American Idol: Top 6 performance grades 2.0
The American Idol top 6 contestants were given a second chance to impress viewers last night, and that they did.  Whichever two singers are eliminated later today, it won't be because of their performance last night.  Most everyone gave one of their better performances, a fact that I found surprising considering it was on Bon Jovi Night.  None of these final six contestants are what you would call “rock singers”.  But, it all turned out pretty well.

As we've been doing all season, what follows are my grades for every performance last night.  Since I'm not a robot, the rankings will be biased, whether it is conscious or not.  Ultimately, for this week, I'm not sure how much last night's action really changed anything.  Viewers are fans of who they are fans of, and they'll vote for those people.  One performance probably isn't going to change that.  On to the grades:

Phil Stacey
:  B+

Invoking images of Emilio Estevez on a horse, Phil Stacey sang “Blaze of Glory” from the Young Guns soundtrack.  I was more surprised than I probably should have been; Phil was really good.  Simon was curmudgeonly over the performance, but he's never liked Phil.  His voice is what has kept him in the competition and it may propel him into the top 4.  He added some gravel to his rendition as well, taking on the role of “rock singer” better than I expected. 

Jordin Sparks: C

A mediocre performance of Bon Jovi's most famous song “Livin' on a Prayer”.  Not only is it a difficult song to sing, Jordin is anything but a rock singer and it showed.  I'm not sure Jordin could've done a whole lot more with the song.  What she could have done is take one of Bon Jovi's slower songs, a ballad perhaps, instead a pure rock song.  Nonetheless, Jordin's poor performance shouldn't be enough to send her home.  The strength of last week's performance should still be on the minds of voters.

Lakisha Jones: B+

I'm not as high on this performance as the judges were.  Mostly, I think it was because I wasn't a big fan of the song in general.  Lakisha did give one of her better performances.  There's Good Lakisha and there's Bad Lakisha; last night we saw Good Lakisha.  Unfortunately, I think Lakisha will be eliminated tonight.  It just seems right that one guy and one girl goes home tonight.  If that's the case, Lakisha has to be that one girl.

Blake Lewis: A-

Not the best pure singing performance of the night, but definitely the most entertaining.  Never have we seen a singer on American Idol so willing to rework songs as much as Blake.  He took “You Give Love a Bad Name,” and made it completely his own, throwing down some beat-boxing skills in what amounted to an awesome remix of a classic tune.  I'm wondering if Blake will keep performing these alternate renditions of songs for the rest of the season if this one works for him.  I hope so.

Chris Richardson: B

I tend to not enjoy Chris's songs, but last night he impressed me.  It still wasn't a spectacular vocal (Chris isn't really capable of one) but he did absolutely the best he could.  On a song that Daughtry performed last year, Chris acquitted himself quite well, but I don't think it will be enough to keep him around next week.  I think Phil's performance was enough to edge him past Chris.  We'll see tonight.

Melinda Doolittle
: A-

Melinda keeps on kicking ass.  Last night was in line with most Melinda performances.  Vocally, it was at a level of greatness that, simply, none of her fellow contestants are capable of achieving.  Where Jordin couldn't transition into the rock music, Melinda adapted and came out firing.  Her impersonation of a rock singer felt authentic and I'm not sure if there's anything Melinda can't do.  She's a lock for the finale. 

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer