Syesha Mercado, American Idol: Season 7

Frank Micelotta / FOX

Don't miss one song—or one note of British sarcasm—with our performance-show liveblog:

Three finalists, three songs apiece—you do the math. Now we find out what exactly the judges are thinking when they inform an ambitious contestant he or she has chosen the wrong tune, and it's always fun to have an endless songbook to choose from to up the surprise factor.

Some are surprised Syesha is still here, others think David A.'s had it in the bag all along, while David C. continues to do his thing, be it authentic or a bit...similar from week to week.

We start off with the mayor of David Archuleta's hometown informing him that Paula has picked Billy Joel's 1983 ballad "And So It Goes"...

8:04 p.m.: And this is why judges' pick is great—this tune is benefiting from David A.'s vocal range and Joel's storytelling prowess has finally forced the 17-year-old to stray from the Muzak path. His version of this song is suitable for recording and background music in the salon waiting room while you wait for your nails to dry.

8:06 p.m.: "Paula chose a dope song for you," Randy decides. "A pure and stunning performance," Paula adds, while Simon thinks it was well done, if a bit "predictable," as well.

8:12 p.m.: We were hoping Simon would be doing the honors for Syesha Mercado, considering he's rarely agreed with her song choice in the past, but instead Randy picks Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You."

8:15 p.m.: Syesha, no stranger to the diva route, handles Keys' sultry tune with ease, sounding less copycat-ish than usual. Simon, of course, wishes Randy had picked a song that wouldn't automatically draw comparisons to the original, but Randy digs it and compliments Syesha on peaking at "just the right time in this competition."

8:16 p.m.: Interesting. Simon has chosen Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for David Cook. The Brit is apparently looking to have the rocker lose the rasp at least once tonight.

8:19 p.m.: And it's awesome, a reminder that David C. can actually sing underneath the growl. However, Randy would have preferred some more rockin'. Simon calls it one of his best performances yet.

8:25 p.m.: Next up, David A. has chosen Chris Brown's "With You" for himself.

8:28 p.m.: And we're back in easy-listening territory thanks to an arrangement that screams boy-band member gone solo. "Like a Chihuahua trying to be a tiger," Simon says.

8:30 p.m.: Syesha tries on the classic "Fever," written by Little Willie John and memorably covered by Peggy Lee.

8:33 p.m.: And not so memorably covered by Syesha. First of all, she looks like she's still wearing her Tina Turner dress from last week, and Simon thinks she's going to regret her song choice, which ultimately resulted in a "lame cabaret performance."

8:39 p.m.: David C. speeds forward a few decades with Switchfoot's "Dare You to Move," returning to the alt-rock thing just in case the producers rip him out of his comfort zone again.

8:42 p.m.: "I think all three of you had an OK middle round," Simon says after David C. offers up his usual proficiency.

David Cook, American Idol

Frank Micelotta / FOX

8:43 p.m.: Moving right along...Idol producers have selected "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg for David A. A wedding standard from 1980. OK.

8:45 p.m.: "I expect nothing more. It was just very lovely," Paula says. A compliment for sure, but also perhaps an unintentional hit-the-nail-on-the-head moment with regard to David A.'s versatility as an artist.

8:50 p.m.: The producers pick the sprightly "Hit Me Up" by Gia Farrell off the Happy Feet soundtrack for Syesha's final number.

8:53 p.m..: After again puzzling over the song choice (luckily not Syesha's fault this time, Paula says, "I don't know if it's good enough to get you into the finals of American Idol."

Wow, coming from Paula...

8:59 p.m.: David C. rips into Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing," not sounding entirely different than Steven Tyler but doing a, to quote Randy, "pretty OK" job.

9:00 p.m.: "David—see ya in the finals," Paula says, also pointing out songwriter Diane Warren, who penned the tune for the Armageddon soundtrack, sitting in the audience.

"And David Cook wins the night," Simon adds.

So, who do you want to see go larynx to larynx in next week's finals? (And feel free to dip into the what-could've-been and mention Michael Johns, Carly Smithson or Jason Castro, in case you feel their presences will be sorely missed.)

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