Bizarre kick-off with the people who've been voted off returning to do some rock chick number with Paul showing off his jacket again. Odd bunch and although Pia did her best to steal the limelight she may now have wished she hadn't made her tinny and rather off key voice so obvious at times. I was trying to figure out who I'd like to see around still in place of Jacob and would probably have chosen Thia or Ashton with a better hairstyle.
This week is easier to predict: Stefano or Jacob should go. James, despite the performance, may not have the support although he's never been in the bottom two yet which is interesting.
Scotty ♪9 ☼7
Great reception from the crowd. Gentle, pretty simple song that didn't challenge him at all or tell us anything more about him. Professionally presented but not something we'll look back and say 'Hey remember when Scotty sang..." He'll be safe, unless everyone else brings something remarkable out of the box, which is pretty unlikely. That didn't seem like a 21st Century track either - could have been anything from the 40s on, I guess! I think he's cruising but that won't get a bundle of extra votes that he may need in future shows to win.
James ♪8 ☼9
Super performance of the Muse track which got great reviews from the judges. Remarkable ability and he's looking like a strong contender now. Good move to pick something that would bring out the fact that he can sing as well as scream although I could have done without the latter. No-one can accuse him of cruising and that was one we will remember. Shades of Adam Lambert, although still shades as he lacks that ability to be totally original still.
Haley ♪7½ ☼8
Rolling in the Deep
Beautiful. Looks great and handles tracks like this really well. She's still not an obvious contender to win and has been losing out on votes for a couple of weeks despite brilliant performances. If she can hang on I still reckon she could surprise everyone, especially if she can survive to the last four and split Lauren's fans. She has something special and a natural talent that didn't really come across in this number but it was a familiar and definitely current track which may help keep her in.
Jacob ♪7 ☼7
Dance with my father again
He seemed to be put off my something technical at the start but controlled that well which is to his credit. He was doing pretty well by not doing the big wobble or scream and I was beginning to think that maybe he stood a chance of getting further. Then he did the scream and it was all over the place. Not very good and I can do without the emotional link stuff which is like too obvious however genuinely intended. This guy has a nice enough voice and what seems a pleasant personality but he's no 2011 superstar and I don't see him filling a stadium or headlining anything more than a Bingo convention or something for the old people. I wish he would go now.
Casey ♪6½ ☼8½
Hard to breathe
This guy loves his music and I don't actually think he means to surprise us but he still does. Vocally he has a cool style and the scat stuff is great and his character is pretty damn adorable. The move to kiss J-lo will definitely go down in Idol history and makes you wonder how many artists would have had to nerve to do that, and so well-timed. For all the show, though. this was an odd performance which I'm not sure many will identify with very easily as it was neither one thing nor the other and that whilst we're on the cusp of a movable feast whether he can capture that movable vote I'm not so sure. At times he was also way off note too and not in a way he should've been. Odd one. No idea how he'll do but my guess is he'll still be ahead of Stefano.
Stefano ♪6½ ☼8
I Just Can't Stop
Once the track got going he found what he should have been doing all the time, a young, upbeat number and he moved around well. He will appeal to the girls although some slightly off-putting looks to the camera. Generally, though, still seems an amateur to me and he hasn't brought home that special track I would have expected of him by now. His past performances have been good note-wise which this wasn't either, probably because he's simply not ready to do more than one thing at a time which the winner needs if this show is to have any meaning. Thereagain, Kris won the year before last. This could be his last performance after several weeks scrabbling for votes.
Lauren ♪9½ ☼9½
Born To Fly
That was great. OK, so it was country but she brought her own style to it and is looking better and better every week. As the judges said, she doesn't know how good she is and that lack of self-confidence could be all that's stopping her beating Scotty & James. She has to be safe this week and is now well back as a Top 3 final contender, now ahead of Haley.