American Idol: Top 4 Performance Grades
That was a bit of a disappointment, wasn't it?  American Idol's disco night had potential, and I thought these final four contestants would step it up and give us a bevy of good to great performances.  Unfortunately, the general feeling after last night's show was one of indifference. Nothing heinously awful, but nothing that we'll look back on fondly in a couple weeks, let alone seasons to come.  It's incredible that we saw better performances on Bon Jovi night than we did on Barry Gibb night; disco seemed to play to these performers' strengths far more than rock.  But, there's no going back now, and we have to sift through the relative mediocrity of last night.

It's not, as I've said, like the whole night was bad.  We've just come to expect some pantheon level performances to emerge from the top 4 and we didn't get any last night.  With two songs each (eight songs total), I wonder if the singers were stretched a bit thin, not able to concentrate fully on mastering either song.  I played with the idea of giving each individual song a different grade, but I decided against it.  The viewers voted based on the overall performance by each contestant, and so I will do the same.

Melinda Doolittle: B+

Melinda, not surprisingly, was the most consistent and it'll be an absolute shock if she is eliminated tonight.  The problem is we've grown accustomed to Melinda's performances.  She hasn't given us anything new in months.  Granted, she puts on good to great shows every week, but it's calculated.  Weirdly, it doesn't feel as genuine as someone like Jordin who is on the whole worse, but whose peaks seem to be higher.  Jordin has valleys, though, and Melinda doesn't.  Melinda feels a bit robotic, is what I'm trying to say.  I'm reticent to chalk that up as a negative, though, because it's difficult to ask someone to make changes when they never give a bad performance.

Blake Lewis: B-

I enjoyed both of Blake's songs last night, but that's only because they were unique.  He's always straddled the line between being creative and being different for the sake of being different.  I understand his mind set: last week, he got props for beat-boxing, so he incorporated it into both of his songs this week.  I wish he hadn't done that.  He didn't need it.  And, yeah, Simon was right.  His second song was far too obscure.  Blake would've benefited from singing a crowd-pleaser without any gimmicks.  Although the judges think he may be at risk of elimination, I think he's safe.

Lakisha Jones: B-

I believe Lakisha is going home.  She is too similar to the superior Jordin and Melinda.  Blake is so different, and I'm guessing his voter base reflects that.  Lakisha had an opportunity to kick some ass, but she squandered the opportunity.  Her decision to sing "Stayin' Alive" was a monumental miscalculation.  A female isn't going to do that song justice, no matter how good a performance.  Her second tune, the ballad, had its moments, but it was too shaky.  I like Lakisha and think she has mounds of potential, but it's her time to go.

Jordin Sparks: B+

She may have sung out of tune at times, but it was never so noticeable as to alter votes.  Her performances are exciting, because the audience never knows what to expect.  Of all the singers, she has proved to be the most likely to give an incredible performance. Unlike Melinda, she seems to aim high and take chances.  Sometimes they don't pay off, but when they do it is completely worth it.  Under no circumstances does Jordin get eliminated tonight.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

(Image Courtesy of TheOnlineWire)