Tonight's theme is Then and Now. A song from the year of their birth and a song off the current Billboard charts, some of which are the same. Someone needs to clarify the definition and use it in a sentence. Ryan is wearing a thin tie with a wide lapel jacket. Very little warm-up talk. Elliott is up first and we're off.

Elliott's song from year of birth, 1978, is “The Lights of Broadway” sung by George Benson that year. It's a good song for Elliott. He uses his voice fully, sings on key and with energy. He is trying to be more dynamic and exciting and skips ahead of the music in one place, but recovers immediately. It was a good song and a good performance, but was it Idol material? Randy and Paula liked it, but Simon thinks Elliott is lucky to have another song to sing tonight. I think it was good, but it wasn't great. It will hold him a place, but won't move him ahead of anyone in the game. It's time for moves that move one ahead of the pack as it grows ever smaller.

Paris is nearly dressed like an adult. She is singing Prince's “Kiss” from 1988. It's an odd choice of song and takes a bit of nasty energy to make it work, energy that I'm not sure that Paris possesses. Or maybe she does. She thinks she wants to dance in the break, and I do too. Paris touched my monkey. It worked for me. As odd as it was, it showed me a side of Paris that I liked. It was fun and young. I wanted more. Simon said it was “scratchy and annoying”, but he's a big old crank. I used to think I was until he came along. I have no more guilt.

Chris has always wanted to be in spotlight since he was born in 1979. He is singing a hard rocking Styx song, “Renegade”. It is one of those yelling, screaming rock songs right up his alley. He sounds good and the song fits. He could probably put it out again tomorrow. All the judges, including grumpy Simon loved it. They all seem to want Chris to win. Maybe they've made up their mind.

Katharine McPhee is strapped into her outfit tonight and says no more wardrobe malfunctions. Aww, that was so much fun. Her song is ”Take A Look at Me Now”. She is not evoking the sadness that Phil Collins did with this song. The bridge with the wailing in it was even worse. This might have been the worst thing she has done this entire series. She warbles off-key and rambles about like she is unsure of herself. It was a mess. Even Paula noticed. Simon again says she is lucky to have a second song. There is confusion at the judges table, but no big surprise.

Taylor has had every color hair in the book. He is singing “Play That Funky Music White Boy”. If you can sing two notes, you too can sing this song. He does get to act like Taylor and is wearing a nice paisley shirt that I think I was bidding for on eBay last week. He is doing the full Taylor act, miminal level singing and dancing and jerking around including a fall. It's an audience favorite just as Taylor has been all season. You have to like him, even if you don't care for his singing or style. I wouldn't buy the record, but a lot of people have said they would. Who knows what makes a Pop star? If Kelly Osborne, Ashlee Simpson, and Lindsay Lohan can make records, Taylor should have it easy.

They have some filler in the middle of the show and try to sell a “best of” Idol compilation. Elliott's song off the Billboard charts is “Home” by Micheal Buble. It's a song that sells itself and Elliott sits on a stool and just sings it straight on. It was good, tender, and heart felt. Simon questions singing the lyric, “I want to go home” tonight, but unless Paris really brings it home, Elliott is safe another week.

Paris is singing Mary J. Blige, “To Be Without You”. She is singing all adult songs tonight, and is the first Idol I know to have been bleeped. Paris is trying to be more adult, whether you believe it or not. Paris has lots of talent and enough time to sort it out and get it right. Whether she wins Idol or not, she has a future in music. Both songs she sang tonight required a bit of extra energy to pull them off and both times I think she did it. Maturity is only going to make Paris a better performer and singer. She has the lowest fan base of all the performers, but anything could change at this point.

Chris's second song is “I Dare You” by Shinedown. It's another screaming type where he makes the ugly face and the veins stand out. He stays on key, but I hate this kind of screamy singing. Maybe the kids liked it, but it didn't do a thing for me. He has voice problems, blah blah blah. The judges didn't like it, but are sure to not diss him. He is their bald-headed golden child this week.

Katharine is singing “Black Horse and A Cherry Tree”. It's a signature song for K.T. Tunstall and I'm not sure it's the best choice for Katie. She is laying/sitting/rolling on the floor and is the first Idol I can remember to sing the entire song on the floor. She makes it interesting and if you have to pick off the charts, I guess you should pick something fun. Two drummers onstage helped with the look of the whole thing. It was odd, different, and OK I guess. It just seems like an artist's song, not a singer's song to me. The judges all liked it, including Mr. Grumps. What do I know? Paula is being extremely boring tonight. Not one outburst or wacko review. What is up?

Taylor is singing George Harrison's “Something”. Yeah it's on the current charts. Surprising huh? Anyhow, he doesn't sing it very well He mixes up Ray Charles and Joe Cocker and switches styles back and forth. You have to sell the song and not just in the last chorus. I'm not buying. One of the prettiest songs in the world sung in a mediocre fashion. Simon says he is a very, very good singer. Now I know what happened to Paula's meds. I like Taylor, but he isn't an amazing talent. So far, who is on this series?

Who goes now? According to fan base, Paris probably. I liked what she did tonight and thought she was as good if not better than the rest. There are only five to choose from. It's more about style than talent at this point. Who will make the best Idol? Is it time for a rocker Idol? Last year was country girl Idol, so the opposite of country girl is rocker boy, but is that how it works? Who are all the fast dialers calling for? There are no clear winners in this thing yet. Stay tuned.