We’re almost there guys! Only 4 contestants remain, and after tomorrow there’ll be but three. As they reminded us in the teaser, those three will also get to return to their hometowns and get showered with praise like actual popstars, which is important because very likely the only time any of them will get that sort of treatment ever. So yeah, very high stakes.

Anyway, the gist of tonight’s show was a little random, with each person performing two songs, the first of which is a “song that inspires them,” and the second is a song by Leiber and Stoller, coached by Lady Gaga (see? Random.). Miss Germanotta showed up in an understated black and white wig, black bodysuit, and oversized fake mole. Or, as she calls it her casual Wednesday look.

First is James, who chose Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” as his song that inspires him. I hated it, but, admittedly I’m a little biased because I HATE THAT SONG SO MUCH. Seriously, there is no song I hate on this earth more than “Don’t Stop Believin’.” In fact, if I ever get married, I am going to have a clause in my contract with the DJ that says I don’t have to pay him if he plays that song. But yeah, I thought it was a little pitchy, and definitely not his best work, but as always, the judges loved it as usual and heaped praise on him like whoa.

For his second song, he chose “Love Potion Number 9,” which was much better in my opinion. With a little coaching/sexual harassment from Gaga about how to work his hips, he gave a really solid and polished performance that even I liked. So yeah, James is safe for sure. Get ready to go to your hometown!

Next is Haley, who got a pretty brutal critique in the first round for her performance of “Earth Song.” I know I haven’t been the biggest fan of hers, and even I thought she didn’t deserve the level of criticism she got from Randy and Jennifer (Steven loved her, bur he’s barely lucid at this point). Seriously, it wasn’t that bad. In fact, I’d even venture to say it was good! It just shows to me how arbitrary the judges’ critiques often are.

However, Haley came back in a major way with her second song, performing “I Who Have Nothing” with an extra serving of drama courtesy of Gaga’s coaching. I don’t know whether it was getting praise from Gaga or the judges harshness inspiring her to do better, but her performance was straight up awesome, and the best of the night for me. I know! Who’d have thought, but I think I may be rooting for Haley now? What a crazy mixed-up world we live in.

Moving on, let’s talk about Scotty for a minute. Now, guys, I don’t want to sound overly cynical or anything, but wasn’t there something a little calculated about him choosing to perform that “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” song? Like, a song about 9/11 is basically a guarantee that he’ll get a good critique. I mean, if the judges didn’t like it, then tomorrow Sarah Palin, Michelle Malkin, and all of the Fox news pundits would be ranting about how Jennifer Lopez hates America and Randy is the new mouthpiece of Al-Qaeda or something. So yeah, since nobody wants that, the judges of course praised him up and down about how amazing it was. Well played, McCreery. Well played.

He followed that later with “Young Blood,” which was much more upbeat and silly. I thought it was way too hammy and I wasn’t a fan. I also wasn’t a fan of how he acted all scandalized by Lady Gaga, kissing his cross necklace and talking about how he’d pray for her and crap. I don’t know, between that and the obvious 9/11 baiting, I think I might hate him? Obviously, my opinion doesn’t matter though, because the judges loved both performances, and he’s in the top 3 for sure.

Last up is Lauren, who performed a Martina McBride song for her first performance and dedicated it to the tornado-stricken south. Like Scotty’s 9/11 tribute, this basically ensures praise from the judges, since how are they going to criticize sentiment like that. But! Despite the potentially cynical aspect, I thought it was pretty solid, hideous leopard-lined ballgowns aside.

She kept things up with her second performance of “Trouble” by Elvis. After being coaxed out of her shell a little bit by Gaga, she took the stage with a newfound attitude and swagger that we’ve never seen from her before. Seriously, it was really good! It even melted my cold black heart a little bit. Good job, Lauren!

So that’s it for this week’s performances. I would say, justified or not, it’s a sure thing that Scotty and James are in the top two, since they’ve consistently gotten praise from the judges and votes from the fans. This leaves it between Lauren and Haley for that final spot in the top three. Right now I’d say it’s pretty close between the two of them, but for those of you playing along in one of our Fantasy Games, I’d say Lauren has the slight advantage just because she got better praise from the judges in the first round and I think she has a wider overall appeal. Personally, I’m rooting for Haley though because I like a good underdog. Crazy, I know, since I was crapping all over her not 2 weeks prior, but my heart is fickle, and so is America’s! I’m excited to see how things pan out tomorrow night, aren’t you? Until then, farewell!