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"American Idol": The Guys Have It

In a suspicious show of collegiality and generosity, our real TV columnist once again has given the keys to "American Idol" blogdom this week to Tamara Jones, auxiliary backup Designated Idol Watcher.

Yep, Simon and Randy were right all along: These girls are no Mariah Carey.

The boys are.

With the herd culled to seven Idolettes, the guys may be outnumbered now but they aren't about to be outsung as the five-time Grammy winner stops by to play guest mentor on "American Idol."

The pop diva brings along her little white dog, and apparently the two of them have divvied up the coaching tasks, which would explain some of the yelping and howling during the ladies' numbers.

David Archuleta launches the Mariah tribute with "When You Believe," a duet that sadly does not come with Whitney Houston singing her half. Baby Elmo does his usual professional job and the judges offer their usual pats on the head. We can't help but notice that Baby Elmo and judge Paula Abdul appear to be wearing the same peach lip gloss.

Judge Simon Cowell boasts that "I had a Number One with that record at Christmastime in the U.K.," and we make a note to search iTunes later. Simon singing? We could've sworn Alvin and the Chipmunks broke up years ago!

While Simon continues to sip from Paula's magic Coke cup, Carly Smithson gives us our own rush when she appears with actual sleeves on a not-ugly dress. Spared the distraction of the tattoo mural known as her right arm, we can focus entirely on Carly's performance of "I Can't Live (If Living Is Without You)."

Judge Randy Jackson thinks the middle "power parts" are cool, but her low notes are too "loosey-goosey." Paula likes Carly's restraint, and Simon doesn't think she pulled it off.

Our advice is to get rid of the sleeves again and wait for "Memento: The Musical" to debut on Broadway.

Syesha Mercado takes on a song Mariah wrote as a teenager, called "Vanishing," which should have been her fate weeks ago. Is she mocking us? Since no one is likely to recognize the song, who knows whether she mangled it?

Paula thinks it was smart and "unbelievably magical for you," and Simon decides it was "technically very, very good," but what does he know, he's a singing chipmunk.

Brooke White, the nanny whose spoonfuls of sugar never help the medicine go down, tries to lock-in some pity points by revealing she had to miss her sister's wedding last weekend and it made her cry. She's wearing a sparkly dove-gray dress, and we're tempted to throw in some free pretty points, too. But then she starts singing "Hero," and somewhere in the Arizona desert, a pack of coyotes is answering back.

Simon compares her performance to ordering a hamburger and "only getting the bun," and Randy interrupts to say there was meat in the bun but "no condiments, no mustard and mayo," and Paula talks over him to point out Brooke and host Ryan Seacrest "look great together on stage right now."

We're alarmed that Paula is the only one who has just made actual sense, and fret that we may be missing a pickle of our own by now.

Mariah Carey, who manages to exude both sincerity and class, offers each Idolette a bit of actual coaching instead of mere hugs, and we're admittedly excited that a Moment is going to occur when she tells pony pawner Kristy Lee Cook that her version of "Forever" is better than her own and gave her goosebumps. In case anyone missed that on the video clip, Kristy Lee helpfully repeats the praise in her own video-clip interview.

Randy quickly rains on that little parade by harrumphing that he didn't think it was amazing. Paula is blown away, and Simon says Kristy Lee was whiny and didn't give him chills.

David Cook wows Mariah with his "pretty and haunting" take on "Always Be My Baby," which proves to be an understatement. David C. is looking and sounding more and more like a possible hit-maker.

Randy declares him ready to make an album, and lumbers to his feet to offer his first standing ovation of the season, an act so momentous, evidently, that it requires an announcement first, which sort of defeats the whole spontaneous, blown-away effect of a standing O.

Paula runs her giraffe tongue across her lips in a disturbing way, and says, "you're it, you're it!" with the kind of conviction that suggests it's time for David C. to get a new cellphone number.

Simon declares that "this is sort of like coming out of karaoke hell into a breath of fresh air," and praises David C. for being daring: "You stood out by a mile."

Jason Castro wraps up the evening with "I Don't Wanna Cry," which may be a not-so-subliminal message for voters likely to put him in the bottom three again tonight.

Randy thinks it sounded like "some weird beach luau with someone playing music in the distance." Paula disagrees, and Simon sides with her.

"The guys completely won the night," Simon says.

Theodore and Alvin couldn't agree more.

One of the remaining Idolettes has got to go tonight. Who do you think will be eliminated?

David Archuleta
Jason Castro
David Cook
Kristy Lee Cook
Syesha Mercado
Carly Smithson
Brooke White

By Lisa de Moraes  |  April 16, 2008; 8:15 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Next: "American Idol": Countdown to Six

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