This week our young idols had to journey to the future to sing songs from THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. Well, ok, so it’s not the future, it’s right now, but for some reason I still think of jet cars and hoverboats when people phrase the current times in which we live in that manner. That is some Jetsons stuff right there. Anyway, let’s hop in our spaceships and talk about tonight’s performances, shall we?

First of the night was Scotty, performing the song “Swingin’” by LeAnn Rimes. Coincidentally, the inspiration for the song’s title comes from the type of party she and Eddie Cibrian were at when they first met (ZING!). Anyhoo, Scotty did the same “aw shucks” facial tic-filled country boy hoedown he always does, and the audience went nuts as usual. But! This time the judges weren’t entirely on board. Sure, they didn’t smash him like I’d hoped they would, but they definitely gave him a more tepid reception than usual, with Randy going so far as to call his performance “safe.” Could the tides be finally turning against this enchanted country scarecrow?

Speaking of enchanted, apparently James Durbin is a wizard. Or at least, that’s what the outfit he wore tonight made him look like. Seriously, what the hell was up with his performance? With the flashy outfits, flamboyant peacocking, and screechy screams it’s like he’s trying to literally transform into Adam Lambert or something. The whole thing was just really really awkward. However, the judges and the audience though otherwise and completely freaked out about it, so James is safe this week. I really don’t understand your tastes, audience!

Haley chose to perform Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which was bold considering how new and very much still in the pop zeitgeist that song is right now. She tried to dress all pin-up sexy to convey a more emotional connection with the song, but she didn’t quite succeed. As you know, this has always been my big problem with Haley (among others); She has absolutely no emotional connection to the words she’s singing. She’s like a cruise ship singer, just goofily shuffling around the stage happily singing songs about heartbreak and loss like they’re party anthems. Promisingly, the judges seem to be catching onto this fact and failed to give her their typical gold star review. Haley in the bottom? (PLEASE SAY YES!)

Next up was Jacob, who sang “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross as a tribute to his own dad that I thought was possibly his best performance to date. It showed a more tender and subdued side to him and really showcased his range as an artist. Puzzlingly, the judges did not agree. Randy mentioned something about wanting the old churchy Jacob back, which was annoying because it seems like they were just telling him how he was too churchy and they wanted to see a softer side. Which one is it, judges? MAKE UP YOUR MINDS! It’s all so unfair!

Also unfair is the judges constantly creaming their pants over the nonstop creepfests Casey calls performances. The Maroon 5 song he chose vocally sounded good, but his extended unblinking eye contact with the camera and weird stomping across the stage really highlighted the complete lack of stage presence he has. I also thought the moment at the end when he kissed Jennifer on the mouth was EXTEREMELY awkward to the point where I had to scream and cover my eyes and pretend it wasn’t happening. So yeah, in short, I hated it. However, as usual the audience applauded for like 20 minutes and the judges’ thought it was so amazing that their heads exploded all over the front row like a Gallagher concert. He’s safe (blerg).

Stefano also gave a bad performance that the judges loved. He chose Ne-Yo’s “Closer” in an attempt to show his more upbeat “sensual” side. To highlight this, they started his reel with awkward testimonials from the other cast members about how Stefano is a “ladies man” and a big flirt and can’t get enough of women and how if you put a skirt on a log he’d dry hump it. They said some other stuff too but I didn’t hear it because I was too busy putting my eyes back in my head because they fell out from ROLLING THEM TOO HARD. Anyhow, his stage presence was admittedly not awful, but the same can’t be said for his vocals. There were seriously terrible! Just all over the place and pitchy as hell, but the judges apparently are into that and gave him a good review. Again, don’t get it at all.

Last up was Lauren, who did an ok job this week with some country song I didn’t catch the name of. However, she looked uncomfortable on stage and doesn’t seem to really know what she’s doing. Everyone mentioned to her how she still seems like she’s holding back, and I have to say I agree with them completely. But, silver lining, I still think she did well this week! At least better than other episodes. Maybe I’m coming around to her. Crazy, right? It might be too late though, since the judges seem like they might turn on her after this week, and America could lose interest too.

So that’s that! Definitely not my favorite week of this season. Everybody seems to be getting that mid-season malaise where they get stuck in a rut performing the same types of songs each week, and most of them don’t seem close to getting out. Some were better than others though, and if you’re playing our Fantasy Idol game, I’d say it’d be safe to put points on Jacob, Haley, and Lauren for the bottom three, as they got not-too-hot reviews from the judges, and the audience interest in them seems to be waning. I also think it’s safe to put points on Stefano too, because even though the judges liked the performance, I just can’t see how any sane person can ignore how supremely bad his vocals were. I mean, right? Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks so! Validate me tomorrow, America!