''American Idol''

Locked In

Kimberley Locke rises to the top. She proves Simon right by giving Ruben and Clay something to worry about -- now she's a prime contender for the Idol title, says Jessica Shaw

Kimberley Locke, American Idol | STRAIGHT UP NOW TELL ME Simon tells Locke she's cute now that she's lost the curly hair
STRAIGHT UP NOW TELL ME Simon tells Locke she's cute now that she's lost the curly hair

Kimberley Locke rises to the top

Before we get to tonight's delicious dish, I want to take a moment to clarify something about last week's column. We printed that we thought guest judge Smokey Robinson had plastic surgery, and he called to tell us that he didn't. Needless to say, I felt like a dork, and I'm really sorry for upsetting the voice behind some of my favorite songs. All I can say is I guess I was a little too in touch with my inner Simon last week.

But enough with the old news. Can we have a moment of Kimberley Locke worship, please? Could her chunky highlights have been hotter? Could her fitted black shirt have been more flattering? And could she have made a mediocre Diane Warren song sound any better? As Simon told Ruben and Clay, ''Watch out for Kimberley Locke.'' Perhaps Kimberley is the new Clay, a.k.a. the one Ruben has to beat to win the ''American Idol'' crown.

All I know is Diane Warren is the new Paula now that Paula has become the new Randy. It's nice to hear Paula giving some constructive criticism for once, but did we really need Warren to fill the sugary-judge void? Not only did we have to endure an hour of her forgettable hits, but we had to listen to her innocuous comments too. Hey producers -- enough with the guest judges!

After all, less Diane means more Simon, and he's the only one who seems to be telling these six what they need to hear. He was dead-on last week with the whole Ruben and Clay stuck-in-a-rut critique. If Trenyce listens to him and shows some personality (hopefully not the one that got her in trouble with the law), she might just make it another week. Of course, my bet is that she'll be out this week, which leads me to another issue: How is it that Carmen, her extensions, and her grating vibrato keep coming back? ''You can't win this competition,'' Simon told her Tuesday. Indeed, she can't. So is the entire state of Utah voting for her or what?

And is everyone who's ever enlisted dialing up for Josh? The guy is off-key week after week and frankly, he could use a little time with a military workout regimen. Not even those ridiculous copper highlights could distract from jeans three sizes too small. Josh might want to take some fashion tips from Ruben. Buy XXXL, my friend.

Though big Ru was a bit raspy Tuesday (and hello, drink some water -- your tongue was so white it looked like you'd been hiking in the desert for 40 years), he still belted out the performance of the evening. ''You are one of the best we found in America,'' Randy told him. You can't argue with that. But whether he is THE best is definitely not as certain as it was a week ago.

What did you think of the show? Post your comment, and we'll publish the best ones in our Thursday ''American Idol'' column on EW.com.

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Originally posted Apr 23, 2003
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