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"American Idol": The Final Nine Try the Classics

"American Idol": The Final Nine Try the Classics

Seacrest called Tuesday's "American Idol" the night of legends: Tony Bennett and Sanjaya Malakar. Personally, I feel dirty even having to say those two names in the same sentence.


"American classics" night was a lot like the songs themselves: sweet, but a little dull. It's going to be an interesting elimination tonight, though. While the classics aren't easy to sing well, they're also hard to completely screw up, and for the most part everyone tried songs that suited their personality and vocal range. Except for the people who consistently flounder, of course, but that hasn't cost them so far. Be sure to vote on who you think is going home. To hear what I thought of the performances and who I think is gone, read more


Blake Lewis (at right): Blake rocked the grandpa pants again, which seemed particularly appropriate for classics night. Also: Who knew this guy could swing? His "Mack the Knife" was surprisingly straightforward, and he worked an awesome jazzy-lounge vibe. The judges generally praised him, though Simon said he liked the band more.

Phil Stacey: Why does Phil consistently pick songs with lots of tricky low notes that require more control than he has? He sounded really wobbly on the early parts of "Night and Day," but — per usual — his belting of the chorus almost redeemed it for me. The man lacks any semblance of charisma, though, and Simon said the gloomy performance belonged in a funeral home.


Melinda Doolittle (at left): Classics night was pretty much made for her, huh? Kudos to the person who arranged this version of "I've Got Rhythm," because it played to all of her strengths — a slow, sweet beginning; a jazzy, bopping middle; and a big, growling ending. Simon whined that he's never going to be able to criticize Melinda, which is a shame because he likes being mean to people.

Chris Richardson: Now that the comparison's been made between Chris and "Family Ties" felon Brian Bonsall, I can barely even watch him. I'm also not a big fan of the suspenders-dangling-from-jeans look. On the other hand, I wasn't sure how he'd handle a standard, but "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" suited him surprisingly well.


Jordin Sparks (at right): I still cannot believe this girl is 17. I expected her to have a little more fun with her performance, though, and I'm starting to wonder if she's just very good at imitating a lot of different styles without making any of them her own. Still, her voice and presence should keep her safe long enough to find her niche.

Gina Glocksen: Sheesh, her skirt was slit up to there. "Smile" was really different for her, and I thought she pulled it off well, but I don't think it will win her any new fans — especially because, as Simon said, Jordin and Melinda could outsing her any day.


Sanjaya Malakar (at left): Tony Bennett told Sanjaya he's a huge fan: "What I like about him is that he dares to be different." Oh, Tony. I'm worried you've gone senile. The judges are apparently following the "if you don't have anything nice to say" rule at this point, focusing on how great he is as an entertainer. I wish he'd done "Send in the Clowns."

Haley Scarnato: It's weird how much I'm rooting for Haley these days. I'm even willing to overlook the sequined pageant dress. If she's going to get through any week, it should be this one — "Ain't Misbehaving" totally played to her (albeit limited) vocal range. The judges failed to say anything constructive; apparently the sight of her legs rendered them speechless.


LaKisha Jones (at right): I think she should have listened to Tony and gone for a simpler arrangement of "Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone," but that's the meanest thing I can say about her, because she was on her game this week.

Who's safe: Blake, Melinda, LaKisha, and — if I'm going to be honest about the sad state of the world — probably Sanjaya

Who should be in the bottom three: Sanjaya, Haley, and Phil

Who will be in the bottom three: Haley, Gina, and Phil

Who's going home: Phil. A good performance last week landed him near the bottom, and this week's iffy one won't help. Haley's in trouble, though, too.

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