LOS ANGELES — "American Idol" finalist Crystal Bowersox is on a roll.
The 24-year-old musician and single mother of Toledo, Ohio, earned the judges' highest praise on the Fox singing competition Tuesday for her traditional take on Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" — all from a homey carpet rolled out on the "Idol" stage.
Simon Cowell told her he wouldn't have changed a thing, but the other judges wanted a bigger reaction.
"These people love you," pleaded Ellen DeGeneres. "Take it all in and respond."
Paige Miles was a long way from getting any love from the judges, who were equally against the smiley 24-year-old preschool teacher from Houston. Randy Jackson said her rendition of Mariah Carey's "Against All Odds" was "honestly terrible" while all DeGeneres could compliment was Miles' ability to stay standing on the stage in a pair of high heels.
"You didn't fall down," said DeGeneres, "and that's a good thing."
Also slipping even further out of favor with the judging panel was Tim Urban, the shaggy-haired 20-year-old college student from Duncanville, Texas. He punctuated his performance of Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by sliding across the stage on his knees.
Kara DioGuardi and DeGeneres compared his acrobatic exploits to a bad "High School Musical" audition, while Jackson declared: "The dopest thing that you did was the slide, dude."
Several singers, however, stayed in the panel's good graces, including 23-year-old Lee Dewyze of Mount Prospect, Ill., with The Box Tops' "The Letter;" 16-year-old Aaron Kelly of Sonestown, Pa., with Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing;" and 27-year-old Casey James of Fort Worth, Texas, with Huey Lewis and The News' "The Power Of Love."
"You're just ready to make an album," DioGuardi informed James.
The judges again voiced their frustration with 24-year-old musician Andrew Garcia of Moreno Valley, Calif., after he turned in an awkward rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through the Grapevine." They also weren't fans of a sexed-up theatrical version of Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good" by 23-year-old waitress Didi Benami of Los Angeles.
"It was like a musical," said Cowell, "the bad part of a musical."
Unless the judges decide to save a singer, another finalist will be eliminated Wednesday based on viewer votes.