Who's the best ''American Idol'' finalist? -- Our critics debate who's top contestan on the new season of Fox's ratings giant
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LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, RYAN SEACREST, LUKE BRYAN

TAYLOR HICKS So the gray-haired 29-year-old looks and sounds more like he’s 49. No matter, Taylor’s disarming Joe Cocker-meets-Ray Charles chops make him the underdog pick of the season. And did we mention he plays a mean harmonica?

MANDISA The history of music is filled with great Plus-size Pipestresses. Mandi, take your place among ’em. Kudos for dropping that superfluous last name (as EW suggested) and womanhandling Simon without the use of a harmonica.

Episode Recaps

LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, RYAN SEACREST, LUKE BRYAN
American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

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