Tonight's theme is love songs, and the Idols worked with Andrea Bocelli and producer David Foster. Andrea was born in Tuscany, Italy and became an international superstar. He's the best selling classical artist of al time. His current album Amore includes duets with Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera. David Foster has written songs for Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston. He has won 14 Grammies. Andrea and David recently joined forces on stage for an elaborate concert in Las Vegas. The two met the Idols in Beverly Hills. Andrea runs them through vocal exercises. David and Andrea are not impressed at first. David says that if you can't cut it, you're gone. He sugarcoats nothing and is tough on the Idols. He says it's vital to bring something new to each song.
Katharine McPhee is going to sing "I Have Nothing," written by David Foster and made famous by Whitney Houston. She was very nervous working with Andrea and David – it was a lot of pressure. David gives her suggestions for how to sing the song, and she loves the changes. David thinks she has a great future. Andrea says she has a beautiful voice. He thinks she could possibly sing opera if she trained. The two of them sing a duet together. Andrea, who is blind, says that she is nice, beautiful, and young. David teases him, "How do you know all of this?"
Randy: Randy admits that he was worried about the theme. This was a good song choice, but it was too big for her. The audience disagrees. Randy says it's a mistake to try to do Whitney. He's answered by boos.
Paula: Paula is going to be serious and tough. There were pitch problems. Katharine pushed her vocals too much and over sang and was a little flat. This was a tough song to sing, and she is a star. She should know what she's best at, which is intimate vocals.
Simon: Simon is impressed by Paula's feedback. By choosing that song, it's like Katharine is saying she's as good as Whitney Houston, which she's not. It was cabaret and just didn't seem as good.
Ryan says that anyone who doesn't have their volume up will give her votes, since she looks great in that dress. Katharine looks nervous as he gives her numbers.
Elliott is excited to sing "A Song for You" by Donnie Hathaway. It's the first song he sang at his audition for the executive producers. He feels like enough time has elapsed for him to bring it to the big stage. He also wants to bring Hathaway's music to the forefront. Background singer Kenya is one of Hathaway's daughters. Ryan jokes that is a lot of pressure. Andrea thinks Elliott has performed the song often. David says it's a very stylized song, which is a challenge. David had some changes that take Elliott a few attempts to get. David is pretty critical of him at times, but Elliott seems to really appreciate the feedback. David tells him to create his own sound, not use Donnie's.
Randy: He hated the arrangement. It was way too confusing, but Elliott is "dope." He should have sung it like the record. Considering how often the judges advise the singers to "make it your own," this is confusing advice.
Paula: Paula has tears in her eyes. Elliott moves her- he's a handsome, evolved performer, and he is an American Idol.
Simon: Simon is laughing at Paula. Seven weeks ago, he said Elliott was one of the best male vocalists ever on the show. Tonight was like a vocal master class. "It was superb."
Ryan jokes that Paula is crying like Mr. McPhee.
Upon prodding from Ryan, Kellie Pickler says she's not dedicating her song to anyone else. "Thank you, Ryan, for reminding me that I do not have a boyfriend," she says. She's going to sing "Unchained Melody," and wishes she had somebody to "play pottery with" like in Ghost. Andrea thinks the song is "sweet, like her voice." David tells her she's robotic. Kellie tries a falsetto at David's urging. David loves it, but to me, it sounds like a dolphin in pain. David says the way she did it is impressive, which surprises her. David says that if the song is done without passion, it's boring. Andrea correctly figures Kellie is a blonde. I suspect it's easy to hear the blonde in her!
Randy: Kellie is scared of how he's going to react. Randy thinks it was pitchy and strange, the wrong song for her.
Paula: It's a tough competition, and Paula doesn't think Kellie is raising the bar each week. She thinks America loves Kellie, but she doesn't feel greatness.
Simon: "I think that song deserved tears, but for a different reason." It was monotonous, bland, and robotic. There was no heart. The music comes on before Simon can finish, much to his chagrin.
Paris Bennett is next. She is going to sing "The Way We Were." Because she's 17, she had to choose a love song carefully. She says she has memories, more than love thoughts. Andrea says she has impressive volume in her. David advises her to sing the first eight bars softly, to get everyone's attention in a different way. Andrea says she has an extraordinary voice.
Randy: It was pretty good, but he wasn't blown away. She can sing anything.
Paula: She over sang it, but was the best female vocal of the night.
Simon: A bit old fashioned, but okay.
Taylor Hicks says he really enjoyed meeting Andrea and David. He is going to sing "Just Once." David says he was drawn into Taylor's performance. The song is a star, and he thinks Taylor will score big with it. Taylor says they were really listening, trying to give him good advice. Andrea says it was a perfect song for his voice. David believes that Taylor has the most charisma, which is very important.
Randy: The song was the wrong choice, not half as good as the original.
Paula: She thinks it's a great love song. Taylor is meant to be on the stage performing. It wasn't her favorite song, but he looks "handsome as heck."
Simon: He seemed uptight tonight. This sounded like a hotel lounge performance. Randy agrees. "It was not a winning performance. Paula interrupts to say that she loves Taylor.
Chris Daughtry is going to sing "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman." Chris thinks it has all of the elements of a great love song. David wants him to sing from his diaphragm, not his throat. David says Andrea recorded a song lying down. Andrea shows it, which is impressive. They make Chris do it, too. He says the song came out better- it forced him to use his diaphragm instead of his throat. David thinks that if he delivers the performance of his life, it'll be amazing.
Paula: "Love you!"
Simon: "That was a very, very good choice of song." It was very sexy.