American Idol: Top 10 Performance Show, Quick Thoughts
American Idol kicks back up tonight, and I couldn't be more excited for the next stop in the Sanjaya Malakar saga.  If he walked on stage dressed in a turtle costume and hopping on a pogo stick, then sang "Hava Nagila", would he still make it through to next week?  Anthing's possible at this point.

Anyway, Gwen Stefani (you know, the former member of a good rock band who sold out and started making pop songs about Japanese school girls) will be joining us this week.  Which should be fun.  What follows are my live, unfiltered thoughts while watching the episode. I'm going to try and update as the show goes along.

  • And it begins.  We're live from Hollywood. 
  • Seacrest asks whether the crowd likes Gwen Stefani.  I think the maniacal yelling means yes.

  • I really like No Doubt, especially their first few albums, but Gwen has gotten pretty silly lately, firmly entrenched in her bizarre Harajuku phase.
  • Gwen still looks good, though.
  • Lakisha Jones is up first, singing a little Donna Summer.  She's singing “Last Dance” and she's not doing the greatest job.  I don't think the song suits her very well.  Lakisha is still good, better than most, but I can't help but feeling underwhelmed constantly by Lakisha for the last few weeks. 
  • Randy thought it was “hot”.  Paula, wearing big hair, loved it.  Simon likes the fact she did an up-tempo song.  Well, I see we disagree, judges.  It won't be the last time.
  • Chris Sligh takes a viewer question, and laments how hard he and the other contestants work. 
  • He's going to be singing The Police's “Everything Little Thing She Does is Magic”.  He's off-the-beat a little bit at the beginning (and out of tune).  However, this is a ridiculously hard song to sing.  Sting has an extremely high voice (I think Chris is singing it a few keys lower than the original) and Chris is nowhere the singer that Sting is.  I thought it was kind of train wreck. 
  • Hey, even Paula has something bad to stay.  Crazy.  They all agree that it was bad rhythmically and Simon goes further and says it was a mess.  I completely agree.  This may send him home tomorrow. 
  • Gina Glocksen is up next and she is an emotional mess when she meets Gwen Stefani.
  • And, damn, Gwen is looking great.  Still.
  • This is a song I should know (well, I recognize it) but I just can't place it.  Sorry, I'm an idiot.  Is this like a late80's/early 90's metal ballad?  Gina is doing pretty well, but she's still suffering from the yelling problem she's had before.
  • Randy thought it was one of Gina's best performances ever.  Simon didn't think “it was one of her best performances, but her best performance.”  Oh, you clever Brit.
  • Sanjaya Malakar is singing No Doubt's “Bathwater” and this might be his worst performance yet.  Constantly out of tune, weak-voiced, and he's wearing this crazy hair that I'm not going to even try to explain.  Then he forgets the words.  If he makes it through to next week it will be a monumental travesty.  Man, that was terrible.  Just awful.  Too awful for words.
  • Randy and Paula try to put a positive spin on things.  Simon says “I don't think it matters what we say anymore.”  Truer words were never spoken.  Serisouly, this mohawk that he's sporting is....I can't talk about it.
  • Haley Scarnato is going to sing Cyndi Lauper's “True Colors”.  I'm rooting for Haley.  Great song choice by Haley; she's got a nice smoky voice that works well, especially for the verse.  Her voice gets a little weak on a couple of the high spots, but otherwise she's doing a million times better than anyone could've expected three weeks ago.  She sings out-of-tune on a note at the end.
  • Randy that it was just “a ight”.  Paula has some disparaging words.  Simon calls it “sweet, but forgettable”.  He thinks there was nothing to remember.  Maybe I liked it because it was after the abominable Sanjaya.
  • Phil Stacey will be performing next, but first...he's going to answer a fan question.  I'm not too interested in the answer.  He still insists on wearing his silly hats.  He'll be singing The Police's “Every Breath You Take”.  He sings it breathily, and it sounds good.  Again, still a little bland and boring.  But, I predict that the judges will call it one of Phil's best performances.  That is, unless Simon continues to hate Phil, which he has, inexplicably, for about a month.
  • Randy liked it.  Paula didn't like the verses.  Simon thought it was very good.  Well, that's a surprise. 
  • Melinda Doolittle is up next.  Gwen says that she blew her away.  I'm not familiar with this song.  Sorry.  Again, Melinda dominates the stage, making all the other Idol hopefuls look like high school musical rejects.  Her voice is that much more mature and controlled than anyone else's. Damn good.
  • Randy loves it, reiterating that she's a pro.  Simon loved it.
  • When Paula talks, to me, it just sounds like one of the parents in a Charlie Brown cartoon.
  • Blake Lewis hits the stage next to sing a Cure song.  Gwen is worried that the beat-boxing will distract from the song.  He starts off pretty good.  The song feels like an easy one to sing.  He doesn't even put in any beat boxing.  Randy liked it.  Paula loved it. Weird.  Simon calls Blake “definitely the best male in the competition.”  Simon calls it a little bit boring, but he still liked it. 
  • Jordin Sparks is going to sing “Hey Baby” by No Doubt.  This is a weird choice, because there's not much to the song, singing-wise.  And it shows.  Jordin has a lot more to offer than this song allows.  She's doing a fine job, but I would've liked a different song choice.  But, really, it's an easy song to perform.  Pretty good, though.
  • Randy thought it was risky, but he thinks she can sing anything and it'll be good.  Simon thinks she's the most improved, and I wouldn't disagree.  
  • Chris Richardson will be closing the show with another No Doubt song, “Don't Speak”.  Nice!  Gwen calls Chris out for his “vocal Olympics” he goes through while singing and that the song doesn't need it.  This was a bad choice, I think.  First of all, this is a great song.  A great song.  It relies, though, on the tenderness only a girl's voice (like Gwen's) can bring.  He's doing all right, but his voice doesn't do the song justice.
  • Randy thought it was good.  Paula has nothing to say.  Simon brings us back down to earth, and says it was a sub-par vocal. 
And that's all we have.  After the last couple two-hour episodes of Idol, this 67-minute edition went by in a flash.  Nothing really out-of-the-ordinary tonight, except for the worst Sanjaya performance yet.  What did you all think?

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

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