March 14, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

How Bo Bice can win ”American Idol”

AGE 29

HOMETOWN Helena, Ala.

WHAT’S IN TUNE This unlikely chick magnet’s instrument is as powerful as it is gruff and soulful.

WHAT’S OFF-KEY He has yet to convince some viewers he can master more than Southern rock classics.

CLOTHES CALLS Earth-toned suedes and corduroys suit him well, but how about surprising us with an occasional splash of color — and maybe a little VO5 Hot Oil Treatment?

WHAT IT’LL TAKE TO WIN Showing versatility doesn’t mean regurgitating selections from the standard Idol songbook (as his tepid ”I’ll Be” demonstrated).

REQUEST LIST Janis Joplin’s ”Try (Just a Little Bit Harder),” Pearl Jam’s ”Alive,” James Brown’s ”I Got You (I Feel Good)”

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