The news is Mario is out and Nikko is back. It is not the first time we’ve had an early round switch about, but it certainly got a lot of publicity for saying absolutely nothing. If Mario has nothing else, he’s got an agent - a well-connected agent that is sending him to every talk show that will have him. Regis and Kelly Lee, all the entertainment gossip shows, and Letterman Top10 later tonight. It might be a big mystery, but I bet it came down to signing those contracts that essentially give away all rights to your life for at least a year, with not a lot of profit unless you sell big, and if you don‘t, then bye bye. Having a first record that doesn’t sell well is not a given career ender under some contracts, but Mr. Idol says put out or get out. It’s easier to build a career from the ground up than to revive an ousted Idol’s dream. You could assume that Mario has signed other contracts in the past. He sang backup for Michael Jackson. Maybe he got that contract after a sleepover at Neverland and he‘s going to testify next week. There’s a rumor for you. Maybe he was just an Idol mole and helping generate more useless publicity. Who cares? He was on my go home early list anyhow. That hat! Those shoes! He’d have to dress like Paula and sing something from Angry Inch to make me listen again.

Finally, it’s every person of every gender for himself or herself. I also say put out or get out. The theme is 60’s songs. The show is on. No saving anything for later. Jessica isn’t saving anything for later, but she knows “You Better Shop Around”. The song fits her like glove and she sings the hell out of it. You hear the best parts of her voice. She misses a few notes here and there but I think she rocks. The little warble at the end was great. The men judges are the real bitches tonight. Paula is an angel. The men gripe like maiden aunts with muddy floors. Paula beams. One xanax later, I understand Paula at her deepest depths. Jessica did rock and Simon and Randy sucked.

Anwar Robinson is next singing a Burt Bachrach tune, “A House is Not a Home”. It starts off slow as usual for Anwar’s performances. It’s not his best, nor certainly his most exciting performance. It’s bordering on boring. He reaches for the big end, but I fell asleep before he got there. It’s just too tenuous and tender a song to show off with. I give Anwar his first B for Boring. What a waste of four minutes of stage time. All the judges’ comments just extend the boredom further. Everyone has a bad night sometime. For his sake, Anwar better hope his fan base carries him through tonight. His performance didn’t.

Mikalah goes for the old Dusty Springfield song, “Son of a Preacher Man”. She sounds like a pair of socks got lost in her throat. She grinds this song out like the garbage disposal. It’s off-key, off the beat, and off kilter. Simon says, “I think your confidence exceeded your ability.” I made him say that through strong mental imagery. Really, I did.

Constantine goes for the old Chicago hit, “You Made Me So Very Happy”. His eyes look a little glazed to me. I know what made him so very happy. We finally see that Constantine did attend Music School and knows how to sing on key. He could possibly be good, but I wouldn’t buy the record. The Jim Morrison school of dressing just isn’t doing it for me either. Does questionable hygiene equal cool? If you knew the person had actually worn the jeans for a couple of weeks instead of just trying to look like it, would it make a difference, fashion-wise? What’s that key around his neck go to? Too much aura, not enough content.

Lindsey Cardinale talks a big game, but sings a mediocre song, “Knock on Wood”. The song is mediocre, but the performance is horrible. She’s singing in a key that makes my throat hurt to listen to. Good music is all about tone, and she just doesn’t have it for me. It was low and flat. She’s lucky to have made it to the top 12.

Anthony Federov, every mother’s favorite chooses to sing every grandmother’s favorite, Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”. Excuse me while I inject some insulin. His performance sounds like a choirboy on a cruise ship. Call it sweet if you like. I call it saccharin and that stuff upsets my stomach. The judges hated it more than me and that’s a lot. He reminds me of the little chick that Foghorn Leghorn tutored. The round headed one with big glasses. Book smart, but not ready for the street.

Nadia also chose a Dusty Springfield song, “Believe Me“. You know there were only 7 bands in the 60’s. It’s true, I swear. Dusty Springfield, and six others. They switched members around a lot. I think Nadia has been in a few drag bars along the way. She performs at least as well as Venetia Blinds and sings a hell of a lot better. She works the camera like an angry animal and it follows her as though afraid of her…and it should be. She has full control. My only complaint might be in the way she approaches every song with so much power. Is Nadia capable of soft and pretty? We’ll find out later on maybe.

Bo Bice chooses Blood, Sweat, and Tears’ “Spinning Wheel.” He eats this song like it was breakfast food. His deep masculine voice suits this song perfectly and he sings it great. He understands you must either feel the song, or look like you do. Great performance. Bo comes off as authentic, where Constantine seems like he woke up on the sidewalk out front just as they needed a slot filled.

Vonzell Solomon chooses a Dion Warwick classic, “Anyone That Had A Heart”. It’s one of those songs that needs a perfect voice with Presence, like Dion Warwick has. Vonzell, though OK in spots, does not have the pitch or the presence for this song. You can see where she shines in spots. I think Vonzell needs a lot of practice is all, but there’s little time for practice at this point. It’s time for the one’s that have already practiced.

Scott Savol finally picks a song that doesn’t bore us. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” is at least up-tempo. It’s good, on key and he is showing some power in his voice that he hasn’t up till now. It is his best performance so far and he’ll get votes and make it till next week for sure.

Carrie Countrygirl continues coasting casually. “When Will I Be Loved” hasn’t been handled that roughly since last summer at tryouts in Branson . I’d say theme park, but you’d say karoke and we’d both be right. It stunk. Simon argues with Randy and Paula just because he’s bitchy. He probably thinks he could date Carrie, after the competition of course.

Seemingly lucky Nikko decides to do the Michael Jackson song, “I Want You Back“. Maybe he was hoping the title was true. Some people understand timing and some just don’t. So much for luck. The whole thing seems like a shambles. A man impersonating a boy that became a man that impersonated a boy type icky. It’s jumpy and off key. Bad song choice and worse performance. Nothing Nikko did tonight made me think fate was working in our favor when he was returned to the show.

That’s it. I couldn’t get excited about any of them yet. Tonight certainly wasn’t a great round of performances. Bo and Nadia were the best. Scott and Jessica were worthy. The rest better pack your bags and hope you’re not Seacrested back home tomorrow.