So we're down to seven contestants, at least until tomorrow rolls around and Sanjaya is (hopefully) kicked off the show. That being said, here's the rundown on who's left:
• Phil. He's bald and has large eyes, but he's technically the best male vocalist in this competition. He also has the widest range of anyone this season. Unfortunately, the judges really don't want Phil to go on much further. Take tonight, for example, when Simon complimented Phil and then squashed the contestant's smiles with the wry line, "I don't know if tonight is gonna save you." It's like blowing up a balloon for a toddler, only to pop it in the kid's face. It's worth noting, however, that Phil apparently wants to be a country singer - at least that's what he said tonight - but we haven't heard any twang apart from this evening's performance. What kind of star does he want to be? Probably whatever kind of star will help him win this show...
• Jordin. She's young, adorable, and everybody seems to like her. Jordin may be a little awkward when she's talking to (errr... more like towering over) Seacrest during the results portion, but she's a total pro once she takes the mic. And she's only seventeen! And she ended tonight's performance with a killer money note! But can someone so young handle the pressure of being a media icon? Jordin's almost too sweet for Hollywood.
• Sanjaya. Ok, we get it. He's interesting and he gets people to watch the show. Oh yeah, and little girls like him. But the ability to generate headlines about your hairstyles doesn't translate into an ability to actually sing your butt off. Sanjaya's got a nice recording voice, but he lacks the charisma needed to sell a performance. Your time might be up this week, Sanjaya. At least it should be.
• LaKisha. She's powerful, she's nice, and she's doing all of this Idol stuff to benefit her little daughter. Awwwww. But really, LaKisha fell flat this week. Is she a one-trick pony, only able to flourish in the gospel and slow R&B genres? And if so, did she peak too early when she did the Dreamgirls tune earlier this season? LaKisha might be losing her momentum fast, even though she can sing most of those contestants under the table.
• Chris Richardson. One Chris went home; the other is still on the show. Dude knows how to stage a performance, and he always has a musician or two straddling the stage with him. It keeps things lively-looking. His nasal voice doesn't carry well across all genres, though, and Simon knows it. If Chris can safely get back to pop-only territory, he could be fine for another few weeks. But if the judges keep staging things like "country night," the Timberlake routine won't get Chris much further.
• Melinda. Oooh, hair extensions. Melinda looked much edgier tonight, and she channeled a little Tina Turner with her performance. It's a nice change from someone whose professionalism gets a little tedious at times, almost as if Melinda is too polished for her own good. She'll be in the top two, no doubt. Either she'll be battling LaKisha for the crown, or she'll have to go up against...
• Blake! We used to hate him, but now he's kinda grown on us. He obviously knows the kind of popstar he wants to be, from his fashion style down to his percussive additions to each song. Randy noted it tonight, saying "I love that you know who you are." He might not be the best singer, but he's arguably the best performer there. Expect big things from this one, so long as he doesn't pull out that stupid hillbilly imitation again. Once that thing resurfaces, he's dead to us. Dead.