urx unit loader Too Many Cooks in the 'American Idol' Kitchen

Davidcook_americanidol7_top12party0We did it, America! It’s April 16, which means we survived both Tax Day and Mariah Carey Night on American Idol. All things considered, both big days could have been better, but they also could have been worse. But would Wednesday night’s Idol results leave viewers as shocked as they were by the departure of Michael Johns last week? Let’s see…

9:00 p.m. ET. What have you done this week, America? And could it possibly be worse than Back to You? So many funny people, so little funny.

9:01 p.m. "Inevitably Wednesday has rolled around again," host Ryan Seacrest says, before announcing that more than 36 million votes were cast following Tuesday’s show. Then, as he does every week around this time, he ruins all of my good feelings by warning that viewer questions will, once again, be answered.

9:02 p.m. This week’s Group Sing is set to "One Sweet Day," though initially it isn’t a Group Sing at all. It’s Jason Castro singing sharply and trading off with Kristy Lee Cook, who does the same. Brooke White emotes blandly, Presumptive American Idol Winner David Archuleta emotes sincerely, Carly Smithson emotes loudly and David Cook and Syesha Mercado sing at each other without any respect for the melody.

9:08 p.m. You still have a week to vote for this week’s American Idol Songwriting Contest. Check out the list of titles here and then sound off on whether any cliched lyrical stones have been left unturned.

9:09 p.m. The only interesting thing about the recap of last night’s show is Brooke’s off-stage confession that Simon’s "Where’s the Beef?" comments hurt her feelings. Why is this the sort of thing that America’s Nanny only feels comfortable sharing in the wings? She’d seem much less robotic if she didn’t accept both compliments and criticism with the same Stepford smile and head-nod.

9:11 p.m. Who is heading to the plush comfort of the Elysian Couch of Paradise and who will have their buns burnt by the Infernal Stools of Damnation? Clifford the Muppet is up first and he’s sent to neither location. He’s just asked to form a group to Ryan’s left. This means that Idol is returning to its Top Seven tradition of pulling two groups of three and making the last person awkwardly choose what group they want to join.

Jasoncastro_americanidol7_top12part9:13 p.m. Ryan asks David "The Leader" Cook about his Tuesday night tears. David doesn’t play for sympathy and just says that a lot of things were happening this week and he’s sent to Ryan’s right. The audience’s reaction suggests that they have no sense of Idol history. Carly, perhaps figuring that she’s going home anyway, decides to take on Simon for his occasional negative words this season. Carly joins Jason to Ryan’s left. Most people are already figuring that the Jason-Carly group is in trouble.

9:15 p.m. Did Kristy just say that Simon can be a butt sometimes? Kristy, looked darned angelic tonight, goes to Ryan’s right. "How will this pan out?" Ryan asks.

9:16 p.m. Who will this year’s on-the-spot contestant be? Who will have to guess which group is safe and which group is doomed? It’s an honor that’s been given to George Huff, Bo Bice, Taylor Hicks and Melinda Doolittle (who sat in the middle of the stage and refused to pick last year).

9:20 p.m. Already puppets to FOX and 19 Entertainment, the Top Seven play puppets in this week’s Ford commercial. Set to "I Want to Break Free," this may be the first time that a Ford commercial has made total sense. Why is it so anti-climactic to see Jason Castro dressed as a puppet?

9:21 p.m. And speaking of breaking free, Elliott Yamin pops up to sing "Free." Is my favorite Jewish Idol contestant wear a talis in honor of the start of Passover this weekend? If so? Awesome. His hand reads "We Miss You Mom" in a touching tribute. Every time Elliott pops up, I feel a bit guilty for not having supported him more back in his season.

Syeshamercado_americanidol7_top12pa9:25 p.m. Back to our ambiguous qualitative segregation. Syesha Mercado, who’s spent so much recent time in the Kristy Lee Cook Bottom Three Stool that it may need to be renamed, is sent to join Jason and Carly in what looks more and more like a Bottom Three group. Then again, that means that Brooke won’t be in the Bottom Three, which she deserves after Tuesday’s performance. Brooke is, indeed, placed with David and Kristy.

9:27 p.m. A colleague and I were discussing this Top Seven tradition today (he reminded me it was coming) and we decided that Presumptive American Idol Winner David Archuleta would have to be the Choicemaker this season, because any other singer would automatically know to go to whatever group he was in.

9:32 p.m. Oh goodie. Phone call time. Tonight’s revelations: Poor Kristy can’t buy back her barrel horse. Randy (Led Zeppelin, Beatles, James Brown), Paula (Jackson 5, Earth, Wind & Fire, Carole King) and Simon (Paula Abdul’s Straight Up) somewhat remember their first album purchases and… Zzzzzzzzzz. I wake up to some 50-year-old woman who doesn’t know the difference between "adjectives" and "analogies."

9:36 p.m. This Yankees-Red Sox game is not a pitchers’ duel.

9:37 p.m. That dress Mariah Carey is wearing is an impressive piece of engineering.

9:42 p.m. Mariah loves herself some Mariah. Or maybe some Randy. I like how Mariah advises the Idol contestants to always be themselves. Anybody want to go back and check out Mariah’s earliest videos to see if that gal looks anything at all like today’s Mimi?

9:47 p.m. We’re back in our groups again, as Ryan calls Li’l’ Archie onto the stage. After Li’l’ Archie (whose friends include Li’l’ Jughead and Li’l’ Veronica) talks about how this is the most wonderful time in his life, Ryan tells him he’s safe.

9:49 p.m. Ooh, in a twist, David Cook is swapped with Syesha. Since I don’t believe for a second that he’s in trouble, that reverses the way the groups look. Following the advice of the crowd (and Melinda’s example), David Archuleta sits down in the middle of the stage. Then Ryan reveals that the David-Carly-Jason group will be around for next week’s tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Will Archuleta sing something from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or something from Jesus Christ Superstar?

Brookewhite_americanidol7_top12part9:50 p.m. So that means that the Bottom Three is Syesha, Kristy and Brooke.

9:53 p.m. Syesha is couchward bound..

9:54 p.m. Randy says it’s tough every week now. Paula says everybody’s special and she’s proud of everybody. Simon thinks Kristy’s time’s up. Brooke snaps at him and gives him a good spanking. Kristy says that at least she outlasted Simon’s original predictions.

9:55 p.m. Amidst many tears, Kristy Lee Cook is the latest Idol casualty.

9:56 p.m. "Can I go ride my horse now?" she asks.

Kristyleecook_americanidol7_top12pa9:57 p.m. If you make a progress chart, this was kind of the wrong choice between the slowly improving Kristy and the swiftly stagnating Brooke. If, however, you figure that voters were just going to be picking off Kristy, Syesha, Carly, Brooke and Jason in random order over the next month, it hardly matters, does it? Also, I’m optimistic that maybe this week’s new Feisty Brooke will stick around.

9:58 p.m. This is one of those weeks where the exit song’s lyrics are prophetic. Sitting in front of Simon, Kristy coos, "Those days of love are gone/ Our time is through."

So was this the right choice? Will anybody out there miss Kristy?

As always, check out the action in Zap2it’s Guide to American Idol.