I've said to every "American Idol" fan who asks: If - and when - Brooke White is eliminated from the singing competition, would she have a meltdown? (Read: Tears!)
It wasn't as bad tonight as I expected (though there were plenty of water works), but I credit that in large part to the show narrowing the bottom two to Brooke and Syesha Mercado with a half hour left before the elimination. Plenty of time to think, plenty of time to get weepy.
The three guys - Jason Castro, David Archuleta and David Cook - breezed to the next round in the first 20-24 minutes.
Still, there were several notable on-air moments beyond the elimination:
Host Ryan Seacrest addressed the whole Paula Abdul critique clunker from Tuesday night. (Note to "The View" hosts: When you toss out conspiracy theories and notions of sleep aids, be careful, especially when you don't have any cred to back them up. Ditto for MSNBC.)
Ryan defended Paula, saying: "Before we move on, the judges were thrown a curve ball last night, which happens on live TV. Today, it sparked rumors on-air and online about Paula. The rumors are not true. She's part of our family, and we love her."
In my opinion, "American Idol" - the show - doesn't need to resort to judging trickery to win ratings. What other show is even coming close? Let it go.
Anyway. There were performances by Natasha Bedingfield, who seems to have a fondness for David A. And there was this week's mentor, Neil Diamond, who sang "Pretty Amazing Grace," a cut off his upcoming CD. And hey, I'm not a big N.D. fan, but I actually liked this single.
Finally, there was a great on-air call from a woman named Tara Miller, 46, from Petaluma, whose question - in a noticeable Brit accent - was directed at Simon Cowell: "I kissed you in the garden when you were 9. Was it better kissing Paula?"
Simon, once convinced it truly was Tara from his childhood, admitted she was his "first kiss, his first crush," but was totally taken by surprise. Up until now, these questions were an excuse for me to start a load of laundry, but this one was worth holding off on gym clothes.
In case you're wondering, next Tuesday, the Final 4 will tackle the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. David C. must be salivating over that one. And rightly so.
My next challenge? Hoping Brooke holds it together for Thursday morning's Q&A/phone conference with "Idol" writers. Check back to 21Q for the interview after noon.