American Idol performance show will feature both solo performances and duets, and photos at mjsbigblog seem to suggest the Songs of the Cinema matchups of Crystal Bowersox-Lee DeWyze, and Michael Lynche-Casey James. (Check out my dream set list for tonight’s show, along with the show’s roster of suggested soundtrack ditties, here.) Before we find out whether this year’s matchups will be magical (“Slow Ride”) or maniacal (“Renegade”), I figured we’d better tackle our weekly task of ranking the remaining contestants. My list is below; won’t you do your civic duty by voting for your favorite in our Power List poll? (Related: Watch Idolatry exit videos with Siobhan Magnus, Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, and Tim Urban; and for more Idol coverage, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.)Brace for duets in 5, 4, 3, 2… Yep, that’s right: A Fox publicist confirms that tonight’s
4. Casey James (Last week No. 3): Probably outlasted Aaron Kelly on the strength of past glories (“Jealous Guy” and “Don’t”) more so than because of his awful “Blue Skies” on Sinatra night. Has yet to put together back-to-back top-notch efforts after 11 weeks of live performances, and combined with Kara pointing out his barnyard bleat, it’s hard to view him as a legitimate threat to assume Kris Allen’s throne.
3. Michael ‘Big Mike’ Lynche (Last week No. 4): Has dramatically toned down the outward signs of cockiness in the last two weeks, yet while his Shania and Sinatra covers were solid, they fell short of creating legitimate Idol Moments — something that’s absolutely necessary to break on through to the top 2. (Big Mike’s last true “moment” was, what, his Kate Bush cover in the semifinals? Discuss!) A duet with Casey may serve to highlight Michael’s superior power and pitch, however, and perhaps buy the once-booted dude an extra week in the competition.
2. Crystal Bowersox (Last week No. 1): After six straight weeks at No. 1, the Queen of Season 9 slips a spot in our weekly rankings, thanks to a good-n0t-great “No One Needs to Know” and an oddly hesitant “Summer Wind.” Sassing back to the judges’ mild criticism hasn’t really helped her case, either. Then again, perhaps this late-season momentum loss merely serves to paint her as the underdog heading into the finale — which as David Cook and Kris Allen can vouch, is not a bad place to be. Still needs a return to early-season brilliance to cement her spot at the Nokia.
1. Lee DeWyze (Last week No. 2): “That’s Life” displayed a long-absent sense of confidence and swagger (with very few bum notes), while “Still the One” showed a new level of vulnerability that fit nicely with a strong season-long body of work. He’s maintained an appealingly humble vibe while surging at exactly the right time in the competition. That said, he needs to choose his songs very carefully — in the past, extended notes have led to pitch problems — and a little more polish during his rambling interview segments couldn’t hurt, either.