You'll never hear me say this again, but I actually wish "American Idol" had been a little longer last night. Gwen Stefani dropped by to get the crew to sing songs by No Doubt and artists who had inspired her, and she seemed like a great guest coach. Unfortunately, since they were powering to get through 10 performances (plus banter) in 67 minutes, we didn't get to hear much of Gwen working with the singers. It would have been cool to see more of that, a la Peter and Lulu from last week.
Most of the performances seemed a little lackluster, though, which made way for Sanjaya's hair to make a big splash yet again. Seriously, there's no stopping him, is there? To see what I thought of the singers, and my prediction for who's going home,
LaKisha Jones (at left): First of all, she looked awesome. Second, it was nice to hear her do something upbeat and come out of her shell a little bit. Her "Last Dance" was fun, and the judges loved it. Man, it's rough to start with someone I can't make fun of.
Chris Sligh: Gwen picked on his troubles keeping up the tempo of "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" in the rehearsal, and the problem definitely carried over into the live performance. I love his personality, but all his high notes sounded yelpy. Simon just called it a mess.
Gina Glocksen: Don't you get the feeling that Gina sat in her room singing Pretenders songs through her teenage years? I thought she totally rocked "I'll Stand By You," so I've got to pick on that metallic rubber band she was wearing. I assume she stayed by the microphone the whole time because she couldn't move without showing us things we didn't need to see.
Sanjaya Malakar (at right): This was a joke, right? His hair — oh, his hair — was up in a kind of mohawk-y thing make up of a lot of little ponytails along the top of his head, and then he kept flopping his head to make it sway. He tried No Doubt's "Bathwater" and didn't sound gut-wrenchingly terrible, but I cannot possibly sanction anything the kid does at this point.
Haley Scarnato: I thought "True Colors" was the kind of soft, sweet song she would actually have a fighting chance of doing well, and at least it wasn't cringe-inducing. The judges weren't thrilled, though, and Simon went back to calling her forgettable — presumably because she didn't shake her boobs in his face this week.
Phil Stacey: Phil picked "Every Breath You Take," which instantly made me think of him as a creepy bald stalker. Way to go, Phil. But this performance made me remember what's good about him, because it was right in his range. Again: Don't sing verses, Phil, just choruses.
Melinda Doolittle (at left): Melinda, honey, can you pick a song from this generation just once? I'm being picky, because I think she has the best voice and stage presence in this competition by far, and she did the disco queen thing well on Tuesday, but I'm afraid she's making herself seem too old to be an "Idol."
Blake Lewis: I got nervous about him doing a Cure song, but it was nice to hear him try something slow and simple (even though I'm not sure he got all the notes). He also toned down the fauxhawk, probably because he knew it couldn't compete with Sanjaya's. I'm surprised that the judges chose to criticize him for being boring, because I think it was the most out-of-character song he's done.
Jordin Sparks: I don't think there's anything she can't sing. (I typed that before Randy said it, I swear!) So far we've heard her do goopy Disney songs, Pat Benatar, and now No Doubt. I'm not sure I know who she is as a performer, but hey, she's 17.
Chris Richardson: Are there only two notes in "Don't Speak"? Because I think he sang the same two notes for most of the song. He just doesn't do anything for me. Paula and Randy liked his performance, but I side with Simon, who said it wasn't great.
Who's safe: LaKisha, Melinda, Blake, and Phil
Who should be in the bottom three: Chris S., Chris R., and Sanjaya
Who will be in the bottom three: Chris S., Haley, and someone totally surprising like Gina or Jordin. Chris R. had a scare last week, so his fans will be out in force, and Sanjaya's not going anywhere for a while.
Who's going home: It's a dead heat between Chris S. and Haley for me, so I flipped a coin, and the coin said Haley.
Photos courtesy of Fox