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'Idol' voting shows viewers are back in the groove

After a few weeks of surprise ejections and odd choices, American Idol viewers seemed to get their mojo back this week — sending shaky-voiced church singer Lacey Brown home Wednesday, just two weeks too late.

St. Petersburg-raised Michael Lynche also survived another week, thanks to a powerful rendition of the Rolling Stones' hit Miss You on Tuesday that amped up the song's R&B flavor and gave him plenty of room to work the stage.

At a time when even judge Kara DioGuardi is expressing her affection for the 300-pound singer on the Tonight Show and producers count on him to open or close most every broadcast, Lynche's only remaining problem may be the one faced by every Idol front-runner: losing the audience's interest by the contest's end (just ask Danny Gokey).

Still, Lynche managed to add poignancy to his already compelling personal story Tuesday, talking a bit about how the 2004 death of his mother, former St. Petersburg Times community columnist Michele Lynche, inspired him to refocus on music instead of football.

Despite complaints from some fans that the singers are worse than in past years or audience votes were sparing the worst vocalists, this week's shows seemed to get back on track. Contestants stepped up their game singing from the Rolling Stones song book Tuesday, and the right singers landed in the bottom three on Wednesday — Brown, inconsistent boy toy Tim Urban and Paige Miles, who struggled with laryngitis.

Unfortunately, Idol's other tradition also returned Wednesday — a heavily padded results show featuring performances by two pro artists and an ejection announcement paced so slow it felt like a new form of Chinese water torture.

Eric Deggans can be reached at (727) 893-8521 or deggans@sptimes.com. See the Feed blog at blogs.tampabay.com/media.

'Idol' voting shows viewers are back in the groove 03/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 18, 2010 12:11am]

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