciting. She asks what he would have liked to see her sing. He says it was cool, but it was just a five-note range, and it didn't really show what she can do. Kara says this is her best look, and she was slinky and sexy, but she had some issues with a few notes, but it was still good. Paula says she finds her captivating and has throughout all the auditions. Simon says he disagrees with Paula and that he thinks she is forgettable and that it was "too cool for school," which won't get people on the phone.

Kai Kalama: In his initial audition, we learned that Kai takes care of his mom, and she is here tonight, which he is happy about. He sings "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted." His performance is pretty good in terms of the notes, but it doesn't really show off his skills. And at the end, when the vocals are supposed to be really rhythmic, he delivers them kind of oddly. But he ends on a long note that does him a few favors. Kara says she likes him a lot, and says he had some pitch issues, but he still gave it his all. She feels like this was a little old-fashioned. Paula says it's obvious he likes the throwback songs, and he is quite a performer and has chops. Simon says he has heard so many performances like that over the years that it wasn't "distinct" or original or memorable. "It was sort of capable." Randy says it was "just so safe."

Mishavonna Henson: Mishavonna is yet another teen this season. She made it to Hollywood season 7 and worked really hard between then and now to learn as much as possible. She sings Train's "Drops of Jupiter." She seems to have learned a lot because she's pretty great. This is like the opposite of Matt's situation. She said her song, and I thought, "Hmmm, could be trouble." But then she started, and it suited her more than I anticipated. Paula says she's a fan of her voice and she can sing, but the song choice didn't excite her at all. Simon says she is very serious and that even though she's technically a good singer, something left him cold. Randy says it didn't really work for him, and he doesn't love solo singers taking on "band songs." Kara says she wants her to loosen up and that it's hard to see where she fits "in the music industry." Then Paula, who earlier was cracking up for some unknown reason, sneezes or something. Come on, Paula, one more singer. You can do it.

Adam Lambert: Adam is a musical-theater vet who is going to sing "Satisfaction," which he says is by his mother's favorite rock band. He sings it big, that's for sure, but it still felt like something you'd see on stage, not hear on the radio. Paula says she doesn't have words to express that she feels like she was watching an Adam Lambert concert instead of an Idol competition. Simon says parts were excruciatingly bad and parts were brilliant. He says it's going to be a love it or hate it performance. Randy says he loved it and that Adam is one of the most current artists ever on the show, calling him a combination of Steven Tyler, Fall Out Boy and Robert Pattinson. He says he needs to watch out for overdoing it, but it was the bomb. Kara says his vocal technique and ability are unreal. She says he has a crazy range.

So let's see ... who's got a shot of getting to the Top 12? Allison Iraheta for sure. Megan Corkrey probably, even though Jesse's vocals were better. Mishavonna maybe. On the guys' side, Adam's probably got it in the bag. Everyone else (except Nick/Norman) was kind of forgettable.

What do you think?