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'American Idol': Your 12 Finalists

The final 12 will be revealed on "American Idol" tonight, host Ryan Seacrest says. Four people are going home.

According to our Completely Unscientific "American Idol" Poll, this week it's Luke Menard on the guys' side and Kady Malloy for the chicks by a landslide. Danny Noriega seems a sure thing, but the second chick is less clear -- maybe Kristy Lee Cook, but then she'd never get her best barrel horse back, which would be a shame.

"Idol's" final 12 contestants. (Ray Mickshaw - Fox)

There's a lot of nerves and anxiety, Seacrest says ominously, noting the 12 empty Shiny Tractor Seats of Finalist-dom, which he says will be filled based on this week's 36 million votes.

But first, a song from last season's most annoying Idolette also-ran, Beatbox Boy, Blake Lewis.

Blake is such a tease; he won't reveal which key he plans to sing in for the first several bars of his tune. Judge Paula Abdul is in ecstasy, seat dancing. She's wearing a gray fedora but the brim is so small that, from a distance, it looks like the Tin Man's hat.

Eventually, Blake picks a key and the rest of the song sounds okay-ish. Eventually, he runs out of gas and his legs stop twitching and the song is over.

At Seacrest's suggestion, Blake advises the Idolettes to be true to themselves. Look where it got him. Second place.

He also suggests they listen to the judges' "good criticism." Ah, but how to tell the good from the bad criticism, little Beatbox Boy?

Blake turns to the judges, Paula, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, and tells them patronizingly, "It's been good this year." Who's gonna tell Blake he did not win? But at least he is not ashamed to watch the show, unlike Clay Aiken or Chris Daughtry.

Seacrest plugs Paula's new track on iTunes. Paula plugs Seacrest's radio show. Simon refuses to congratulate Paula, says he literally can't say the word "congratulations" -- no doubt in much the same way Brits can't say "St. John" (It comes out "sinjun"). Finally, he gives her a half-hearted "well done." Thank you, that means so much to me," Paula says, sarcastically. Simon rolls his eyes.

Finally, it's time to use the pruner on the Idolettes.

David Cook is told to stand up. Seacrest says he spoke to Lionel Richie on the phone today and he says he loves Cook's version of "Hello," performed this week. Cook gets all, like, "wow!" easily cutting his cool quotient in half. Even so, you've already voted and you can't take it back, so he's through and is the first to take his place on a Shiny Tractor Seat of Finalist-dom.

David Archuleta, this year's winner, also is given a coveted Shiny Tractor Seat. Ditto Jason Castro.

After the neverending commercial break, it's time to single out the chicks.

Virgin Nanny gets a Shiny Tractor Seat. Syesha Mercado gets a Shiny Tractor Seat.

Next to be made to stand: Kady Malloy. She's toast and we will never get to see her do an entire "Idol" performance as Britney. We are prostrate with grief. So, too, are Asia'H Epperson and Danny Noriega, who are weeping buckets.

So far, our Completely Unscientific Poll is 1 for 1.

Great news! says Seacrest, master of the segue. Starting next week, on results-show nights, they will open up the phone lines and you can talk live on the air. "Sounds fun," Simon sneers.

Back to the guys.

David Hernandez gets a Shiny Tractor Seat, despite the best efforts of the Associated Press's new Prude Bureau, which this week took Fox to task for not exposing Hernandez's "past," which, according to the AP, included working at a strip joint.

Michael Johns gets a Shiny Tractor Seat.

Luke Menard, however, is denied a Shiny Tractor Seat. And we're 2 for 2. Seacrest predicts Luke will not go back to cleaning carpets.

"The truth is -- Stop it!" Paula shouts, that last bit directed at Simon, before continuing with her "this is the first day of the rest of your life -- you are a brilliant singer" speech.

"We're going to get you a catheter," Seacrest tells Paula.

Back to the chicks. Ramiele Malubay gets a Shiny Tractor Seat. Carly Smithson, too. Amanda Overmyer is also safe, except for the animal that has parked itself on top of her head.

Only Kristy Lee Cook and Asia'H Epperson are left. After the neverending commercial break, Seacrest asks Simon which of the two chicks is toast. "It doesn't really matter," Simon says to facilitate the two chicks feeling as bad as possible. He then guesses Asia'H. He's right. We're now 2 for 3.

Asia'H sings her last tune as an Idolette while Noriega weeps.

Only two guys -- Noriega and Chikezie Eze, are left, and just one Shiny Tractor Seat. Chikezie is comforting Danny, who is picking at his fingers. Chikezie gets the Shiny Tractor Seat; Danny is out. Seacrest calls him "one of our most courageous performers ever on 'American Idol.'" And we wind up the night 3 for 4 -- not bad!

We've seen our last of Kady Malloy's incredible shoes. Luke Menard's falsetto has passed into the range only dogs can hear. Asia'H Epperson has learned the hard way a death in the family only gets you so far. And Danny Noriega can go back to hating Santa on MySpace. Because you, America, have given them the old heave-ho from "American Idol."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 7, 2008; 7:14 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Next: 'American Idol': Best 12 Ever

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