VIDEO: American Idol Frontrunner Crystal Bowersox Bursts Into Tears, Simon Cowell Calls Her “Inspirational”

Even Idols cry! Last night, American Idol front-runner Crystal Bowersox broke into tears at the end of her powerful rendition of Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready and won rave reviews from the judges.  Simon Cowell even called her performance “inspirational.”

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Other Idol judge Kara DioGuardi told Bowersox: “You just schooled all those other contestants.” Bowersox’s emotional display public wasn’t the only out-of-character move for the dreadlocked folk singer. Tuesday night’s set marked the first time that Bowersox hit the stage without her trusty guitar in hand. Standing amidst a sole spotlight and a mic, she began by stirring up a soulful semi-a capella version of Mayfield’s classic, and just as the song winded down, Bowesox caught a glimpse of her father in the audience which helped prompt the tearful moment.

With another breakthrough performance, it’s likely the guitar-strumming mama will push through to the finals because the other six performers -aside from Lee DeWyze, whose Simon and Garfunkel cover earned him due praise on Tuesday night – proved that they are just not Idol-worthy.

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Tim Urban’s surprisingly great set last week set him up for a huge letdown this time around as he took on a Goo Goo Dolls number that was too big for his little voice. But Ellen helped to lift his spirits (at least a little), telling the young singer that he’s like her daily soup. “Some days I like the soup and some days I don’t like the soup…today, I didn’t like the soup.”

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But shortly after Urban came another tasteless performance, this time by Siobhan Magnus who thought she could out-do Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey’s classic When You Believe. Instead, the quirky singer fell flat, sounding more like a stale opera singer than a pop star.

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The remaining three contestants- Michael Lynche, Casey James, and Aaron Kelly- weren’t able to muster performances worthy of water-cooler talk, and will likely be at risk during Wednesday’s elimination. Lynche gave Nickelback’s Hero a soulful edge that didn’t quite fit, while James gave yet another humdrum folk performance, this time of Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop. Finally, seventeen-year old Aaron Kelly searched to find his sweet spot within R. Kelly’s power-ballad I Believe I Can Fly, but couldn’t, leaving the judges confused but overall supportive.

Alicia Keys was the guest-mentor for this week’s show dedicated to ‘inspirational’ songs. She will also perform on Wednesday’s Idol Gives Back/elimination show.

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