Michael Lynche

That's just the start of Big Mike

Each week, "American Idol" viewers have marveled at the talent of Michael Lynche -- and have suspected there's a lot more under the surface.

There is. This guy ranges from rock to Broadway, from classical to love songs. I hated to see him go Wednesday (see previous blog), finishing No. 4. Here's the story I sent to papers today:

Big Mike brings a big talent

For the second time, "American Idol" had Chris Daughtry as the guest on a key night -- the one in which someone finishes No. 4.

The message is simple: Daughtry finished fourth his year and became a big star. Others who finished fourth have included Tamyra Gray, LaToya London and LaKisha Jones; Jennifer Hudson didn't even get that far. This year's No. 4 can feel good about himself.

Let's hope so, because this year that's Michael Lynche, an immense talent. Here are a few of my comments; please add yours:

"Idol": Movie music; there must be more

Hollywood makes 200 major movies a year, plus lots of minor ones. Many of them have songs. And it's been making these for more than a century.

With all of this, it really should be possible for four people to each choose one good movie song for tonight's "American Idol." Instead? "There have been some very strange song choices tonight," Simon Cowell said, accurately.

Here are a few of my comments; please add yours:

1) The two duets were well-chosen and well-sung. In particular, Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze were terrific.

"Idol": Too close a call (again)

When they announced that this would  be Sinatra-song week on "American Idol," I promptly said Michael Lynche and Aaron Kelly would do well. I was ... well, semi-correct.

They sang well, which must have been what I was predicting. Then the viewers plunked them into the bottom two. Viewers rarely consult with me.

Fortunately, Big Mike -- an immense talent -- survived; Aaron, a good singer with a promising future -- was voted out. Here are a few of my comments; please add yours:

A good "Idol," a great Harwell

The first time I met Ernie Harwell, he was at a forum of sportscasters. I'd asked him about the aftershocks, when he was dropped from the Detroit Tiger sportscasts at 82. "I never imagined he was 82," Al Michaels said afterward. "I had no idea."

I miss Siobhan already

As I start to write this, Siobhan Magnus has been off of "American Idol" for all of seven minutes. I miss her already.

Some of this year's final five -- Aaron Kelly, Lee DeWyze, sometimes Casey James -- are good in a standard, everyday sort of way. Siobhan, by comparison, is distinctive.

She's distinctive in sound. That high-pitched note she usually saves for the end is amazing. Simon Cowell hates it, sort of like dogs hate high notes, but I think she uses it well.

Yes, Crystal, it DOES have to be big

Somebody please get a message to Crystal Bowersox, before it's too late: Until now, you've been right every week. But you were dead wrong when you defended a mild-bland song by saying, "Not every song has to be big."

That's true in a 12-song CD. It's true in a one-hour concert. But it's wrong when "American Idol" singers only get one shot a week, then can be voted off.

Last week, Casey James sang the mild-bland "Don't Stop." Simon Cowell called it "lazy"; viewers put him second-to-last.

Hey, how about inspiring?

I really do think "inspirational song" week should include songs that are ... you know, inspiring. I don't know why so many "American Idol" contestants disagree.

Tonight's show started at the low point -- Casey James' "Can' Stop" was simple, sing-song and dispassionate -- and ended with a high point: Crystal Bowersox was even more sensational that usual, with her stirring "People Get Ready."

"Idol": It could have been worse

As "American Idol" wrapped up tonight, we felt relief: On double-elimination night, it could have been much worse.

Andrew Garcia was no surprise; he had to go. Katie Stevens was a mild surprise -- I didn't even expect her in the final four -- but it's one we could live with.

Here are a few of my comments; please add yours:

1) Katie is leaving after one of her better weeks. She's a good pop singer with a great pop face; still, her fairly deep, mature voice didn't seem to connect with the young-teen audience.

"Idol" saves itself

In theory, the "save" feature lets "American Idol" judges save one contestant from dismissal. Last season, that was Matt Giraud; tonight, it was Michael Lynche.

But it's more than that: Tonight, "Idol" really saved itself.

This edition only started with five really distinctive singers --and one of them (Lilly Scott) inexplicably failed to make the top 12. That left it with two great talents (Lynche and Crystal Bowersox), two very good ones (Siobhan Magnus and Casey James) and a lot of OK ones.