Here's the deal: A girl's going to sing for her survival on American IdolThursday. And the judges are going to save her. Now, Lazaro Arbos isthe one who should be going home. His performance of The Carpenters hit Close to You was so bad the judges told him that when his song changes key, he's not supposed to stay in the old one.

Infact, they ripped into the poor kid so hard -- stopping just short offlat-out saying, "It's time for you to go home" -- that they probablymotivated his sympathetic fans to vote even harder for him.

And,so, a girl will find herself at the bottom of this week's voting. And itdoesn't matter which one, because the judges will save her.

Ifthey don't, they run the risk of creating a scenario next week whereArbos does get voted off and the judges are forced to save him to keepthe show on schedule. And nobody's going to let that happen.

OnWednesday's show, the Top 6 got two songs: One that they wished theyhad written, and one that Burt Bacharach and Hal David had written.

TheBacharach/David songs came first, with few surprises, from either thestandpoint of song choice or arrangements. Candice Glover and AmberHolcomb came out on top during the first half of the show, but all thewomen gave strong performances.

And none of them held a candle to Glover's stunning show-closer, a rendition of The Cure's Lovesong, which, though channeled through Adele's cover, became what Randy Jackson called "one of the greatest performances on any talent show, ever." And, for once, he wasn't exaggerating.

Thesecond half of the show, where the singers picked songs they wish theyhad written, showcased, better than any other theme thus far in theseason, the kind of artists these singers want to become.

AngieMiller wants to be a contemporary Christian singer, probably one whocrosses over. But when she sat at the piano and sang Kari Jobe's Love Came Down,easily the night's least-known song, Nicki Minaj saw a potentialwinner. "This is the only time when you are going to be remembered atthat top of the pack," Minaj told her. "I don't know why you want to runaway from it. ... Don't stray from that. When you do that, you dosomething all the other girls can't do."


KreeHarrison and Janelle Arthur both want to be country singers -- Arthur, asweet-faced down-home girl, Harrison an artistic song stylist in thevein of Trisha Yearwood. Her version of Kris Kristofferson's Help Me Make It Through the Night had Keith Urban predicting future membership in the Grand Ole Opry.

Amber Holcomb, who sang Love on Top, wants to be the new Beyonce.

Glover? Glover just wants to be a singer. In the very best sense of the word.

And Arbos? By the end of the night, he just looked like he wanted the nightmare to end. American Idolhas already changed the ice-cream scooper's life. But with every weekhe continues on the show, he becomes more damaged goods. It's time forhim to go home, while he still has a shot at a post-show career.

Here's how I rank tonight's performance:

  1. Candice Glover, Lovesong
  2. Candice Glover, Don't Make Me Over
  3. Kree Harrison, Help Me Make It Through the Night
  4. Amber Holcomb, I Say a Little Prayer for You
  5. Angie Milller, Love Came Down
  6. Kree Harrison, What the World Needs Now Is Love
  7. Amber Holcomb, Love on Top
  8. Angie Miller, Anyone Who Had a Heart
  9. Janelle Arthur, I'll Never Fallin Love Again
  10. Janelle Arthur, The Dance
  11. Lazaro Arbos, Angel
  12. Lazaro Arbos, Close to You

Who's in danger: JanelleArthur probably gets the fewest votes but gets the save. Lazaro Arbosis the only singer the judges will let go home this week.

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