This season has to go down as one of the most difficult to predict and also with the best potential talent. All credit to the selection teams and musical advisers who not only have found some brilliant performers but also given them decent stuff to perform with. My guess is that Paul, Jacob and Casey won't sleep so well. In fact by the time this goes out one of them may have done. Lauren may get a wake-up call too.
Jacob ♪8½ ☼6
Once you stop giggling at the white wires wiggling out of the white suit it gets easier to concentrate! He kicked off the show with Man In The Mirror which is probably appropriate as if he could look at himself he would have realised that the outfit made him look more than a bit ungainly. This was probably one of his best song choices, though, and he was well advised. The support from what at times looked like a double act with Sayeeda seemed a bit unfair but I guess it'll all even out through the night.
Haley ♪10 ☼10
Piece Of My Heart. Another brilliant song choice. This was a fabulous performance. Loved it. Whereas Jacob needed Sayeeda, Haley needed no-one and left them all standing anyway. One of the best AI performances in my view.
Casey ♪6½ ☼7½
Have You Ever Heard The Rain. Almost too much like John Fogerty's voice, though. A nice arrangement but I wasn't convinced by some of his additions later. Competent but I wonder how it'll go down?
Lauren ♪8 ☼7
Natural Woman. I honestly can't think of anything to say about this. It was OK. She hit the right notes but it was just boring.
James ♪9 ☼7
While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Another strangely soporific performance. It was pretty predictable - the high screech at the end. Some passion and well sung otherwise but just a B-side in my book this week.
Scotty ♪10 ☼10
My goodness, two star performances tonight! That's All Right, Mama worked so well for him. He enjoyed himself and entertained the audience who really went with it too. This guy is a natural on the stage and could be difficult to beat after that performance. Not, maybe, as cool as Haley's but definitely commercial.
Pia ♪9 ♪8
River Deep, Mountain High. Not at all an easy track to do and this was Pia showing what she can do when she starts to move around instead of ballad-delivery. Pretty damn good but . . . and I hate to do the but bit . . . there's something by way of character still missing. She's a little hard-edged, both to look at and to listen to. Excellent notes, rhythm, spot on in many ways that would have left most people way behind but you don't get to know how she feels and get left with the impression you've been served by some good, talented but still one of the girls behind the expensive make-up counters in a department store.
Stefano ♪8 ☼7
When A Man Loves A Woman. I wonder if he tried just a little too hard on this number. It should just roll along but he tended to throw it at us. Good presentation and showed a great range that could actually have more appeal than Jacob's lilting stuff with whom he's competing here. Neither seem like winners yet, though. In a tough week, he may struggle against so many first class contenders.
Paul ♪7 ☼8
Can't remember the title of the Johnny Cash number but he gave us some manic version that showed off his competence and audience management well. Whilst he obviously had fun I'm not so sure he made that good an impression - possibly the poorest song choice of the night and I'm getting a bit tired of the same tone in his voice now.