On ''American Idol,'' the voters pick the right bottom three, and Chicken Little flies the coop; plus, we discuss Chris Daughtry's controversial Live performance

By Michael Slezak
July 03, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
American Idol: Ray Mickshaw/FOX
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”American Idol”: A perfect bottom three

This just in: Kevin Covais is not the new John Stevens. That’s good news to the many American Idol fans who feared that Covais, this season’s wobbly-voiced teenage crooner, would overstay his welcome by outlasting a number of more talented rivals, much like season 3’s consistently painful but cheek-pinchingly precious redhead, Stevens.

Not to worry, though, fans of on-key vocal performances: Kevin (a.k.a. Chicken Little) received the lowest number of votes among the 11 remaining contestants and was eliminated from the competition on this evening’s Idol results show — even though Kevin’s Tuesday-night take on ”When I Fall in Love” was no worse, and quite possibly a little better, than the performances of his fellow bottom-three dwellers, Bucky Covington and Lisa Tucker.

Any way you look at it, though, America did the right thing by putting three of this season’s four least talented contestants at the bottom of the heap. (Is it wrong that I’m hoping dubious Ace Young ranked eighth in the vote tallies?) As reader Sandy MI wrote on our TV Watch message boards, ”I don’t think I can take another few weeks of Chicken Little. I have to leave the room when he sings.” Well, Sandy, here’s to not getting up off our couches next week.

The other hot topic among our readers was the rendition of ”I Walk the Line” by front-runner Chris Daughtry, which wasn’t quite as original as many folks (Paula, Simon, Randy, and, yes, myself included) had believed. As several of you pointed out, the alterna-rock band Live covered Johnny Cash’s classic on a 2004 greatest hits disc, and Chris’ arrangement was cut from much of the same cloth.

Still, I don’t see why the bald and beautiful Chris should suffer a backlash. For one thing, his performance was a heckuva lot better than Live’s. And second, there’s no way of knowing whether or not he tipped his hat to Live during his pre-performance interview; the Idol producers could’ve easily left such a comment on the editing-room floor. Remember, just last week Chris gave a shout-out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers for inspiring his version of Stevie Wonder’s ”Higher Ground.” He just doesn’t seem like a credit hog to me.

Anyhow, if a backlash must begin this week, there’s a far better candidate for it: Kellie Pickler. I’ve been ambivalent up to now about her attempts to replace Jessica Simpson as America’s Next Top Dumb Blonde, but tonight, one of her throwaway comments pushed me into the anti-Pickler camp for good. When Ryan Seacrest observed that Simon Cowell had described her Tuesday-night cover of ”Walkin’ After Midnight” as ”ballsy,” Kellie gazed dimly into the camera and asked, ”What’s a ballsy?”

You want to know what ballsy is, Pickles? It’s believing that the Idol audience is so enamored of you that we won’t see how disingenuous you’ve become. Methinks that from this point forward, you’re swimming upstream in this competition. Kind of like a sal-mon.

What did you think of tonight’s bottom three? Who is most at risk for elimination next week? And did anyone else think the Bobby Bennett-Barry Manilow moment was kind of adorable, albeit in a stalker-y kind of way?

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