Last night on American Idol, the final three each sang three songs: one picked by super producer Clive Davis, one picked by a judge and one picked by the contestant him or herself. You forget how much Davis has accomplished, but for once, the fawning praise during his segment seemed accurate instead of like hyperbole. (Janis Joplin? Aretha? Good going, dude.)

Elliott Yamin was up first with Clive's pick, Journey's "Open Arms." It was nice to hear him on a straightforward rock ballad, but it wasn't his strongest performance ever.


Katharine McPhee was faced with Clive's choice of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly," which was OK. Her voice doesn't soar quite that high, and it hurts to hear her force it.

Taylor Hicks gave Bruce Springsteen a shout-out for agreeing to let him sing Clive's choice, "Dancing in the Dark." It was ... not Bruce, but not as bad as I thought. And it was a little cute when he danced with Paula.

Then Elliott sang "What You Won't Do for Love," Paula's choice, and it was pretty good. Randy said it was sharp, but it didn't sound that way to me (I am without my notes right now, however).

Simon chose "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for Katharine, and she sang from the floor, and it was mostly lovely. (That plus her KT Tunstall cover make me think she should always sing from the floor.)

Randy picked "You Are So Beautiful" for Taylor, to play up to his Joe Cocker-ishness. He did pretty well with it, but it seemed like it had the potential to be better.

For his own choice, Elliott went with "I Believe To My Soul," a Ray Charles song that Donny Hathaway has also sung, and he had a good time with it, but I wasn't that familiar with it, so I didn't relate to it that much. But I still like listening to his voice, so sue me.

Katharine chose "I Aint Got Nothing But the Blues," and I thought she did a better job than the judges gave her credit for, but as Simon said, she would have been much better served had she closed with "Rainbow."

Taylor's choice for himself was "Try a Little Tenderness," which is a song that I really like and that I thought he would be amazing on. Everyone in the audience seemed to think he was amazing, but I felt like he was singing the words off the beat, and when I went back and re-listened to it to see if I was just being unfair, I didn't think he even sang that many of the lyrics over the course of the song. There were lots of gaps. But everyone else went crazy over it, so I think he's safe.

So who's out tonight? I think Mr. "SOUL PATROL" is safe, but it's probably a tossup between Kat and Elliott. Which is sad, because I wouldn't mind seeing them as the final two.


The Top Chef finale is tonight, and it should be interesting. Last week was the reunion show, and it was a doozy. Bravo seems to be the only network that openly feeds its reality casts wine and liquor before and during the reunions, and sometimes it makes for fireworks. For the reunion, we were treated to: screaming, crying, accusations of cheating, apologies ... it was insanity, but of the popcorn-crunching kind, not the car-crash kind. Except that I didn't realize how much vitriol was felt toward Tiffani. I knew she was a little cold, but every last person except maybe Andrea seemed to want her head on a platter. (Which they could expertly plate for the judges, we've learned.) I was really surprised. I thought a lot of the feelings toward her would have been blunted by time away from the show and no longer being under the stress of competition, but instead it seemed like a lot had festered.

Anyway, I want Harold to win. He seems like the real deal, plus he's a lot calmer than Dave and seems like he'd be more fun and pleasant to work with than Tiffani. And his food looks and sounds good. (Too bad we don't have Taste-o-vision.)