...And Then There Were 20

Four contestants are going to get the hook on "American Idol" and sadly, not all can be guys. "American Idol" has rules about these things, because if you have, say eight women and just four men compete for the top prize, guys won't watch -- or is it chicks who won't watch?

Show host Ryan Seacrest is dressed like an undertaker. The guys are seated in rows on one side of the stage and the chicks seated in rows on the other side -- just like a middle-school dance.

Judge Randy Jackson says that after watching the guys and the chicks compete on separate nights this week, the competition is the girl's to lose. Judge Simon Cowell says there are just two or three guys in the competition with potential. Paula says the guys have "only this way to go" - pointing up.

And yet, we will wind up with six of each in the final 12.

Ryan tells us Diana Ross, Jon Bon Jovi, J.Lo, Gwen Stefani, Tony Bennett, Lulu, Martina McBride, Barry Gibb and Peter Noone will appear on the show this season, only he says "Peter Noone from Herman's Hermits" like he thinks no one will know who Noone is otherwise - but they will know who Lulu is.

Wannabe idol Chris Sligh is given the opportunity to grovel before Simon for the comments he made during Tuesday's performance show, when Simon nicked his performance and Chris said he was sorry he wasn't as good as those singers Simon had produced for, boy group Il Divo and the Teletubbies.

"I have incredible respect for Simon," Slight simpered, "I love Simon."

"I like this guy," Simon responds.

We feel a little nauseous.

The feeling passes.

Ryan the Undertaker brings half the guys on stage and, one by one, tortures them and then tells them they're through and they can sit down. The last one, Paul Kim, the barefoot guy, Ryan says is going home. Kim sings and then he's gone.

Next Ryan summons half the chicks, tortures them, tells them to sit down, until they're all back in their seats. So he asks Amy Krebs to stand up and he whacks her. She sings and is gone.

Ryan announces the "American Idol" challenge in which, if you can answer some question about "Idol" you will win $10,000 and a trip to Hollywood for next week's "Idol." It's really tacky -- do you have any idea how hard it is to make something stand out as tackier than everything else going on in an episode of "American Idol"? These producers are geniuses -- we're so happy they're going to produce this year's Primetime Emmy Awards.

Out comes Fantasia Barrino, who won the competition in the third season. She's going to star on Broadway in "The Color Purple," Ryan says. Quincy Jones, who is involved in the Broadway production, or with Fantasia, or something, is sitting there; Ryan asks him if Fantasia is ready to star in "The Color Purple."

"Absolutely -- 'The Color Purple' is about...."

Ryan cuts him off, then Fantasia starts to sing. This season's contestant Lakisha Jones is better than she is.

Ryan then does the torture routine with the other half of the girls and whacks Nicole Tranquillo. She says she has a lot of fun, and then sings while Paula does her Crazy Dance.

Ryan brings out the as-yet-untortured guys, messes with them, sends them back. Except Sanjaya Malakar and Rudy Cardenas. Ryan tells Sanjaya he's in the top 4, then he tells Rudy he's out.

Simon is asked about Rudy; he notes you can't turn an okay singer into a great singer. He should know - he's worked with Teletubbies.

Rudy says in a clip that if he gets booted he'll be crushed. But life is full of disappointments -- just ask the gang from "The OC." They're up next.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 22, 2007; 11:20 PM ET "American Idol"
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I love this blog. Ryan actually did look like the Grim Reaper in that suit last night. And the tacky comments sometimes make me physically itchy, but Paula's "Crazy Dance" is the only thing that gives me the will to go on. I know that there is someone a little bit more bizarre than me- and she's proud of it!

Posted by: Margo | February 23, 2007 12:05 PM

6 & 6 ? So they have to let the good/best (girls) go in order to keep some losers (boys). That is sooo P.C., sooo much why they should let their affirmative action go too: get rid of those that are deserving so the losers don't get a low self-esteem. But hey, this ain't a singing contest, it's big business, money, ratings.

Posted by: RichieRich | February 23, 2007 12:55 PM

I love this blog, too! Reading it is way better than sitting through the three nights of shows.

Posted by: mitzi | February 23, 2007 1:07 PM

Is Sanjaya really in the Top4? My wife and I think he's TERRIBLE! Oh well...we haven't watched Idol since season 2, but season 6 is just as tacky as ever.

Posted by: Ace | February 23, 2007 1:38 PM

how are there not any comments about the unbelievable lack of talent exhibited by Antonella and Alaina at the expense of two fairly good singers? Nicole could SING, and Amy wasn't half-bad either. Granted, neither Nicole or Amy could win the competition, but they are insanely better than those other two.

Posted by: whaaaat? | February 23, 2007 1:47 PM

Nicole was TERRIBLE. I can't believe there are people out there that actually thought she was not bad...or even good. I thought she was not only the worst of the night, but the worst of the week. She made Sundance look like a superstar.

And, at least Alaina had a modicum of stage presence.

Posted by: chickie | February 23, 2007 2:25 PM

It was Paul who said he'd be crushed. He was just hanging on by a thread, anyway. Not sure what hope he really had with a small, tight voice that (maybe) belongs in a second-tier boy band back in 1997.

It's not mean if it's true...

Posted by: Rudy Should Have Stayed | February 23, 2007 2:29 PM

Enough about LaKisha's daring song choice! She sang the same songs, Think and And I Am Telling You, I'm Not Going, for a local talent show in Houston in 2005 (Gimme the Mike, Houston). She came in second in that contest and has since moved from Houston.
Anyway - those songs are her bread and butter. The real test will be to see how well she can sing something new and in a different style.

Posted by: maly | February 23, 2007 2:38 PM

I agree - there's no reason to select so many for male and female if the goal of the competition is to truly find the best. Speaking of which, something that's always bothered me: most of the contestants are over 18, and yet they're consistently called girls and boys. What's wrong with men and women? Would it turn off some demographic or other?

Posted by: sara | February 23, 2007 4:22 PM

LaKisha is good, but no where near as good as Fantasia. LaKisha has a very powerful voice, but Fantasia has stronger vocals, a wider range and better stage presence. In a competition between them both, Fantasia wins hands down.

Posted by: kdinsd | February 23, 2007 4:48 PM

Fantasier (as Simon calls her) is a twit. She can't sing, and I can't wait to hear that she screwed up on stage with "The Color Purple". She's going to say "ya ya ya" at the end of any song she sings....LaKisha is the winner of AI6. Everybody else is going for 2nd.

Posted by: Bill | February 23, 2007 6:46 PM

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