Four are sent packing and the rest get one more night in the lights.

By Stephanie Schomer
March 19, 2015 at 05:21 PM EDT
Credit: Fox
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Thank god, it’s Motown Night with #idolguys. Motown Night is a fascinating study because it holds such promise but historically tends to be a huge disaster. But I have faith in this class of boys. And so does, it seems, Aretha Franklin, who appears as if from nowhere to introduce the show and sing “I Will Survive.” Aretha looks fantastic and is dressed to a T-Bird. Aretha’s performance is a bit half-hearted, and she STILL KILLS IT because she is fabulous.

This is the first night of eliminations, and this seems to be how it’s going to play out: If you’re called to stage to perform, you’re safe. What an unfair, cruel waste of four of these boys’ time. They’ve spent all week rehearsing and prepping! A whole week!. But, it’s saving us viewers a whole hour a week, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

First to be called to the stage? Daniel Seavey, which means he’s sticking around another week. Daniel was one of five that I thought to be at risk after last week’s performance, and his presence on this stage proves that he is well on his way to squeaking through for weeks to come. He takes on Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” and it’s fine and unremarkable. It’s fun to watch Daniel perform because no one is more surprised by his presence on this show than he is. He’s so so so happy to be singing for all of us! And here’s the thing: I love Daniel because he is angelic and seems like a solidly nice kid and he has funny little dance moves. On top of that, he is talented. I know a lot of you disagree, but he’s got some skill. That said, I think the judges did him a disservice by putting him through this season. In two years, Daniel is going to kill it. But he’s not ready for this—or for the music industry.

Next to survive? Mark Andrew! “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” isn’t the best performance of Mark’s season so far. It’s a little boring, frankly. His comfort on the stage is so impressive, but tonight he was almost too comfortable. Like maybe he forgot to actually perform.

Our third to move on tonight is Rayvon Owen, which pleases me, as you all know. (Though it also makes me nervous because his performance last week was not fantastic, and the fact that both he and Daniel have been voted through means we’re getting some hard cuts tonight.) He sings “My Girl,” the least surprising song choice for him ever. But man, his voice is like butter. And even though he’s wearing a new hat tonight, Rayvon’s hit the same problem: He’s a little boring. And it’s kind of crazy to say that because his arrangement of this song—one that we all know so well—and his vocals are actually kind of surprising and exciting! But the performance itself is flat. The judges see it, too: They love him, but they want more weight in the performance. Maybe we’ll get it next week.

NEXT: Qaasim lives to dance another day.

Oh god. Ugh. This is that time in the season when I remember how easy it is to hate this show. Adam Ezegalian is the next to make it through, and I am devastated. No disrespect to Adam, but I’m just not into this Jack Black vibe that he’s throwing down. Yeah, he’s got a good voice, but his rendition of “I Want You Back” sounds painfully strained to me, and I’m just blind with rage right now. Based on last week’s performances, Adam was also in the bottom for me. And here he is, moving along. I am absolutely dreading tonight’s elimination.

Viewers, meet Scott Borchetta, Taylor Swift-discoverer and our new mentor. His jacket says “MUSIC HAS VALUE.” Scott announces that Clark Beckham is also safe. (As if there were ever any question.) Scott also basically calls Clark the best, which is both nice and true. “The Tracks of My Tears” is a solid song choice for him, though I’d honestly listen to this kid sing the alphabet and have no complaints. Clark’s our frontrunner, guys. Total package. I think Scott Borchetta sees a few $$$ when he looks at Clark. Precious Clark picks up the pace at the end of the song and sounds incredible and has so much fun and I am just over the moon about this performance. (So are the other boys awaiting their fate, who are chair-dancing their butts off. What a fun group of bros!)

Three spots left. Nicky Fradiani gets one of them. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” sounds good on Nick, who really gives everything to this performance. (He knows that Clark is a tough act to follow.) But this goes the way of Rayvon for me: Good, strong vocals, but a little dull. Harry’s advice? Smile more, babe! Show off those pearly whites! Not sure how constructive that is, but I don’t mind.

Qaasim. Thank you, America, for voting this gentleman through. He is just the most interesting. He’s a maniac and has the craziest dance moves. If any one of you watched his performance tonight and didn’t smile the entire time, you have no soul. “I Wish” is perfect for Qaasim because it allows him to do a lot of those really punchy dance tricks that he loves. Who taught him to do that? He’s amazing. The performance is killer and somewhat distracting, but when you force yourself to pay attention, the kid is nailing the vocals, too. J.Lo reminds him to remind us that he can really, really sing, so next week (hopefully) we’ll get some big sound from him. I love him. Clark and Qaasim FTW.

OH MY GOD AMERICA MY FAITH IS TOTALLY RESTORED IN YOU. Quentin, who floored us last week with his spooky “I Put a Spell On You,” progresses, deservedly so. He takes the stage with “Master Blaster,” and it doesn’t hit me quite like last week’s did, but it’s still excellent. So easy and comfortable up there. J.LO is SO relieved that Quentin survived. You and me both, girl.

So who are we saying goodbye to? Riley Bria (shocked by this, but pleased), Trevor Douglas (we will miss you, precious), Michael Simeon, and Savion Wright. All talented guys, truly. This boys’ group is out for blood this year. Can the girls keep up? Until tomorrow, readers.

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