So you all voted for Ashley, right? Her sobbing during Sanjaya's performance was inspired, but to break out the tears again during Melinda's song? Pure genius! Why, that was one of the greatest performances I've ever seen on "American Idol." I think she has a great shot of making the final --
What? She's not a contestant? Too bad nobody told the cameraman, because that girl got more screen time than anyone on Tuesday. I couldn't tell if she was the biggest fangirl ever or just in pain from hearing Sanjaya try to rock. Don't worry, Ashley: He makes me bawl, too.
Anyway, it was British Invasion week on "Idol," brought to us by Peter Noone and a lovely little sprite of a woman named Lulu, whom I could have watched for hours. Overall, it was the most enjoyable episode I've seen all season: The performances were either good or amusingly bad, Paula took the crazyometer up a few ticks by dancing through almost every song, and Seacrest attempted to beatbox. That sound you heard at about 8:40 p.m. was America laughing. To hear what I thought of the performances, read more
Haley Scarnato (at right): I don't know what happened, but I kind of like Haley now. I think I want to be her friend. Haley, call me. She's still not the strongest singer, but it was great to hear her do an uptempo song that wasn't "Queen of the Night." Her "Tell Him" included some wiggly dancing in front of a totally nonplussed Simon, which I always like to see.
Chris Richardson: I cracked up when he sat down on stage with a guitarist — what is this, "American Idol Unplugged"? But the soft ballad suited him, and surprise! He can actually sing. It was not at all like, well, a Backstreet Boy, and I think it could actually win him some new fans.
Stephanie Edwards: I was wondering who was going to tuck into the Dusty Springfield cake, and Stephanie grabbed the first slice. I don't think these quiet performances have done her any favors; I wish she'd go back to her rockin' side from week one, and Simon said she's lost her edge.
Blake Lewis (at left): Peter Noone wasn't sure what to make of Blake's beatboxing "business," which was so adorably unhip. Blake, on the other hand, makes "Time of the Season" sound not like it's on an insurance commercial. Also, beatboxing + grandpa pants + fauxhawks = hot. But you knew I was going to say that, huh?
LaKisha Jones: Lulu tried her best to talk LaKisha out of singing "Diamonds are Forever," even walking out of her on-camera interview to suggest a different song. Maybe LaKisha should have listened to her, huh? She seemed uncomfortable for the first time and way older than she is, but her fan base is strong and I don't think she's in any danger.
Phil Stacey: Did he vomit on his shirt? Please don't tell me those stains were intentional. As for the performance, two words: Taylor Hicks. He sang "Tobacco Road" with some mic stand prancing, and Simon brought out the old "bar band" criticism.
Jordin Sparks: Quick poll: When Jordin said the song that best described her was "I'm So Excited," did anyone else immediately think "I'm ... so ... scared"? She sang a dramatic version of "I Who Have Nothing," which was beautiful but — as Simon pointed out — fairly gloomy. Still, if I were doing "Idol" power rankings, I'd say she just slipped above Stephanie.
Sanjaya Malakar (at right): Peter Noone said Sanjaya's problem is that he doesn't have enough experience to sell what he's got. What, exactly, has he got? His performance of "You Really Got Me" would have been weird enough had the camera not repeatedly cut away to the sobbing girl.
Gina Glocksen: I started having a bad feeling about her performance of "Paint it Black" when Lulu suggested she sing it higher. The first five seconds and all the slow bits were pretty much unlistenable, though I thought the uptempo parts were way fun. Simon called it style over substance. I really like Gina, but I'm a little worried she'll be gone tonight.
Chris Sligh (below): Wow, they really pulled out all the stops performance-wise on Tuesday, huh? Chris one-upped Phil by not just dancing with the mic stand but also singing half his song while walking through the crowd. As far as I could tell, no small children cried. It was a pretty decent song, but I was more impressed by the "fro patro" slogan.
Melinda Doolittle: Aw, she has cute new hair! And she also made that little girl cry. Anyway, Melinda sang her second song from a musical in as many weeks (this one from Oliver!), and while it's not doing anything to shake my feeling that she'd be better on Broadway, the girl can sing.
Who's safe: Melinda, Chris Richardson, Blake, LaKisha, Jordin
Who should be in the bottom three: Sanjaya, Gina, and Phil
Who will be in the bottom three: Phil, Sanjaya, and Stephanie
Who's going home: Stephanie. As much as I wish Sanjaya's number were finally up, I think Stephanie's become forgettable. Whatever else we can say about Sanjaya, he's certainly memorable.
Photos courtesy of Fox