Could there be some role reversal going on between the Idol judges? Tonight it was Randy Jackson who played the tough guy and didn’t hold back.

Simon even defended Ramiele from one of Randy’s barbs. "I don’t think it was as bad as Randy said," he said. "I thought the first part of the song was okay. The middle was a bit shrieky. The truth is Ramiele, after what you sang last week which I thought was appalling, you are going to get through with this performance."

But Simon wasn’t going to let Randy have all the fun.

He couldn’t quite find the words to describe just how "cheesy" he thought Chikezie’s performance was. "All the putting your hand into the audience…it’s all very…" he struggled. "You have to show originality and I didn’t see that. All I saw was someone trying to copy the original. I miss your personality."

Syesha got mixed messages from Simon. While he said her performance of If I Were A Woman was definitely her best so far, he added, "I think there is a limit on your vocal and I think that song stretched it."

There were sobering words for three of the contestants widely tipped to go all the way this year. Even though he gave Brooke White’s performance a warm reception, he still told her that she needs to pick up her game. "Definitely good enough to keep you in for another week," he said, "but you ought to work this out."

He sounded thoroughly repulsed by golden boy David Archuleta’s Mickey Mouse routine. "I am going to be honest with you – I didn’t like the performance at all. It was like a theme park performance. It’s one of those ghastly songs you sing when you have animated creatures with you and everyone joins in together."

And was Simon taking a dig at David’s dad, who is rumored to be taking control of his performances? "I don’t think that’s you at all. I’d be amazed if you chose that song yourself because it’s not you," he said.

But it was Jason Castro whose confidence must have been most shaken after his dressing down from Simon. "Jason, I think you had two bad weeks and I think it’s time that you start taking this a little more seriously," he said. "I’ll tell you what that was, that was the equivalent of someone basking outside a subway. Everything was too laid back."

"You are somebody, when you sang Hallelujah, who is potentially a winner but you are not going to be a winner if you do that every week."

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