The last thinning of the bigger flock occurs tonight. Two out of eight are going home for good. Tonight there are fewer performers to hide a bad performance behind, less hope that the other girl might get fewer votes than you. It’s the last chance to get in the Summer Camp that pays you to attend. Ryan is down with the printed tee shirts and casual slacks. He is wearing a watch that looks big enough to have a monitor in it, probably checking his hair out.

Amanda Avila is one of the girls that have slipped by a couple of times. Tonight she chooses a Tina Turner song, “River Deep, Mountain High”. Its pageant-style Tina-light. She doesn’t seem to actually feel the song. She gives it her all, but it seems like an amateur performance. She smiles and poses too much for this song. It’s about extremes, not shiny white teeth. Sometimes looking pretty will get you by, though, and there is probably worse to come. Randy and Simon agreed with me and Paula used one of those pat phrases she frequently uses. My brain clicks off when Paula speaks, but it did register it as Series Four, Wednesday March 08 pat phrase #1.

Ryan reminds us about the math: 8 minus 2 equals 6. Next up is the luckiest contestant to date, Janay Castine. She has skipped by the skin of her cute little teeth several weeks in a row. I’m not sure what this song is, but it is low key, almost monotone. When Janay ventures outside this small range she warbles and wobbles like a kid on a training bike. She is too green. Her bread isn’t baked yet. Her yeast is still rising. Even Paula notices her lack of pitch. Simon says a suitcase and an airplane ride are in her immediate future and if there is any fairness in the world, it will be so.

Carrie Underwood is back to bad ballad land tonight. She borders on country corners cute, but she’s wearing glittering breast shields that remind you she’s not a girl anymore. They glitter and gleam and sparkle like diamonds, but this performance doesn’t. This song is really hokey in the hokiest of ways. It’s so down home, I‘m craving cornbread and bible stories. She moans her way through “Because You Love Me” and I don’t believe a word of it. The judges can’t shut up about Carrie, but Simon says she should be in the top 12, but her song choice was bad tonight essentially, and that her look is outdated. Think Hee-Haw 1976 with extra glittery breast shields. Maybe she’s just going retro and is really way ahead of this pack. Anything is possible, but I don’t think so.

Vonzell Solomon talks about daydreaming too much. I think she’s been doing a lot of that on stage up to this point. She chooses the classic “Respect” and it is her best performance to date. During the hard to reach notes, she goes flat, but she works it from start to finish. I’m not sure about the cowgirl outfit combined with the song and neither is Simon. The performance wasn’t stand out, but it was probably better than two other girls tonight. Simon talks about the outfit more than the performance. He’s thinking of rope burns when he mentions all she needs are lassoos.

Nadia chooses a great old song, first sung by Otis Redding and later by Three Dog Night, “Try a Little Tenderness”. She works it in two different rhythms. First, she’s slow and sultry, and then she rocks it to the max. Her skirt and top are as hot as she is. She knows what she can work, and she does it to the max. Definitely top 12 and maybe final three. It’s hard to say that so early on, because the favored so easily can become the detested later on. What if every performance is great. Will we become bored with her like we did with Latoya London? Time will tell, but she’s a front-runner at this point.

Next up is Lindsey Cardinale. She talks about her emotional trip through the competition. She better pay attention to her singing. She chooses Arrowsmith’s “Don’t Want to Miss A Thing”. It’s a big ballad rock anthem and she shows off the deeper, stronger parts of her voice. This song has become the most often abused song on American Idol. It’s OK, but not great. Simon insults Lindsey and Ryan at the same time and gets water thrown on him by Ryan.

Next is Mikalah Gordon. It there was any doubt that she was playing Barbara up until now, she affirms it by trying to sing, “Somewhere”. She chooses a key and register lower than most dogs can hear. I’m betting there is going to be a big blowout near the end and there is. She finally achieves voice levels that humans can hear. It’s an amateurish attempt at a grown up song. Diana Ross would scratch her eyes out. She could stay or go. I don’t feel much one way or another. She was better when you either loved or hated her. This mediocre crap is boring. I totally ignored what the judges said. I was opening M&M’s and the rattling bag drowned them out. Try it. The show goes smoother and tastes better too.

Jessica Sierra was the standout last week. She is this years and this week’s surprise. She goes straight for the eight bar blues and “The Boys are Back in Town.” She stays on top of it and works the song and the stage. Her knockers, framed by her top and jacket, have never looked bigger, firmer, or fresher and Simon is so dazed by them, he can‘t comment. They could probably get a contract on their own tonight. Those aside, I’ll say she sang her song great and could draw an audience easily. She’s a good entertainer and should make the final 12.

That’s it. Last Dance. Last Chance. A few good singers, some mediocre talent, and couple of spectacular knockers. Tomorrow night we’ll know the final twelve and next week it will finally be boys against girls. Preliminaries are over and Season 4 is here.