There were risk-takers and traditionalists when the 11 "American Idol" finalists took on country tunes Tuesday, and the risk-takers came out ahead.
Leading that pack? The always divisive Adam Lambert, who added a goth edge to "Ring of Fire" while guest mentor Randy Travis remained speechless at Lambert's black nail polish.
Other male singers were less polarizing, but equally memorable. Kris Allen, Anoop Desai and Matt Giraud were all praised for their contemporary takes on country ballads.
But contestants trying to please country purists didn't fare as well. When diva belter Lil Rounds tried to tackle a Martina McBride tune, judges told her she should have opted for "I Will Always Love You."
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And Michael Sarver, who exceeded expectations last week, went back to the bottom of the pack when he served up a mediocre take on Garth Brooks' "Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up."
Turns out he might be going down on Wednesday's results show.
Read more on the Ledger's "American Idol" blog.