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

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  • IDOL 411: Top 20 contestants: Who's up, who's down this week


    Last week never happened… Last week never happened… If we repeat it enough maybe it’ll be true. It was all the fevered nightmare of a distraught Texas housewife about an inn in Vermont and something about a snow globe.

    All right, well, it was worth a shot. Let’s take another approach: this week’s live shows will be better than last week’s!

    See, that has to be true.

    FOX411 Poll: Who Should Win American Idol?

    Excellent, now that we have something to look forward to, let’s review the remaining 20 singers and figure out whose stock is up and whose is down after last week’s parade of atrocity.

    DOWN: Katie Stevens would be fantastic in her high school’s production of “West Side Story,” which is where she should be. Not singing songs 20 years too old for her with the emotion of … well, of a 17-year-old singing Michael Buble. How did the “Idol” hype machine get this one so wrong? What did they see in the audition rounds that we didn’t see on the live stage?

    WATCH: Surprise breakout stars Paige Miles and Siobhan Magnus.

    UP: From the opposite end of the spectrum, apparently someone named Paige Miles made it into the Top 20. She has a great voice, and if she chooses a song that showcases that while not putting us to sleep, she could leap out of anonymity and onto the short list of people who might actually win this thing.

    UP: Siobhan Magnus got the short shrift up until now as well, but her version of “Wicked Game” was one of the highlights of Girls Night. Some poor kid at Fox probably spent all weekend combing through audition footage for anything with Paige and Siobhan that “Idol” can slip into the show as though they knew all along these two would be breakout stars, but we’re not falling for it, “Idol”! You missed these two.

    UP: Casey James was another surprise. We really didn’t know what to expect, since his entire storyline was the dopey Kara-loves-him subplot, but he distinguished himself with a great live debut.

    UP: Who expected Lee DeWyze to perform so well? Not “Idol,” since he certainly wasn’t one of the cherry-picked handful of Early Favorites “Idol” was pushing.

    VOTE: Which contestants do you think should be sent home this week?

    DOWN: On the other hand, everyone expected Andrew Garcia to do well, and he came out and gave a completely unmemorable performance that made us wonder what happened to the guy who did such a cool job with Paula’s “Straight Up.”

    DOWN: Same with Crystal Bowersox, whose performance was highly anticipated after a white-hot run through the audition rounds. Then she came on and did a poor impression of Alanis Morrisette. She clearly has a lot of personality of her own, so why would she choose to show someone else’s?

    DOWN: And Michael Lynche! All that back-story and footage for a guy who turned out a performance that could easily have landed him in the bottom two.

    DOWN: There were several contestants who we expected nothing from, and who gave us exactly that: Aaron Kelly, Alex Lambert, John Park, Lacey Brown, Tim Urban, Jermaine Sellers, and Haeley Vaughn.

    UP: A (small) handful of singers were expected to do well, and largely delivered: Didi Benami, Michelle Delamor, and Toddrick Hall. The same problem, though, applies to both Didi and Michelle: they both sang very well, but they need to figure out how to put their own personalities into the performances. Toddrick has the exact opposite problem. He really put on a show, full of personality and fun, but now he needs to tone it down and pick a song that shows he can sing.

    Which leaves us with the two singers who we expected to do well, and who actually delivered!

    UP: Lilly Scott figured out a way to show her personality as well as her ability. Her acoustic guitar-accompanied version of The Beatles’ “Fixing a Hole” accomplished what it needed to: it was memorable as a fine performance. That doesn’t sound especially difficult until you recollect the other performances of the live shows.

    WATCH: Lilly Scott and Katelyn Epperly’s Ladies Night performances.

    UP: Katelyn Epperly picked up her game considerably from the first audition to the Hollywood Round, and she didn’t disappoint. Not only did she sing well, in a unique voice, but she picked an interesting song – “Oh Darling” by The Beatles – and put her own stamp on it.

    Or maybe we just like The Beatles. Who knows. Join us for this week’s recaps, when we’ll review the evenings’ performances and, if there’s any justice in the universe, the departure of Tim Urban.

    —Christine Lusey, Amos Content Group

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