Markus Klinko & Indrani
April 17, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

Tonight on American Idol, it was Mariah Carey night for the top 7. David Archuleta led off the show with ”When You Believe,” originally performed by Carey as a duet with Whitney Houston. All three judges were impressed; Simon called the season’s youngest contestant ”the one to beat.” He was less complimentary of Carly Smithson’s take on ”Without You,” which he said fell short of his expectations, but Randy was more supportive, telling Smithson she consistently challenges herself by performing ”big songs.” Syesha Mercado was next up; her choice of ”Vanishing” split the judges — Paula applauded the selection, while Simon was wary of Mercado’s pick of a less-familiar Mariah song. Brooke White performed an unplugged version of ”Hero,” which led Simon to say, ”It was a bit like ordering a hamburger and only getting the bun.” Randy, however, thought the performance had substance, and countered that ”the meat was in the bun.” Viewers were told that Kristy Lee Cook’s ”Forever” gave Mariah Carey chills during their rehearsal session together, but Simon wasn’t on board. ”You didn’t give me chills,” he told Kristy Lee. ”It wasn’t great.” David Cook fared far better with his haunting rendition of ”Always Be My Baby,” which made Idol history when it received a standing ovation from Randy. This time, he got no argument from Simon, who congratulated Cook for being ”original” and ”daring.” Jason Castro closed the night with ”I Don’t Wanna Cry,” which was well received by Simon and Paula, but failed to engage Randy. He likened the performance to something he’d hear at ”a weird beach luau.”

For a full analysis of tonight’s show and your forum to share your thoughts on Mariah Carey night, see Michael Slezak’s TV Watch; then, let us know who you think should go home by voting in our poll below.

Mariah Carey Songs: The Set List
David Archuleta: ”’When You Believe”
Carly Smithson: ”Without You”
Syesha Mercado: ”Vanishing”
Brooke White: ”Hero”
Kristy Lee Cook: ”Forever”
David Cook: ”Always Be My Baby”
Jason Castro: ”I Don’t Wanna Cry” Poll

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Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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