We're down to the top five on "American Idol," but unfortunately, after Tuesday night's performances, we might as well be back at the audition stage of the hit reality show.
You know when quasi-judge Paula Abdul resorts to the old "you had fun up there" that things aren't looking or sounding so good for some of the contestants.
Elliott Yamin kicked off the show with "On Broadway." He was flat and lucky that the producers cut down the songs considerably. As Simon Cowell said, he was "lucky he had two songs tonight."
The Virginia homeboy followed that performance up with "Home" by Michael Buble. To put it mildly, it was not a very good song choice, unless he was trying to put us all to sleep. And I am a big Yamin fan. Not tonight, unfortunately.
Chris Daughtry started out strong with Styx's "Renegade." Randy Jackson repeated his common reaction of "America, we got a hot one tonight."
I wasn't so impressed. But Daughtry, so far, was the best.
"That was 100 times better than the other performances tonight," said Cowell.
Daughtry followed up with Shinedown's "I Dare You."
Host Ryan Seacrest asked if fatigue was a factor at this point in the competition.
"I'm singing more than I've even sang in my life," Daughtry replied.
Yelling might have been a more appropriate description, and again, I'm a Daughtry fan. And again, not tonight.
Young Paris Bennett pretty much sealed her spot in the bottom two Wednesday night with a god-awful rendition of Prince's "Kiss." She rebounded very well with Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You," however.
It was a good song choice, but will it be enough to keep her around for another week?
Taylor Hicks was terrible in his first song of the night. His "Play That Funky Music" was as bad as any dinner cruise performance I've ever seen. It's hard to believe that this is the same show that launched Kelly Clarkson's career.
Hicks did his best Ray Charles-as-George Harrison impression for his second song, a not-bad rendition of "Something" by The Beatles. It was better than "Funky Music," and on this night, one of the better performances.
But as Simon so rightly pointed out, Hicks managed to get "Something," a 30-year-old song, in a contemporary hit category. How did that happen? Well, the Beatles Box Set is on the charts.
In her first performance, the usually stellar-sounding Katharine McPhee was way off with Phil Collins' "Against All Odds." Tonight she needed a wardrobe malfunction, like last week, to set her apart from the group.
The beauty followed that up with a barefoot appearance where she basically mopped the floor by writhing around on her knees. Not sure what that was all about. Maybe after her first song she wanted to appeal to the vast numbers of foot fetish groupies for votes, I don't know.
"I love the choreography and the intimacy," said Abdul. Read: "Not so good."
Jackson said Cowell liked the toes, which were painted baby blue to match her shirt. Come to think of it, McPhee's toes were the most interesting thing on this quite bizarre episode of "American Idol."
On a night when Ryan Seacrest gave the best performance, it's going to be hard to choose which one of these five finalist will get the boot.
As for the judges, Simon once again was the only voice of reason. Cowell speaks the truth. Abdul is lucky to have a job, and as sportscaster Greg Gumbel told me by phone tonight regarding Jackson, "I don't think any adult should start a sentence with the word 'Yo.'"
Yeah. What he said!
For my money, the bottom two will be Hicks and Bennett, and Paris, as Supertramp would sing, will "Take The Long Way Home" come Wednesday. She's the youngest, and most voters know she's got a long life and a long career ahead of her. No offense, Paris. You've done well.
If I'm right, to keep on the musical theme, as the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson sang, "Don't worry baby/Everything will work out all right."
We haven't heard the last of Bennett.
"American Idol" airs on FOX, which is owned by the parent company of FOXNews.com.
Respond to Mike | Grrr! Lexicon
VIDEO: Watch Mike's "Real Deal" Web cast.