We'll get to our take on last night's American Idol auditions in a moment. First, pleasant news for a former winner of the reality competition:
Carrie Underwood took home album of the year, top female vocalist and best video honors at the Country Music Awards last night. This can only help her standing in the rivalry with Season One champion Kelly Clarkson that The Hollywood Gossip staff is attempting to instigate.
Other winners on the night included Kenny Chesney, who took entertainer of the year for the third year in a row and said "it never gets old." Also, 17-year old Taylor Swift earned buzz with her performance of her hit "Tim McGraw."
But enough about established stars. What about the wanna-bes?
The three finalists performed a trio of songs each on American Idol last night. Melinda Doolittle continued to perform consistently with her strong vocals, but concerns remain about her lack of mainstream appeal. Don't her attempts at sex appeal and sass come off as contrived?
Blake Lewis, meanwhile, kept the girls screaming with takes on modern day hits such as Maroon 5's "This Love." As fun-loving as he is, though, Blake doesn't possess the actual singing talent of an American Idol champion.
Then there's Jordin Sparks. She can sing ballads, she can take it up-tempo, she's as complete as any contestant in the history of the competition.
With a week to go until the finale, the young beauty has our vote.