American Idol: Top 8 Guys, Performance Grades
During what was a generally underwhelming performance by the eight remaining male competitors on American Idol, I came to a jarring realization: none of these guys are great.  Really, not one of them has shown the audience anything to suggest that they could be a worthy American Idol champion.  Sure, there is some potential here and there, but it's just that: potential.  Without the performances to back it up, untapped potential is worthless. 

There were a couple of good performances last night, but most were bland and uninspiring.  I'm still trying to hold out hope for massive improvement, but, realistically, I know that's probably not going to happen.  Here are my grades for each singer last night.

Blake Lewis: A-

Blake may not be the best singer in the competition, but he knows how to entertain.  He's a natural performer, maximizing his ability every time he hits the stage.  He sang a 311 reggae/rap song that I thought was his best performance of the competition so far.  Blake is the guy whose performance I look forward to the most every week on the guy's side. 

Sanjaya Malakar: F

I've had enough of Sanjaya.  I don't care what he does up there, it weirds me out.  He may have been better last night than in previous weeks, but it doesn't and shouldn't matter.  Sanjaya should have been eliminated two weeks ago.  I can't speak rationally about this anymore.  It''s...just brutal.  No more.

Sundance Head: B+

Sundance gets the high grade mostly for the degree of difficulty that comes with singing a Pearl Jam song.  I thought he did a more than admirable job.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that I love that song.  I admit that it's a little bizarre hearing Pearl Jam on American Idol, but Sundance did it justice.

Chris Richardson: C+

Chris is getting a whole lot of undue love from the judges.  It seems like this is the guy that FOX wants in the finals.  That makes sense; he is marketable.  That said, he's not close to as good a singer as the judges are talking him up to be.  Last night's slow jam was just okay.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Jared Cotter: C

Jared keeps doing what he does: sing pretty good, but be boring and unmemorable while doing it.  He is just way too safe in his performing,  It feels too clean.  I don't know if he can turn that around in time to make it much further.  I'm predicting that Jared will be eliminated on Thursday.

Brandon Rogers
: B-

I actually liked Brandon's performance last night.  However, it wasn't a very hard song to sing, and he has yet to fully realize his potential on the show.  I don't really understand what Brandon is doing out there.  He's tip-toeing around his talent and it's frustrating. 

Phil Stacey
: C-

The most baffling performance of the night.  Phil sang a LeAnn Rimes song, which is an incredibly weird choice.  The beginning of the song was a total disaster, and it only got a little better after that.  Phil is a weird singer; he has a good voice, but can't start a song to save his life, and has some awkward performance tendencies.

Chris Sligh: A-

Chris seemed as confused by the judges as I did.  His song last night was really good, very well sung and performed, and immensely enjoyable.  The fact that the judges heaped praise upon Chris Richardson and were down on Sligh's performance makes me suspicious about their motivations.  Sligh will progress and continue to sing well.  The question is: Will America be influenced by Simon's not-so-kind words?

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

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