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'American Idol': And Then There Were 16

Four more Idolettes have to go. Host Ryan Seacrest asks judge Randy Jackson what the purpose is of the "theme" weeks -- this week being '70s week, one week after '60s week.

Randy explains it's because every one of the contestants knows every song that's on the radio these days, so the past two weeks they've been going back to "yesterday," when the music was a little better, and the songwriting was a little better, and the Idolettes have to "work out songs from yesterday." Randy's bones start to creak and he stops talking to rub liniment on them.

Paula Abdul says goodbye to Jason Yeager. (Michael Becker - Fox)

Seacrest says his mother, Connie, noticed Simon Cowell has been doing what he calls "the Half Moose." Seacrest brought audiovisual aids -- pictures of Simon doing the Half Moose which involves taking one open hand, holding out the thumb, and putting thumb to temple. Simon says it's a code, then tells Paula to hold his hand. Paula would prefer to squeeze his head until it comes off and then hang his body from her rearview mirror, but getting hold of a hand is a start, so she agrees. Seacrest does the Half Moose and cuts to a commercial.

When they return, it's time for the traditional "American Idol" Happy Group Muzak Sing-Along Before Someone Gets Whacked. This week -- a medley of '70s tunes.

Ohmygod. They're turning Todd Rundgren's "I Saw the Light" into Happy Group Muzak. Not Todd Rundgren -- it's unbearable. I didn't sign on for the Happy Group Muzakification of Todd Rundgren. They promised me this show would slaughter the work of recording artists I could mock -- Barry Manilow, for instance. Mercifully they move on to more mockable tunes -- "The Things We Do for Love" and "I Feel the Earth Move," to name two.

First to go -- a guy. Seacrest winnows the 10 guys to just two, Danny Noriega and Jason Yeager. Jason is axed. Jason tells Seacrest he is not surprised. Neither is anyone else, given the unrelenting hate the judges have heaped on him since they decided he was talented enough to go through to the competition. Jason says he was surprised by their vitriol. Seacrest asks Simon to nick Jason one more time. Simon obliges, saying his undoing was his inability to stand out in a crowd, owing to his lack of charisma and personality.

"You're not a bad singer -- you just don't stand out," Simon says.

Let's recap: Tens of thousands of people auditioned for this year's round of "American Idol" and Jason Yeager was one of only 20 people to make it through to this week, but his problem is he doesn't stand out.

Next, Seacrest sets his sights on the chicks. He says they put on a great show the night before. Really? Where was I?

He shows clips from chicks night. They still sound. But here's something we didn't see on Chicks Night: a clip of the best snap in the history of "American Idol."

After the judges finish savaging Amanda Overmyer for her dreadful performance, she's seen offstage saying matter-of-factly, "If they don't like it, they don't like it -- I'm not asking them to buy an album."

During the chicks' clip job, we see Simon calling Alaina Whitaker the dark horse of the competition, and Randy saying Alexandrea Lushington has "mad vocal skills." We've seen enough seasons of "American Idol" to know this means the two of them are out. It's called "irony."

Also filed under "irony," when Alexandrea gets the heave-ho, Seacrest asks Randy if he's happy the chick he said had "mad vocal skills" has been ousted. Turns out, he's not.

Alexandrea's booting produces another of the best "Idol" lines ever. Seacrest decides to ratchet up the pathos and mentions Alexandrea's adorable great-grandmother, who accompanied her to her first audition in whichever town it was, and who was seen refusing to cry for joy on camera when Alexandrea got her golden ticket to Hollywood.

"You were supposed to bring her to California, freak!" Alexandrea cracks.

"I'm gonna visit her," Seacrest responds, lamely.

These chicks this season -- they've got spunk.

Next, Seacrest isolates Kady Malloy and Alaina. When Kady hears she's safe, she's stunned, which makes us like her more than we have recently. Everyone else on stage is also rocked at the notion that America has cut one of the "American Idol" Interchangeable Hot Blondes. "I can't sing! This is so embarrassing!" wails a distraught Alaina.

Seacrest steps in and calms her down, quietly telling her to look at what she's accomplished, making it past thousands of others who auditioned, to be on the "American Idol" stage, which "almost nobody get to do" -- except people who have no charisma and no personality and don't stand out in a crowd, like Jason Yeager, of course.

She smiles weakly, putting Seacrest back at the front of the running for the very first Primetime Emmy Award for Best Performance by a Reality Series Host.

Seacrest asks Paula to begin prattling on happily about how this is just the beginning of the "amazing career" Alaina's going to have, like all the other Idolettes who've been booted from the show over its many seasons during the very early rounds of viewer voting. While she prattles, Simon is seen rolling his eyes and Danny Noriega is seen weeping buckets.

Seacrest announces the "Idol Gives Back" charity fundraiser will air April 9 this year. Ruben Studdard, the second least successful "American Idol" winner ever (behind Taylor Hicks), will sing this year's "American Idol" You're Outta Here Tune, which will be used on evictions nights like this one, but not until they're down to the 12 finalists, starting March 11.

Seacrest also announces Brad Pitt will participate in this year's "Idol Gives Back." And Miley Cyrus. And Reese Witherspoon.

That's right, THE Reese Witherspoon.

And Mariah Carey, Snoop Dogg, former Idolette Chris Daughtry, and past "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood. We're sorry to report the biggest screams in the audience were for Miley Cyrus.

And, finally, one more guy gets whacked. Robbie Carrico.

Thankfully, he doesn't wig out.

Get it?

Wig out?


By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 29, 2008; 7:55 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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