The audience is loud tonight, one week away from the finale. This evening, Clive Davis joins the judges. He will be producing the winner’s record and also picked one of the songs that the contestants will sing tonight. The judges also picked a song for the contestants, and each contestant chose a song himself or herself, thereby everyone sings three songs tonight.

Vonzell starts off with Clive’s choice “I Know I’ll Never Love This Way Again”. It’s a true diva song, not the first that Vonzell has tried out in the competition, and probably not her best. It’s hard to sing it and then make it unique, but she gets there with the last verse and chorus especially. Clive liked it except for her smile; Randy thought it a little pitchy. Paula says she started pitchy but ended up great. Simon says she looked nervous, but she has two more songs. She did OK. It was hard to hold that one in the road. It veered off a couple of times, but made it home safely with everyone singing on key.

Clive picked “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” for Bo to sing. This is where we find out how big a range Elton John has and most people don’t. Bo really needs to drop the cheap sunglasses. They make him look suspicious, like the guy most likely to be searched at the airport. He is sticking to his lower register and singing pretty damn good, but I’m not convinced that Bo wants to be the Idol myself. I think he smells a better deal out there. He sings the song great, but he doesn’t look the part. Everyone likes it including Simon who says it was great and better than when he does the rocker thing.

For Carrie, Clive has picked the Roy Orbison / k.d. lang song, “Crying”. This song is hard to sing also, but requires emotion as much as technique to be successful. Carrie has the pipes. She is note perfect and really has a pleasant voice, but she seems a little detached from the emotion. I’ve seen k.d. lang fall to the stage and beat it with her fist during this song, but Carrie is not giving it up. To each his own. Carrie has a great voice and will grow into a great performer. She just doesn’t have the life experience or acting ability to convince others of the emotion involved in the songs she sings. It’ s just a matter of experience. She’s got the pipes, she just needs some history.

This round is contestant’s choice and Vonzell has chosen “Chain of Fools” a soul classic. It’s Baby V’s chance to cut loose and show some stuff. She does a damn good job of it too. Fantasia recorded this song with Clive in a different arrangement. Clive says Vonzell missed the soul in the song (meaning he doesn‘t want to make another soul record this year), but Randy says it was the one of the best vocals of the competition. Paula loved it. Simon says she has the likeability factor, the x factor that makes people love a performer, note perfect or not. I agree. Baby V is just as capable of being the next American Idol as the other two. She’s a natural and will only improve with experience.

Bo’s choice is to sing “Within a Dream” without the band. It’s a fairly dramatic choice and a good chance to show what his voice is or isn’t capable of. Amazingly, he pulls it off. Not easy, all alone up there on stage. Bo lovers are probably wet in several places after this performance and Bo haters are probably still hating. Clive says he took a real risk and that he pulled it off, and that he and Bo are going to have a really special time making a record together. Randy says his style is what got him there and that he is the bomb. Paula loves him. Simon says he may just have put 34 musicians out of work. Not really, since Bo works the band better than any of the others in addition to working without it best. I like this idea. Maybe all the contestants should sing one song without the band, just like in the early auditions. Bare bones tell a lot.

Carrie has chosen an Air Supply song, “Out of Nothing at All”. It might be a great song in her head, but it isn’t doing anything for her here. It builds like a big rock ballad, but it’s not what Carrie sings best. She seems to be yelling a lot. I didn’t care for it, but Clive loved it. Randy and Paula loved it. Simon says she was pushing it and sounded strained in the middle. I thought so too. Carrie has a pretty voice and this song did nothing to emphasize that. I don’t think Carrie is ever going to be a rocker chick, no matter what the pose.

Simon picked for Vonzell to sing the Donna Summer disco hit, “Radio” for the judge’s choice. Once again, it’s just her kind of song. It’s bouncy, full of energy, and just like her. Clive says Simon picked just the right song for her and she did great. Randy loved it and said she was having fun. Paula agreed and Simon says he agrees with everything Clive said. It was all hurried, so as to not stir up too much interest in the producer's non-choice.

Bo is singing, “Satisfaction”, Paula’s pick for him. Just the idea makes me laugh out loud. What can you say? Bo Bo’ed it up and hopped all over the stage doing his best. He slowed down a verse to mix it up and then rocked it to the end. Bo is a performer. I wish they’d take away the mike stand, but otherwise Bo is fun to watch. Clive makes it obvious Bo is his choice. Randy says Bo is on his way, no matter what happens. Paula says one more week for free and then you’re going to have to pay to see Bo. Simon says it was bit of lite fluff, but I say that song should be Simon’s anthem.

Randy has chosen for Carrie to sing, “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” of Shania Twain and truck commercial fame. It’s not Carrie’s best song. She sings the low parts flat and why isn’t she wearing a hot-hot-hot Shania type outfit instead of jeans. Clive says she nailed it. Randy says she had fun up there like he might be sorry he picked that song. Paula says she is proud of her. Simon says the first part of the song didn’t sound like her(awful), but the second part did(better) and will be enough to send her to the finals (he hopes, even though it sucked).

It’s all a clean-up maneuver for the judges tonight, trying to align their next interest and make their comments sound heart felt, even though they decided what to say hours ago. Clive wants Bo. Simon wants Bo or Carrie. No one wants to make another soul record this year. Bo has all the experience a musician singer needs to be successful. He has a masculine, yet nicely toned voice, but not the biggest range. Carrie has the best voice and probably the biggest range, but none of the experience either singing or in life to make it seem real. Vonzell has less than perfect pitch, but the ability to take a song from beginning to end and make a whole thing out of it, and make you feel entertained. Who will be the next American Idol? It’s not obvious who should be or exactly why they should be this year. The dilemma is three possibilities with no two having anything in common style-wise. Their gifts are all unique. Who will be the next American Idol? Hell if I know. A longshot won the Derby this year. Anything is possible.