Michael Chiklis, <EM>The Shield</EM> Michael Chiklis, The Shield
American IdolFifties night was far kinder to the wannabes than Stevie Wonder night was last week. And the evening clearly belonged to Mandisa

. Wow... just wow. A note to Paula Abdul: No woman wants to be compared to a horse. Paris thrived vocally on "Fever," but she's so young that the "vamp" thing didn't work so well for her. To quote the cinema classic and '50s-themed flick Grease, "she's too pure to be pink."

For a minute I was so excited to see Live on stage doing "I Alone." But then I realized it was Chris, stopping once again in the '90s for inspiration instead of heading to the '50s like everyone else. He's always great, but I'm waiting for Simon to coax Chris out of his comfort zone. Then again, since Chris (along with Kellie and Taylor) is among Simon's picks for the Final 3, he's safe. Since she's been a judge fave, Katharine was conspicuously missing from that list, but as long as she continues looking and sounding as hot as she did on "Come Rain or Come Shine," she'll go far.

Though Ryan Seacrest compared him to Jay Leno, George Clooney and Phil Donahue, I thought Taylor resembled Huey Lewis with his spastic dance moves around the sax player. I'm shocked that Taylor didn't cover a Ray Charles tune. As for Kevin, I thought he did pretty well for him. Not that it was particularly good or enjoyable.

I'm not quite sure what the judges heard during Elliott's song, but I didn't think he was up to his usual vocal quality. But I'll give him points for choosing a tough track. Bucky seems like a stand-up guy, but his attempt at Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy" sounded strained and painful.

Lisa may be in the most trouble of all. Her voice didn't let her down, but she didn't really connect with her song. I expected better from Kellie's take on Patsy Cline, the little growl didn't fit, plus Patsy's twang never sounded as affected as Kellie's. Finally, why did Barry Manilow tell Ace to end on a horrible falsetto note? And why did the camera never pan to Constantine during Ace's song? I'm sure Constantine had a lawyer on hand to sue Ace for stealing his patented creepy and lingering camera gaze.