Yes, it's time once again to try and figure out who will be going home tonight, joining the illustrious company of former 8th place finishers AJ Gil, Rickey Smith, Jon Peter Lewis, Nadia Turner, and Bucky Covington.
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 the most difficult week thus far to guess who is in serious danger. Even though I got it wrong the past two weeks, predicting Haley would go both times, I had still guessed that Chris Sligh and Gina Glocksen, the last two contestants eliminated, would be 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...
Click here to read my Top 8 Performances Recap.
Green Zone: Safe
This category is looking pretty sparse again this week, as it has only two contestants -- Melinda Doolittle and Blake Lewis. Even though Melinda gave her weakest performance of the season so far, her huge fanbase will surely save her, especially after Simon's criticism. Blake, meanwhile, gave hands down the best performance of the night, and I don't think he has a thing to worry about.
Yellow Zone: Not on solid ground
Chris Richardson's assured, sexy performance last night should send pre-teen girls (and others who appreciate a cute boy singing well) racing to their phones. While I always worry when the judges are as complimentary as they were to Chris, I don't think he will have a problem moving forward to the Top 7.
Jordin Sparks didn't get raves from the judges (Simon, at least), but she brought an energy to her performance that was lacking from her fellow divas, so I think she, too, should be safe tonight. There is a chance she might slip into the Bottom 3, but I don't think the viewers think it's time for her to go yet.
Red Zone: Danger! Danger! Danger!
That leaves us with Haley Scarnato, Sanjaya Malakar, Phil Stacey, and, shockingly, LaKisha Jones -- in my opinion the likeliest candidates for the Bottom 3 slots tonight.
It's nearly impossible to gage when the viewers will finally tire of Sanjaya, and it's only more difficult to figure this week because the kid actually gave a competent performance! With Sanjaya, I think the the worse he does, the more votes he'll get, so a good performance could actually be to his detriment. I'm still betting he's got a week or two of life left in him, but he could very well be making his first trip to the Bottom 3 since the Top 12.
After two straight Bottom 3 showings, and three overall, Phil Stacey is also in serious danger of elimination tonight. I actually kinda dug his performance, and I'm betting there were enough viewers out there who did as well that he'll avoid getting the boot once again. Is a third straight Bottom 3 showing in the cards for Phil?
Then there's LaKisha, who is making her debut appearance in the Red Zone this week. LaKisha's performance is exactly the kind of showing that leads to shocking eliminations -- competent, but not sensational, and delivered by a contestant who has been considered a frontrunner from the beginning (think Chris Daughtry's Top 4 exit last year). True, LaKisha has yet to be in the Bottom 3, but her star has been diminishing for the past few weeks now, and her rendition of "Conga" didn't likely earn her any new fans. It would be a true travesty if Kiki got sent packin' before Haley, Phil, and Sanjaya, but unfortunately I think it's a distinct possibility.
Which brings me, once again, to Haley Scarnato, who has foiled my predictions three of the past four weeks. There is no doubt in my mind that Haley should go (I'd take another Sanjaya performance over seeing Haley's legs again), but she's managed to hang in there before -- will she do it again? After two straight Bottom 2 appearances, I think Haley is, literally, on her last legs.
So there it is...for the fourth time this season I am predicting that Haley's gettin' the boot. But I won't be shocked (outraged, but not shocked) if it is LaKisha who bids adieu this evening.