1. Jason Castro - He stuck to the arrangement but was not a slave to it. He avoided mimicry and imbued the performance with something of himself. Comparatively it wasn't as good as the original, but it was unique enough to be appreciated on its own terms. The producers seem to have learned their lesson from the Chris Cornell issue and allowed Jason to thoroughly credit the the original.
2. Kristy Lee Cook - Wait, wait...do I really have her in second? Yikes! I guess it points out the uneven nature of tonight's show. Truthfully, she was at her best tonight. I'd also give her credit as being the savviest contestant left. She knows how to play to her audience and pick songs. I'd say she has been improving the last couple of weeks.
3. David Archuleta -Archuleta probably isn't as comfortable playing and singing as the others and it showed. He seemed a little unfocused at times, but he picked a great song and sang it effectively and well.
4. Syesha Mercado - She's no Fantasia. I agree with Simon's assessment. She sang it technically well but there wasn't the rich emotion that made Fantasia's performance so galvanizing. Lack of emotion has actually been a problem for her all season. There's not doubt she can sing but the substance is lacking. That high note was flat too.
5. Brooke White - Pretty performance but dull. I like her as a singer, and she performs the songs admirably, but in a competition like this they need to also be memorable. I don't think I remember anything about her rendition tonight.
6. Michael Johns - That falsetto in the end diminished an otherwise good performance. I agree with the judges that as much as he wants to be a rock guy, he really isn't interesting as one. He's more interesting as the bluesy, seductive singer of last week. I'm still in heat from that one.
7. Carly Smithson - She was out of control--and that's not good. What I love about her every week is how in control of her voice she is, but this week the song got the better of her. Flat notes, lackluster singing, and it sounded unwieldy. She might be in trouble.
8. David Cook - Just a big old mess. What was up with that beginning? The shift in the beginning from low-voiced spoken word to full-on rock voice was jarring. The whole performance seemed off and all over the place. He looked great, channeling a little bit of Chris Martin complete with a message painted on his hand. I'd almost agree with Simon that it was a little pompous, but I blame it on the song. Bad, awful song.