American Idol tonight as she mentors the season 9 top 6 through 50 of her best-known tracks (Check out my dream set list for tonight’s show here.) Before someone makes me grimace by attempting the high camp of “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” though, I’m going to rank our half-dozen musical gladiators in terms of their momentum over the last nine weeks of live performances. Won’t you do the same by voting for your favorite in our Power List poll? (Related: Watch Idolatry exit videos with Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, and Tim Urban; Check out Idol‘s 13 Most Awkward Mentor Moments; and for more Idol coverage, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.)Shania Twain is bringing her patented brand of countrified pop (or is it popified country?) to
7. Michael ‘Big Mike’ Lynche (Last week No. 6): Needed the Judges’ Save to avoid a ninth-place exit, and while subsequent covers of “In the Ghetto” and “Hero” have been fairly in tune, they weren’t dazzling enough to overcome his exhausting public persona (i.e. physically lifting guest mentor Alicia Keys last week; pouting and preening post-Save). Has he worn out his welcome?
6. High School Student Aaron Kelly (Last week No. 7 ): His last three performances (“I Believe I Can Fly,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “The Long and Winding Road”) have been lethargic and uninspired, but this week’s country-friendly theme should give the teenager a chance to shine — that is if he’s still “in it to win it” (pardon the Randy-ism). Then again, in season 8, Allison Iraheta got booted on Rock Week, while Matt Giraud went home on Rat Pack Night, so performing in one’s “wheelhouse” is no guarantee of success.
5. Casey James (Last week No. 5): What happened to the guy who gave us a passionate, stripped-down “Jealous Guy” during Lennon-McCartney Week? Knowing he’s capable of a stirring, soulful performance made his karaoke-bar cover of “Don’t Stop” ten times as frustrating. Perhaps a brush with the bottom two will shake him from his regular aura of low-wattage complacence.
4. Siobhan Magnus (Last week No. 3): When the resident “quirky chick” is covering a Mariah Carey-Whitney Houston duet, you know you’ve got problems in the Idol house. Vocally, she has real potential, but she hasn’t lived up to it since that blistering Top 12 week cover of “Paint It Black.” And thus, our frustration mounts.
3. THIS SPACE IS AVAILABLE FOR RENT BY ALEX LAMBERT, KATELYN EPPERLY, LILLY SCOTT, JERMAINE PURIFORY, ANGELA MARTIN, MISHAVONNA HENSON, JU’NOT JOYNER, FELICIA BARTON, RICKY BRADDY, KRISTEN MCNAMARA, JESSE LANGSETH, ALOHA MISCHEAUX, LISA LEUSCHNER EQUOIA COLEMAN, ETC. (IDOLOONIES, FEEL FREE TO ADD OTHER PAST AND OVERLOOKED FAVORITES TO THIS LIST.)
2. Lee DeWyze (Last week No. 2): His “A Little Less Conversation” and “Treat Her Like a Lady” both rank among season’s 10 best performances, and “The Boxer” was tender and tuneful (albeit a little odd condensed down to 90 seconds). Like the fact that he shook up the jeans-and-gray-jacket uniform for Idol Gives Back Week. Needs a knockout emotional moment to prove to America (and to MamaSox) that it’s a two-way race for the season 9 crown.
1. Crystal Bowersox (Last week No. 1): Actually improved on Elvis’ original “Saved,” and combined with powerhouse turns on “Me and Bobby McGee,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and “Come Together,” she’s the clear leader of the season 9 pack. Polarizing performance of “People Get Ready” may have been flawed, but it proved she’s human. Now it’s time for her to cover a song written post-2000, yes?