Additional reporting by Shirley Halperin
Phil finally finds his comfort zone in country week… and Randy showers him with praise. LaKisha finally takes a vocal risk by tackling Carrie Underwood… and Paula accuses her of shouting. And Simon finally tears into Sanjaya… and the Pohawk pioneer is sent home. But does our exclusive EW.com panel of ex-Idol contestants — Kimberely Locke, Ace Young and Amy Adams (regular panelist Anthony Fedorov is out of the country this week) — jibe with the judges’ takes? And what the heck is a nasally vocal style?
MEET OUR PANELISTS: Kimberley Locke just released a new single, ”Change,” in advance of her May 1 album Based on a True Story (Curb Records), and the song has already broken into the top 15 on the Adult Contemporary charts. (Previously, her ”8th World Wonder” was a top 10 Billboard hit.) Currently finishing up her stint on the upcoming season of VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club, she will also be a new spokesperson for Jenny Craig.
Amy Adams just organized a benefit concert in her hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., for the Play It Forward Music and Arts Foundation, a center she’s spearheading, she says, ”where underprivileged kids come to be exposed to and learn from people in the entertainment and arts industry.” She is also working on writing and recording a country album, which she hopes to release at the end of the year.
NEXT PAGE: Judging Randy Jackson