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February 29, 2008
Idol Chatter: And then there were 16


Let's rename "American Idol's" results show "The Crying Game."

I can't recall a season when so many tears were shed as the Top 24 were whittled to the Top 16. What are the contestants going to do when there's only six or seven of them left and someone has to go?

Hope there's a therapist on call.

Anyway, almost 31 million votes were cast after Tuesday and Wednesday night's performances. I predicted two of the four contestants going home. I still maintain that I should have been four for four because I totally disagreed with the two gals who left.

But guys first. Jason Yeager was a no-brainer, even though he said he was surprised by the criticism from the judges on Tuesday. "I agree it was about song choice," he said. "I just wasn't able to find the perfect song."

Simon Cowell said Jason didn't "stand out in the crowd. But you're not a bad singer."

And poor Danny Noriega. The show set it up to be between him and Jason. When he found out he was safe, I thought Danny was going to pass out!

Anyway, no surprise with Robbie Carrico, either. He, too, admitted making a bad song choice ("Hot Blooded"). "I could have done it better." And the whole rocker thing "never, ever" felt real for any of the judges.

Now, on to the gals.

First up, Alexandrea Lushington or Amanda Overmyer. Are you kidding? I know the Chicago song ("If You Leave Me Now") was risky, but Alexandrea is a better singer than Amanda. Besides, Amanda, you're scaring the children!

It was Alex's departure that got the tears flowing, especially from teen favorite David Archuleta. They're both 17, so I'm assuming they've become buds. After Alexandrea sang her finale, she went and gave David A. a big hug.

And then it came down to Alaina Whitaker and Kady Malloy, the two contestants whose performances Wednesday I completely erased from my memory bank.

It looked to me like Kady was all set to return to Houston, Texas, when Ryan Seacrest stunned her and a shocked Alaina with the results: "Alaina, it's the end of the road for you."

To say she took the news badly is an understatement. And don't blame it on her age. Yes, she's only 16, but most of the other kicked-off contestants have been teens and they managed to keep it together.

Alaina started sobbing and said, "I can't sing. It's so embarrassing." Ryan, knowing he's got airtime to fill, launched in with his "someone's-got-to-go" speech, telling her she should be very proud. Paula Abdul chimed in with words like "gifted, bright, a young talent."

Finally, the other girls joined Alaina on stage and helped her get through "Hopelessly Devoted."

Kleenex definitely needs to sign on as an "Idol" sponsor.

Meanwhile, Ryan had news to report - BIG news.

First, the Top 12 will perform on Tuesday, March 11. There will be a new set and a new exit song, from Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard. My favorite part? Sony finally released the John Lennon/Paul McCartney songbook, which obviously is going to play a big part in the Top 12 competition.

Also, mark your calendars for April 9. That's the night of the second "Idol Gives Back" performance. Some of the celebs scheduled to appear include Brad Pitt, Miley Cyrus, Mariah Carey, Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood..

I'm assuming, in the spirit of giving, that none of the contestants will be kicked off that week.

I'm also assuming that next week will be an '80s week as the show finally reaches the Top 12. Can anyone say Flock of Seagulls?

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