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Idol Watch: Chris Is Dissed

Idol Watch: Chris Is Dissed
Chris Daughtry
Ray Mickshaw/FOX

updated 04/20/2006 AT 09:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/19/2006 AT 08:55 AM EDT

The Votes Are In …
After an usually good Tuesday night showcase came a weird and rather frustrating results program, starting with Rod Stewart singing "The Way You Look Tonight." He may have coached the singers beautifully, but his own performance sounded like a very suave kazoo.

The final outcome itself wasn't a surprise. Ace Young got into the Taxi of a Different Destiny that had been idling outside the soundstage for several weeks and was driven away. (The exposure has been invaluable, Ace – so don't forget to tip!)

But what gives with the other Bottom Twain? Once again Paris Bennett, a vocalist so assured she sounds as if she were experiencing dim memories of having already recorded the entire American Songbook in a previous life, came close to being thrown off. (Wanda Sykes, appearing on Ellen Degeneres's talk show Wednesday, said she was disturbed that such a mature voice could emanate from a 16-year-old.)

And how did Chris Daughtry end up with Paris and Ace? Maybe because he was uncharacteristically and uncomfortably soft performing "What a Wonderful World" – he looked like Bruce Willis singing to a daycare center. Or maybe it was those strange sideburns. I can't imagine he won't climb back to safety once the volume is turned up.

As it will be: Ryan Seacrest announced that the next week's guest coach will be Andrea Bocelli, the male Celine Dion. I look forward to Elliott Yamin unleashing a power vocal worthy of the signor.

Tuesday Night's Show
Idol Watch: Chris Is Dissed| American Idol, Chris Daughtry, Media Products

Elliot Yamin

Ray Mickshaw / FOX

In a striped blazer and gold bling that made him look like a yachtsman who’d somehow docked at a casino fountain in Vegas and then swaggered onto the carpeting, Rod Stewart visited the American Idol set for Tuesday's show and did a surprisingly good job coaching the contestants in the sort of American standards he records nowadays.

Even if the night as a whole sometimes felt less like Idol than an old variety show, most of the performances were really very enjoyable. Even Simon finally seemed to be paying attention again. In the past few weeks, he’d been sinking into apathy. I was afraid Paula had poked him with a manicured nail and he’d sprung a tiny leak.

However, he did conspicuously lower his head as Kellie Pickler picked her way through "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," a very tricky, very slow number that can leave a singer swamped in the middle. Well, it swallowed Kellie whole and then it burped, and it might even drag her down into the bottom three tonight. Lucky for her, the camera loves her open-faced, guileless prettiness, and maybe voters will expect her to bounce back next week and give her a break.

I was a bit bored by Chris Daughtry’s "What a Wonderful World" and kept myself amused imagining he was singing "It's Not Easy Being Green" instead, but anyway the judges liked it. And they went crazy for Katharine McPhee doing "Someone to Watch Over Me." Eh. To me it just sounded starchy – stiff. Paris Bennett did a standout "Foolish Things" (how’d she know to lift her shoulders in rhythm with "I knew somehow this had to be…”?), and Taylor Hicks redeemed himself after last week’s lousy Queen performance, which I thought might be the beginning of the end. Well, for "You Send Me," he ditched the cornball Bye Bye Birdie dance steps and put a little Van Morrison growl into the lyrics. You’re the dog, man! Or the cat! Or the goldfish!

Idol Watch: Chris Is Dissed| American Idol, Chris Daughtry, Media Products

Katharine McPhee

Ray Mickshaw / FOX

After last week’s show I also had wondered if Ace Young, the handsome young man who keeps winding up in the bottom three, might have a saving triumph singing a standard, but I don’t know… He had his hair slicked and pulled back, and he wore a suit, all very Spandau Ballet, but it still didn't really work.

Elliott Yamin, who sings with so much vibrato he ought to be shaking like a rubber plant, swung nice and easy through “It Had to Be You,” but he was sabotaged by backup vocals that sounded like harmonizing squirrels, and then Simon told him he lacked “personality” – which means, I think, that sometimes you're better off looking like Spandau Ballet than crooning like Sinatra. He may be out, shoo be doo be doo, la dah dee dah dah…

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