Crystal Bowersox is predictably safe to the next round of American Idol, but last night's results show offered at least one surprise.
Lilly Scott, the 20-year-old quirky indie singer with a fresh voice, was one of four Idol hopefuls cut from the competition based on viewer votes, leaving her stunned and Ms. Bowersox in tears.
"It's surprising, a lot of incredible talent is going home tonight," Ms. Scott said after learning the bad news. "I don't know what America wants to hear. I don't. I just know there's an audience out there for me."
Also sent packing last night were Katelyn Epperly, Todrick Hall, and Alex Lambert.
That leaves a dozen finalists remaining, but already one judge has a favorite to win it all: Bowersox.
"Right now, you are the one everyone has to beat," Simon Cowell told the 24-year-old singer after her performance of Tracy Chapman's bluesy hit "Give Me One Reason" on Tuesday night's Idol. "I'm telling you, it's yours to lose."
Mr. Cowell was so certain of Ms. Bowersox's future on the Fox show, he guaranteed the former Blade Battle of the Bands winner was "one million, billion percent going to be in the top 12 next week."
Viewers agreed with him and voted Ms. Bowersox, from the Ottawa County community of Elliston, through to another week of American Idol.
While other judges gushed about her performance — "I need new adjectives for you; I'm sick and tired of saying you're amazing," Ellen DeGeneres enthused — Ms. Bowersox may have serious competition from one of the men.
During Wednesday night's showcase, Michael "Big Mike" Lynche moved judge Kara DioGuardi to tears with a stirring version of "This Woman's Work," by Kate Bush and later made popular by Maxwell.
Ms. DeGeneres said Mr. Lynche is "the one to beat now," and Mr. Cowell said the burly singer delivered the best of the live performances so far.
Next week, American Idol returns to its normal two-night format. On Tuesday, the 12 singers perform, and on Wednesday, the results are announced.
American Idol, in its ninth season, is a ratings juggernaut for Fox.
The music talent show also is responsible for jump-starting the careers of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, and Chris Daughtry. American Idol is seen locally on WUPW-TV, Channel 36.
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