By People Staff
Updated May 05, 2010 12:00 AM

After performing the standards made famous by Frank Sinatra Tuesday night, Idol‘s top 5 got out of their glad rags and spoke to reporters about working with Harry Connick Jr., dressing to the nines and, in Casey James‘s case, dealing with harsh criticism while ruminating the outcome of the week’s elimination.

Usually quiet and understated on Tuesday nights, James became animated, chatty and self-critical in dissecting his own performance of “Blue Skies,” one that Simon Cowell said seemed “a bit embarrassed and awkward.” Of his first performance on the Idol stage without a guitar, James said, “I was thinking about knitting on stage as I did my song. I looked into it and there’s just not enough time to get a full piece of anything knitted, in one minute 30 seconds, so I gave up on that, and … decided to go with the awkward, ‘I’m not holding a guitar’ move!”

When James, who was in the bottom two last week and the week before, added that, “I feel like I absolutely deserve to go home tomorrow if you base it on this performance,” a concerned Crystal Bowersox admonished him, saying, “I’m gonna smack you, Casey James!”

James replied, “I mean, hey, if they give me good comments, I’m going to tell them they’re right on the money. But let’s face it, it wasn’t my best performance.”

If anyone knows about addressing critics, it’s Bowersox. When asked about defending her subdued rendition of “Summer Wind,” Bowersox said, “It’s called having a conversation! People are like, ‘talking back,’ but whatever. The judges are . I am going to talk them like . They’re not judges to cower and fear. I really feel strongly that all are equal. I’m not going to put somebody on a pedestal because of their job.”

Meanwhile, Ellen DeGeneres proclaimed that Lee DeWyze would have won the title if this were the final performance show of the season, but Kara DioGuardi wasn’t so convinced, asking DeWyze to write “I will win this” a hundred times. DeWyze shrugged and said, “I felt just as confident with this performance as I did last week. There is always pressure there, every time. It’s just how you deal with it.”

Aaron Kelly simply enjoyed working with mentor Harry Connick Jr. even if it took a while to separate the ribbing from the rejoicing. “He called me Big Mike when he first met me,” Kelly said, “After the mentor meeting, he goes, ‘So where is the real Aaron Kelly? This is his the stand in, right?’ But he was totally serious! He was like, ‘No, I’m being serious.’ “

For Michael Lynche, Sinatra night was a good night to show off one of the many hats he wears — and we’re not talking versatility. “I collect hats all the time,” he said. “Hats and wigs.” Wigs? Indeed! “He’s got a Manny Ramirez one that looks great!” Bowersox said. Laughing, Lynche confessed, “It’s just fun! I have a lot of fedoras and other hats. I thought this was the week to pull out one. I got it at Target … That was $14.99.!”

Idol airs tonight (9 p.m. EST) on FOX and the number will be cut to four. –Cynthia Wang

Tell us: Who’s heading home tonight on American Idol?FOX