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American Idol: Adios, Aaron

I was amazed, if not exactly surprised, at how much time Idol can kill in a one-hour results show. Now that we're down to just a handful of singers, the producers are really reaching for padding, which is why last night's elimination featured two medleys from the contestants instead of just one, as well as prolonged banter between Ryan and everybody he could get his hands on.

The five singers left at the top of the hour got things going with a medley of Sinatra songs, which eventually gave way to this week's Ford Fiesta ad. Even Ryan is having a hard time keeping a straight face while introducing these. Then there was a filler featurette about the work that goes into the Tuesday performances, from makeup to dress rehearsals, but the best part was the lighting stand-ins for the judges that go through the whole motions and give fake criticisms of the songs. There is a whole entire version of the episode that's fake and done right before the live one, right down to the fake judges. That would be something to see, if only for the inherent Charlie Kaufmanness of it.

Lady Gaga performed. I've only seen her perform a few times, and I was only able to make it halfway through the "Telephone" video. Half the time I just think of this video when I hear her name. The Fox camera crew had to move quick and the director had to keep changing angles to avoid showing too much of Lady Gaga's ass to the American viewing public, since she was wearing a fishnet-and-tape number she borrowed from Cher in 1989. It looked like a Cirque du Soleil number performed at a strip club, so I guess it was a success.

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Then Harry Connick, Jr. performed "And I Love Her," and there was a montage of him being funny (and legitimately so) with the contestants in rehearsal, then he performed again as the contestants did a medley of his tunes. I think when Idol gets a guest star, they just decide to work them until they die.

Finally, around 8:45, the eliminations continued. (Lee had been declared safe in a short bit earlier in the episode.) Ryan split the leftovers into two pairs: Casey and Crystal, and Mike and Aaron. I figured that Casey's weak performance and Crystal's subdued week would hurt them, but the bottom two, surprisingly, were Mike and Aaron. After a bit more fanfare and a commercial, the verdict was in: Aaron was eliminated. He's a sweet kid, but you knew this would happen. He doesn't have the vocal strength or experience to stand up to the others, or to cut it as the winner.

Next week promises a chamber of horrors for the top four: Songs from movies (good) under the guidance of Jamie Foxx (you have to be kidding me). Because apparently, mimicking an R&B legend and guesting on a Kanye track is all it takes to make you a mentor. Good to know, I guess.

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