More than any other night this season, I kind of wish “Idol” producers would have just handed over the hour to Crystal Bowersox for “Inspirational Week.”
    It would’ve been so great to hear her sing “People Get Ready,” chat with her dad, maybe clear up the controversy with Seacrest, and then sing all the other competitors’ songs better than they did. (OK, she probably doesn’t know Nickelback’s “Hero,” but that’s probably a good thing, right?)
    Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. Instead, we got the be-butterflied Siobhan Magnus tackling a song that was way too big for her. I was on the fence about her little “it’s all about the song” rants, but now it seems all a little too forced. Her strategy of saying she doesn’t compare to Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey is meant to make you think, but Siobhan is real close. However, her take on “When You Believe” wasn’t even close to Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey... impersonators. The Taiwanese Guy sang circles around her. (Maybe “Idol” producers can trade for him and we can finally get someone to challenge Crystal?)
    That Siobhan was better than everyone not named Bowersox, only proves the weakness of the class. Lee Dewyze throttled all the prettiness out of “The Boxer,” which, for some reason, the judges liked. Aaron Kelly fell short on his countrified “I Believe I Can Fly.” The other three? Well, any one of them could go home, though, frankly, sending them all packing would be even better.
    Tim Urban couldn’t quite make “Better Days” work. He’s a brainy one, that Teflon Tim, but he went for a little too much this week, which shows how uncertain he is vocally. Casey James made “Don’t Stop” boring and looked like he spent the week tanning rather than actually, you know, trying. And Michael Lynche made “Hero” sound even more like Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” than usual. Simon Cowell nailed him for using the Spider-Man theme as inspiration, though what he should have done was nailed him for making Spider-Man inspiration sound so dreary.

THE RANKINGS

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Crystal Bowersox, “People Get Ready”
Siobhan Magnus, “When You Believe”
Lee Dewyze, “The Boxer”
Aaron Kelly, “I Believe I Can Fly”
Tim Urban, “Better Days”
Casey James, “Don’t Stop”
Michael Lynche, “Hero”

BOTTOM THREE: Michael, Tim, Casey
WILL BE ELIMINATED: Michael*
SHOULD BE ELIMINATED: Michael
ACTUALLY ELIMINATED: Tim

*Is it possible that “Idol” producers will “save” him again in the name of “Idol Gives Back”?

PHOTO: The "Idol" Top 7 with mentor Alicia Keys by Fox.