Episode 17Last night, heading for the Top 12, we seemed to have jumped back a couple weeks: There was one – exactly one – standout performance from the men, and it was once again Blake Lewis. The judges weren't even familiar with his song, 311's "All Mixed Up," but that didn't seem to keep anyone from enjoying the way he swooped through the vocals with a little bit of hip-hop, a little reggae, a little of a lot of things, and kept it smooth, light and cool. Good for Blake!
However, I will also admit a feeling of sick dread when, on a night in which each singer was expected to reveal a surprising detail, Blake confessed that he also likes to do comedy. For a nanosecond he performed a "character" called Jimmy Walker Blue who seemed to be a combination of Jim Varney, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler and I don't want to know who else. Life is not better for having met Jimmy Walker Blue, is all.
Chris Sligh was pretty good, too, except he didn't have enough propulsive force on "Wanna Be Loved," by the Christian rock-pop group dc talk. It was like watching someone winding up to throw a discus and then at the end it just falls down at his feet in the dirt. But he responded very politely to the judges' criticisms this time, and he asked Ryan Seacrest for a hug, and I cried because it was all so nice.
The judges' attitude to Sanjaya Malakar is so dismissive I'm surprised they don't turn their backs on him or create some other awful ritual to shame him into removing himself. But he was no worse this week than Sundance Head or Phil Stacey – marginally better, even. And his little visual explanation of how he loves to dance the hula was endearingly silly. I'd send Sundance and Phil home. Or Jimmy Walker Blue. Blake can stay.
For more from last night, see AOL's Idol coverage.