'American Idol' recap: Top 3 perform

Tonight, the final three will be performing and visiting home. Well, they already went home earlier this week, but we see the footage of the visits.

Casey James performs first, with "OK, It's All Right With Me." This is a great choice for him because he can play guitar and engage with the audience, and he sounds good. He's having fun! Hooray! Randy Jackson says that song was just all right with him because this was too safe and easy. Ellen DeGeneres says this is the moment, do or die, etc. She wishes he'd brought it. Kara DioGuardi says he needs to be fighting and that this was a "first listen" for a lot of people. Really? I've heard this tons of times. Simon Cowell says this was like the salad course and they're hoping for something more substantial later. He adds that Casey sounded like he was busking, not competing on the most important night of his life.


Crystal Bowersox is doing "Come to My Window" for her "singer's choice" performance. She sounds good, but I wish she'd mixed it up a little bit more, and the end was a little anticlimactic, but still, she is good. Randy didn't love the arrangement, but he did like her vocal on it. He thinks the arrangement was fighting her. Ellen says it was in her comfort zone and Melissa would be proud. Kara agrees "with the guys," and she thinks it was a good vocal, but she's "capable of a moment, and I hope you have a moment tonight." Simon doesn't think this was the most stunning version of this song ever, but he likes that she hasn't compromised herself as an artist (well, except maybe in those commercials they force them to do, right?).

Lee DeWyze is performing "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd tonight. He looks more comfortable on stage than he has probably ever. The song clearly means something to it, but I didn't adore the song choice. Randy, on the other hand, thinks it was a brilliant song choice and proved that he is in it to win. Ellen says he has grown from a little lamb to a gazelle or something. Kara says he had a moment, and round one goes to Lee. Simon wants to know why he picked that song, and Lee says it's a song he gets into and connects with. Simon says it was absolutely on the money.


During Casey's home visit, he learns that Randy and Kara have chosen "Daughters" by John Mayer for his second song. In his performance, I'm thinking he's not that familiar with the song because he seems really off key at the beginning. But it gets better as it goes. Randy says this fits him like a glove and he hopes he goes on in that direction. Ellen says she liked it a lot. Kara says this showed his more sensitive side and a good choice for him. Simon thinks it was a lazy arrangement and he holds Kara and Randy responsible. Kara says it's all about the emotion. He thinks the song didn't have a wow factor, and Kara says that's how it's written. Gosh, nice choice for the TOP 3 then, Ms. You Had Better Have a Moment.

Crystal gets her judges' choice assignment from Ellen, and it's "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney. This is definitely a moment for Crystal. She is engaged in it, she sounds great. Randy says she's in it to win it. Ellen says she couldn't have asked for more. Kara says she didn't change it up that much, but she showed off parts of her voice they haven't heard before, and it paid off. Simon says he was surprised by the song choice, "but now I get it." He says she proved she's got soul and she'll probably be thanking Ellen for putting him in the finals.

Lee is on a plane when he hears his judges' choice, which is from Simon and which is "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen. This is a big song, but Lee manages to do right by it and have his moment, despite there being a gospel choir, a string section and what sounds like a whole symphony behind him. Definitely a timpani at least. Dang. It's not subdued, but it's good. Randy says he's been waiting all season for someone to throw down the gauntlet. Hasn't he said that like five times tonight alone? Anyway, he says it was great. Lee thanks Simon because he was terrified but he followed through with it. Ellen says it was stunning. Kara says Lee is what this show is all about and that he is the heart of this whole season, and he owned this entire night. Simon says he's very proud of him and that he's proved he's a fantastic singer and a great person and he hopes he made it to the finals.

It kind of feels like they set up Casey by giving him a kind of lame judges' choice. I mean, I guess he could have done more with it, but it isn't a "wow" song, and that's what everyone needed tonight.

What did you think about tonight's performances?