Idol Beat: The Top Eight

Long before being voted in as California's current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a popular sci-fi action movie called


. The specifics of the plot aren't important, but the underlying schematic is a bunch of characters getting picked off, one by one, by some dangerous, mysterious other. (See also





Event Horizon

, and a billion other movies.) And so the big question this season of

American Idol

poses now is: in what order will the remaining contestants be dispatched? The question, mind, not the thrills; the thrills are the mentors, the guest performers, the Ford-hawking idiocies dreamed up. No

Idol Gives Back

spectacle this year, though. I stand by my contention that Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta will be the last stars-to-be standing at the end of this long and winding process. Guessing what will happen over the next several weeks is foolhardy because the weaker hopefuls are yo-yoing between brilliance and suckitude, but I've never been shy about admitting that I'm something of a fool myself. So I'll offer some guesses now, in the mentor-free heat and flash of Songs-Released-The-Year-They-Were-Born Week, in descending order:

Kris Allen Boring, cute, lucky, gone this week - or very, very soon. Lil Rounds She's over. She's stumbled through so many cakewalk weeks that it's a wonder she's still on this show. My guess is that R&B purists and people determined to vote for the only African-American left in contention are keeping her alive, but her "What's Love Got to Do With It" was such a disaster last night that a lot of folks' patience probably has been exhausted. See ya, Lil. Scott MacIntyre He's winning me into his fanclub slowly. But it's too little, too late, and the blind thing's played. Matt Giraud Sort of an Eliott Yamin figure, right? Or maybe a soul/R&B Daughtry - in that he's destined for great things as an artist, no matter when he's eliminated. But despite a string of really good performances, he won't make it to the Top Three. Danny Gokey Blandly charasmatic, marginally gifted, and sympathy votes can only carry a person so far - but he'll be in the Top Five, because Americans are idiots. Anoop Desai Ah, the unsinkable Anoop. He's skirted certain elimination more than a couple times, and I have the feeling he's got a few more lives left. Ultimately, of course, Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta will be nervously holding hands next to Ryan Seacrest at the finale, and I have no earthly clue which of 'em will walk away with this thing. How do you think this will go down?

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