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Let me start off by saying that I’m very, very excited tonight. Well, very excited and slightly nervous. Queen is one of my favorite bands of all time, and American Idol is one of my favorite TV shows of all the time, so combining the two will create a the best hour of TV to ever grace the airwaves, right? Right?

Tonight Ryan is continuing his trend of facial hair, and the Idols will be singing the classic songs of Queen. First up, some footage of the kids rocking out a la Wayne and Garth to “Bohemian Rhapsody” in a minivan on the way to the venue to meet with Brian May and Roger Taylor, (and the singer guy from Bad Company who will never ever replace Freddy Mercury. Never!!). Queen gives the Idols a show, and then works with each of the contestants on their chosen song in what Ryan calls “the ultimate school of rock.” Ryan introduces us to show director Bruce Gowers, who, it seems, also directed the video for “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Wow, small world, I guess.

Bucky Covington makes the rockin’ world go ‘round!
Bucky really enjoyed working with the guys from Queen, and thinks he could have a good time hanging with them in a dive bar in his hometown. I’m sure they would love that too, Bucky, just don’t feel bad if they “forget” to call you. Tonight he’s singing “Fat Bottomed Girls,” and I’ll bet we’re gonna hear his country twang in there somewhere.

Bucky actually sounds pretty good, and he manages to infuse the song with his country rasp without making it cheesy or ridiculous.

Randy thought Bucky’s performance was a cool way to start the show, he had great energy and a rockin’ country thing goin’ on, Paula thought it was interesting, and Bucky stayed true to who he is, and Simon guesses it was a good choice, but thought the song was too big for him and the performance was quite mediocre.

Bucky tells Ryan that he felt good about the performance, and you have to take what you’re given. For lack of a better response, Ryan says “you can say that again,” and so Bucky does.

Ace Young will rock you… softly.
Poor Ace! This competition just keeps getting more and more intense every week! What- did he think it would get easier as the contestants were narrowed down? Maybe Ace never actually watched any of the previous seasons. He’s nervous because the theme this week has taken him out of his comfort zone. He knows he has big shoes to fill, and tells us that when Freddy Mercury sings, you don’t really hear it- you feel it. Ookay. Not sure what that means, but tonight Ace thinks he’s at a hockey game and has selected “We Will Rock You.” In his intro piece, it is very clear that Brian May does not approve of Ace’s arrangement of the song, and I’m afraid that doesn’t bode well for Ace tonight.

As usual, Ace looks pretty nice on stage, but I guess the stylists forgot to mention that leather pants are meant to be tight! He sounds… okay. Well, actually he doesn’t, but he looks pretty sincere. I think he’s really trying, and sadly, this is the best he’s sounded in weeks.

Randy tells Ace he was worried that the song would be too big, and Ace was just a’ight. Paula liked that Ace tried to take a risk with the song, but he didn’t sound very good with the band. Simon thought it was a complete and utter mess, and he really, really hated it.

Ace thinks he rocked it out while having fun, but smoothly deflects Ryan’s comments about how Brian May didn’t want the song Ace-ified.

Yes, Kellie Pickler, this is the real life.
I’m really tempted to turn the channel to Gilmore Girls when I learn that Kellie will be performing “Bohemian Rhapsody” tonight, but darn it, I’ve got a job to do, and if that means suffering through a god-awful performance, so be it. At least Brian May has some positive words, telling us that Kellie chose a tough song, but was pretty good, and it was a job well done.

Oooh… Kellie looks very serious dressed in black standing in the spotlight. The stylists went crazy with the flat iron and eyeliner tonight! She starts off her performance standing still onstage, but do you think she’ll be content to stay up there? Nosiree! As soon as she hits the rockin’ part of the song she rips the mic from the stand and runs out into the audience and up on the catwalk. The audience really seems to love her. Go figure.

Just like Ace, Randy was worried that Kellie chose a song that was too big. But, Kellie managed to work it out, and Randy was entertained. Paula thought Kellie’s song choice was pretty ambitious, especially after Constantine Maroulis’s Idol changing performance of the same song last season, but Kellie managed to work it out. Simon apparently did not get the memo that he was supposed to tell Kellie she worked it out, and states that on paper, it should have been hideous, but was pretty good.

Kellie replies “What’s ‘on pay-per?’” and my resolve to be kinder to her flies out the window.

Please don’t take offense at Chris Daughtry’s innuendo.
Queen never performed “Innuendo” live, but Chris Daughtry is going to tonight. Brian May and Roger Taylor think it’s a great song choice, and Chris has the rock sensibility to pull it off.

Ouch. Chris hits some terrible notes, right off the bat, but the performance gets better, and honestly, this can’t be an easy song to sing. Tonight, Chris is following in the footsteps of Seacrest and is sporting a new, rugged beard, and proper tight rocker pants, (take note, Ace Young!). The audience seems to like Chris, but “Innuendo” is not really a happy, “I wanna dance to it” type song, so everyone is just kind of standing there, watching him.

Randy is one of Chris’s fans, which we all know because he tells us every week! He was expecting big things from Chris, and he delivered. Paula must have been hitting the sauce during the commercial break, because she says that Queen probably could not have performed it live as well as Chris did, and I shake my head in amazement that this woman is actually involved with the music industry in any way. Simon did not like the song choice and wishes Chris had entertained us with one of the more famous Queen songs.

Katharine McPhee’s a shooting star leaping though the sky.
This week Katharine pulled the ol’ switcheroo. First she wanted to sing “Don’t Stop Me Now,” but then decided to channel Christopher Lambert and sing “Who Wants to Live Forever.” She wants her performance to be simple- all about the voice, lyrics and music. Obviously she doesn’t want her performance to be about her outfit, or she probably would not have worn that ridiculous shirt and sensible slacks.

Katharine’s voice is strong, although I think she hits some rough notes. This song is really emotional and powerful, but I’m just not wowed by her performance.

Randy is glad Katharine switched songs, and thought she was in her element. The song was a little too big for her, and she was pitchy but did a good job overall. Paula echoes Randy about the song choice and says Katharine is following in the footsteps of Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand. Maybe when it comes to fashion choices. Simon feels this was almost The Moment for Katharine, but not quite, although she was one of the best tonight.

Elliott Yamin is looking for somebody to love? Look no further. Seriously- call me.
When he was younger Elliott couldn’t keep a job, and did everything from fast food to the corporate setting to erotic dancer. Okay, I made that last one up. But, you know what I didn’t make up? The fact that Elliott used to be a DJ by the name of E Double. Ryan lets Elliott introduce himself, and he tells us we’re going to hear him sing “Somebody to Love.”

Before meeting Queen, Elliott had never heard “Somebody to Love.” Too busy flipping burgers and writing memos, I guess. Brian May and Roger Taylor tell us that Elliott chose a hard song, and it was originally inspired by Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul herself.

I love Elliott, but I don’t think this is one of his best performances. He’s a little too smiley for a song about desperate loneliness, and he seems nervous. Again.

Randy says that Elliott chose the hardest song tonight and was really good. Paula thinks Elliott chose the best parts of the song, and was the best performer of the night, and Simon thought the performance was in and out, but ultimately Elliott pulled it off.

Hey- I just noticed that Ryan is taller than Elliott! I’ll bet Ryan loves standing next to him.

Taylor Hicks shakes all over like a jelly fish. I kinda like it.
Originally, Taylor wanted to sing “We Are the Champions,” but then pulled a McPhee and switched to “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” at the last moment. Luckily the Idol music directors have lots of experience with this song, because we’ve heard it performed on Idol many times before, (does anyone remember David Radford from the Semi-Finals? Anyone?).

Taylor kept his dancing under wraps for Country week, but it’s out in full force tonight. He sounds great, he looks happy, and he’s… actually skipping across the stage. He is so excited to be performing a Queen song that I think he’s completely lost control of his legs! What? Sorry- it’s actually just more dancing.

Randy didn’t know where Taylor was the last two weeks, but tonight he’s back and kickin’ hot! Paula is glad we’re back to authentic Taylor Hicks, and doesn’t know if they should give him a record deal or a straightjacket. Hmm. I wonder how much Paula had to pay her writer for that joke? Simon asks Taylor is he’s drunk and calls his performance ridiculous.

Every week, I look forward to the after- performance banter between Taylor and Ryan, because Ryan usually tries to keep it on track, and ask Taylor actual questions, but Taylor is more interested in shouting nonsense and dancing around. Tonight, he repeats his contestant number. About a hundred times.

Paris Bennett’s make-up may be flaking, but her smile stays on.
Brian May thinks Paris is damn good, and likes everything about her. I feel the same way about Mallomars. Tonight Paris is singing “The Show Must Go On,” and she has new hair again! I just don’t get it.

Paris is wearing the female rocker uniform of all black with a few sparkles and knee-high boots. She is serious about this performance and her sneer proves it. She hits some nice glory notes, and gets loud cheers from the audience.

Randy thought the performance started a little rough but she worked it out in the end, Paula says that Paris is a powerhouse and should keep on rockin’, and Simon thought it was a little weird. That’s all he says. Glad you’re making the big bucks Simon, you really deserve them tonight.

Well that’s it for tonight, because I’m a little tipsy from the “You Worked it Out” drinking game. Tune in tomorrow where Ryan and Co. will stretch the elimination show out to a full hour.

I’m watching a double feature of Flash Gordon and Highlander, but you can reach me at:SueEllenMishke@fansofrealitytv .com