Summing up American Idol this season - critics love the talent, but the ratings have been off.  Last night was the 1st time I felt any real buzz of Idol this year - the combo of a Jersey legend and a mega performance that has many comparing it to one of the best in Idol history.

As the Top-5 entered into battle, they found their mentor to be Steven Van Zandt - yes, Little Steven from Bruce's E Street Band and Silvio from The Sopranos!  He may not have been born in The Garden State, but he is very much a part of the state's entertainment history.

Jimmy Iovine of Interscope Records is in his 2nd season of Idol to guide the talent, and has the utmost respect for Little Steven, but had fun by saying "he is in my life that tells me I'm wrong the most .... besides my kids!"  The back and forth between Iovine and Van Zandt actually created some needed buzz for the show.  The reviews were not all positive (most were), but it has people talking!

It's great that the talent is top notch this season, but without ratings it makes no difference.  Sometimes it takes something like Little Steven mixing it up with Iovine and a monster performance to make a season more ratings successful.  Did Joshua Ledet deliver that performance on "To Love Somebody"?  Yes he poured emotion into The Bee Gees classic, the buzz on the web has it being hailed one of the best performances in Idol history to over-hyped by the judges (J. Lo dubbing him "the best singer in the last 50 years").  I would love to give you a sample of the performance, but Idol will not release until after the results show (tonight on FOX).

This is the most noise I've heard about this American Idol season, and that is disappointing.  They may be a talent bunch, but if nobody sees them it amounts to that tree falling in the forest (you cannot hear it unless you are there).  Ratings are good, but down from previous years.  Maybe last night can help salvage the rest of the season, sparking more interest in the Final 4.  Last night's highlights made me become interested in the final month.  Have you been watching carefully this season?