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American Idol Pianist Dishes on Bon Jovi Show

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Bon Jovi week should have been easy on the boys and tough on the girls, but alas, it was Chris and Phil who were sent packing. Entertainment Weekly called pianist Michael Orland, who coached the two ousted guys, to find out what went right and wrong last week.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
: Michael, you must be so sad that your boys went home.
MICHAEL ORLAND: I know. I lost two of my children!

It was a shocker too. Phil, especially, had a few strong weeks, and Chris Richardson got high marks from the judges. No matter who we lost this past week it was going to be hard. I will go on record saying I think this is the strongest top six we've ever had. Usually there's someone still on for personality.

Do you think Phil has a future as a country singer?
I did some PR stuff with him and Chris yesterday. To hear Phil Stacey singing songs he did early on in the show, it's like listening to a different person. I hope he makes an album because he's got such a great voice. But he's got to fulfill whatever commitment he has to the Navy. He should remake the Village People song, ''In the Navy.''

Bon Jovi on American IdolI'm sure that would go over well in our armed forces. How about Chris' rendition of ''Wanted Dead or Alive''? Did it work for you?
I thought he did a really good job. It was so open to comparison to Chris Daughtry's, but I knew Daughtry's version so we purposely put in different verses and ended it differently. I thought he would have smooth sailing this week.

I was positive at least one of them would be safe — I thought LaKisha would take the fall for her inspirations week disaster.

I'm happy for her that she was so strong this week that however the votes went for her during inspiration-songs week, she was that good this week to stay. Now it will be interesting to see that other phenomenon of the voting. You have to wonder whose votes are going to go to whom. It's anybody's guess who'll be in the finale of these four.

I think Blake will get a lot of the Phil and Chris votes. Speaking of which, there's an internal battle in the halls of EW about whether his rendition of ''You Give Love a Bad Name'' was brilliant or hideous. What's your take?
I thought it was so genius I couldn't believe it. I was scared for him, though. I knew it could go either way, as we saw with Chris Sligh weeks ago. I was in the room watching Bon Jovi with him and Bon Jovi was not digging it at all. But I thought it was so incredible and respectful of Bon Jovi's version.

I was surprised when he admitted that he used a computer to arrange it. Is that all kosher to you?
Yes, because while it's a computer program, he comes up with the drum beats and manually puts them in. It's his own creativity doing it. I love that he said that. Even during Diana Ross week, I remember he was playing beats in the background with her to hear what it would sound like.

Even though Melinda acted all dorky after she sang ''Have a Nice Day,'' I thought she kind of rocked.
Melinda Doolittle was so amazing and incredible. I actually thought Jordin did a better job than the judges gave her credit for.

She took a lot of hits that night. I was wondering if she might be this season's Chris Daughtry.

She had a rougher time with it on the show than she had during rehearsals. In the morning it sounded fantastic, but as the day went on she lost some of her low register, which happens with every singer. She knew immediately she wanted to sing that song, and sure, she could have done some power ballad and made it sound incredible. But she wanted to take a risk.

It's a great top four to be doing Bee Gees songs. Who are you working with this week?

Just Jordin Sparks this week, but I've spent a lot of time with LaKisha because she was very indecisive about her song, so I went and hung out with her to go through some songs. LaKisha is one of those people that when she hears somebody else doing a song, it's hard for her to hear what it will sound like with her voice.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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