With one powerful performance, Michael Lynche raised his hand as a worthy challenger to Crystal Bowersox.
    He gave Maxwell’s neo-soul version of the Kate Bush classic “This Woman’s Work” some unexpected heft, making it a soulful powerhouse that brought Kara DioGuardi to tears. His take and, more importantly, stage work recalled the great Gerald LeVert. (Note to the Astoria singer: You might want to mine LeVert’s catalog.)
    It was a high point in a week that saw many guys struggle with playing it too safe, as Lee Dewyze’s alt-rock stomp of Owl City’s fluttering “Fireflies” and Alex Lambert’s, still unsure version of Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” were distinctly middle-of-the-road, which is where likable Aaron Kelly lives, apparently, and where once-clever Andrew Garcia and once-bluesy Casey James have somehow stopped for an extended visit.
    Todrick Hall was an exception, though his gospel-ish version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” was a case of biting off way more than he could chew. His voice isn’t nearly as potent as he thinks and couldn’t sustain the few flashes of excellence in the performance. He was outwitted by Tim Urban, who recognizes his own limitations and used them to let the strength of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” carry him.
     
THE RANKINGS

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Michael Lynche, “This Woman’s Work”
Alex Lambert, “Trouble”
Tim Urban, “Hallelujah”
Casey James, “You’ll Think of Me”
Aaron Kelly, “I’m Already There”
Andrew Garcia, “Genie in a Bottle”
Lee Dewyze, “Fireflies”
Todrick Hall, “Somebody to Love”

WILL BE ELIMINATED: Todrick and Lee
SHOULD BE ELIMINATED: Todrick and Lee
ACTUALLY ELIMINATED: Todrick and Alex

PHOTO: Michael Lynche by FOX.