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Round of 8: Queen - April 11

(Disclaimer... a renunciation or denial of any claims made thereto... a disavowal... a statement made to save one's own ass... we would like to apologize in advance to the borough of Queens, New York for the Chico-ism made on Idol this week. We at Game Show Newsnet respect the citizens of Queens, and it is not our intention to slight these simple creatures in any way. Thank you, and enjoy the show.)

For those who are about to rock, we salute you.

Tonight, it's all about rock, and it's all about one group... Queen. This is a non-neuter week, so expect the Idols to be tested thoroughly on the catalogue, including "Another One Bites the Dust", "We Are the Champions", "We Will Rock You," and "Bicycle..." Well, maybe not "Bicycle"...

But first, we have to include a shot of Fantasia in the audience. Why? Dunno.

Back to the group in question. Original members Brian May and Roger Taylor are on tour (alongside Bad Co. lead Paul Rogers) and on hand to help the Idol 8 out.

Trivia time: the video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" was crafted by the director of this show, Bruce Gowers. His CV also includes the American version of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

First up, Bucky Covington can relate to Queen. "He's already interacting with his audience, which is a good thing." He starts the show with "Fat Bottomed Girls" (1978).

What they say: Randy cites a lot of energy. "A little pitchy problems, but I liked it." Paula said that he stuck to his guns. Simon thought it was a good choice of song, but the song was bigger than him. "Overall, I'd qualify that as quite mediocre."

What we say: Now half of this week will be in performance. That said, Bucky stretches his country vibe into a rocking performance, and doesn't disappoint. At the same time, he doesn't really do anything that we think of "outside the box" for Bucky. So in that respect, yeah, it was a bit mediocre.

A little real time stolen from G4 with Ace Young. "It's getting more and more intense each week." He thinks Queen is out of his comfort zone, but respects the power that is Freddie Mercury. He's singing "We Will Rock You" (1977).

What they say: Randy was worried how he was going to bring it down. "To me, it was like a 5 or 6. It was karaoke, dog." Paula likes the tribute he did to Queen and that he takes risks. Simon thinks that Randy was being generous. "It was a complete and utter mess." Randy? "He's right. I was." They really really REALLY hated that.

What we say: he had a chance to sing "Somebody to Love", which is more him. He didn't. He's done for. And not even a Constantine Maroulis impersonation will save you. Okay, maybe a falsetto, but that was not a good performance by any means.

What did Pickler pick? Believe it or not, Kellie is schooled on Queen from her father, who's a big fan. She takes on a BIG challenge... "Bohemian Rhapsody" (1975).

What they say: Randy likes the jacket.... "I think you worked it out. I was entertained." Paula thought it was extremely ambitious, saying that she started hesitant, but worked it out. Simon says she's brave. "On paper, it should've been completely hideous, and I bet a lot of people will think that it was completely hideous. But it actually worked."

What we say: Big shoes to fill, indeed. Although it pains me to say this.... You did good, Kellie. A bit shaky to start and finish, but once she gets into it during the middle, she lives up to the expectation of probably the best rock song of all time. I'd be careful, America... This is exactly how Carrie Underwood started. But I wouldn't wish the Nina Blackwood look on my worst enemy.

What Kellie says: "On paper? He has the WEIRDEST terminology!"

What I.. and apparently Jimmy Carr, say: "That's not terminology; that's how well-educated people talk." (C-Note: Thanks, Travis)

What Kellie says AGAIN: "It's his accent! I have trouble hearin' what he's saying."

What Simon says: "Likewise!"

What Kellie says AGAIN: "I don't have an accent!"

Oh, here I go again...: "Yeah you do. You're a Carolina girl in LA. You have an accent. Accept it... ACCEPT IT!"

Moral of the story: never get into an involvement with stupid people. They drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. And now, this week's chief benefactor, Chris Daughtry... "Innuendo" (1991). It's obscure, and it was never performed live. "My daughter said he was awesome."

What they say: Randy loves the real rocker in him. "You delivered, baby. HOT TONIGHT!" Paula says that only he could perform the song live. She cites that Queen was impressed. Simon thought it wasn't a very good song when Queen sang it. "The best believable vocal tonight, but I just think it's a shame that you didn't entertain the audience with one of the great Queen songs, because you could've had a moment tonight. It was, to me, too indulgent."

What we say: No wonder no one's heard of it, it's from 1991. But it's textbook Chris after a deviation from the playbook last week. And he doesn't disappoint on either the vocal front or the somewhat subdued to match the tone of the song performance. I will address Simon's comment. You look at all of the "moments" on American Idol... Only two belonged to a winner. "Natural Woman" by Kelly Clarkson and "Summertime" by Fantasia." I think he did right by the audience, because being the favorite at this juncture is a dangerous role to fill.

Katharine McPhee is up next. She wanted to sing "Don't Stop Me Now". My old outfit, the UNC Achordants, do a hell of an arrangement of this song. It's a sentimental favorite because of its extrapolations.

Then she came to her senses and chose "Who Wants to Live Forever" (1986) from "Highlander", citing the need to just sing the song.

What they say: Randy says that it's a good idea to switch to her element. "You did a good job all in all." Paula loves to see an artist change her mind and make the right singer. "You, Katharine McPhee, can handle it." Simon: "That was ALMOST the moment. You have a big kiss to the lighting director, because they made you look amazing."

What we say: Ethereal... She had a moment tonight. This was a perfect fit for a perfect performer. Could've sung it stronger, but it was on-pitch. It was just enough to get her to next week. She's being very meticulous about this, you can tell.

Real time with Elliott Yamin. He used to be a DJ. He's singing "Somebody to Love" (1976). "One of the hardest songs. Freddie's a hard act to follow."

What they say: Randy thinks that was the hardest. He was looking for the bravado. He found pitchiness, but he loved it. Paula: "The best Elliott Yamin performance." Simon thought he pulled it off.

What we say: That was the final nail in the coffin for Ace Young. I mean, we know about the gentleman's agreement not to sing others songs, but that's what Elliott does tonight. Ace could've done it, could've done it better. Elliott's fans are going to clamor for this.

Taylor Hicks wanted to go for broke with "We Are The Champions". "He's got a good voice, a good instrument."... Instead, he's changing to "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (1980).

What they say: randy: "The last two weeks I've been wondering... Where's Taylor gone? Taylor is back, America!" Paula: "I don't know whether to give you a record deal or a straitjacket." Simon: "Taylor, are you drunk? I thought it was ridiculous!"

What we say: You missed the kick, Taylor. That's going to cost you. But kudos for making it your performance, and not just a copycat Michael Buble or something. But be wary that you don't suffer from Jon Peter Lewis Syndrome, where you dance so much, you forget to sing the song.

Finally, the Queen of Paris... Bennett. She sings the aptly titled "The Show Must Go On" (1991, around the time of Freddie Mercury's death).

What they say: Randy thought it started out rough, but she worked it out. Paula says she's the powerhouse. Simon thought it was weird.

What we say: When the hell did Paris Bennett become a rock queen of the night? Tonight, she proved that she can sing anything, but can only perform within her own bracket. But she's making headway in the right direction. Not her best, but this'll keep her out of the bottom.

So who stands at risk?

Kings/Queens of Queen: Kellie, Chris, Katharine, Paris
Jacks of Queen: Bucky, Elliott, Taylor
Queens, NY: Ace

What, no "Let Me Entertain You?" Damn. Results tomorrow. One person will hear "Another One Bites the Dust", and not just because they're singing.

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