Neuf. Nueve. Neun. Nove. Nine contestants remain in this epic Thunderdome sing-off. Nine hopefuls enter, one popstar leaves! This week, our fresh-faced sing squad were tasked with songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and overall, everyone did pretty well! I honestly don’t know who will go home this week, but I DO know who I want to go home, so let’s run with that, ok?

(Side note: In keeping with the “nine” motif, this week’s episode was also 90 minutes long instead of two hours. I literally screamed out loud with joy when I realized it wasn’t two hours anymore.)

First up to the firing squad was Jacob, who seems to be getting a wee bit of a big head lately with all of the accolades and success. Well, I mean, he’s always had a physically gigantic head, but I mean big head in the figurative sense. Initially he was going to sing “Let’s Get it On,” and everyone (including barftastic guest coach will.i.am) were all feeling it. However, Jacob said some crap about it not being morally appropriate or something, and decided to sing “Man in the Mirror” instead. This wasn’t even the big head part. The big head part was when he said something to the effect of “If I’m in the bottom it’s because America wasn’t ready to look in the mirror.” What? No sir, if you’re in the bottom it’s because America didn’t like the way your churchy ass sang the song. Don’t get it twisted. Anyway, admittedly, he did a good job as usual, so his big head is somewhat deserved. I don’t think he’ll be going home this week.

Next up was growl goblin Haley, performing “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin. …. Ok, guys, can we be real for a minute and admit to ourselves that Haley is not good? Like, this is a fact, right? I feel like everyone is being tricked into liking her by the judges or something. I know I haven’t been the biggest fan of hers to begin with, but seriously, all she does is growl and moan and grumble all over the stage and it’s terrible, and for some reason the judges are always like “ZOMG You’re amazing! Growl on you gremlin beast!” I just don’t get it. Like, at all. Send her home, guys!

Following this unholy hobgoblin is Casey, who actually did a pretty good rendition of Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” I know I haven’t been the biggest fan of his in the past, but its performances like this that prove that he’s actually a pretty good performer. None of his creepy grimaces or scary growls or anything, just an upright bass and his soft Jeff Buckley-esque voice. I have to say I really liked it. He’s staying for sure.

Moving on! Lauren is next, doing a passable Aretha Franklin cover. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Pretty run of the mill in my book, maybe even a little bit boring. Also, what was up with her styling? According to Ryan in the beginning, Gwen Stefani was styling all the girls, which apparently means trying to make everyone look like her circa 2005 when she was in full fauxhawk mode. It just didn’t work, guys.

James Durbin time! He chose “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and like Lauren, he was pretty mediocre as well. Not bad, but not anything special. I think his plan was to show that he has a more laid-back side, but it just wound up kind of blah to me. What do I know though? Also, was it just me, or were his ears like, really sticking out tonight. He should take a cue form the Heidi Montag playbook and have those suckers pinned back. Just a suggestion.

What’s that I hear? Pre-teen squeals and low country moans? It must be Scotty McCreery time! Personally, I think the dude is super lame, and I don’t particularly like his hunched Quasimodo stage presence, but he is a good singer, and people really seem to be digging his deep voice. To illustrate this point, several girls rushed the stage after his performance, totally not orchestrated by the producers at all. Nope, just impromptu pretty teens rushing the stage and then exiting in an orderly fashion. Nothing pre-planned about that at all. So yeah, I think Scotty is safe too.

Next up: Pia, performing “River Deep Mountain High” in an attempt to show us that she’s not just a schmaltzy balladeer. Overall, she was successful on this front, but it definitely wasn’t the best performance of the night. Vocally she was sound, but her stage presence needs some work, since she still seems kind of terrified when she performs. As crazy as it sounds, I think she might actually be at risk this week.

Final two of the night! First, Stefano performs “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Zzzzzzzzzzz-What? Oh, sorry, I nodded off there for a minute since Stefano does songs like this EVERY WEEK. More so than Pia, or anyone else, Stefano is in serious need of an up tempo song, cuz right now he is all ballad, all the time. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they’re good ballads! He’s a talented guy! But that’s all he does. Spice things up, dude!

Finally, Paul gives us the last performance of the night with “Folsom Prison Blues.” When I first heard this is what he was going to sing, I have to admit I was pretty skeptical since Paul McDonald is pretty much the polar opposite of Johnny Cash in almost every way. His performance was definitely a departure from the original, but! It was actually pretty dang good! Maybe, even, his best to date. He’s safe I think.

So, that wraps up the performances for this week. I have to say, this is going to be pretty tough, since everyone got a glowing review from the judges, so it’s really up to who America likes the most/least. Based on that, for those of you playing at home on our Fantasy American Idol Pool, I’d put points down on Haley, just because I think (hope?) her shtick is wearing everyone down, Stefano, because he didn’t stand out this week and has already been in the bottom three a few times, and Pia. I know, I know! She’s an audience and judge favorite, but this week she seemed pretty uneasy, and compared to the others she didn’t stand out as much as she could have. Lauren should probably not get too comfortable either in my opinion.

So there you go! Thems my picks for the week. We’ll see if I was right with tomorrow’s results show. America’s picks are always baffling to me, so who knows who will make it and who won’t. The way you people vote it could be anyone’s game. Only time will tell!