Tomorrow's elimination extravaganza can't come soon enough.
American Idol wisely decided to go straight from a Top 24 to a Top 12 this year, and after watching the guys perform yesterday and the ladies go for it tonight, we believe there's plenty of grist for the mill.
As always, though, there were some divalicious standout performances Wednesday among the ouchies (as in, "My ears, ouch!")...
As tends to be the case, year after year, many of the ladies were criticized for bringing nothing new to an already great pop song, a trap that Haley Reinhart, Julie Zorrilla and Kendra Chantelle fell right into taking on Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera, respectively.
Three big voices to live up to resulted in three flat performances from three extremely talented girls. Judging by this week, however, it's going to be up to Randy Jackson to call out the contestants who may have sung a song perfectly well but didn't add to it in the least.
Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, apparently committed to giving the first performer of the night a free pass, had nothing but good things to say about Ta-Tynisa Wilson's cover of "Only Girl (In the World)." Jackson called it like we heard it: "It paled next to Rihanna's version." Um, yeah.
There's always an exception to the rule, however.
Thia Megia, 15, had the judges calling her pitch nothing less than "perfect" after belting out Irene Cara's "Out Here on My Own." Jackson compared her tone to the "late, great Michael Jackson," presumably during the years he kicked ass.
"It's going to be hard for the American public to pick, but you're making it easy for me right now," Tyler said.
Pia Toscano also came out of the woodwork tonight, scoring a standing-O with the Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You." Let's just say, Jackson was too blown away to even mention the original.
Naima Adedapo would have fared better if she hadn't picked the classic "Summertime," already conquered by Fantasia in season three, and the otherwise fabulous Ashthon Jones didn't really stand out with Monica's "All Over Me."
And though the judges still love 15-year-old Lauren Alaina and Tyler called her "the best," they want more from her than Reba McIntire's "Turn on the Radio."
Then there was Rachel Zevita, who stood out for all the wrong reasons.
Another singer whose style harkens back to a jazzier era, Rachel tried to do way too much with Fiona Apple's "Criminal," essentially turning it into a cabaret song that majorly suffered from all the running around she did trying to sell the performance.
"A little too Broadway for me," Tyler said, while Jackson merely deemed it, "not good."
The jazz approach turned out way better for Lauren Turner, who raised the roof with Etta James' "Seven Day Fool." A sultry growl is always a nice touch on the Idol stage.
On Thursday, five guys and five gals will be fast-tracked into the Top 10 based on the public's votes, and the judges will pick two wild cards to join them. It's going to be dramatic, and Ryan Seacrest is going to have a field day stringing them along.