Image Credit: Michael Becker/Fox (3)The American Idol Top 5 won’t exactly do it their way tonight when they take on the Frank Sinatra songbook. That’s because guest mentor Harry Connick Jr. will be handling musical arrangements himself. (Check out my dream set list for tonight’s show, along with the full list of 50 pre-approved Sinatra tracks, here.) But before the episode runs over by four minutes and cuts into Glee, I’m going to rank the Top 5 based on their standing in the competition after 10 weeks of live performances. (Nope, this week I didn’t do anything beastly and offer up the No. 3 slot to a band of jilted former semifinalists.) Won’t you do your civic duty by voting for your favorite in our Power List poll? (Related: Watch Idolatry exit videos with Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, and Tim Urban; and for more Idol coverage, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.)
5. Aaron Kelly (Last week No. 6): Last week’s countrified theme was in his “wheelhouse,” as Randy noted, but this week’s Sinatra bender could prove to be his Waterloo, especially if he returns to pre-Shania lethargy (i.e. “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “The Long and Winding Road”).
4. Michael ‘Big Mike’ Lynche (Last week No. 7): You’d think a guy who needed the Judges’ Save to avoid a ninth-place exit would be reaching the end of the plank, but a big band-y song list should play to his hammy crooner strengths, and he’s finally starting to dial back on the overconfident stage antics; note, last week, he did not lift guest mentor Shania Twain! Progress?
3. Casey James (Last week No. 5): His “Don’t” was the best vocal of Shania Twain Week — and proved he’s the most likely candidate to thwart the long-anticipated Crystal-Lee finale — but he landed in the bottom two anyhow. Needs to prove he can build week-to-week momentum if he wants to get back in the voting public’s good graces. It’s now or never, dude!
2. Lee DeWyze (Last week No. 2): His “Still the One” showed a new level of vulnerability that fit nicely with a strong season-long body of work, but it’s still hard to fathom why his serious pitch problems went entirely overlooked by the judges. As a contestant whose weak spot is staying in tune on extended notes, he’ll need to scale Mt. Sinatra before he can dream of taking a confetti shower at the Nokia.
1. Crystal Bowersox (Last week No. 1): Oh how dull to have the same contestant at No. 1 week after bloomin’ week! But even though “No One Needs to Know” was one of Crystal’s least-evocative (and worst-judged) performances, it’s hard to argue against the dreadlocked earth goddess who’s been a study in professionalism and pitch perfection all season. Still looks like the season 9 crown is hers — unless one of her four male competitors wants to step up and try to snatch it — or unless she keeps giving lip to the judges over their mild critiques!