I did not have high hopes for tonight's episode but was I pleasantly surprised. I mean, I had all but been promised that Syesha would be going home. It was an additional episode in an already overblown week. And once I saw some of the leftovers from last night: those blonde twins, Ricki Lake, Dr. Phil, a weird music video to "Now I'm A Believer" featuring Kobe Bryant and a bunch of people I didn't recognize, that Jesusy song—it was clearly going to suck. But then Brooke opened up her big yapper. It was cringe-inducing when she announced her sister's wedding and blatantly paused for applause, but then she said "I probably won't get to go." The second it came out of her mouth, she revealed how confident she was she wouldn't be one of the losers. She was right, of course, but it was hilarious seeing her be so cocky and then getting flustered about how it came out. Syesha meanwhile looked like she was already going home, barely participating in the show. Then came the live performance part of the show, during which I usually zone out, but I admit I got into Jordin Sparks sand Chris Brown singing "No Air," which I had somehow avoided hearing up until now. The acting was cheesy and I'm not 100% sure she was really singing but I got into the duet with all its melodrama and harmony. And that Chris Brown is cute. Next we got to see the presidential candidates' taped appearances. And I have to say if I were casting my ballot simply based on those little bits, I'd be voting Republican. Kristy Lee Cook, that bottom three perennial, was actually safe this week. She'll be as confident now as Brooke White after tonight. So, with Carly, Michael and Syesha in the bottom three, I was beginning to note that this would be the one not-interesting part of the show since Syesha was going home, and then the bomb dropped. No more Michael. Upon hearing that the cute Aussie was going home, Paula let her mouth hang open to indicate how shocked—shocked!—she was by this turn of events. Michael seemed pissed. He delivered a good last performance and then Paula hugged him just long enough that we'll be hearing rumors about those two sooner or later. Did he deserve to go home at this stage? Definitely not. Syesha or Kristy or even a few others should have gone before him, but I don't think he should have won the whole thing, so if it happens now rather than later, that's fine because the horrifying elimination shockers are the only parts of the elimination show that are ever fun. So I was way more entertained than I expected to be. Well done,
Idol. I will totally give money to you next year. Grade: A- Stray observations: —During the opening number I thought that the contestants sounded unusually good, and then I saw the bigass choir. And heard David Cook's solo. —I wonder how Amanda Overmyer would have fared during that number. —Was there a lot of boob-grabbing during the Monkees lip-synch or was it just me? But I could watch Cat Deeley grab her boobs all day, I'm serious. —David Cook wanted to know what other words Simon could come up for "arrogant." Um, hello, David, aren't you the word-nerd of the competition? —The car commercial, except for the dippy ending, was the least objectionable one so far.