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''American Idol'': American Justice (With Podcast)

By RD Heldenfels Published: April 26, 2006

Tonight's podcast is available through:

My written notes from tonight's telecast follow below.

Kellie's gone! Kellie's gone!

No more dumb-bunny jokes. No more challenged vocabulary. And, aside from Taylor, who's been swimming in mediocrity for a bit, no really stinky singers left.

I was prepared for Paris to go. There had been a lot of buzz that she was at the end of her string today. Amy Carlson Gustafson, my podcasting buddy, had arranged for us to do a later-than-usual podcast tonight because Paris is a local angle for her, and she might have had to write up Paris's farewell.

And she was there in the bottom two, with Kellie, who had beaten the odds before by surviving bad performances on the strength of personality.

Instead, we had a week where the ''Idol''-voting nation mobilized, with the show claiming more than 47.5 million votes, supposedly a record for an ''Idol'' telecast other than a season finale.

And at the top of the heap, according to the show, were Chris and Katharine, who topped my report card on Tuesday night. (Of course, I also thought Chris might be in trouble, so wrong there. And I said the only surprise eliminations would be Kellie or Taylor, so I was surprised. Though delightfully.)

That left Taylor and Elliott in the middle of the pack, and I can think of plenty of scenarios where any of the five remaining could win, and there are all sorts of intriguing possibilities in the finals, starting with Chris vs. Katharine.

But I am SO happy that Kellie is gone. She had been running on gimmickry for far too long.

Happy, too, for Katharine, not only for surviving but for getting an apology from Simon for misjudging her performance (along with a low-key admission of excessive harshness from Randy). The judges cannot hear the performances well, as they occasionally admit, and it was nice to hear it tonight. (And how can Paula hear anything over whichever voices echo in her head? ''Cry, Paula.'' ''Dance, Paula.'' ''Declare yourself the empress of all you survey, Paula.'')

On non-results notes, who was picking the camera shots during Bocelli's performance -- Bocelli himself? He's going for the big finish in his song, and we get a shot of Elliott gesturing as the ''Idol'' contestants start to move over to surround Bocelli -- ideally, AFTER he has finished his song. Car ad: ''Call Me,'' with a cute dog.

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