Idol Beat: Paul McDonald Got Voted Off, E-I-E-I-O

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I realized last night I've been writing about this damn show for nigh on three months now without making the obligatory comment about the size of Jennifer Lopez's ass. So here it is: During the introductions to this week's elimination show, I could swear her derriere started turning around a full two seconds before her torso did.

Okay, enough of that. On to the elimination. Eight contestants enter, seven contestants leave. But in the end, there can be only one.

That also fulfills my '80s geek joke quotient for the night. I didn't really see Paul's kick to the curb coming this early, though I knew it was coming. It'll call for a slight re-jiggering of my calculations, but I'm up to the task.

The show started with a pair of duets. Do you think any of the other contestants are as annoyed as the rest of humanity is by the way Scotty holds his microphone? He grasps it like the Queen Mother holding a teacup, which can't be very "country."

Oh, and way to push the envelope by having him and Lauren sing a frigging Lady Antebellum song. If the contest parameters were solely defined by how well one performs variations of the same song over and over again, Scotty would have won this weeks ago.

As it is, he still might, though I don't want to think about that just yet.

There's a joke to be made about putting four American Idol hopefuls in zombie make-up for the requisite weekly Ford "music video," but I'm too tired to make it. Maybe something like "When there's no more room in Hollywood, the hacks will walk the earth."

Or how about, "They came for the brains of Idol voters, but were sorely disappointed?"

Next, Casey and Haley presented their jazz duet. Talk about two opposite trajectories passing each other. Haley actually seems stronger every episode, while I don't think Beardley ever recovered from almost going home. It's an interesting experiment, but Haley's still trouble simply because of her sex, and because the hordes of vapid teenage voters still view Lauren as the non-threatening/sister type.

Sure enough, Haley is the only member of that first cluster sent to the bottom three. Aside from this season's gender handicap, voters may finally have grown tired of her constant flirtations with Steven Tyler. Or sickened by them.

Rob Reiner came out next to talk about movies, and everyone does their best to convince us they've been watching his films all their life (only James' professed love of This is Spinal Tap rings true).

That's followed by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean performing "Don't You Wanna Stay." I'll say this for Clarkson, her mild shit-talking with Seacrest was the closest the show's come to honest banter in weeks.

And "Since U Been Gone" is a good song. Yeah, I said it.

The remaining four - Jacob, James, Stefano, and Paul - entertained the audience with a Simon & Garfunkel medley, an interesting choice, considering most viewers probably weren't born when the Lemonheads version of "Mrs. Robinson" was on the air, much less the original. But before you can say "coo coo ca joo," Stefano and Paul are sent to join Haley in the doghouse.

Stefano should be feeling right at home; he's been in the bottom three of the last four weeks.

Rihanna came out to remind everybody how hot she is, as if that forgives her for "Only Girl (In the World)" playing on the radio every 90 seconds. There was also something about her upcoming tour, but I was out of beer at this point and fast-forwarding somewhat haphazardly.

Give Paul credit, he took his booting like a man. More to the point, the only man booted off thus far. I had Jacob going this week, and Paul two weeks after, so obviously some readjustment is in order.

I don't know if there's enough anti-Stefano sentiment out there to dislodge him from voters' hearts, but I don't know if he's going to make it all the way to the final two either (and I don't think the producers are above "stepping in" to make sure the last month of the show isn't a sausage-fest).

Anyway, your revised order of exit: Jacob, Haley, Casey, Stefano, James, Lauren. Assuming Scotty doesn't veer off his current monotone path, he still has to be considered the favorite.

What a great show.

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