On tonight's American Idol, the Top 3 will visit their hometowns and perform a personal selection and a choice from the judges. Also, host Ryan Seacrest points out that tonight is the show's 300th episode.

First up is Danny Gokey. While on the radio in Milwaukee, he gets a text from Paula Abdul telling him that her choice for him is Terence Trent D'Arby's "Dance Little Sister." It's a pretty soulful song, and Danny gets into it, but he's pretty shouty throughout most of the performance. Randy Jackson says he liked his hoarse tone and that he started it off right. Kara DioGuardi says she liked the song choice because it kept his voice in its "money" place. But she found the dancing a little too "gyratey." Not going to argue with that here! Paula: "I'm a choreographer, and I think you did really good!" Simon Cowell reminds them it's a singing show, "not that funny little dancing show next door." But then he agrees that the dancing was weird, and didn't much like the singing along with the sax in the middle.


Kris Allen finds out during his hometown visit that his song choice -- from Randy and Kara -- is "Apologize" by OneRepublic. Ooh, this is a nice pick for his voice. Also, it's more well-known than Paula's choice, which is one of those things that seems to work in singers' favor on this show more often than not. He does a pretty straight-up version of the song, especially at the beginning and the end, but in the middle, he takes some liberties with it that I think are a good move -- otherwise, he would definitely get accused of sounding karaoke. Randy says right now it's about who is going to win and that this song shows who Kris could be in the music business. Kara says it was "a competent performance," and at this point he needs to hit it out of the park. She wanted him to interpret the song a little more and take more chances. Paula says the song choice was good, but she is proud of him, though she points out a loud bum note. Simon says Kara's comment is a cop out, that she can't choose a song for him and then get mad at him for doing the song. Kara yells back at him about how she can't talk to her about interpreting songs. Simon says if they wanted Kris to do something with the arrangement, they had a responsibility to tell him. Randy and Kara say they didn't know they were allowed to help with the arrangement.

Adam Lambert was in San Diego when he learned that Simon wanted him to sing "One" by U2 because he loves the song. So during Kris' segment, Simon made a big deal about how he helped with the arrangement. He shouldn't have because this arrangement is terrible! I feel like it somehow strips the life and the subtlety out of the song -- and I'm not a fan of Adam's shouty part in the middle, either. Randy says Adam is in the zone, and the vocals were great, but he didn't love the departures from the melody. Kara says Adam is an amazing strategist and that he just proved that he can change up a song and "make it unbelievable." Paula says he's made her life miserable because she is sitting by a gloating Simon. Paula: "It was one brilliant song, one superb performance and one American Idol that I'm staring at right now." Simon says he sounds biased, but it was a brilliant song choice and a brilliant performance. (In case you missed it, Simon said on Oprah Monday that he thinks Adam is going to win; Susan Boyle was there, too.)

There has been a lot of tussling among the judges this evening, and the end result is that Simon has Paula and Kara's makeup all over his white T-shirt.

Before the second round, Carrie Underwood appears in a segment about progress that's been made in Africa thanks to the efforts of "Idol Gives Back."

Danny's second song, his own choice, is "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker. He does a very low-key and understated arrangement of the song. Toward the end, he steps up with some power notes, and that's a good thing -- it saves it from being boring. Randy says it is an amazing song, and that he showed he can "really, really, really sing." Kara says, "Everything you didn't do in the first performance, you just did. That. Was. Stunning." Paula says he infused his own thing into the song; "you nailed it." Simon says he loved the song, but he wouldn't have done the same arrangement. "I would call that a vocal master class," he closes nonetheless.

Kris says his song choice was pretty easy for him, and he's going to sing "Heartless" by Kanye West. And this one is definitely his own interpretation -- he's singing it just him and the guitar. It's really unexpected and nice. Not perfect, but definitely entertaining. Randy says tonight is going to be a tough night for voters. He adds that he likes this version better than The Fray's or Kanye's versions. Kara wants to know why he didn't do that with "Apologize." She says it was brave, brilliant and perfect. Paula says he's the bravest artist because he sang a song about Simon Cowell. Zing! She commends him on the performance. Simon says he thought the first choice was lame, and he had written Kris out of the competition, but this performance changed everything.

Adam is closing the show (again!) with Aerosmith's "Cryin'." The backup singer does not sound good and needs to stop. Adam sounds pretty good anyway, though I felt like the whole thing was a little manic and all over the place. He hits all the notes he goes for, though. Randy says he is one of the best they have ever had on the stage, most charismatic and biggest, brightest stars. Kara wants to know how he hits those notes and still talks the next day. She says it was amazing and they will see him at the final. Paula says if Steven Tyler was a mentor, he wouldn't have anything to add. She says she is sure they will be seeing him next week. Simon says he isn't going to "suck up" as much as the other three. He says it's very easy to assume he's going to sail through, and they shouldn't -- they should vote because Adam deserves to be there. Adam handles the adulation well, telling Ryan that he thought Kris and Danny did a great job last night, and he thinks it's an honor to be in their company. That was pretty classy.

So who did you vote for? Who do you think is going to the finals next week?

Photo by Ray Mickshaw / FOX