Stevie Wonder is not Colton Dixon‘s wheelhouse, since he is an alt rock singer. So he was easily the most challenged of the boys on tonight’s episode of ‘American Idol‘ (March 7) when he sang ‘Lately.’ That said, he bravely and gamely soldiered on. He was flat at some points and sharp at others. Was it a flawless performance? No way. But it was not reason enough to send him home.

You would never know it was a Stevie Wonder song that he was singing if we didn’t tell you in advance. Dixon, who is topped off by a tri-color faux hawk and stylized rock ‘n’ roll clothing, came alive in the choruses, seeming to struggle through the verses. He ended strongly, though, with a major falsetto note. You’re only as good as your last note and his was damn good.

So many rock singers out there capably show another side of themselves when they step away from the bluster in order to do a power ballad and demonstrate their depth and scope. Dixon offered up a hint of his range. It was just a hint, but we know there is more there and we want to hear it. Hopefully, America does, too.

The judges loved it, with Steven Tyler calling the perf “outstanding.” We’re not going to go that far and start speaking in superlatives, but Dixon did finish strong. On this show, that’s like money in the bank.

Watch Colton Dixon Perform ‘Lately’ on ‘American Idol’