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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • IDOL 411: 'Big Mike' spared by 'American Idol'?


    Looks like “American Idol” gave “Big Mike” a second chance.

    Last month, it was widely reported that Orlando contestant Michael “Big Mike” Lynche, 26, was cut from the competition after violating a confidentiality agreement.

    Big Mike, the personal trainer whom Kara described as a “singing teddy bear” in Wednesday night’s final auditions episode, was reportedly booted after his father revealed to his local Florida paper that Michael had made the top 24.

    But the fact that FOX decided to include Big Mike in Wednesday’s episode strongly suggests that Lynche, who had his first baby on the way at the time of his try-out, will perform before Ellen DeGeneres in Hollywood next week. Good call, “Idol.” As Ruben Studdard can attest, singing teddy bears do well in this competition.

    Should “Idol” have given ‘Big Mike’ the Boot? [Poll]

    Not everyone, however, was granted a second (or seventh) chance in Wednesday’s episode (which combined some of the best and worst of all seven audition cities). Stephanie Fisher, 23, was sure that No. 7 would be her “lucky” audition. Guess it’s time for a new lucky number, Stephanie. We thought the judges were a little too tough on Stephanie, whose voice wasn’t really “terrible” or “horrible” — but we were horrified by her orange tan and terrible white shoes.

    Speaking of horrifying, 17-year-old Adrian “The Big Kahuna” Chandtchi definitely qualified in that department. At 6 feet, 8 inches tall, Chandtchi carried his size admirably well and even sang decently. But he was just … weird.
    “I am a beautiful man flower,” he said. “I will blossom beautiful big petal blossoms and keep blossoming until it shows its entire glory and beauty.” Huh?

    WATCH: Wednesday’s worst auditions: Stephanie Fisher and Adrian “The Big Kahuna” Chandtchi.

    We thought Simon was a little too mean, however, when he accused sweet-voiced Chandtchi of having “eaten a small schoolboy.” Pick on someone your own size, Cowell.

    Chandtchi aside, “Idol” did save a few of the most compelling contestants for last. We thought 22-year-old Diddi Benami, who sang “Hey Jude” in honor of her late best friend, was amazing, even though Simon only gave her a “small yes.” Beautiful Hope Johnson, 19, had America by its heartstrings when she said she “didn’t know she was poor” growing up, assuming that “a lot of kids didn’t eat dinner.”

    Meanwhile, 16-year-old Aaron Kelly, who was raised by his aunt and uncle from the age of 1 because his parents couldn’t take care of him, moved us to tears when he said, “I do call my aunt ‘mom’ … because the one who raised you is your mom.” (By the way, this kid has “Top 24″ all over him. He sang a Miley Cyrus song, pledged to become a good role model, and generally seemed tailor-made to appeal to the Kris Allen/Sanjaya fan base.)

    WATCH: 16-year-old Aaron Kelly’s breakout audition.

    Overall, in four weeks of auditions, 100,000 contestants showed up, 181 received golden tickets, and only 24 will remain precisely one week from now. Will your favorites be among them? We’ll have the recap next week.

    —Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman, Amos Content Group

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