American Idol

Dress to Trill

UPDATED 09/02/2002 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/02/2002 at 01:00 AM EDT

Kelly ClarkSon

"A pretty girl," says Knowles of the Burleson, Texas, native, 20. "All the elements are there"—scrambled like scat notes. She's a solid pop belter, but her style has roamed from vamp to Annie Hall—a flaw that makes Mackie lament: "She's too good a singer for that."

July 16
"This is Elvira in the bordello," says Mackie of the red-and-black top. Knowles agrees: "Too much going on—way too fussy."

Aug. 20
In her matching jacket and pants, Kelly "looks like a cowgirl on a budget," says Dalrympie. Says Mackie: "Young, cute and sexy."

Aug. 13
The pink top makes for "an okay outfit," says Dalrymple, "but she needs to pull it down to cover her tummy."

Justin Guarini

With his lean legs, mop of curls and a face that seeks the camera like a heat-tracking missile, the 23-year-old from Doylestown, Pa., already seems groomed for his official TRL debut. But the dude can overdo the groovy dressing, making him look like a rejected Austin Powers extra or even a clone, says Dalrymple, of "another Justin." Timberlake, that is.

July 30
The brocade ensemble was "the worst," says Mackie. "It looks like he borrowed his daddy's shirt."

Aug. 20
Dalrymple disses the " 'Livin' La Vida Loca' look" on Justin: "It seems way too casual. He looks best when he actually dresses for the occasion." But Mackie calls this sleeveless, bell-bottomed style "sexy."

Aug. 6
In a black tux with open-necked shirt, "Justin does the Rat Pack," says Dalrymple.

Tamyra Gray

The 23-year-old from Norcross, Ga., has not only wowed Simon Cowell—he called her Aug. 20 performance "world-class"—but wins over our judges with an eye for color and style. At her best, "she's got that little neo-soul vibe," says Knowles. "Young, fresh and cool."

Aug. 20
"Pretty and classic, not trying too hard," says Mackie of this relaxed black ensemble. "It just looks good."

July 23
The fringe element? "Horrible," says Mackie. To Dalrymple, "a feather duster."

July 30
Knowles's fave, from hair to makeup to the matching top and skirt: "It all works."

Nikki McKibbin

The 23-year-old single mom from Grand Prairie, Texas, "has beautiful features, almost a throwback to the '40s," says Mackie. But her style is ersatz punk-priestess. Result? "She looks like a road company version of Kelly Osbourne," says Mackie.

Aug. 20
The denim-on-denim look is a hit, says Dalrymple. "Young and funky. It reflects her personality."

June 29
Not flattering, Knowles says. Still, "plaid pants on TV," says Mackie. "Brave!"

Aug. 6
Sighs Mackie: "Here she is again in a midriff. No comment."

The Judges

David Dalrymple
Has designed for J.Lo and Sex and the City.

Tina Knowles
Destiny's Child stylist and mother of Beyoncé.

Bob Mackie
Designer for pop divas such as Cher and Diana Ross.

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