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Extreme elimination

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Touching moment delivered by Idol’s lifeless hands



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American Idol judge Paula Abdul.





I dread the opening musical number on Idol’s elimination night.


Last night’s show kicked off with the remaining 20 contestants belting out Three Dog Night’s Joy To The World, with a pleading eagerness that counts bad breath and sleeplessness among its side effects.


The song was overplayed when I was still trying to outrun bullies after school in my earth shoes, so the only way to survive it is to scrutinize the faces of the singers for some pained sign that they’re suppressing a grimace.


The contestants are singled out for judgment and possible elimination; the men go first, and Ryan Seacrest tries to tease some drama from the ritual by asking Jared Cotter — far too good looking to head home so early, let’s be honest — to walk down to the podium, but he stays and a moment later Seacrest offhandedly cuts the very unremarkable Nicholas Pedro.


Seacrest breezes past Stephanie Edwards, Sabrina Sloan and Melinda Doolittle before giving Alaina Alexander the bad — but hardly surprising — news. She’s far from shocked, but struggles through a verse of the Dixie Chicks before the backup singers take over for the chorus and the remaining girls bury her in a group hug.


Theoretically, this is supposed to be touching, but Idol’s dead hand delivers it like a tax bill.


Season five Idol finalist Kelly Pickler, fresh from a serious Nashville makeover, shows that being unremarkable isn’t a hindrance after you exit Idol. Sanjaya Malakar and AJ Tabaldo are singled out for elimination next, but — as predicted here; just send money — Sanjaya’s charm keeps him in the game. Lakisha Jones barely stands long enough to hear that she’s safe, and Seacrest teases out the news that Antonella Barba is staying before giving Leslie Hunt the bad news, and she fixes the camera with a pitiable, unblinking stare as the judges try to pave over the moment with platitudes.


 
 
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