I have just enough energy for some quick thoughts about tonight's show:
- Prof. Althouse was right in predicting that Quentin Tarantino would be the best guest judge ever. Tarantino still suffered a bit from overpraising, but he at least offered useful opinions about the performances. And he certainly showed more characterization than the usual singers, with lines like "You're the bomb!" (Fantasia) and "You're the geek singer!" (Jon Peter).
- At this point, it's hard to see how Fantasia won't end up winning the competition. Of course, stranger things have happened, like Nikki McKibben finishing ahead Tamyra Gray in season 1. But Fantasia's versatility, her charisma and presence, and her consistency look unbeatable right now. It was especially apparent when Jasmine -- a relatively strong singer -- followed her and came off as just flat.
- I feel really bad for John Stevens. He picks the perfect song ("As Time Goes By") -- the only kind of song he seems to be able to sing -- and he still gets trashed by Simon as having no charisma. Even worse, Simon seems right. But hey, the kid is only 16.
- Those skit/commercials featuring the remaining contestants are starting to get annoying. No, actually, they've been annoying for a while now.
- Jennifer Hudson did a pretty good job, but rule #1 for "American Idol" contestants should be: Do not pick songs by Whitney Houston, because you will suffer by comparison to the original. Instead, if it's your style, pick something by, say, Melissa Ethredge, who is a good singer but does it more on sincerity of emotion than on purity of vocal tone.
My very tentative guess is that the bottom three will be Jasmine, Jennifer, and (finally) John Stevens. Jasmine and Jennifer haven't shown much strength among the voters, and while John S. has, I think he doesn't have enough supporters at this stage.