Tuesday night's worrisome theme was "disco," and a number of finalists impressed the judges with groovy versions of '70s classics.
"This bunch right here is one of the most talented groups of seven kids we've ever had on the show," declared judge Randy Jackson.
As expected, the seemingly unstoppable force known as Adam Lambert had Simon Cowell and the gang wrapped around his finger. The 27-year-old "Idol" frontrunner wowed the panel with his restrained, emotional delivery of the 1977 hit "If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman.
Paula Abdul - who had a dreamy look on her face - said she felt Lambert's "pain." The judge called the theater actor fascinating, brilliant and a shoo-in for the finals of the Fox singing contest.
In another bold declaration, she also told Danny Gokey he'd make it to the final stretch. The smokey-voiced singer crooned the 1978 hit "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire, giving off a Michael McDonald-performing-at-a-wedding vibe. Abdul cooed that he has "one of the sexiest voices."
But Cowell didn't share the Gokey love. The hard-to-please judge picked on the singer for lacking star power.
Teen phenom Allison Iraheta and heartthrob Kris Allen of Conway, Ark. nailed their respective renditions of "Hot Stuff" and "She Works Hard for the Money."
Matt Giraud tackled "Stayin' Alive" - an oh-so-appropriate song choice, given his last-minute save by judges last week. Cowell detected desperation in Giraud's hard-working performance, while the rest of the panel praised his singing chops.
Cowell, as usual, saved his harshest criticism for Lil Rounds. The 24-year-old Memphis mom has spiraled downward on "Idol," transforming from a major frontrunner to an embattled bottom-dweller. Cowell derided Rounds' rousing cover of "I'm Every Woman" as copycat and "a mess."
Going a step further, he predicted "this is gonna be the last time we're ever gonna see you."
Two finalists will get the boot on Wednesday's results show. This time, judges won't be able to save a singer from elimination, since they used up their one-time save option last week.