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April 10, 2008
Idol Chatter: An 'Idol' shocker

OK, so check it out. Last week was no surprise when Ramiele Malubay was eliminated on "American Idol." This week, after a one-day break for the second annual "Idol Gives Back" charity show, I'm telling you jaws dropped nationwide on tonight's live results show.

The No. 7 contestant to leave? Aussie Michael Johns.

OK, you can pick up your jaws now.

Michael was in the bottom three for the first time since making the Top 12. With him? Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson, who (in my opinion) deserved to be there.

The three judges were taken aback, the audience was taken aback, Michael's family was taken aback.

Said Michael: "I'm definitely surprised. But if there's a song to go out on, it's not a bad one."

Props to him for singing his parting shot, "Dream On," with pretty much everything he had.

The results show had to do a little damage control from Wednesday's huge charity extravaganza. What happened was there were a lot more folks who wanted to participate on camera than there was room when the film was edited.
So tonight's viewers got a hefty dose of "Give Back" wannabes: Dr. Phil, Ricki Lake, those two kids Zack and Cody and - most of all - the three presidential candidates, who got air time to ask for your donations to

Sen. Hillary Clinton played it straight, as did Sen. Barack Obama. However, thumbs up to Sen. John McCain for warning judge Simon Cowell (a Brit) that, if he is elected, immigration will be a hot topic.

No doubt, contestants Kristy Lee Cook and Jason Castro were happy to be safe. Both have been in the bottom three (her, every week). And no surprises with David Archuleta moving on. Brooke White and David Cook certainly were borderline after Tuesday night's show, so being safe was a gift of sorts.

The show also featured a somewhat awkward performance by last season's "Idol" winner, Jordin Sparks, and Chris Brown. Loved the song, "No Air," but too touchy-feely for my taste.

Michael's ouster really shakes up the competition. Obviously fan lines have been drawn - deeply.

Check back at 21Q on Friday for an interview with Michael on his experiences and his exit.

In the meantime, dream on.

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