American Idol: Top 7 Performance Grades
Country Music night, like Latin night, gave the remaining American Idol singers a chance to sing in a genre that they may not have been comfortable with.  Thankfully, last night wasn't the train wreck that Latin night was.  With the whole spectrum of country music to work with, most of the Idols chose songs that suited them and it was, overall, a pretty solid night. 

Except for Sanjaya.  Nevermind his performance, which we'll get to later, but Simon's reaction was priceless.  He absolutely ripped Sanjaya a new one.  Frankly, it was about time.  Simon's intention, I presume, was to make people stop voting for Sanjaya.  I don't think verbal abuse is the right way to go, however.  It will only galvanize Sanjaya's un-ironic fan base, and those who found voting for Sanjaya funny before will only find it funnier now.

As always, I've graded every singer's performance from last night:

Phil Stacey: B+

I'm as surprised as anyone to be giving such a good grade to Phil, especially when I think he'll be heading home tonight.  As the judges stated, country music just might be Phil's forte.  This was easily Phil's most complete performance.  He's always had one or two shaky moments in his songs in past weeks, but not last night.  Will it be enough to save him?  I don't think so, unless America comes to its senses, which they won't.

Jordin Sparks: A

Just keeps getting better and better.  I'm impressed.  Jordin isn't quite as good a singer as Melinda (yet), but I feel like her voice has more personality.  Any time you can sing a song stationary, not moving from behind the mic stand, and dominate like Jordin did last night, you know you've got something special.  One thing's for sure: Jordin should in no way have to share the stage with the likes of...

Sanjaya Malakar: F

After last week's Latin fluke that saw Sanjaya give a half-way decent performance, he came back last night and showed his true colors.  I'm no Idol historian, but that had to be the worst top 7 performance of all time.  Just abysmal.  The fact that Sanjaya would have the gall to sing a great, iconic song like Bonnie Raitt's “Something to Talk About” just shows how delusional Sanjaya's become.  It's ridiculous that he's still on the show.  The funny thing is, he's likely going to make it (at least) to the top 5.  That is scary.

Lakisha Jones
: B-

A poor song choice by Lakisha that led to another uninspiring performance.  Lakisha has been very frustrating this season, showing mounds of potential, but only living up to it on a couple of occasions.  There's a very real chance Lakisha gets eliminated tonight.  It's a sad state of affairs that this is the case, but I fear it's true.  She didn't give as good a performance as Phil, which is inexcusable for Lakisha.  She could still conceivably win it all, but not with performances like last night's.

Chris Richardson: C+

Chris is doing his best out there.  He's simply over matched in the singing department.  Simon is right: he does sing nasally.  And, Chris is wrong: nasally should not be a conscience choice for singing.  It doesn't sound good and singing from your chest is always the right course of action.  That being said, Chris is a very good performer, which is the only reason he's still around.  He could go home tonight and it wouldn't be a shock.

Melinda Doolittle
: A

One of my favorite Melinda performances.  She dominated an upbeat song, and threw in some attitude for good measure.  Randy called her a pro, and that's exactly what she is.  Whether she wins American Idol or not, she'll have a career in singing.  She and Jordin have completely separated themselves from the pack, with no one even close at this point.

Blake Lewis
: B-

Upon further review, his performance last night wasn't all that good.  On pure singing, Blake leaves a lot to be desired.  He generally picks songs that suit him well, but he sang out of tune and lacked power in his voice last night.  I still think he has a good shot at making the top 3, but he's not going to catch Melinda or Jordin.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

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