Yes, it's time once again to try and figure out who will be going home tonight, joining the illustrious company of former 7th place finishers Ryan Starr, Kimberly Caldwell, Jennifer Hudson, Anwar Robinson, and Ace Young.
Yes, this is the week that Jennifer Hudson got the boot in one of the most surprising Idol eliminations ever. If history is an indicator, Ryan will likely divide the contestants into two groups and select one poor soul to choose which group he/she thinks is the Top 3. Will tonight's elimination be as shocking as that fateful evening back in Season 3?
As I have done the last four weeks, I think the best way to make a prediction as to who is going to get kicked off tonight is by process of elimination -- figure out who is most likely to be safe, and go from there.This week, though, has been, by far, the most difficult week to guess who is in serious danger. Last week I correctly predicted Haley would get sent home, with Phil joining her in the Bottom 3 -- this week, however, almost any of the contestants (save one or two) could be in serious danger, and I'm afraid we may be in for a real shocker tonight.
I've identified three zones: Green (safe), Yellow (not on solid ground), and Red (danger danger danger!) Here goes...
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Green Zone: Safe
This category is looking pretty sparse again this week, as it has only two contestants -- Melinda Doolittle and Jordin Sparks. Melinda had somewhat of a return to form last night, bringing back the sass and attitude, along with her always stellar vocals, and showed off a sleek, modern new haircut to boot. Her huge fanbase will surely make sure she is around to see the Top 6.
Jordin Sparks, meanwhile, gave what I thought was the performance of the evening. It was an easy performance to rally around, complete with sustained high notes at the end, and I'd be shocked if she found herself anywhere near the Bottom 3 tonight.
Yellow Zone: Not on solid ground
I didn't love Blake Lewis last night as much as I usually do, but he's still got some leftover momentum from last week's strong effort, and performing last won't hurt him any. There's a chance he may slip into the Bottom 3, but I don't think we've seen the last of the beatboxing wonder.
And while I thought Chris Richardson was pretty weak last night, and didn't do himself any favors by getting snippy with the judges, his Bottom 3 showing from last week, plus the judges' articulated disdain for his performance, should let his fans know that he is in serious danger, and they will hit the phones to save their boy once again.
Red Zone: Danger! Danger! Danger!
That leaves us with Phil Stacey, Sanjaya Malakar, and, once again, LaKisha Jones -- in my opinion the likeliest candidates for the Bottom 3 slots tonight.
Phil gave what was unquestionably his best performance of the competition, but will it be enough to save him? Not only has he been in the Bottom 3 for the past three weeks straight, he also has to battle against the dreaded one-spot (performing first). I think he was good enough, however, to have earned himself another week.
Then there's LaKisha, who is making her second straight appearance in the Red Zone. Kiki took a risk singing a well-known Carrie Underwood song that didn't quite pay off -- will it lead to an early ouster? I actually don't think the LaKisha's performance was quite as bad as the judges made it out to be, and if anything is going to save her, it will be that other Kiki fans felt the same way and took to the phones to show their support. It would be a true travesty if LaKisha got sent packin' before Sanjaya, but unfortunately I think it's a distinct possibility.
Which brings us to the great tuneless wonder -- Sanjaya. Once again, it's nearly impossible to gage when the viewers will finally tire of Mr. Malakar, and Simon's verbal attacks of him probably elicited some sympathy for the boy, but this week, more than any other, I think his shtick is starting to run out of steam. At the very least I think he will be making his first trip to the Bottom 3 since the Top 12, but I actually think this is the week he is going to go.
So there it is...for the first time since the Top 12 began I am predicting that Sanjaya's gettin' the boot. I won't, however, be shocked (outraged, yes, but not shocked) if it is LaKisha who bids adieu this evening.