Miley Cyrus a surprisingly good mentor to the final 11, four of whom should go home now

The good news: American Idol 9 is starting to show some signs of life, with a few great performances, a couple good ones, and a surprise. The bad news: We still have to wait a month until after Tim Urban, Paige Miles, Andrew Garcia, and Katie Stevens get voted off for the performance shows to not drag.

Then again, I might just be holding the show to the same standard that Ellen applied to Paige: As long as it doesn’t fall on its ass, it looks good. And no one is doing anything truly stunning.

As the top 11 mangled Billboard #1 hits that we’ve heard before, Katie Stevens may have done a little better, but please, she has no chance (though I said that a few weeks ago about Aaron Kelly, so maybe she has a tiny chance). Although Tim Urban did his best to suck yet again, Paige Miles is probably heading home tonight because she sucked the most. Ellen told Paige, “I’m going to start with the positive: you didn’t fall down,” and though she was talking about Paige’s shoes, you know it’s a low, low bar that she didn’t reach when she just managed to stay upright. Ellen deferred talking about her music to Simon and Kara, who said it was “the worst vocal I’ve ever heard from you and possibly of the season.”

Miley Cyrus may have been a weird choice to be the finalists’ mentor, but I kind of liked her. She did a decent job of offering advice, but more importantly, she was kind of crazy and had attitude all at once. She rambled and circled back on herself a lot, which was so weird it was funny. “I feel like sometimes I’m like trapped: I’m like 17 but I have these ideas of what I feel and people wouldn’t take it seriously but people take me seriously because I take myself seriously. I know that what I think is what my heart feels and that’s the way that it’s gonna be,” she said during her introduction.

But then she slammed Randy–while smiling–by saying, “‘pitchy’s’ always good: when you don’t know what to say,” and then when Ryan Seacrest condescended to her when he attempted a joke by using canine instead of Randy’s “dawg” catchphrase, Miley said, “I know what a canine is, Ryan.” Miley for Simon Cowell’s replacement!

Speaking of Seacrest, he was all kinds of pitchy: He pronounced Didi Benami’s last name as if it rhymed with “panini” while introducing her and then laughing about it, asked Crystal Bowesox about her carpet, and called Aaron Kelly “Archuleta” (such a dick). Seacrest also attempted a bit with Aaron that didn’t work. Aaron had laryngitis, so Ryan didn’t ask his last question, but instead wrote it on a piece of paper. Um, you don’t have laryngitis, Ryan, you asshat, so you can actually speak and thus don’t need to write: Aaron does. Dammit.

The show may not be as consistently entertaining as it was last year, but when Seacrest tries to do more than host, it screeches to a halt faster than a car that catches Tim Urban in its headlights.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.