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American Idol (season 9)

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American Idol (season 9)

American Idol
Season 9
Broadcast from January 12, 2010 – May 26, 2010
Judges Simon Cowell
Randy Jackson
Kara DioGuardi
Ellen DeGeneres
Host(s) Ryan Seacrest
Broadcaster Fox Broadcasting Company
Finals venue Nokia Theatre Los Angeles
Lee DeWyze
Origin Mount Prospect, Illinois
Song "Beautiful Day"
Genre(s) Rock, alternative rock, indie, folk
Crystal Bowersox

The ninth season of American Idol premiered on January 12, 2010 and concluded on May 26, 2010 on Fox.[1] Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi returned to the judging panel. Ellen DeGeneres joined the panel as a replacment for Paula Abdul after guest judges filled in during the auditions. [Idol Gives Back]] also returned for the season and was held on April 21, 2010, during the top seven results show.[2] The top 24 semi-finals format used in the fourth through seventh seasons also returned this season.[3] Cowell, DioGuardi and DeGeneres all left the show after this season ended, although only Cowell's departure was announced in advance.[4][5][6] This was the second season where neither of the final 2 contestants had been in the bottom 2 or 3 prior to the finale, with the first being the seventh season. This was also the third consecutive season a male contestant had won, the longest streak for either gender. It was the first season since season 6 where a female made it to the finale and was also the first time since season 7 that both the finalists released a different song as a debut single.

Lee DeWyze, a folk rocker from Mount Prospect, Illinois won the competition, beating the runner-up Crystal Bowersox.

Eight contestants from this season were signed to record labels. The signed artists are Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus, Tim Urban, Didi Benami, and Lacey Brown.


After the season began, Paula Abdul did not return to the judging panel, having announced in the beginning of August 2009 that she was leaving the show due to unresolved contract negotiations.[7] Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Shania Twain, Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, Joe Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris and Kristin Chenoweth were brought in to star as guest judges during the auditions phase.[8][9][10][11] There was no guest judge on day two of the Orlando auditions because day one guest judge Chenoweth was called back to New York City. Therefore Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson appeared with only three judges on the audition panel similar to the main panel from the first to the seventh season.

After making the decision to utilize guest judges in Abdul's absence, Fox chairman Peter Rice stated that they would find a permanent fourth judge before the season premiere in January 2010,[12] leading the confirmation on September 9, 2009 by Ellen DeGeneres that she would be joining the show as the new permanent fourth judge for the rounds held at CBS Television City for Hollywood Week and thereafter, onto the live shows.[13]

In addition, Simon Cowell announced shortly before the ninth season began that it would be his last season on American Idol. Cowell left the show to begin preparations for an American version of his talent show The X-Factor.[14] Also, DeGeneres announced on July 29, 2010 that she would not return to the judging panel because it was not the right fit for her. DioGuardi would also not return as a judge for season 10 as announced on September 3, 2010.

After her departure, DioGuardi helped and nominated Steven Tyler for a role as a judge on season ten to show's producers.

Regional auditions

Auditions had begun on June 14 of the previous year, less than a month after previous season's finale. Auditions were held in the following cities:[15]

During this stage guest judges filled in the fourth judging seat.[16][17] Beckham was the first guest judge, appearing for the Denver and Boston auditions. Blige served as a guest judge for the Atlanta auditions. Jonas filled the guest judging role on the first day of the Dallas auditions and Harris took over the role the following day. Chenoweth served as a guest judge on the first day of the Orlando auditions and Twain judged in Chicago. Perry judged on the first day of the Los Angeles and was replaced by Lavigne the following day.

Episode Air Date Audition City First Audition Date Audition Venue Callback Date Callback Venue Guest Judge Golden Tickets
January 12, 2010 Boston, Massachusetts June 14, 2009 Gillette Stadium[18] August 13 & 14, 2009 60 State Street[19] Victoria Beckham 32
January 13, 2010 Atlanta, Georgia June 18, 2009 Georgia Dome August 16 & 17, 2009 W Hotel Atlanta Midtown[20] Mary J. Blige 25
January 19, 2010 Chicago, Illinois June 22, 2009 United Center August 31 & September 1, 2009 Hyatt Regency Chicago[21] Shania Twain 13
January 20, 2010 Orlando, Florida July 9, 2009 Amway Arena August 28 & 29, 2009 Rosen Shingle Creek Resort[22] Kristin Chenoweth 31
January 26, 2010 Los Angeles, California[23] June 30, 2009 Rose Bowl Stadium September 4, 2009 Marina del Rey Marriott[24] Avril Lavigne 23
September 3, 2009 Katy Perry
January 27, 2010 Dallas, Texas[25] June 26, 2009 Cowboys Stadium August 25, 2009[26] W Hotel Dallas Victory[27] Neil Patrick Harris 31
August 24, 2009[27] Joe Jonas
February 2, 2010 Denver, Colorado July 14, 2009 Invesco Field August 7 & 8, 2009 Grand Hyatt[28] Victoria Beckham 26
Total Tickets to Hollywood 181

"Pants on the Ground"

During the Atlanta auditions, 62-year-old activist Larry Platt appeared and performed his original song "Pants on the Ground." The song's lyrics criticize people wearing the hip-hop style of clothing including pants that sag. Well over the age limit of 28, Platt was ineligible to continue. His performance has since become a viral hit, and several celebrities performed the song in the days that followed the original airing of his audition in Atlanta.

Hollywood week

Held at the Kodak Theatre for the second straight year, the first day of Hollywood Week featured the 181 contestants from the auditions round (although only 172 contestants were listed on the American Idol website[29]) singing solo with the option of playing an instrument.[30] Ninety-six contestants advanced. The next round required the contestants to split up into groups and perform. Seventy-one advanced to the final round of Hollywood requiring a solo performance. Forty-six made it to the final round where the judges take contestants one by one and tell them if they made the final twenty-four.

Ellen DeGeneres made her first appearance as a judge (replacing Paula Abdul) at this time.



The first seven were revealed on February 16, 2010 (during the second hour on the episode), and the rest were revealed on the following night's episode.[31]
Contestant Date of Birth Age Hometown Audition Location Voted Off
Lilly Scott May 16, 1989 20 Littleton, Colorado Denver, Colorado March 11
Katelyn Epperly March 21, 1990 20 West Des Moines, Iowa Chicago, Illinois
Haeley Vaughn June 5, 1993 16 Fort Collins, Colorado Denver, Colorado March 4
Michelle Delamor December 31, 1987 22 Miami, Florida Orlando, Florida
Ashley Rodriguez November 4, 1987 22 Boston, Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts February 25
Janell Wheeler May 8, 1985 24 Orlando, Florida Orlando, Florida
Contestant Date of Birth Age Hometown Audition Location Voted Off
Alex Lambert December 10, 1990 19 North Richland Hills, Texas Dallas, Texas March 11
Todrick Hall April 4, 1985 25 Arlington, Texas Dallas, Texas
Jermaine Sellers February 9, 1983 27 Joliet, Illinois Atlanta, Georgia March 4
John Park September 13, 1988 21 Northbrook, Illinois Chicago, Illinois
Tyler Grady October 26, 1989 20 Nazareth, Pennsylvania Boston, Massachusetts February 25
Joe Muñoz August 23, 1989 20 Huntington Park, California Los Angeles, California

The semi-final format used through seasons 4–7 has been revived for this season. Starting with 12 women and 12 men, the women and men perform on weekly separate shows and on the result shows, the bottom 2 women and the bottom 2 men are eliminated from the competition. The semi-finals took place over three weeks until there are six women and six men forming the top 12.

From this point on in the show, this season's exit song, "Leave Right Now" by Will Young, was played over eliminations.[32]

Top 24 – Billboard Hot 100 Hits

Order Females Males
Contestant Song (original artist) Result Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Paige Miles "All Right Now" (Free) Safe Todrick Hall "Since U Been Gone" (Kelly Clarkson) Safe
2 Ashley Rodriguez "Happy" (Leona Lewis) Eliminated Aaron Kelly "Here Comes Goodbye" (Rascal Flatts) Safe
3 Janell Wheeler "What About Love" (Heart) Eliminated Jermaine Sellers "Get Here" (Brenda Russell) Safe
4 Lilly Scott "Fixing a Hole" (The Beatles) Safe Tim Urban "Apologize" (OneRepublic) Safe
5 Katelyn Epperly "Oh! Darling" (The Beatles) Safe Joe Muñoz "You and I Both" (Jason Mraz) Eliminated
6 Haeley Vaughn "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (The Beatles) Safe Tyler Grady "American Woman" (The Guess Who) Eliminated
7 Lacey Brown "Landslide" (Fleetwood Mac) Safe Lee DeWyze "Chasing Cars" (Snow Patrol) Safe
8 Michelle Delamor "Fallin'" (Alicia Keys) Safe John Park "God Bless the Child" (Billie Holiday) Safe
9 Didi Benami "The Way I Am" (Ingrid Michaelson) Safe Michael Lynche "This Love" (Maroon 5) Safe
10 Siobhan Magnus "Wicked Game" (Chris Isaak) Safe Alex Lambert "Wonderful World" (James Morrison) Safe
11 Crystal Bowersox "Hand in My Pocket" (Alanis Morissette) Safe Casey James "Heaven" (Bryan Adams) Safe
12 Katie Stevens "Feeling Good" (Cy Grant) Safe Andrew Garcia "Sugar, We're Goin Down" (Fall Out Boy) Safe

Top 20 – Billboard Hot 100 Hits

Note: The females were scheduled to go first, but medical issues with Crystal Bowersox, who was hospitalized on March 2 with complications from diabetes,[33] required a switch.[34]

Order Males Females
Contestant Song (original artist) Result Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Michael Lynche "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" (James Brown) Safe Crystal Bowersox "Long As I Can See the Light" (Creedence Clearwater Revival) Safe
2 John Park "Gravity" (John Mayer) Eliminated Haeley Vaughn "The Climb" (Miley Cyrus) Eliminated
3 Casey James "I Don't Want to Be" (Gavin DeGraw) Safe Lacey Brown "Kiss Me" (Sixpence None the Richer) Safe
4 Alex Lambert "Everybody Knows" (John Legend) Safe Katie Stevens "Put Your Records On" (Corinne Bailey Rae) Safe
5 Todrick Hall "What's Love Got to Do with It" (Tina Turner) Safe Didi Benami "Lean on Me" (Bill Withers) Safe
6 Jermaine Sellers "What's Going On" (Marvin Gaye) Eliminated Michelle Delamor "With Arms Wide Open" (Creed) Eliminated
7 Andrew Garcia "You Give Me Something" (James Morrison) Safe Lilly Scott "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Sam Cooke) Safe
8 Aaron Kelly "My Girl" (The Temptations) Safe Katelyn Epperly "The Scientist" (Coldplay) Safe
9 Tim Urban "Come On Get Higher" (Matt Nathanson) Safe Paige Miles "Walk Away" (Kelly Clarkson) Safe
10 Lee DeWyze "Lips of an Angel" (Hinder) Safe Siobhan Magnus "Think" (Aretha Franklin) Safe

Top 16 – Billboard Hot 100 Hits

Order Females Males
Contestant Song (original artist) Result Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Katie Stevens "Breakaway" (Kelly Clarkson) Safe Lee DeWyze "Fireflies" (Owl City) Safe
2 Siobhan Magnus "The House of the Rising Sun" (traditional) Safe Alex Lambert "Trouble" (Ray LaMontagne) Eliminated
3 Lacey Brown "The Story" (Brandi Carlile) Safe Tim Urban "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen) Safe
4 Katelyn Epperly "I Feel the Earth Move" (Carole King) Eliminated Andrew Garcia "Genie in a Bottle" (Christina Aguilera) Safe
5 Didi Benami "Rhiannon" (Fleetwood Mac) Safe Casey James "You'll Think of Me" (Keith Urban) Safe
6 Paige Miles "Smile" (Charlie Chaplin) Safe Aaron Kelly "I'm Already There" (Lonestar) Safe
7 Crystal Bowersox "Give Me One Reason" (Tracy Chapman) Safe Todrick Hall "Somebody to Love" (Queen) Eliminated
8 Lilly Scott "I Fall to Pieces" (Patsy Cline) Eliminated Michael Lynche "This Woman's Work" (Kate Bush) Safe


Lee DeWyze

Lee DeWyze (born April 2, 1986 in Mount Prospect, Illinois, 23 years at the start of the show) is from Mount Prospect, Illinois and auditioned in Chicago, Illinois with Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine. He performed The Fray's "You Found Me" during Hollywood week. Prior to his appearance on American Idol, he had worked in various jobs, including as a paint salesman and a trading floor clerk at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He also appeared as an actor in a short low-budget film 'Deadscapes: Broken Road.' When he was 17, he was signed to Wuli Records and had released two CDs – So I'm Told and Slumberland. He was declared the winner of season nine of American Idol on May 26, 2010. He was signed to RCA Records after the competition and released an album Live It Up on November 16, 2010.

Crystal Bowersox

Crystal Bowersox (born August 4, 1985 in Elliston, Ohio, 24 years at the time of the show) is from Elliston, Ohio and auditioned in Chicago, Illinois with Erma Franklin's Piece of My Heart. She auditioned for Idol to try to make a better life for her son. Her Hollywood performance of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" impressed the judges and fellow contestants alike. She had performed as a singer from the age of 10 and moved to Chicago aged 17, frequently working as a busker at train stations there. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was six, and while on the show, she suffered diabetic complication and was hospitalized which resulted in the Top 20 performance nights for the male and female contestants being switched. She became the season nine runner-up on May 26, 2010 and was signed to Jive Records. Her debut album Farmer's Daughter was released on December 14, 2010. She was married to Brian Walker on October 10, 2010.

Casey James

Casey James (born May 31, 1982 in Princeton, Texas, 27 years at the time of the show) is from Fort Worth, Texas and auditioned in Denver, Colorado with John Mayer's "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room." He performed professionally after finishing school, but suffered a serious motorcycle accident when he was 21. He took his shirt off during audition after prompting from Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson, and Kara's interest in him became a recurring joke in the season. He is an accomplished guitarist and demonstrated his skill with his Hollywood round performance of Ray Charles's "I Don't Need No Doctor" and Top 20 performance of Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want to Be." He had never previously watched the show before he auditioned. He was eliminated as a third place finisher on May 19, 2010. He was signed to Sony Music Nashville after the show.

Michael Lynche

Michael Lynche (born May 31, 1983, 26 years at the time of the show) is from St. Petersburg, Florida auditioned in Orlando, Florida with Todd Duncan' "Unchained Melody". He worked as personal trainer prior to Idol. His is married and his daughter was born during Hollywood round, and the unfolding drama of his wife's labor was heavily featured during the Hollywood round where he performed John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change". He was saved by the judges when he became the lowest vote-getter on April 7, 2010, but finally he was eliminated at fourth place on May 12, 2010.

Aaron Kelly

PAX-TV's America's Most Talented Kid at the age of 11. He was in 2010 the youngest American Idol contestant to reach Top 12. He was eliminated at fifth place on May 5, 2010.

Siobhan Magnus

Siobhan Magnus (born March 15, 1990 in Barnstable, Massachusetts, 19 years at the start of the show) is from Cape Cod, Massachusetts[35] and auditioned in Boston, Massachusetts with Queen's "Love of My Life". Before Idol she performed as the lead vocalist of her band, Lunar Valve, and she worked as a glassblower in Hyannis, Massachusetts. She performed Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" in the Hollywood rounds. She was noted in the show for her ability to sustain a long high-pitched note. She was eliminated as sixth-placed finisher on April 28, 2010.

Tim Urban

Tim Urban (born May 1, 1989 in Tacoma, Washington, 20 years at the time of the show) is from Duncanville, Texas and auditioned in Dallas, Texas with Matt Nathanson's Bulletproof Week. He performed David Cook's Come Back To Me during the Hollywood round. He did not qualify initially for the semi-finals but was chosen as a replacement for Chris Golightly who was disqualified for having a prior record deal. He finished at seventh place after being voted off on April 21, 2010.

Katie Stevens

Katie Stevens (born December 8, 1992 in Southbury, Connecticut, 17 years at the time of the show) is from Middlebury, Connecticut auditioned in Boston, Massachusetts with Glenn Miller's At Last. She looked after her Portuguese grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and she is fluent in Portuguese. She performed Jean DuShon's "For Once in My Life" in the Hollywood rounds where Kara DioGuardi considered her a possible season's winner. She finished eighth and exited the competition on April 14, 2010 on a double elimination due to judges's save being used the previous week.

Andrew Garcia

Andrew Garcia (born October 8, 1985 in Moreno Valley, California, 24 years at the time of the show) auditioned in Los Angeles with Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning." He had a good sized following on YouTube prior to auditioning on Idol. He impressed the judges with his performance of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" during the Hollywood rounds, but failed to interest the judges in the later rounds. He was eliminated as joint eighth-place finishers together with Katie Stevens on April 14, 2010.

Didi Benami

Didi Benami (born October 25, 1986 in New York, 23 years at the time of the show) is from Knoxville, Tennessee and currently resides in Hollywood. She auditioned in Los Angeles, California with The Beatles' "Hey Jude." She was inspired to audition by her best friend who died in a traffic accident. She was notable during the Hollywood rounds for her performance of Kara DioGuardi-penned Katharine McPhee's song "Terrified." She finished tenth after being eliminated on March 31, 2010.
Paige Miles (born September 26, 1985, 24 years at the time of the show) is from Naples, Florida and auditioned in Dallas, Texas. She was eliminated in eleventh place on March 24, 2010. She performed Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" in the Hollywood rounds which she considered her favorite moment prior the semi-final. Simon Cowell considered her to have the best voice amongst the girls.

Lacey Brown (born August 13, 1985, 24 years at the time of the show) is from Amarillo, Texas and auditioned in Orlando, Florida with Judy Garland's Over the Rainbow. She had previously made it to the Hollywood round in season eight of American Idol but lost out to Megan Joy at Top 50. Ryan Seacrest noted that her chilling performance of What a Wonderful World by Louie Armstrong had a major part in her advancing into the Top 24. She was the first finalist to be voted off on March 17, 2010.


As in season eight, the judges were given one save that they could use before the top 5 week. They used the save for Michael Lynche during top 9 week. "Leave Right Now" by Will Young was used as the send-off song when a contestant was eliminated.

Top 12 – The Rolling Stones

Order Contestant Song (original artist when applicable) Result
1 Michael Lynche "Miss You" Safe
2 Didi Benami "Play with Fire" Safe
3 Casey James "It's All Over Now" (The Valentinos) Safe
4 Lacey Brown "Ruby Tuesday" Eliminated
5 Andrew Garcia "Gimme Shelter" Safe
6 Katie Stevens "Wild Horses" Safe
7 Tim Urban "Under My Thumb" Bottom 3
8 Siobhan Magnus "Paint It, Black" Safe
9 Lee DeWyze "Beast of Burden" Safe
10 Paige Miles "Honky Tonk Women" Bottom 3
11 Aaron Kelly "Angie" Safe
12 Crystal Bowersox "You Can't Always Get What You Want" Safe

Top 11 – Billboard Number 1 Hits

Mentor: Miley Cyrus
Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Lee DeWyze "The Letter" (The Box Tops) Safe
2 Paige Miles "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (Phil Collins) Eliminated
3 Tim Urban "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (Queen) Bottom 3
4 Aaron Kelly "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (Aerosmith) Safe
5 Crystal Bowersox "Me and Bobby McGee" (Roger Miller) Safe
6 Michael Lynche "When a Man Loves a Woman" (Percy Sledge) Safe
7 Andrew Garcia "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (Marvin Gaye) Safe
8 Katie Stevens "Big Girls Don't Cry" (Fergie) Bottom 3
9 Casey James "The Power of Love" (Huey Lewis and the News) Safe
10 Didi Benami "You're No Good" (Betty Everett) Safe
11 Siobhan Magnus "Superstition" (Stevie Wonder) Safe

Top 10 – R&B/Soul

Mentor: Usher
Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Siobhan Magnus "Through the Fire" (Chaka Khan) Safe
2 Casey James "Hold On, I'm A Comin'" (Sam & Dave) Safe
3 Michael Lynche "Ready for Love" (India.Arie) Safe
4 Didi Benami "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (Jimmy Ruffin) Eliminated
5 Tim Urban "Sweet Love" (Anita Baker) Bottom 3
6 Andrew Garcia "Forever" (Chris Brown) Safe
7 Katie Stevens "Chain of Fools" (Aretha Franklin) Bottom 3
8 Lee DeWyze "Treat Her Like a Lady" (Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose) Safe
9 Crystal Bowersox "(Cissy Houston) Safe
10 Aaron Kelly "Ain't No Sunshine" (Bill Withers) Safe

Top 9 (first week) – Lennon–McCartney Songbook

Mentor: N/A
Order Contestant Song (original artist when applicable) Result
1 Aaron Kelly "The Long and Winding Road" Bottom 3
2 Katie Stevens "Let It Be" Safe
3 Andrew Garcia "Can't Buy Me Love" Bottom 3
4 Michael Lynche "Eleanor Rigby" Saved
5 Crystal Bowersox "Come Together" Safe
6 Tim Urban "All My Loving" Safe
7 Casey James "Jealous Guy" (John Lennon) Safe
8 Siobhan Magnus "Across the Universe" Safe
9 Lee DeWyze "Hey Jude" Safe

Top 9 (second week) – Elvis Presley

Mentor: Adam Lambert
Order Contestant Song (original artist when applicable) Result
1 Crystal Bowersox "Saved" (LaVern Baker) Safe
2 Andrew Garcia "Hound Dog" (Big Mama Thornton) Eliminated
3 Tim Urban "Can't Help Falling in Love" Safe
4 Lee DeWyze "A Little Less Conversation" Safe
5 Aaron Kelly "Blue Suede Shoes" (Carl Perkins) Safe
6 Siobhan Magnus "Suspicious Minds" (Mark James) Safe
7 Michael Lynche "In the Ghetto" Safe
8 Katie Stevens "Baby What You Want Me to Do" (Jimmy Reed) Eliminated
9 Casey James "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" (Lloyd Price) Safe

Top 7 – Inspirational Songs

Mentor: Alicia Keys
Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Casey James "Don't Stop" (Fleetwood Mac) Bottom 3
2 Lee DeWyze "The Boxer" (Simon & Garfunkel) Safe
3 Tim Urban "Better Days" (Goo Goo Dolls) Eliminated
4 Aaron Kelly "I Believe I Can Fly" (R. Kelly) Bottom 3
5 Siobhan Magnus "When You Believe" (Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston) Safe
6 Michael Lynche "Hero" (Chad Kroeger feat. Josey Scott) Safe
7 Crystal Bowersox "People Get Ready" (The Impressions) Safe

Top 6 – Shania Twain

Mentor: Shania Twain
Order Contestant Song Result
1 Lee DeWyze "You're Still the One" Safe
2 Michael Lynche "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing" Bottom 3
3 Casey James "Don't!" Bottom 3
4 Crystal Bowersox "No One Needs to Know" Safe
5 Aaron Kelly "You've Got a Way" Safe
6 Siobhan Magnus "Any Man of Mine" Eliminated

Top 5 – Frank Sinatra

Mentor: Harry Connick, Jr.
Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Aaron Kelly "Fly Me to the Moon" (Kaye Ballard) Eliminated
2 Casey James "Blue Skies" (Belle Baker) Safe
3 Crystal Bowersox "Summer Wind" (Wayne Newton) Safe
4 Michael Lynche "The Way You Look Tonight" (Fred Astaire) Bottom 2
5 Lee DeWyze "That's Life" (Frank Sinatra) Safe

Top 4 – Songs of the Cinema

Mentor: Jamie Foxx

Each contestant sang one solo and one duet with a fellow contestant.
Order Contestant Song (original artist) Featured Film Result
1 Lee DeWyze "Kiss from a Rose" (Seal) Batman Forever Safe
2 Michael Lynche "Will You Be There" (Michael Jackson) Free Willy Eliminated
3 Crystal Bowersox & Lee DeWyze "Falling Slowly" (Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová) Once N/A
4 Casey James "Mrs. Robinson" (Simon & Garfunkel) The Graduate Safe
5 Crystal Bowersox "I'm Alright" (Kenny Loggins) Caddyshack Safe
6 Casey James & Michael Lynche "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" (Bryan Adams) Don Juan DeMarco N/A

Top 3 – Contestant's choice & Judges' choice

Each contestant sang two songs.
Order Contestant Song (original artist) — Judge(s) Result
1 Casey James "OK, It's Alright with Me" (Eric Hutchinson) Eliminated
2 Crystal Bowersox "Come to My Window" (Melissa Etheridge) Safe
3 Lee DeWyze "Simple Man" (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Safe
4 Casey James "Daughters" (John Mayer)Randy Jackson & Kara DioGuardi Eliminated
5 Crystal Bowersox "Maybe I'm Amazed" (Paul McCartney)Ellen DeGeneres Safe
6 Lee DeWyze "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen)Simon Cowell Safe

Finale – Contestant's choice, Simon Fuller's choice & winner's single

Each contestant sang three songs.
Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Lee DeWyze "The Boxer" (Simon & Garfunkel) Winner
2 Crystal Bowersox "Me and Bobby McGee" (Roger Miller) Runner-Up
3 Lee DeWyze "Everybody Hurts" (R.E.M.) Winner
4 Crystal Bowersox "Black Velvet" (Alannah Myles) Runner-Up
5 Lee DeWyze "Beautiful Day" (U2) Winner
6 Crystal Bowersox "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)" (Solomon Burke) Runner-Up

Elimination chart

Female Male Top 24 Top 12 Winner
Safe Safe First Safe Last Eliminated Judges' Save
Stage: Semi Finals Finals
Week: 2/25 3/4 3/11 3/17 3/24 3/31 4/7[n 1] 4/14[n 2] 4/21 4/28 5/5 5/12 [n 3] 5/19 [n 4] 5/26
Place Contestant Result
1 Lee DeWyze Winner
2 Crystal Bowersox Runner-up
3 Casey James Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Elim
4 Michael Lynche Saved Bottom 3 Bottom 2 Elim
5 Aaron Kelly Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Elim
6 Siobhan Magnus Elim
7 Tim Urban Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Elim
8–9 Katie Stevens Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Elim
Andrew Garcia Bottom 3
10 Didi Benami Elim
11 Paige Miles Bottom 3 Elim
12 Lacey Brown Elim
13–16 Lilly Scott Elim
Alex Lambert
Todrick Hall
Katelyn Epperly
17–20 Haeley Vaughn Elim
Michelle Delamor
Jermaine Sellers
John Park
21–24 Tyler Grady Elim
Ashley Rodriguez
Joe Muñoz
Janell Wheeler

Results night performances

Group songs

Results show performances

Week Performer(s) Title Hot 100 Reaction Hot Digital Songs Reaction Performance Type
Top 24 Allison Iraheta "Scars" failed to chart live
Kris Allen "Let It Be"[n 5] 63 (debut) live
Top 20 Danny Gokey "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me" 82 (debut) 63 (debut) live
Top 16 Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre "Tell Her About It" no release N/A live
Top 12 David Cook "Jumpin' Jack Flash" failed to chart live
Orianthi "According to You" 19(−1) 23(+9) live
Kesha feat. 3OH!3 "Blah Blah Blah" 15(+1) 10(−1) pre-recorded
Top 11 Miley Cyrus "When I Look at You" 25(+33) 12(+19) live
Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato "Make a Wave" fell off chart live
Top 10 Ruben Studdard "Don't Make 'Em Like U No More" failed to chart live
Usher and "OMG" 14 (debut) 7 (debut) pre-recorded
Diddy-Dirty Money "Hello Good Morning" 34 (debut) 17 (debut) live
Top 9
(Week 1)
Jason Derülo "In My Head" ("Whatcha Say" intro) 5(+4) 6(+5) live
David Archuleta "Imagine" no release N/A live
Rihanna with Nuno Bettencourt "Rockstar 101" failed to chart failed to chart pre-recorded
Top 9
(Week 2)
Brooke White and Justin Gaston
(from If I Can Dream)
"If I Can Dream" failed to chart failed to chart live
Adam Lambert "Whataya Want from Me" 10(+13) 8(+21) live
Top 7 Alicia Keys "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)"
"Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down"
58(+25) live
The Black Eyed Peas "Rock That Body" unreleased live
Carrie Underwood "Change" 68(debut) 51,000 (+ 2001%) live
Elton John "Your Song" no release live
Mary J. Blige (feat. Randy Jackson, Orianthi, Travis Barker, Steve Vai and others) "Stairway to Heaven" no release live
Top 6 Rascal Flatts "Unstoppable" 60(+6) live
Sons of Sylvia "Love Left to Lose" 101 (debut) pre-recorded
Lady Antebellum "Need You Now" 5(−1) 9(−1) pre-recorded
Shakira & Rascal Flatts "Gypsy" 65 (debut) 48 (debut) live
Top 5 Lady Gaga "Alejandro" ("Bad Romance" intro) 11(+5) 9(+4) pre-recorded
Harry Connick, Jr. "And I Love Her" no release live
Top 4 Fantasia "Bittersweet" failed to chart live
Daughtry "September" failed to chart live
Bon Jovi "Superman Tonight" failed to chart live
Top 3 Travis Garland "Believe" failed to chart live
Justin Bieber "U Smile" / "Baby" 38(no change) 24(+3) pre-recorded
Finale Will Young "Leave Right Now"[n 6] 81 (debut) 50 (debut) live
Alice Cooper "School's Out" ineligible to re-enter ineligible to re-enter live performance
Kris Allen "The Truth" failed to chart failed to chart live
Dane Cook "Simon Said" no release no release live
Christina Aguilera "You Lost Me" no release no release live
Carrie Underwood "Undo It" 25(+34) 18(+43) live
Larry Platt feat. William Hung "Pants on the Ground" failed to re-enter failed to re-enter live
American Idols[n 7] "Together We Are One" no release no release live
Janet Jackson "Again"/"Nothing" / "Nasty" ineligible to re-enter/ no release ineligible to re-enter/failed to chart live
"—" denotes no figure was available.


Ethnic voting bias

Since season 7, the voting results are seemingly skewed towards Caucasian contestants, and critics believe that it was Caucasian female viewers who vote only for Caucasian male contestants. During top 20 week, all four eliminated contestants were non-Caucasian. Season 9 has the fewest non-Caucasian finalists of any season. This led to criticism of bias in favor of Caucasians.[37]

Chris Golightly

Chris Golightly was originally selected as semi-finalist. According to reports, Golightly was disqualified on February 17, 2010, after already being told he was in the top 24, over an old contract. The contract had expired by the time the top 24 began to tape, but they disqualified him because he was under contract at the time of the tryouts, in violation of Idol rules. He was later replaced by Tim Urban at the last minute of the last part of Hollywood Week.[38] Golightly later appears on a Korean television show called Superstar K, a singing competition similar to the American Idol. In there, he tells that he also used to write songs for Korean singers, such as Jewelry, DBSK and ZE:A.[39]

Ryan Seacrest's Twitter post

Lacey Brown's elimination stirred up controversy after Ryan Seacrest tweeted the results before the elimination aired on the west coast.[40] This caused anger among the fans of the show and as a result, the elimination show may have had lower ratings than usual.[41][42]

Criticisms of Ryan Seacrest

Seacrest has been criticized by The Wrap and MSNBC Entertainment contributors for "critiquing the judges’ comments" and becoming more aggressive.[43][44] Ratings for the 9th season have dropped significantly compared to the prior two seasons[45] leading to speculation that its run as the number one show on television may be coming to a close.[46] Reasons for the decline have ranged from the smaller role and pending departure of Simon Cowell to the more unpredictable behavior of Ryan Seacrest.[47]

It was also claimed that Crystal Bowersox had considered Ryan Seacrest to have betrayed her.[48] After it was reported that she had doubts about staying on in the show but Ryan Seacrest had talked her out of it,[49] her fellow contestant Katelyn Epperly revealed that Crystal texted: "I'm fine...betrayed by Seacrest!" in a text message to her. Crystal denied that she was planning to leave, and there was no evidence that Ryan Seacrest had leaked the information himself.

Contestants who appeared on other shows

  • Before his stint on American Idol, semi-finalist Jermaine Sellers was a contestant on the first season of the BET gospel singing competition show Sunday Best, where he finished in third place.
  • On April 10, 2010, semi-finalist Alex Lambert joined then-cast members Giglianne Braga, Justin Gaston, Ben Elliott, Kara Killmer and Amanda Phillips on If I Can Dream, a web-based reality series that follows aspiring artists as they pursue their dreams in Hollywood.
  • Samuel Larsen, who originally auditioned on Los Angeles and made it on Hollywood Round was a contestant on Oxygen's The Glee Project, which he co-won. He now guest stars on Glee as Joseph Hart.
  • After his stint on American Idol, John Park, another semi-finalist, finished second place in the second season of the Korean version of American Idol, Superstar K.[50] This makes him to become one of two contestants to appear on this show from the American Idol season 9. The other contestant being Chris Golightly who appeared in the third season.[39]
  • Haley Reinhart, who originally auditioned in Chicago and did not get past the audition round, returned for the tenth season of American Idol and came in third place.
  • Jen Hirsh, who originally auditioned in Boston and was cut during the first day of the Hollywood Week. Hirsh returned for the eleventh season and made it in the semi-finals.
  • Candice Glover, who originally auditioned in Orlando for this season, but she was cut at the last day of the Hollywood Week. Glover returned for the twelfth season and eventually won that season.
  • Katie Stevens, who placed eighth, began starring in the MTV romantic comedy Faking It on April 22, 2014 alongside Rita Volk, Michael Willett, former Wizards of Waverly Place actor Gregg Sulkin and former Bunheads actress Bailey Buntain.

US Nielsen ratings

Season 9 of American Idol was the top show for the 2009–10 season of broadcast primetime shows. Its Tuesday and Wednesday episodes occupied the top 2 spots of the season. Viewership for the Tuesday episodes averaged 22.974 million, while the Wednesday episodes averaged 21.951 million.[51]

Episode list
Show Episode[3] Air date Rating Share rating/Share
(in millions)
1 "Boston Auditions" January 12, 2010 16.4 24 11.8/29 29.936[52]
2 "Atlanta Auditions" January 13, 2010 14.9 23 10.1/27 26.393[52]
3 "Chicago Auditions" January 19, 2010 14.3 22 10.1/27 26.384[53]
4 "Orlando Auditions" January 20, 2010 14.6 23 9.9/27 26.854[53]
5 "Los Angeles Auditions" January 26, 2010 13.5 21 9.0/24 24.452[54]
6 "Dallas Auditions" January 27, 2010 13.4 22 9.5/24 25.710[54]
7 "Denver Auditions" February 2, 2010 13.4 20 9.0/23 24.705[55]
8 "Best of the Rest"[56] February 3, 2010 11.9 19 7.8/21 20.999[55]
9 "Hollywood Round, Part 1" February 9, 2010 15.1 22 10.1/26 27.892[57]
10 "Hollywood Round, Part 2" February 10, 2010 13.6 21 9.5/23 25.172[57]
11 "Hollywood Round, Part 3" February 16, 2010 13.1 20 9.2/22 23.922[58]
12 "Hollywood Round, Part 4" February 17, 2010 10.6 16 7.0/17 18.629[58]
13 "Top 12 Female Semifinalists Perform" February 23, 2010 13.4 20 9.0/22 24.213[59]
14 "Top 12 Male Semifinalists Perform" February 24, 2010 12.9 20 8.7/22 22.959[59]
15 "First Results Show" February 25, 2010 10.3 16 6.5/17 18.033[59]
16 "Top 10 Male Semifinalists Perform" March 2, 2010 13.1 20 8.6/22 23.526[60]
17 "Top 10 Female Semifinalists Perform" March 3, 2010 13.4 21 8.5 23.560[60]
18 "Second Results Show" March 4, 2010 11.2 18 6.5 19.424[60]
19 "Top 8 Female Semifinalists Perform" March 9, 2010 12.8 18 8.2 22.752[61]
20 "Top 8 Male Semifinalists Perform" March 10, 2010 11.9 18 7.5/20 20.701[61]
21 "Third Results Show/Top 12 Revealed" March 11, 2010 11.2 18 6.3 19.339[61]
22 "Top 12 Finalists Perform" March 16, 2010 13.0 21 8.1/23 22.913[62]
23 "Top 12 Results Show" March 17, 2010 11.8 20 6.8/20 20.510[63]
24 "Top 11 Finalists Perform" March 23, 2010 13.5 21 8.4/23 24.211[64]
25 "Top 11 Results Show" March 24, 2010 12.2 20 7.2/20 21.437[65]
26 "Top 10 Finalists Perform" March 30, 2010 12.4 20 7.7/21 21.845[66]
27 "Top 10 Results Show" March 31, 2010 11.7 19 6.7/19 20.492[67]
28 "Top 9 Finalists Perform" April 6, 2010 11.9 19 7.3/20 20.836[68]
29 "Top 9 Results Show" April 7, 2010 11.6 18 6.7/18 20.168[69]
30 "Top 9 Finalists Perform Again" April 13, 2010 11.8 19 7.3/21 20.639[70]
31 "Double Elimination Top 9 Results Show" April 14, 2010 12.1 20 6.8/19 21.018[71]
32 "Top 7 Finalists Perform" April 20, 2010 11.0 18 6.9/20 19.669[72]
33 "Top 7 Results Show/Idol Gives Back" April 21, 2010 10.6 18 5.9/17 18.824[73]
34 "Top 6 Finalists Perform" April 27, 2010 11.0 17 6.9/20 19.417[74]
35 "Top 6 Results Show" April 28, 2010 11.5 18 6.7/18 20.057[75]
36 "Top 5 Finalists Perform" May 4, 2010 10.1 16 6.2/18 17.498[76]
37 "Top 5 Results Show" May 5, 2010 11.3 18 6.5/18 19.580[77]
38 "Top 4 Finalists Perform" May 11, 2010 10.7 17 6.8/18 19.167[78]
39 "Top 4 Results Show" May 12, 2010 11.2 18 6.6/17 19.569[79]
40 "Top 3 Finalists Perform" May 18, 2010 10.5 17 6.7/18 18.684[80]
41 "Top 3 Results Show" May 19, 2010 11.1 18 6.1/16 19.003[80]
42 "Top 2 Finalists Perform" May 25, 2010 11.2 18 6.7/19 20.072[81]
43 "Winner Revealed" May 26, 2010 13.5 23 8.2/24 24.215[81]

See also


  1. ^ Due to the judges using their one save, in order to save Michael Lynche, the Top 9 remained intact for another week.
  2. ^ The bottom two were eliminated on April 14. The other member of the bottom three was never identified, though Seacrest made a point of indicating that previously-saved Michael Lynche was not the other member.
  3. ^ The other member of the Bottom 2 was never announced, despite Crystal Bowersox was the last contestant to be named safe.
  4. ^ Lee DeWyze was named safe first, then Crystal Bowersox.
  5. ^ Kris Allen's rendition of "Let It Be" was made available on iTunes for download, with all proceeds going to Haiti charities.
  6. ^ Will Young performed at the end of the performance show on May 25, 2010.
  7. ^ The group that sang Delta Goodrem's "Together We Are One" consisted of many previous American Idol contestants, including winners Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, Taylor Hicks, and Kris Allen.


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