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Welcome to the Super 7 Show! It’s really getting intense now- last week we said a sad goodbye to Bucky Convington, so tonight all the contestants had better bring their A games to the Idol stage.

We receive a warm welcome from Ryan who finished his Power Point presentation just in time to run out onto stage. Seriously, is it just me or does he look like he’s going to present a marketing campaign after the show? He tells us that tonight American Idol is going smart with the songs of Rod Stewart. Now, before you get all excited about a potential Elliott Yamin “Do You Think I’m Sexy” performance, let me just tell you that the kids will actually only be singing songs from Rod’s American Songbook collection. There are a lot of songs to choose from, so hopefully there will be a little something for everyone tonight.

As usual, the contestants got to work with this week’s special guest. They’re all grouped around the piano, singing one of Rod’s songs when he walks in with his daughter… er, fiancé, (sorry, I got confused there for a moment), and a super cute baby. I get the impression that Rod doesn’t really appreciate the baby’s presence, because it takes some of the attention away from him. Rod assures us that once this whole American Idol/ American Standards thing is finished, he is going back to rock. Whew! I am so relieved!!

Is it a wonderful world, Chris Daughtry?
Tonight, Chris is taking a departure from his usual style by singing “What a Wonderful World.” He chose the song because it’s very meaningful to him, and expresses great values.

Oh my gosh, I got really excited there for a minute because I thought Chris was wearing a sleeveless shirt, but he’s actually got on a short sleeved shirt, vest and a cravat. I’ll bet the stylists had so much fun dressing him tonight! It’s different from what he usually wears- his outfit is a throwback to the era that produced his song tonight. And, he sounds really, really good. Good, and a little different than he does every other week. Chris ends his song to huge applause and gives the audience a big Chris Daughtry smile.

Randy laughs at everyone who thought there was only one side to Chris Daughtry, and tells him he slayed them and showed his sensitive side. He eloquently calls the performance the bomb. Paula knows that Chris is in it to win it, and tells him he broke out of the rocker mold tonight. Simon takes credit for Chris’s performance, (of course), and calls it great.

Chris doesn’t mind allowing Simon to take a little credit, as long as he’s not ripping him apart on national TV. Ryan points out that Chris did well tonight because he got rid of the eye makeup and beard. Leave it to Ryan to notice.

Will Paris Bennett look Foolish tonight?
Paris is sitting with Ryan for a little pre-performance banter, and I like her new junior executive look and her red suit. She was probably going over some sales figures with Ryan during the break. Paris tells us that she had a good Easter weekend- she got an Easter basket and went roller skating, and it was just a wonderful wholesome time.

Rod Stewart tells us Paris has a great jazz background and a touch of Billie Holliday. He calls her range of emotion astounding, especially since she’s just 17. Rod was digging graves when he was 17, and I don’t really have a joke that goes along with that statement.

Paris sings “Foolish,” and it really seems as though this is the type of song she is meant to sing. The audience loves her, and she gets a lot of applause at the end.

Randy tells Paris she should stand proud because this was her greatest night ever. Paris’s performance tonight reminded Paula of why America fell in love with her, and Simon calls the performance stylish and cool. He tells Paris that she bewilders him, because she talks like Minnie Mouse, but sings in a terrific grown up way.

Simon’s semi-kind comments for the contestants so far this weekend lead Ryan to ask who slipped Simon the happy juice. I’m guessing Paula did.

Taylor Hicks is going the distance. He’s going for speed.
Did anyone catch the Taylor Hicks parody on Saturday Night Live last weekend? Yeah, me neither. Taylor did though, and he was absolutely tickled pink to be parodied, calling parody the best form of flattery.

Taylor feels great about tonight. He was thrilled to meet Rod, and I think the feeling was likewise. Rod says that Taylor can really perform, and should dance any chance he gets, no matter what Simon says. He tells Taylor to “Grab the audience by the balls,” (I’m assuming he only meant the males in the audience, but I’m not sure), and is then told he’s not allowed to say that on Idol. But I can say it here.

Initially, Taylor’s performance is sedate and calm. He’s singing “You Send Me,” and he seems kind of sexy as he makes eyes at the camera. Toward the end of the song we get a little bit of the Taylor we’ve come to expect, and he breaks it down with some wacky dancing and a little shouting.

Randy comments that a week makes a huge difference and that Taylor was in his element tonight. Paula says Taylor was in the zone, and really went the distance; every note was perfect and the Soul Patrol was on fire. Simon thought the performance started off like some kind of lame cabaret act, but then became magic.

Ryan notes that the show is on fire tonight… and I kind of agree with him.

It had to be Elliott Yamin.
Before I talk about Elliott’s experience with Rod Stewart, or his performance, I want to point out that I just saw a sign in the audience that says “Ryan Will You Be Our Brother?” I am baffled. I think if Ryan was my brother he’d always be stealing my hair products and tying up the bathroom.

Anyway, on to Elliott Yamin. Elliott is honored to be in the presence of someone as famous as Rod Stewart, and is really thrilled that Rod is excited about him! Elliott grew up on standards, so he feels right at home tonight. Rod tells Elliott that he has a wonderful blue-eyed soul voice and a great set of pipes. When he finds out Elliott is 27, he tells him he was born the same year “Do You Think I’m Sexy” was #1. Elliott laughs politely, but it’s the same kind of laugh I use when a co-worker tells a really lame joke.

Elliott takes the stage and looks handsome in his jeans and tuxedo jacket. He seems sexy and confident, smiles a lot, and looks into the camera. He hits some nice glory notes at the end, and gets lots of cheers from the audience.

Randy likes Elliott’s song choice and tells him he’s come a long way over the last few weeks. Paula calls his song choice perfect, and thinks he contemporized the song very well. Simon thought the vocal was good, but was not impressed by Elliott’s personality, and thinks that will be a factor in the voting tonight.

Ryan asks Simon if we’re all watching the same show, and Simon replies, “Dude, I’m drunk, I’m not paying attention at all.” At least, that’s what I think he should have said.

Kellie Pickler is bewildered, all right.
Rod enjoyed working with Kellie, because of her personality, and calls her a little firecracker. Tonight Kellie is singing “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” and is pleased to be breaking out of her comfort zone. Kellie thanks Rod for helping her and taking a load of her chest, and Rod just leers at her lecherously.

Kellie starts her performance, and sounds pretty good. She looks beautiful in her red dress, although the full out pageant makeup is a little too much for me. Just when I’m sad that I’m going to have to write all nice things, Kellie starts hitting some really, really bad notes, and then she gets waaay ahead of the music. Yikes, it is bad, and by “bad,” I don’t mean “good.”

Randy thinks Kellie knows what he’s going to say. “Yeah, that I butchered it” she relies, and Randy pretty much agrees. He concedes, that it was a difficult song, but still calls it pitchy. Paula loved Kellie’s outfit and can’t wait for her acting career, (hey, me too. Too bad 7th Heaven is going off the air this season), and Simon though the performance was boring and the song didn’t suit her.

Ryan tries to make Kellie feel better by telling her that she nailed the performance in rehearsal, and I’m disappointed that Kellie doesn’t reply “What’s ‘rehearsal?’”

Ace Young: Sensitive Ponytail Man.
Tonight Ace will be singing “That’s All” because it’s a fun, playful song, and Ace is a fun, playful guy. Rod tells us that at first Ace stuck to the melody, but when he strayed from the melody he was brilliant. Ace thinks the stamp of approval from Rod was the most fulfilling thing he could have asked for, and I’m glad he’s been fulfilled.

I think Ace raided Ryan’s closet tonight. He looks different in a nice suit with his hair pulled back into a ponytail. Hmmm… I don’t really care for the ponytail, but I do like the suit. Ace sounds pretty good, and he slips into his falsetto at the end, so I know that judges are going to love that.

Randy liked Ace’s vibe tonight, and he had some problems with the bridge but managed to work it out at the end. Paula sees a whole new Ace and thinks his clothes tonight are interesting. She calls the night magical and tells Ace he was great. Simon states that the performance wasn’t bad, although a little nasal. He calls it a charming performance, and Ace just about passes out from the shock that Simon didn’t tell him that he sucks.

Ace is so happy and amazed about the judges’ critiques, that he tells us he’s going to replay the moment in his mind all night long.

Katharine McPhee is a little lamb who’s lost in the woods.
Katharine seems to have a hard time making up her mind. Last week she couldn’t figure out what song she wanted to sing, and this week she goes through a number of standards before settling on “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Rod and Katharine sing together in harmony, and Rod tells us that Katharine was born to sing standards.

Katharine looks stunning tonight sitting at the edge of the stage. She’s sitting right in front of the judges, and I imagine it’s hard to sing a love song while staring at Randy Jackson. Tonight Kat sounds great, and looks great, and the audience loves her.

Randy thinks Katharine is in her element and she sailed though the performance. Paula remembers the first time she fell in love with Katharine, (in a purely platonic way, I’m sure), and states that she reminds her of Mr. Holland’s Opus. Now, I haven’t seen Mr. Holland’s Opus, but I still think that’s kind of a weird comment. Simon tells Kat she made all the others look like good amateurs, and tells her she’s in a completely different league.

Oh, no- Daddy McPhee is in tears again, and there’s no time for chatter with Kat, because they’ve got phone numbers to repeat.

Well, all in all, a fairly painless night of American Idol. No super horrible performance, no fights among the judges, and very few catty remarks from Ryan. And, what was up with Simon tonight? In five seasons I have never seen him so positive about a group of performances! So, who is going home tomorrow night? Tune in to see, and get some bonus Rod Stewart album pimping!

I’m remembering why I’m not a big Rod Stewart fan, but you can reach me at SueEllenMishke@fansofrealitytv .com