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Friday, July 2, 2010
American Idol's Season 9 Tour kicks off!

Well it American Idol's current crop of Top 10 finalists have kicked off the tour and the full setlists have been revealed, along with a couple of reviews.

Didi Benami - Finishing the competition in tenth place means this singer-songwriter got the honour to open the show, with Kyler England's Lay It On Me as her opening song.

"Thank you all so much!" she says over the audience's cheers. "I was little bit terrified before I came out here, to see all these faces, but I just realized that I'm among family.

"Speaking of being Terrified … " she says, trailing off as she dons her acoustic guitar.

- Brian Mansfield of Idol Chatter

And of course, delivers the crowd favourite Terrified, the stunning Katharine McPhee song she delivered with great emotion in Hollywood Week where she first started to steal hearts.

Andrew Garcia is second, and starts with his acoustic guitar and his well-known cover of Paula Abdul's Straight Up, yet another song that stole America's hearts back in Hollywood Week. He then plays Maroon 5's Sunday Morning.

Next up is 17 year old Katie Stevens, who kicks off her set with Demi Lovato's Here We Go Again and concludes with Christina Aguilera's Fighter, the song the Top 12 girls sang with Christina Aguilera herself. Adam Graham of The Detroit News called her "the evening's most current performer" while Brian Mansfield of USA Today said she looked like a less-hyper Lovato during her performance of Here We Go Again but closed his article saying, "Katie rarely rocked this hard on the show -- it's a much better direction for her than the older songs and ballads she favored on the show." The show meaning American Idol of course.

Heartthrob Tim Urban was next, gaining "applause" that "gets a little louder and last a little longer than any of the previous contestants." Nevertheless, he kicked off his set with The Goo Goo Dolls' Better Days and ending his with Coldplay's Viva La Vida. Brian Mansfield noted that though "Tim had his best moments on TV with smaller, less ambitious melodies -- a pretty good choice for Tim (and one he sang during Hollywood Week, though it wasn't never shown). When he closes his eyes and tilts his head back just so on the chorus, he looks and sounds perfectly at home singing it. And the girls get into it, too, waving their hands and singing along."

Then on comes Season 9's screamer. Siobhan Magnus' set starts with The Rolling Stones' Paint It Black while she "emerges amid billowing smoke and purple and white lights." After that it's No Doubt's Spiderwebs and then Muse' Stockholm Syndrome, where Brian Mansfield who says she "stretches it for all its worth, ending on her knees with an impressive scream."

On a completely different note, a very young Aaron Kelly was "the evening's most pleasant surprise" according to Adam Graham of The Detroit News, who opens with Keith Urban's Somebody Like You who "roams the stage like a pro" according to Brian Mansfield and then launches into Marc Cohn's Walking in Memphis. His closing song is Rascal Flatt's Fast Cars And Freedom and Brian Mansfield makes a big statement saying, "On the show, he often sounded like a promising kid who liked to sing ballads. Tonight, he sounds like a young guy that's ready for the big time. Both he and Siobhan have made strong cases that they should have placed higher than they did."

Then came the first group song, Miley Cyrus' The Climb. Andrew Garcia, Tim Urban and Didi Benami start first, sitting on stools, strumming their acoustic guitars and then are joined by Aaron Kelly, Siobhan Magnus and Katie Stevens.

Michael Lynche starts the second half with This Woman's Work, and then India.Arie's Ready For Love, arguably his most memorable performance on Idol. Brian Mansfield described his set as "sexy ballads" as Lynche's closing number is Justin Timberlake and T.I.'s My Love which causes Adam Graham to state the song choice as the "riskiest song choice of the evening" and that Lynche seemed "worn out by its close".

Casey James' set is described as "inconsistent" by Adam Graham and that James' is a "better guitarist than singer." His set consisted of I Got Mine by the Black Keys, Don't! by country/pop darling Shania Twain, It's All Over Now, and Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? with Michael Lynche originally by Bryan Adams.

Then, runner-up Crystal Bowersox strolls on stage, earning a standing ovation from the crowd. She perform's What's Up by 4 Non Blondes, a song she apparently tried to do on Idol. Her next song is Melissa Etheridge's Come To My Window, who she mentions is her new "good friend". She then proceeds with her Idol coronation single, Patty Griffin's Up To The Mountain and closes her set with her Idol audition song, Janis Joplin's Piece Of My Heart.

Next up? Winner Lee DeWyze of course! He takes the stage to perform Beautiful Day, his Idol winning anthem, but of course, he switches things up and transforms the song into an acoustic rock number. Think Kris Allen's version of Heartless on his self-titled album and you get the drift. Next is his take on Elton John's Rocket Man. He also shakes up the arrangement for Hallelujah and Treat Her Like A Lady, songs he did on the show before closing with the Kings of Leon's Use Somebody.

And of course, there's the last group number of the evening, as the whole Top 10 launches into Kelly Clarkson's #1 hit My Life Would Suck Without You.

Adam Graham of The Detroit News
Brian Mansfield of USA Today

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