Okay, with "American Idol" airing its only hour-long Tuesday performance episode for a long stretch, I'm gonna offer up some quick thoughts on the top 8 women while "Lost" buffers in the DVR...
As Simon and Ryan said (and as Adam Bonin at Throwing Things likes to point out), this is one of the most dangerous weeks of the season, where each contestant has the worst odds for going home until Top 4 night of the finals. Of the 8 performances, there were two complete duds in Katie Stevens wavering, sharp, froggy "Breakaway" and Paige Miles' fumbling "Smile," but as we know, it's often better to be bad on "Idol" than to be mediocre, and if either of those two have any kind of fanbase, they'll be dialing like crazy.
Crystal Bowersox was once again clearly the best of the night, and talent-wise the class of the competition. She picked what could have been an incredibly predictable song for her in Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason," but she changed it up with the electric guitar and her phrasing and poise and, as the judges say, made it her own. I don't know that Simon's right that she's the one to beat, because I'm still not sure her style will have wide enough appeal, but she's in no danger of going home anytime soon.
Lilly Scott should also be safe, though I'm surprised they felt the need to give her the pimp spot tonight. Usually, that spot in week 3 of the semis goes to a singer the producers want to help make it to the finals - and who they feel needs that help - and I had assumed Lily was one of the female frontrunners. So either her vote totals aren't as impressive as I had thought, or the producers just want to goose her to give Crystal some obvious competition. I thought Lilly was very good, but she tends to come across to me as a bit more predictable and affected than Crystal does. Still, she's safe.
As for the rest? Didi Benami finally got her act together, picked up her guitar and did a lovely, sultry rendition of "Rhiannon." Hopefully it wasn't too little, too late for her. After being slightly overpraised by the judges last week on the basis of a single power note, Siobhan Magnus was actually much stronger technically this week on "House of the Rising Sun," I thought, but the judges were for some reason not that impressed, and I'm worried about the lukewarm praise. I'm also worried for Katelyn Epperly, who didn't get the praise she deserved last week and then was weirdly karaoke tonight. And Lacey Brown is still by far my least favorite of the baby doll-voiced trio of herself, Lilly and Didi.
Ideally, Lacey and one of Katie or Pagie would go home (one from the Mediocre and Forgettable column, one from the Bad and Deservingly ousted column), but the only two I feel completely confident in are Crystal (based on track record) and Lilly (based on the power of the pimp spot).
What did everybody else think?