Another Wednesday, another performance night on 'American Idol.' Let's check in on our favorite judge (and sometimes the only reason for watching this show), Steven Tyler.

Ryan Seacrest began by acknowledging the death of his friend and mentor Dick Clark, saying, "Without Dick, a show like this would not exist." Which, considering 'Idol' started with Simon Cowell at the helm, is one of the biggest double-entendres in the history of ever.

Jimmy Iovine must have finally run out of industry friends he likes, because he handled mentoring duties alone. The theme was "now and then," meaning each singer did one modern song and one soul song from years past.

He said Elise "has a vacation home in the bottom three," and man, ain't that the truth. Poor girl has to prove herself every week. Technically she's not the best singer, but she has that rough, Janis-esque edge to her voice that we groove on. (And when we say "we," we actually mean "me." Just to be clear.)

And a quick non-sequitur to the 'Idol' set designers: if you surround a performer with floating red umbrellas, it makes us think we're watching a commercial for Traveler's Insurance. Which is quite a testament to their branding, when you think about it.

All the judges harped on the contestants about "connecting" with the audience, but especially Steven, who said at this point, we know everyone left can sing, so it's about opening up and baring their souls. Skylar and Phillip do it easily, some of the others, not so much.

Tough to say who'll go home Thursday, but with the judges' save gone, the audience votes will get the final word. See you then.