"I think we've had enough suspense, enough commercials - let's just get to it." This is what Danny Gokey told Ryan Seacrest, and, by proxy, America. We were in agreeance - Wednesday night's show was almost over, and at the point Gokey said the above, Katy Perry's appearance was the last roadblock standing in the way of everybody on Earth discovering whether the Idol axe would fall on MOR belter Gokey, frat-boy fave-to-be Kris Allen, or glam falsetto killa Adam Lambert. Bye-bye, Danny Gokey. At first I felt pity for you. Then I realized that your dead-wife backstory was keeping your dreams alive. Then I realized that you were kind of a dick, the sort of dude I've come across time and again in life, convinced that doggone, you're a good person and people like you - when, in fact, everybody sort of wishes you'd die a slow and painful death in the intestines of some gruesome creature. Also, your singing? Your singing was like the worst Taylor Hicks impression, ever. Yet if I'd had my druthers, you'd have hung on for one more week so Lambert could've stomped you, then scraped you off of the sole of his silver spray-painted stadium boot. There's no denying it: Allen's ballsy "Heartless" gambit paid huge dividends. Enough achy-breaky Gokey eulogizing; there's too much to poke fun at, and too little time, and I ran out of sympathy a few weeks ago. * I've gotta be totally honest: if Seacrest really was waylaid by a bikini-wax mishap, I could hang with Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Bill Hader and Jonah Hill stunt-hosting American Idol for a week. But only a week. * The thing about the judges' desk going to the Smithsonian wasn't a joke. It's actually something that seems like it should have happened eons ago, isn't it? Eight seasons, Smithsonian curators!
* Alicia Keys is here because orphans in Africa need more of our help, and to introduce a singing Rwandan kid named Noah, who apparently learned everything he learned about fashion from Eddie Murphy movies and Michael Jackson videos filmed in the 1980s. What, Emmanuel Jai wasn't available? * Dear Idol producers: know what's lamer than not having an "Idol Gives Back" special? Shoehorning goodwill appeals into the last couple epidodes of the season instead. * All that, and there's still like 50 minutes to go. Results! Katy Perry! Jordin Sparks. Interminable filler! Ye gods. * FAVORITE AUDIENCE SIGN, PART 1: "DANNY, THIS COUGAR LOVES YA!" held aloft by a woman who doesn't look a day over 32, which is weird. * Now for all the homecoming pap. *Danny gets a police escort at home in Milwaukee, is mobbed by Idol zombies, chills with a reliably chic-as-Fonzworth Bentley Jamar, is chased in a limo by more crazed fans with signs. Then they show him crying in the middle of some parade, and I'm almost moved. Almost. Someone attending one of these clusterfucks made a "Scream On" sign referencing the "Dream On" debacle of yore. * Kris gets free cheese dip for life at some joint where he's from in Arkansas, a perk he could parlay into loads of tail if he wasn't a married super-religious dude. It amuses me that Kris has an entourage of hard-yet-babyfaced bodyguards. 50,000 screaming preteen Allen fans can't be wrong, can they? CAN THEY?
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* It's nice to see that Jordin Sparks - who's here to perform new single "Battlefield" with co-writer Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic on piano - is gradually moving away from billowy, form-concealing dresses that shouldn't be worn anywhere other than runway shows. So this song definitely has the OneRepublic moment happening, that rock vibe even with the choir element - it all seems more crossover move than R&B hit. Not a bad song at first blush, though the vocal structure's a bit belabored and it felt pitchy. Love is like a battlefield! You better go get your armor! GRRRRRRR! Didn't Pat Benatar kinda cover this ground already? * FAVORITE AUDIENCE SIGN, PART 2: "KRIS IS NOT HEARTLESS!" on orange construction, festooned with glitter. * Adam goes home to San Diego. You know the drill by now: plane to motorcade to rabid hordes to the morning-show "novelty" circuit to autographs to more evidence that most folks are lemmings - not Josiah Leming, don't get it twisted - to "local boy makes good," blah blah blah. But you've gotta love unruffled Adam is by all this insanity; he's cool, calm, collected, the Barack Obama of Idol finalists. It's as if all of this stuff - even that streaker - was part of the gig, no real surprise. Dude is ready for prime time. * For whatever it cost for costumes, dancers, lights, catering, and electricity for this Katy Perry "Waking up In Vegas" spectacle, Idol could've fed a village in Africa for six months. Why couldn't they have done that and/or observed a solemn moment of silence for the Third World poor instead of... this? No Bucky Covington Moment this week, kids. We're donating the conserved bandwidth to Africa. [Ed. Note: Apparently the 'illness' that forced Katy Perry to cancel Tuesday's House of Blues show was Idol fever. She will play a make-up date - supposedly - August 3 at Verizon Wireless Theater.]