How many costume changes do you have prepared for this edition of Idol? It's Diana Ross night so you best come prepared. She is still working to sell a record or two some forty years plus into her career. They call it mentoring, but I call it the trade-off to get your face on the number one show in America while you try to sell product. That's what Idol is all about and Diana Ross is the perfect person to push it. She's got plenty of experience at pushing product and people at times. The original Diva.

Brandon Rogers is up first and lots of talk about nothing happens before he finally sings “You Can't Hurry Love”. It is on key barely, but boring as heck. Brandon doesn't have the it factor for me. He forgets the words in part of the song and where he was in the song, not adding to his lack of individuality. Randy said he sang the last two notes good and I'm not sure even that much. If boring is good, he was great. I think he'll never move beyond background singer. The judges didn't think he was very impressive either. A waste of a performance. A beg for another chance is not acceptable after that much boringness. I wish we could send home four more this week.

Melinda Doolittle has to answer a question before performing. She thinks the hardest part of Idol is the high heels and the dresses. With a voice and talent like hers, it would be. I hope she gave Diana a few pointers during their mentoring session. She is going to sing “Home” from The Wiz, not my favorite song in a long list of those available. It is dramatic and Melinda sings it great, but it's a strange song out of all of the possibilities. It's a big build-up, dramatic ballad with a big note at the end, but not from my favorite Diana Ross era. Anyhow, Melinda is a pro, maybe the most controlled singer ever on Idol. Paula is ecstatic and her praise makes Melinda cry. Simon did not dress up, unless wearing your undershirt is dressing up these days. He says she made a boring song interesting.

Chris Sligh and Diana have similar hair. He is going to sing “Endless Love” and do it his way. Diana wants him to sing the melody more closely as written. Kids. They never listen and want to change everything. They also have no clue what the good songs are in the list. This song may suck worse than than Melinda's choice and I'm tired of being nice about song selection. What a piece of crap song out of the list of hundreds of great, soulful possibilities. The way he is singing it has little to do with the original. Kids. Damn them. They never listen and they make me feel older. Randy says it was a mess for him. Paula is being so coherent and on point it is scary. Simon is totally disappointed with the performance and the arrangement. Me too. Kids. They never listen.

Gina Glocksen at least picked a good song. “Love Child” was a big hit at the time, but it probably means less today than then. Diana suggests that Gina concentrate on her annunciation, which is sort of the opposite of singing rock. Gina has a good voice, but it is a white girl rocker voice more than a soul singer style. She does a pretty good job, but some of the high notes hurt my ears they were so off-key. It was so out of her style, she spent a lot of energy holding it in the road and missed at times. Paula is still coherent and Simon thinks it was a middle-pack performance. Forgettable.

Sanajaya Malakar got in the Top 12 on some fluke of the voting gods and goddesses. This is not the first skinny, feminine boy that Diana has ever mentored. Maybe she can put some pep in his step. “Louder Boy! Sing dammit!” is what I hoped she said. He is daring to pick her signature song or at least one of them. She has one for every decade going back to the 60's. “Ain't No Mountain High Enough” has never had a weaker beginning. I have to give the make-up artist credit for getting the Ms. Ross look just right on Sanjaya. Michael will be putting a hit out. The performance was like ordering Wild Turkey and getting weak tea instead. Or bad water from a risky source. Randy says Sanjaya could win Hair Idol. Not if I was voting. Not even. Uh uh. No Way Girl.

Haley Scarnato is next. She also got through on a fluke split vote and Sabrina went home. Everyone gets a clean slate tonight though. Haley is singing “Missing You”. The original emotion was about the death of Marvin Gaye. Haley has her own meanings. Diana says Haley has a better studio voice than live. What is missing in Haley's version? The arrangement is identical to the original. What is missing is any feeling of real emotion and a strained sound to most of the notes. And the words. Another word forgetter. Unimpressive. That should have been tonight's theme. Unimpressive, off-key, forgetting the words. Simon didn't think it was that bad and that makes Haley cry. Simon encourages her to get control of her nerves, that she didn't do that bad. In comparison to the others, she wasn't much worse. What a way to judge. Set the bar _____ lower, please.

Phil Stacey is singing one of the duets Diana sang with Marvin Gaye. He feels a lot more confident this week he says. Phil has a habit of starting too weak. He almost does it tonight. “I'm Going to Make You Love Me” is a great song, but it can not be sung better than the original. It's too easy to make the comparison. Phil actually does a much better job on the second half of the song. It takes him a while to get in gear. He finishes in high gear. He reminds me of the blue-eyed soul of Michael Bolton more than Motown, though. It's not my cup of tea. I still prefer the original and wish he had picked a different song.

The one I've been waiting for is next. Lakisha Jones has the most natural abilities and though she is not as polished as Melinda, I think she got more soul of the old school style. I couldn't choose between them though and would love to hear them sing together. Maybe that will work out before the season ends. She is singing the Billie Holiday song “God Bless the Child” from the movie “Lady Sings the Blues”. Lakisha's nickname is KiKi. Lakisha says she had never heard the song before this Idol experience, but little does she know it was written for a woman just such as she. It was the story of Billie Holiday's life. Success, Love, Talent, Plight, Perseverance. God bless the child that got his own. Lakisha got hers and then some. She holds the reigns on her huge voice and sings from the heart. She gets the well deserved standing ovation tonight. Simon says you either got it or you don't and she got it. Lots of it.

More blue-eyed soul. Blake Lewis takes his turn at it. He is re-arranging “You Keep Me Hanging On” and Diana is delighted and can't wait to hear his version. Me too. It's a great song on it's own. He adds a hip hop backbeat, but he is singing it straight. It shows possibilities, but never really gets off the ground. The beat doesn't do anything to improve the song. Toward the end he ventures into some falsetto which might have made it more interesting, but he doesn't hold on to it very long. Randy thinks he got too into re-doing and not enough into singing it. Paula rambles. Simon says he didn't get it at all. I think it was boring and toneless with no highlights. Not good. Just different. It's not always the same thing Blake.

Stephanie is maybe the most likely candidate to play Ms. Ross in the movie based on looks and size. She is going back to the disco era to try “Love Hangover”. It's a place and time that isn't easy to re-visit. Stephanie does it less disco and more soul song. Everyone was waiting for the time change and when it didn't happen it was a bit of a letdown. It never got to the rocking part. I liked the first part. Simon says it felt unfinished and was the wrong song choice. Considering the length and time necessary to build this song, I agree. Something shorter and less stylized might have worked better.

Chris Richardson is singing “The Boss”. How did these kids pick these songs and somehow bypass all the good ones? This was a B-side song and never a big hit for a reason. Chris's quirky shivery voice does not sound good on this mediocre version of a mediocre song. It makes me nervous to listen to it. Randy has mixed feelings. Paula is back to rambling about possible dance hits (flashbacks perhaps). Simon think the vocals were dreadful. Me too. Dreadful song. Dreadful singing.

Jordin Sparks is last tonight. She has a naturally soulful voice. I'm hoping she picked a great song. There are some GREAT songs that were totally ignored tonight in favor of some terribly boring songs. Maybe you had to be there. Jordin is singing another song I don't remember. It was featured in “The Land Before Time”. No wonder. Another of those icky movie ballads. Jordin looks great and she looks and sounds sincere. I hate these saccharine ballads. They all sound alike and say the same things. Tomorrow, tomorrow. Dreams. Forever. Souls can Fly. For “You and I”. Ick. She sang it as well as could be hoped. Randy and Paula love it. Simon thinks it was a little bit gooey, but liked the vocal. I think Jordin is great but that song was a bad bunch of syrupy cliches.

Who goes home? There was a lot of boredom tonight, but the worst of the worst was Sanjaya. This is where America finds out how effective the re-dialer works. Lakisha was the best this week, borrowing back the crown from her teammate Melinda who was second best. Jordin was up there singing wise. Song choices were horrible mostly. Tomorrow we get the grand Diva herself, pumping up the volume on her sales pitch for this decade's first album. Do you think she's still got a chance at a Pop hit at age 62? Anything can happen in Idol and does.