down to the final four… this is where it gets really interesting… or really where my interest fades… next week the contestants get to go home, apparently as heroes, to get their first real taste of the paparazzi lifestyle they think they want to live… fortunately for them, it will only last for maybe a month or two after the end of the show, if previous “idols” are any indication… anyway, i’d bet the producers are downright giddy to have 2 girls and 2 guys left as we square off to whittle it down to three… it just looks better for ratings…

they’ll each be singing two songs tonight… one that inspires them and one they’ve probably never heard before from the Leiber & Stoller songbook… and, as a special treat, Lady GaGa joins the mix as a guest mentor… fabuous… off we go…

now playing: All Around Me by Flyleaf

James… leading things off with the Soprano’s unofficial theme song, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey… because he’s never stopped believing… and how could he, really, the way the judges slurp him up each week… he begins with his most obnoxious cattle call to the audience yet, even calling Randy out to sing along… this song could go two distinct ways… one: he could match the soaring vocals previously matched only by Steve Perry himself… or two (my bet): he could refuse to be on key the whole time and just wait for the judges to stroke his ego for being fun and a rockstar… as it so happens it looks like we opted for the latter… Steven says it’s an indication of what’s to come and he did it right… J-Lo says it’s so great to listen to him and it was a really, really great job… Randy says it was great tribute to Journey, it was the highest degree of difficulty and [HE] DID IT!!!… please…

These little after-performance snippets reveal how little there is to these contestants… anyway, Ryan points out that Steven’s book is a best seller as predicted during last week’s pimping of the product and i spot Paul one of the season’s earlier losers in the audience… aw…

Haley… is singing a Michael Jackson song, Earth Song… and she hopes to capture the emotion of the original… i like her and all, but i’m going to guess no… this arrangement is quite stripped down and, just… off… yeah, there’s definitely something off about this performance… and the background singers come out if just to ground Haley’s screaming which she overdoes here… it works a lot but not when you do it a lot… anyway… J-Lo says she felt Haley’s feeling in the song, but James set the bar, but it wasn’t a good song choice… Randy says to keep it really, real and says she might not really want to win… she didn’t deliver it like Michael Jackson… Haley fights tears and fights back… Steven says they’re both wrong and the song showed that she can… not sure what she can, but she can… the judge’s table breaks into ridiculous confusion, Ryan fuels the fire, and J-Lo and Randy try to back pedal with a classic, “it’s not you, it’s me” approach… Haley stews…

Scotty… please don’t call him… ugh… why does Ryan insist on calling him Scotty the Body?… singing Alan Jackson’s When the World Stopped Turning and it rests in his lower register which makes it smooth sailing and he’s clearly moved by the lyrics, but he fights through it like a champ and doesn’t miss a beat or a note… they’ll probably say it was a safe move, but it was a Scotty song and that’s what he should do each week… Randy says it was a perfect song choice and he’s ready for superstardom… Steven says he saw Scotty almost lose and that passion is something to keep… J-Lo says she’s in love with him and applauds how much he thinks about each song and she almost breaks down into tears… it seems that the weight of all that’s going on is really hitting Scotty right now…

Lauren… man, Ryan just keeps getting creepier and creepier… Lauren is singing Anyway by Martina McBride, which i’ve never heard, but it appears we’ll have two God songs in a row… that’s a weird dress, but woah, she killed it… two times she took a note and ran it right up the flagpole… that was hot… that sealed it for me… best of the round… though i’m sure the judges give it to James… this was her best and the best of the night so far… Steven says she broke his heart and she delivered it like a blue plate special… J-Lo says she’s proud of her and she seems to be listening to what the judges say… a great, great vocal performance… Randy says America, Lauren is BACK IN IT TO WIN IT!… what was wrong with that performance? absolutely nothing…

now playing: God Is Enough by Lecrae

Ryan calls everyone out to the stage again and the judges take the opportunity to stab Haley in the throat one more time… and now we’re back with an introduction of Lady GaGa who decided to go with her Cruella DeVille look today… i just don’t get it…

Haley… hmm… Haley get bumped up to the front of the line, maybe to give James a better spot to close out the show… she’s singing I Who Have Nothing… and she’s doing well out of the gate and the song suits her well… she looks pretty ticked off… her dress may be off the shoulder, but the chips are most assuredly not… let them fall where they may, but she crushed that song… and got a standing ovation from the judges… J-Lo says this is why they’re so hard on her… it was amazing… one of the best performances of the year… Randy says she had a moment right here to put her (you guessed it) IN IT TO WIN IT… Haley rolls her eyes… Steven says it was classic Haley and she Reinharted herself into next week…

wait, are you serious? they really ARE moving James to the last spot? can they be any more biased? also, someone should explain to Haley that a 360 would point you back in the same direction… she probably meant 180, but who’s counting… anyway, Scotty’s turn…

Scotty… is singing Young Blood by The Coasters… Lady GaGa thinks he’s just so funny… he thinks she needs to wear pants… anyway… he’s casually strolling around the stage and through the crowd, saying what’s up to the cast-off section… it’s a fun song, but i don’t know that it was a great song… he did fine with it, but it’s kind of forgettable… Randy says we just saw both sides of a Scotty concert serious sometimes, fun other times… Steven says he made GaGa’s YaYa go LaLa… J-Lo says he’s really hit his stride and he needs to sprint to the finish line…

Lauren… is singing Trouble by Elvis… and there’s a question of whether or not she’ll sing the lyrics as written or not… she doesn’t want to call herself evil… well, she did and if it really was a big deal, why pick a song that says “I’m evil” about 25 times in 2 minutes?… weird… and i didn’t like that performance… she tanked… Steven says she’s not evil, but she’s a character… J-Lo says there was some “serious good performance there”… and she loved it… Randy says it was a fun side and out of her typical pop-country style… nice one… i’m not convinced, but the judges clearly want her to make it through and Haley to go home…

James… singing Love Potion No. 9… and it sounds nothing like the rehearsal… they’ve got some heavy guitar solos going on and they’re bathing him in lights before bathing him in praises… he jumps up on the podium and extends the ending before jumping off to pyrotechnics… Steven looks bored and disinterested, but i’m sure he’ll have wonderful things to say about him later… J-Lo says he can sing anything and it was a really great performance… Randy says he’s in it to win it and that was hot too… Steven says what he can’t do with his voice, he did tonight…

now playing: For What It’s Worth by Sidewalk Prophets

so, it’s clear who the judges want to go home (Haley), but it doesn’t quite make sense to me… and i’m going to ignore their wishes and say that Haley and James stand at the bottom of the voting and JAMES goes home… or maybe i’m crazy… what do you think?

peace… love… bdg…