EW Staff
July 03, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

EW.com readers salute Josh, and move on

First, a 21-gun salute for singing Marine Josh Gracin, who was voted off ”American Idol” Wednesday night despite seemingly bouncing back on Bee Gees night. Though most people who posted on our message board realized he wouldn’t make it to the final three, some offered words of encouragement to the country-loving Californian:

Josh, while many may not view him as the best singer, is the best PERFORMER of the group and that is what makes an entertainer, doesn’t it? Playing to the audience. Josh, you did a great job on ”To Love Somebody” and you took more risks and stepped outside the box more than anyone. Lots of love to you.

Although Clay, Ruben and Kimberly are beaucoup talented, I really think that Josh would have the greatest commercial appeal — he’s good-looking, he’s got the wholesome father/husband thing going on, plus that Patriotic Marine thing. His singing and showmanship are above average and country fans will eat him up. Plus he has a Kenny Chesney-type cross-over appeal. With or without the American Idol title, he’ll be a star.

Now, let’s get to the real down-and-dirty: All of the three remaining competitors have fans and detractors. Almost everyone agrees Kimberley Locke deserves to be in the top tier, but most of the comments joined the Ruben vs.Clay debate:

To educate myself, I pulled out a Teddy Pendergrass LP and had a listen. It was the most boring dreck imaginable? I get the sense that the same people who bought this record, profess their blind love of Ruben. Teddy & Ruben have decent enough pipes but unless you dig their music (which I don’t), the goosebumps stay away. Clay gives goosebumps to those who like it and he also impresses those who don’t. It speaks volumes about how talented Clay is.

Okay, Ruben is boring? Meanwhile the obvious choice for American Idol, Clay, does performances like ”Grease” where he shows his fun side, and then brings us to tears with performances such as ”To Love Somebody.”

When I heard Clay, I thought, Boy, did he do great. But when I heard Ruben, I got chills. That’s the difference in good and great.

After listening to the ”Idols” CD I wouldn’t run out to buy a Clay CD. On the other hand Ruben’s song on the CD sounded very good. He has a great recording voice.

Opinions were split on the week’s other hot topic — Clay attempting to channel John Travolta for his ”Grease” rendition:

As for ”Grease” — I was hoping someone had the guts to do it. And to have Clay more or less poke fun at himself and the critiques he has received, more power to him.

Clay was AWESOME last night. He showed America that he could have fun and frankly, be sexy while doing so. He made me and 5 of my college aged friends (all girls, thank you) shriek for hours. ”Grease” was S-E-X-Y.

Yeah, I was shrieking, too, but in a ”oh my god what was he thinking?” kind of way. Clay is NOT sexy, people. It’s better when he doesn’t try to be. His hip swiveling was painful to watch… He just proved last night that uptempo, dancy songs aren’t his thing. So where does that leave him if he wins ”AI”? Justin [Guarini] wasn’t all that great last week (the song itself really was terrible), but do I want to hear Clay singing about seeing some girl’s thighs? Puke!!!

And then there was this comment — which we’re not quite sure how to classify:

My husband and I watched the first half of ”Idol” before eating a late dinner in the kitchen away from the T.V. We did, however, leave it on, and listened to bits and pieces of it while we ate. During ”Grease,” we argued as to who was singing, Kim or Clay. He was convinced it was a female voice he heard… The fact that I had to get up to check says something about both singers, I believe.

Who do you think will win ”American Idol”?

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