Michael Slezak
May 18, 2010 AT 01:20 PM EDT

Image Credit: Michael Becker/PictureGroup(2)Only four episodes remain till “There Are No Boundaries (and No Discernible Hook, Either)”  becomes the first in series of stumbling blocks set between the American Idol season 9 champ and his or her career as a viable recording star. But before we get to all that, the Top 3 (AKA WyzSeySox) must tackle two songs apiece — Judge’s Choice and Contestant’s Choice — on tonight’s performance-show telecast. (Check out my dream set list for tonight’s show, along with the leaked selections for the judges’ picks, here.) In the meantime, I figured we’d better tackle our weekly task of ranking the contestants. My list is below; then it’s your turn to vote in the Power List Poll after the jump. Plus, I added a bonus poll question just to delight/torture y’all! (Related: ‘American Idol’ plans 30-minute results shows: What to cut, what to keep?; Watch Idolatry exit videos with Siobhan Magnus, Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, and Tim Urban; and for more Idol coverage, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.)

3. Casey James (Last week No. 4): Splendid guitar work on “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” was enough to catapult him past duet partner Michael Lynche and directly into the final three. Still, his moments of vocal excellence (“Jealous Guy,” “Don’t”) have been so infrequent, he enters Top 3 performance night as the rank outsider. Is he capable of a stunning, “Heartless”-esque song reinvention? Or a devastating, “Mad World”-ian emotional explosion? If not, his journey will come to an end on Wednesday.

2. Lee DeWyze (Last week No. 1): “That’s Life” displayed a long-absent sense of confidence and swagger (with very few bum notes), so what exactly happened with his followup, a by-the-numbers, out-of-tune rehash of “Kiss From a Rose”? Everyone has their off weeks, we suppose, and on the plus side, when the Chicago paint salesman is good (“Treat Her Like a Lady,” “A Little Less Conversation”), he sounds like a viable hitmaker. Plus, it doesn’t hurt his cause that the Idol Machine has been pushing hard to make a Lee-Crystal finale an inevitability. Pimp, Simon, pimp!

1. Crystal Bowersox (Last week No. 2): After a one-week slip from her perch, MamaSox returns to No. 1 on the strength of a bluesy “I’m Alright” and a muscled-up “Falling Slowly” duet with Lee. Combined with “Me and Bobby McGee,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and “People Get Ready,” she’s certainly earned a spot in the finale. That said, the nagging feeling of slightly backward momentum means she needs to step up with an actual Idol Moment if she wants to guarantee a trip to the Nokia, not to mention the gold-confetti shower that goes to the winner.

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