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During the series’ second half, the hegemony of white guys with guitars — WGWGs — held on to the top, with one key exception; those artists who played a little more fast and loose with the show’s themes were dispatched after adding sizzle to the finals’ early weeks. He was lying, but he meant well, and anyway, the audience knew what he meant: “You can’t win if you sound like that.” (An important note: As in the Idol world, sometimes the terrible can actually be the best for the purposes of each individual season’s dramatic arc. Which they did, setting the stage for a finale with two singers (Lambert and Kris Allen) who had honed their talent on-air — and become nail-polish-matching friends in the process. Lee De Wyze (Season 9, Winner)The suspicion that Idol’s voting mechanisms were fundamentally broken kicked into overdrive at the end of season nine, when one of the two finalists put the opening line of “With a Little Help From My Friends” to the test.But even with the vagaries of genre and style, certain aspects of being a pop star — an idol — remain intact and heavily informed our rankings, which only focuses on the work these singers offered up during their Idol runs. Think of the contestants near the list’s very bottom as the most likely contestants for an All-Idol rebirth of Vote for the Worst, the now-mothballed site that encouraged chicanery through democracy and buoyed the Idol stays of more than a few less-than-deserving individuals. The singer who sang that line out of tune — who just happened to be a white guy bearing a guitar — wound up winning the competition over earth-mother (and better singer) Crystal Bowersox.It occasionally sounds Irish, sometimes American and sometimes just like Hopkins' normal speaking tone.I was distracted by the wide array of different voices in the movie. Pike is doing erratic generic American, ditto with Embeth Davidtz. As a rule, though, I try to endorse films that can find room in their ensembles for so many character actors I like, including David Strathairn, Bob Gunton, Xander Berkeley and Cliff Curtis.(Years later, he fired back at the show on Primetime Live, saying that he’d been enmeshed in a sexual relationship with Paula Abdul — an interview that was parodied during the season-four finale, when Simon Cowell claimed to be involved in an affair with himself.) 163. Like Fox would have let that be someone’s swan song! Tim Urban (Season 9, Placed 7th)Season nine’s teen-idol hope entered the finals on a technicality and was embraced by Vote for the Worst from the jump.Kristy Lee Cook (Season 7, Placed 7th)A rare female villain thanks to her cunning song choice, particularly when she followed up weeks of just escaping elimination with a drippingly sincere version of “God Bless the U. He had a nice smile, although, that didn’t really help the way his singing sounded. Sarina-Joi Crowe (Season 14, Placed 12th)Singing first on the season’s inaugural finalist showcase is tough.As time went on, leading ladies with voices that could cut through Top 40 radio’s clutter gave way to easygoing strummers operating in the vein of Jason Mraz and Gavin De Graw. Danny Gokey (Season 8, Placed 3rd)Season eight was perhaps Idol’s pinnacle; it also had a contestant who might have been the closest villain analogue Idol has ever had to offer: Danny Gokey, an early-odds favorite whose wife had passed away shortly before he auditioned with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” He stuck around for a long time, vanquishing contestants with okay-enough performances that would sometimes tip over into horror (recall the Gokey Scream) and sometimes be just really boring (the anodyne “What Hurts the Most”) and too often be capped with that heart-hands gesture and never, ever result in his being in the show’s bottom three.R&B became more of a way to spice up folk-pop than a genre with its own solid footing in pop, or at least in the Idol top two. The willingness to stand up for artistic choices, even if doing so results in some British acidity being flung back. “It’s a singing competition,” Simon Cowell would drone again and again when he found someone’s performance not quite up to par. His snide comments about “loving” his fellow contestants in a strictly “Godly way,” which came before season-eight runner-up Adam Lambert came out on the cover of Rolling Stone, played both to his fanbase and to those who were looking for reasons to vote him off.

Only 168 people in the world can currently claim to be American Idol finalists; at the end of February, that number will rise to 178.

) on a wobbly performance of “(They Long to Be) Close to You.” 164.

Corey Clark (Season 2, Placed 9th)The first Idol scandal to result in a contestant leaving the show during the season centered on this California-born soul singer, who was booted not because of his coffeehouse-worthy version of “Drift Away” during that season’s Country Rock night, but because he’d been charged with battery and resisting arrest in Kansas.

The point of the piece is watching the two actors go head to head and Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins have an immense amount of fun elevating the material.

Hopkins stretches only slightly beyond his Hannibal Lectre persona, but it's been a while since he displayed this kind of scenery-chewing villainy, while Gosling adds a twitchy Method-y flair to a character who might have been painfully flat in the hypothetical Tom Cruise version.

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