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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Is your favorite still in the running? Check out the Idol Set List!

Recaps by Chico Alexander & Gordon Pepper, GSNN


FACT FILE:

Host: Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP: Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America
Airs: Tuesdays at 8pm ET and Wednesdays at 9pm ET on Fox


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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

"Round of 11: Billboard Number Ones" - March 22-24

One down... 11 to go. Time to take control on the music series YOU control. This week, Ryan... hearts expensive t-shirts. Good for him.

Now to the theme. Wait, Paula has to get her love in first. Okay, NOW, the theme. First of all, Ryan has some parting gifts: copies of "The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits". The writer, Fred Bronson, is on hand to tell them that today, the Idols get to perform one out of the 930 songs from that book. So there you have it. Today's theme is... Billboard Number Ones.

First up, Anthony Fedorov, who has run the gauntlet of being really sexy and really off-tone lately. Will his streak continue? The weapon of choice: "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me" by Aretha Franklin & George Michael. He says that it's about "having your faith in what you do in life. I believe in the end, something special's waiting for me." With that, I say...

What they say: Randy says, "That was a good song choice for you. Anthony's back." Paula adds, "You came back strong. Way to go." Finally, Simon tells Anthony, "It was an OK performance, but you tried to do a sexy routine, and it just didn't work. It's kind of like Randy being on Baywatch." Another fine FremantleMedia production. Randy taunts him by asking him to take his shirt off...

What we say: It's very breathy, and Anthony doesn't have the energy to hold it together vocally. And it really shows. He was off in a few places, especially in the beginning. Good song choice, yes, but he doesn't have the pipes. No way. And the routine? "No! No! Too sexy! Too sexy!"

Next is Carrie Underwood. Now she was a country girl at her very heart, but tonight, she'll try something different with a power ballad by Heart, "Alone". "I wanted to take a risk and break out of my shell." About time, child.

What they say: Randy says, "Wow, man. That was one of your best performances yet. You were unbelievable!" Paula tells Carrie, "My hat is off to you." Simon says, "You're not just the girl to beat; you're the person to beat. I will make a prediction. Not only will you win the show, you will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner."  Bold statement from the brash Briton.

What we say: IT'S ABOUT TIME! Carrie has finally arrived. She took a risk and damn it if it didn't pay off. I wouldn't wish that hair on my worst enemy, but still, coming from a person who didn't give her long in the contest, I'm finally a believer. Strong voice, great presence, and finally outside of the box. That said... Hey, is that Donny Osmond? Sorry about Pyramid, dude...

Next is the Big Man, Scott Savol, who sings a significant piece given his situation, Phil Collins'/Mariah Carey's/Westlife's/Montell Jordan's "Against All Odds". Is there any one who hasn't remade this song?

What they say: Randy tells him, "You worked it out tonight, baby." Paula thinks he's getting better week after week. Simon, thrilled that it isn't a three-minute striptease, says, "I don't think that was a fantastic vocal."

What we say: Again, he didn't have the energy to pull it off to start, but he did have the presence and the voice. The performance isn't that bad, but it could be better. It reminds me of latter day Ruben Studdard. But that was two years ago. Time to step it up, man.

When Bo Bice was young, he bought Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" at a garage sale for a quarter. Now, it's HIS quarter to shine.

What they say:  Randy didn't see range, but he's still a believer. Paula calls Bo, "a gift to the 60 million people that watch this show." Simon adds, "When I see you perform... it's just like watching someone who's already made it. The only downside (*Paula kisses*) is that your hairstyle now matches Paula's."

What we say: A subdued Bo. Weird seeing it, but still, a powerful presence behind it. A bit off from here and there, but those moments are few and far between. The tone is just spot-on.

Next up is Nikko Smith, who is back to sporting his own little pimped-out look instead of borrowing from others... oop. Spoke too soon. He was influenced by Dru Hill, so he sings something from their lead singer. Here's Sisqo's "Incomplete" from the Unleash the Dragon record, if you remember.

What they say: Randy says, "Finally, America is seeing the real Nikko Smith." Paula, once she calms down, calls Nikko brilliant. Simon concludes with, "Give or take a few tuning problems, that was by far your best performance." Paula makes out with Simon... again.

What we say: Breath control is still lost on Nikko, but he has the presence down. And once he has that down, everything else falls into place. But are those gyrations absolutely necessary? I mean come on, there's thrusting, and then there's THRUSTING. But again, Simon's right. It was his best.

Vonzell Solomon was told to do something great. To that end, she gives the crowd "The Best of My Love" by the Emotions.

What they say: Randy says, "That was brilliant. Vonzell's back!" Paula adds, "Your personality came out. But, more importantly, your vocals came out. If Simon Cowell doesn't recognize what you did, then I give up." Finally, Simon tells Vonzell, "For the first time, people will remember you. That was very good." Paula hugs.

What we say: Very strong performance, nice use of the platform, but there was a little bit of issue I had with the tuning, especially with the beginning. It's always with the beginning. Why is that? Other than that, Vonzell's energy is in full form tonight, and it contributes to a great performance. We love you too, Vonzell. We love you, too.

And by the way... Happy birthday, Vonzell. Drinks on me.

Next, Constantine Maroulis surprises America with one of his favorites growing up... The Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You."

What they say: Randy says, "That was a very interesting song choice. It was just aight for me." Paula tells Constantine, "You have one of the best senses of showmanship. You did the song great justice." Simon concludes with, "I thought it was an odd fit. It's like ordering a guard dog for your home and getting a poodle in a leather jacket. It's not the real thing!"

What we say: Actually, it's a very good song choice for the rocker. He does it proper justice to start and kinda lets it all go in the middle. But not bad. Not something to write home about and very theatrical, but still, I'd give it a B. But still, see Evrard, Peter, the Belgian Idol. Not quite to "sheep in wolf's clothing" but pretty close. He better raise hell next week.

Nadia Turner was thrown with the theme this week, because a lot of the songs she doesn't like (read: Ani DiFranco and such), but she manages to choose something that suits her, Cyndi Lauper. "Time After Time," the song.

What they say:  Randy tells her, "You are definitely a star on that stage all the time." Paula adds, "That was not my favorite song choice, but you still rocked it. You're still a star to me." Simon says, "I thought it was over the top. It reminded me of a cruise ship cabaret. It was very old-fashioned. That was your weakest performance by a mile."

What we say: What the hell us up with the Mohawk? What the hell is up with the reggae/rock mix? What the hell is up with the lack of breath control? What the hell is up with this whole performance? Are you begging to go home? That performance was crazy, and not in a good way.

Three more. It's time for the FABULOUS! Mikalah Gordon, as she tries to avoid the bottom two this week with "Love Will Lead You Back" by Taylor Dayne.

What they say: Randy says, "I miss the young, fun, energetic Mikalah. The performance was kinda pitchy a little bit." Paula adds, "I'm concerned you're going to get caught up in not having a unique style." Finally, Simon calls Mikalah's performance "a complete and utter mess." Yeah, I'd say the judges agree. Okay, so only Randy agrees. And there goes the love.

What we say: Looks good, but... Oh, how can I put this sweetly? Uhh... Umm.... Okay, I can't. Good news: you just saved Nadia Turner. Bad news: Now it's your ass on the chopping block.

Funky, upbeat, groovy. That is how Anwar Robinson describes Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody." But how will we describe Anwar?

What they say: Randy calls it ambitious. "You brought it home at the end." Paula is proud of Anwar for rising to the challenge. Simon called it risky and adds what Randy says, it wasn't that good.

What we say: Umm... Anwar, I'm going to play doctor. You have what we call "tragic coolness." You're definitely smooth and cool and suave, no doubt, but that's going to be your downfall unless you learn to adapt to the song given you or choose better songs. Oh, and that strong finish? I don't buy it for a second. You're still going to have to wow me.

One more. It's time for Jessica Sierra, the second bottom 3 survivor. She goes for Bonnie Tyler/Nicki French's "Total Eclipse of the Heart".

What they say: Randy calls it brilliant. Paula seconds it. Simon thirds it: "A lot of people said two weeks ago that the girls would be also-rans in the competition. You and Carrie outsung every other person in the competition."

What we say: Jessica's still sick, but it avoids being called "Total Eclipse of the Voice." Knowing what she can do, and what she can't, she pulls out another strong performance on a night that makes me forgive last week.

Well that ends the performance aspect of the competition. All that's left is this...

Pipes!: Carrie, Bo, Nikko, Vonzell, Jessica
Half-pipes: Constantine, Anwar
Quarter-pipes: Anthony, Scott
Pipe dream: Mikalah, Nadia

Tune in to Roundtable Idol on this very site in 24 hours to see who's going home... or is it 48? Well, to paraphrase Quiz Show's tag line: "Thirty million people watched, but no one saw a thing." You'll get it when you...

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE...

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