Tuned In

The Morning After: Uninspired

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Michael Johns rocks the ascot again with an Aerosmith cover. / Frank Micelotta / FOX

My reviews of last night’s Idol Gives Back week performances are now up on time.com. Just because this is a charity week does not obligate me to go all Paula on the contestants, so I’ll say upfront that “inspirational” songs did not really inspire the best work from any of the singers. My roundup after the break:

I did find it in my three-sizes-too-small heart, though, to actually say nice things about Kristy Lee Cook and David Archuleta this week. Credit where it’s due: Kristy really seemed like she was paying attention to the lyrics of her song this week, while David A.—if not his best performance ever—made a tasteful choice in a week when I would have expected him to all but sing with a cartoon baby bluebird on his shoulder.

And a very good week for Jason Castro. Look, I don’t pretend that Jason’s nearly the best singer of the group. But this contest is about being a pop star, not just a great singer, and part of being a pop star is knowing how to camouflage your weaknesses and perform within your limitations. And that ukulele rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow was just about perfectly suited to Jason’s breathy little incense stick of a voice.

Beyond that—well, take your pick. Probably the worst night of the finals so far for David Cook, not technically, maybe, but in song choice and performance. When you identify a song as being a meaningful personal favorite of yours and pick a boring dud like that Our Lady Peace snoozer, it says something. (Speaking of which: after David C. picked that Canadian band’s work, Mrs. Tuned In and I realized that we had both, for some reason, thought that David C. is himself Canadian. He’s not, apparently—his Idol bio lists him as being from Missouri—but there’s something about his demeanor and self-effacing style that sets off my Michigan-born Cana-dar. Is it just me?) And while Brooke White remains a personal favorite, I’m starting to think she just doesn’t have what it takes; she’s been just-good-enough too many weeks now.

Bottom three this week: this could just be the week that David C. gets his obligatory bottom-three scare—a la Brooke and Jason the previous two weeks—though he’ll get sent back to safety. I’m guessing Syesha and Carly to round out the three. (Brooke is by no means safe, and I wouldn’t even be shocked if she went home, but I think she picks up a few percentage points in the vote from having sung last.) I’ll take Syesha to go home Thursday, simply because she seems overdue, but this could go several ways.

What are your picks? Did you find more charity in your heart this week than I did?