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Published: Thursday, 4/1/2010

Benami bounced from 'American Idol'

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Benami Benami
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Didi Benami's performance of Jimmy Ruffin's What Becomes of the Brokenhearted didn't win over the American Idol judges, and viewers didn't respond, either. The 23-year-old from Los Angeles was eliminated last night, leaving nine remaining contestants, including Ottawa County's Crystal Bowersox.

The judges elected not to keep Ms. Benami safe from elimination by exercising their only save for the season. Joining her in the bottom three were 17-year-old Katie Stevens and 20-year-old Tim Urban.

Yesterday's results show was good news, though, for Ms. Bowersox and proof she can successfully step out of her comfort zone and earn the votes to stick around.

For her performance of Gladys Knight & the Pips' Midnight Train to Georgia on Tuesday, the earthy singer debuted a glamorous new look on Idol, including trading in sandals for black stilettos. Just as noticeable was the absence of her customary acoustic guitar, which she ditched for a piano performance through half of her song.

The judges all agreed it was a good performance, but Simon Cowell worried about her changing her image as a performer.

"Regardless of the advice you've been given," he said, "do not let this process suck the identity out of you. What you were doing before was absolutely fantastic. I've had no issues with you whatsoever."

Crystal Bowersox of Elliston, Ohio, donned black stilettos and ditched the guitar for her 'Midnight Train to Georgia.' Crystal Bowersox of Elliston, Ohio, donned black stilettos and ditched the guitar for her 'Midnight Train to Georgia.'
MICHAEL BECKER / PICTUREGROUP Enlarge

Ms. Bowersox replied: "I really just wanted to prove to myself that I could do something [different]. I like the heels."

During last night's results show, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest asked Ms. Bowersox about the first time she played piano.

"I think I was like 6. I took lessons from like 6 to 9 or 10, and then picked up the guitar because it's easier to carry around," she said.

Was she nervous?

"Yeah, but I practiced," she said. "Like I said, I wouldn't do anything I wasn't comfortable doing."

Next week's theme is songs from the John Lennon-Paul McCartney songbook.

American Idol and Ms. Bowersox will be back at 8 p.m. Tuesday for a two-hour showcase. Wednesday will bring the hourlong results show. Idol can be seen locally on WUPW-TV, Channel 36.

Contact Kirk Baird at

kbaird@theblade.com

or 419-724-6734.




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