American Idol Recap: Top 7 Take a Crack at Country

So how apparent was it to everyone else... It's going to come down to a Blake vs. Melinda Grand Finale!

And Sanjaya Malakar might have just given us "Something different to Talk About"... his departure from the show? Perhaps?

Man, oh man he was horrible. Not that he isn't always, but enough is enough already. And with the serious tone this week due to the deadly attacks at Virginia Tech -- maybe in this pensive time -- the pranksters don't feel like joking right now. For once, I think we might be saying goodbye to Sanjaya this week. Please don't be Chris Richardson. I'd like to hang on to him for a bit.

Chris mentioned he knew people at VA Tech -- and his heart went out to them. Ryan started the show paying respects to those affected. And at the end of the show, Simon realized he too should say something. So he did on behalf of the panel -- in the middle of Blake's critique. It was very awkward.

Going into the night, I thought Chris was going to come alive on the stage with a wow factor. And I was a bit nervous for Phil Stacey. But after seeing them perform their country songs, it's the other way around.

Chris Sang "Mayberry" and he did it well, but the judges didn't "feel any sense of connection or emotion." Simon called it "nasally." (Isn't a lot of country music nasally?) Chris snapped back, "nasally is a form of singing. I don't know if you knew that." Simon inquires, "so it was intentional?" And Chris made a comment like, "now, if I did it every week..." But he kind of does, really.

Anyway, Phil got real soulful with, "Where the Blacktop Ends." The Dawg whooped him up, "from an accomplished producer, you're gonna have a career in country music." Simon even gave Phil props on the song choice, the style and "even more surprisingly we saw some personality."

Country crooner, Martina McBride is this week's mentor. She said of Phil -- since the beginning of the show, "I've loved his voice."

Jordin Sparks sang "Broken Wing," one of Martina's songs. Jordin admitted to being scared to sing the song in front of Martina. But she did the same thing when Gwen Stefani came for a week. She sang one of Gwen's songs. I don't think Jordin's rendition sounded very country. The judges gushed over her. Simon even gave a sort of deja vu comment (to the one he gave Lakisha early on in the season).

Simon said for the first time based on that performance Jordin could win American Idol. Wow, really?

 So let's move on to LaKisha Jones, shall we. Damn, look at those gold boots! Simon actually brought up the comment from semifinals week -- that when she sang a (former Idol contestant) Jennifer Hudson song -- he told everyone else to pack their bags. In a different league -- he confidently said, she was the one to beat. But as for her rendition of Season 4 AI winner's "Jesus Take the Wheel." He compared it to "eating a hamburger for breakfast. It doesn't go together." What he was getting at was that it wasn't a good song choice because he didn't feel LaKisha's natural soul. She kind of screamed the song.

I am starting to get the vibe from last season's Mandisa. What a voice, but an American Idol? That's what got her. Step it up LaKisha. We all know you have it in you!

Melinda Dolittle on the other hand, has been bringing it every single week. What a great look she was sporting tonight. Her hair, makeup, clothing - very sassy! "Trouble is a Woman" was an excellent song choice. Before the praise, Simon said to her, "I'm about to compliment you and I'm going to ask you to lose the surprise." That was priceless.

Blake Lewis, I really think you should win this competition.
You deserve it. The AI alum could use your style. I could go on and on listing the reasons why he's the best candidate.

The ultimate original, Blake, sang Tim McGraw's "When the Stars Go Blue." Martina told him that she was recently talking to Tim and he mentioned that he hoped someone would sing that song. I'm very glad he did too.

All in all, I think the country songs really didn't sound too much like country, which is all right by me.

During past seasons, this week's mentor has been one of the most popular artists to have signature songs covered by Idol contestants.

On Wednesday's results show, the country superstar will perform her Top-5 single “Anyway” from her new CD “Waking Up Laughing.”

Who should be kicked to the curb this week? VOTE here.

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