‘American Idol’ Recap: Simon Catches McPhee-Ver, Chris Walks The Line

Katharine's presence catches up with her voice; Daughtry dares to rearrange a Johnny Cash classic.

It seems everyone has something to say about “American Idol” and MTVNews.com is no different. Here’s the latest edition of our weekly performance-night roundup:

March 21 – Theme: Songs from the ’50s

Surprise performance: Simon said it best: This was the night Katharine McPhee became a star. Suddenly, she’s got the personality and stage presence to go along with her voice.

Fashion hits and misses: Kellie’s call-girl makeup ruined an otherwise cute look. Bucky dressed like he was going down to Venice for a slice of pizza. And Paris tried another hairdo too old and weird for her. On the other end, Katharine was stunning in silver, Chris rocked as the man in black and Taylor already has a signature look.

Judging the judges: The worst compliment on television: “You’re on the dog pound.” Enough already with the woofing. Simon was right on with Bucky, but too hard on Taylor. And did all the judges hear the same Elliott as the rest of us? Overall, the critiques felt lazy. Perhaps it was the “This isn’t your best vocal” line on repeat.

Best audience sign: “Call the Doctor, I Got the McPheever” was the most fitting, but “Go ManDiva” just might coin a nickname.

Who will go: Even at his absolute best, Kevin’s not a good enough natural singer to be here. That he will make the tour (a.k.a. the top 10) is a shame, but his song choice and sentimental intro were perfect for his fanbase. So we turn to last week’s second worst vote-getter, Lisa Tucker, who didn’t do enough to rescue herself. And Bucky should be thankful for that.

Who needs to step it up: Elliot’s looking a little cooler, but his vocals in the finals haven’t stacked up to his semifinal performances. Kellie brought it vocally, now she needs a performance that blends that with her personality.

Who is the one to beat: Taylor is still an original, but he missed his opportunity to do classic Ray Charles-style soul — and after Tuesday, Chris might have him. It’s rare that a finalist has the talent and guts to rearrange a classic and even more rare that it works. He walks the line and that’s the best thing about him.

You told us:

Chris is just too good. He can do fast, slow, old, new — he even brought new life to a Johnny Cash classic!

Jordan, 23
Baton Rouge, LA

The band Live recorded a version of “Walk the Line” very similar to the one that Chris Daughtry performed last night. Last week he impersonated the Red Hot Chili Peppers and got credit from the judges for being original. This guy is a good singer, but he is not inventing these arrangements.

Leann, 44
Milo, MO

Paris, Mandisa and Taylor will be the last three singers standing. And I believe this will be Kellie Pickler’s last week.

Ralonda, 23
Washington, DC

Bucky and Kellie have to go. He can sing, but he’s not on the same level as the other contestants. And Kellie’s personality seems fake.

Derek, 27
Saskatoon, SK

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