Siobhan goes from dull to Snooki “stand out” while Ryan Seacrest annoys Simon, Ellen

Introducing the music of the Rolling Stones, Ryan Seacrest started American Idol last night by saying, “They are truly the greatest rock and roll band in the world, and tonight, American Idol is proud to pay tribute.” Yes, by offering two hours of mangled karaoke versions of their songs.

While Tim Urban’s reggae version of “Under My Thumb” and his blank stare during the judges’ critique had the potential to be the most awkward moment of the night, that actually came from Ryan Seacrest, who decided to make the show about himself.

After Michael Lynche was critiqued, Seacrest did his standard routine of asking Simon Cowell a stupid question. Simon snapped back in his typical way, and that’s when Ryan Seacrest left the stage, put his hands on the judges’ table, and leaned close to Simon. Almost whispering, he said, “I’m actually trying to help him out, buddy, because I want him to stay in the competition.”

I wasn’t sure to be confused or stunned by his revelation; does Seacrest want everyone to stay in? Or just Michael Lynche? But I didn’t have time to think about that once Simon Cowell replied, “We can sort this out in my trailer afterwards, if that’s what you want to do.” And I’m sure they sorted it out three or four times.

Later, Ellen DeGeneres critiqued Casey James’ version of “It’s All Over Now” by amusingly alluding to both Kara’s gushing all over Casey and Ellen’s own sexual orientation. “For most women, their hearts are going to start racing just looking at you. But then for people like me”—Ellen paused dramatically—“blondes, I thought it was fantastic, Casey, fantastic.” Everyone thought this was hilarious and the judging went on.

But Seacrest had to try to one-up a comedian who’s much funnier than he’ll ever be, and he told Ellen, “I didn’t realize you were a natural blonde.” I have no idea what the hell that actually meant, but when the camera showed Ellen, she looked pissed, and not in a joking way. Simon looked baffled, too, and said, “What?” Since Ellen used “blonde” instead of saying “lesbian,” it’s not unreasonable to read it as him saying that she’s not a real lesbian.

As a tangent, Kara kept calling Ellen and Randy “the guys.” I mean, it’s one thing to say “you guys”—I have certainly used “guys” to refer to mixed-sex groups of people—but “the guys” suggests multiple men. Just because Ellen is a lesbian does not mean she’s a man, Kara.

In actual singing news—yes, there was some singing!—Siobhan Magnus did a great performance of “Paint It Black” that was compared to Adam Lambert, and not just because she walked down the stairs or screamed for a Danny Gokey eternity. My favorite thing about Siobhan is how she is really dull in interviews, but turns into someone entirely differently when she sings.

Ellen compared her to the hair of a Jersey Shore cast member: “Like Snooki’s poof, you stand out,” she said, while Kara DioGuardi said that it was the “best interpretation of the night” and Simon called it the “standout performance of the night.” And of course Ryan had to make it about himself again by bringing out her glasses and putting them on himself.

The judges didn’t rave over Crystal Bowersox this week, though she did fine, but Simon Cowell did his best to take Crystal down a few pegs so that her fans don’t get complacent. He called her the “clear favorite” and said “this is the first time where I think you were beaten by somebody.” Crystal handled that flawlessly by saying, “I haven’t thought that I’ve got the competition at all—but thank you for saying it.”

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