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Is the song no one cares enough to sing on this week's Neil Diamond-encrusted episode of American Idol. Somewhere, E.T. is feeling really slighted.

I quit reading Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul. Scott Savol-flavored soup was not all that delicious in the first place. When Carly was declared not-as-good-as-Brooke-White-and-Jason-Castro I thought about setting my copy on fire like in those countries where they ban books. But then I realized I didn't have any place to set stuff on fire that wouldn't also burn up shit in my apartment. And I have lots of awesome possessions. So that idea had to be scuttled.

Then my little American Idol Happy Meal toy, the one I posted a photo of last week, broke. Just stopped playing music. In fact, it broke the day they kicked off Carly, THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED!

And then I had to put the red "X" sticker on her face on my dumb Fox promotional item. I thought about putting it on David Cook's face instead because, you know, why not? It's MY dumb thing, after all. I could wipe my butt with it if I felt like it. Except it's made of heavy card stock, and that would hurt more than listening to David Cook sing. But not much more. Look upon it and weep.

So it's Neil Diamond week. BFD. I don't like his songs. OK, I like a few of them. I like "Sweet Caroline," but then every frat boy in the world loves that song too, so it's not like I'm being all revelatory and Greil Marcus with that one. I also like "Cherry Cherry," "I'm a Believer," and the one about the traveling salvation show, whatever that one's called. Other than that, I have little use for him. Somebody better sing "Heartlight" or "Love on the Rocks" or duet with a Neil hologram on "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." Because those are three of his six gayest songs ("Song Sung Blue," "Forever in Blue Jeans," and "America" are the other three). Some Neil Diamond fan is going to e-mail this magazine now and demand I be fired. Try it!

The remaining five idols WHO ARE NOT AS GOOD AS CARLY are going to sing two songs each tonight. That equals 10 Neil Diamond songs. Subtracting the four I like -- and there's no guarantee that those four will be performed -- that's six Neil Diamond songs I'll have to hear. I'm thinking of turning off the sound and just listening to The String Quartet Tribute to Daughtry.

The "Here's What A Neil Diamond Is, Kids" clip montage plays. If I were, say, 11 years old, here's what I'd learn from it.

1. His shirts are made from Christmas tree tinsel.

2. His hair swoops, fluffs, and holds still, even while swooping and fluffing.

3. He was kind of cute back before he was in color.

4. He was in a movie called The Jazz Singer, which costarred the back of some lady's head.

5. He's sold 120 million records in his lifetime to nobody I know.

6. He has a new CD to promote.

Neil meets the idols. "Bring in those perky contestants," he says. Then he goes, "Where's Carly? Oh, they kicked her off? OK, I'm outta here."

Actually he says something about encouraging them and how they're all good and blahblahwhatever. Anyway, tonight is all about saving time so you barely get to see any Neil mentorship going down and the contestants sing truncated versions of stuff, unlike last week, and they're only going to be judged once each, after having sung both songs. Good. The judges have been, as a group, totally wrong and annoying all season. Let's keep them quiet.

So Castro is up first, singing "Forever in Blue Jeans." My favorite part: when the camera cuts to the violin-playing woman in the band. She's wearing "I can't believe I'm playing this sucky song" sunglasses.

Cook is next. Got AC on his jacket, just like on his guitar. Those are his brother's initials, the one who has the cancer. At least that seems to be the story. One brother with those initials has cancer. Good on Mr. Cook for not exploiting that for sympathy votes. But no amount of personal integrity can make me want to listen to His Lady Peacefulness. None. At least he chose two Neil Diamond songs I've never heard before. So I can simply not pay attention to which one is which and I can forget them as soon as he's done. Awesome. In fact, I'm just going to fast-forward the TiVo through his first performance. I've earned that right.

Brooke meets Neil and asks, "Are you a hugger or a handshaker?"

Neil responds that he is both, which is great because Brooke is both a weeper and a quiverer. She sings "I'm a Believer," and I really like watching her do it because she reminds me of what would happen if the entertainment for the 5-year-old's birthday party didn't show up and mom decided to just pick up a guitar and sing her favorite old Monkees song. She even goes, "Whooo!" in the middle of it, kind of like on Beatles week. The only thing missing is high-waisted jeans and a puffy-paint sweatshirt.

A bunch of commercials run, including one for a flea collar where they make the puppies in the commercial sing about how "there ain't no bugs on me." Our housemate Xtreem Aaron is obsessed with this commercial now because he loves singing puppies. Since this episode aired on Tuesday night he's been playing the commercial for it over and over on his laptop and giggling. I'm going to have Brooke come over and sing at his next birthday party. The other thing Xtreem Aaron is obsessed with this week is Enigma's "Sadeness, Part 1." He's been walking around the apartment saying, in phonetic French, "Saah... dey moi," (I know, spelled wrong, and I don't know what the actual French words are. So what?) and then doing the weird synth line that goes "boop-boop-boo-boo" with his voice. And while we're on the topic of people in my house with obsessions, my husband/partner/whatever is freaking on the idea of having one of those stupid things that you hang bunches of bananas from so that they don't bruise. There is no such thing in this world as one of those items that isn't butt-ass-ugly, and if there's one thing I won't tolerate in my home, it's functional items that are unattractive. How would it look on our kitchen counter next to the incredible vintage Colonel Sanders bank or the vintage George Nelson bowl? Shitty, that's how! I told him he has to buy fewer bananas and eat them before they bruise and that was going to be that. Someone has to make the aesthetic decisions around here.

I've totally lost my train of thought now.

Back from the break, a woman in the audience is holding up a huge pink sign that reads: "MY HUSBAND HAS A MAN-CRUSH ON SEACREST." Here's a good idea for you, Sign Lady: Why don't you just get some hedge clippers and remove your husband's balls too? And start making him wear condoms while you're at it, because if he's got a visible man-crush on Ryan Seacrest, then there is, I can guarantee, some serious DL shit going down that you might not think is so adorable and sign-worthy.

Archuleta's turn. He's going to sing "Sweet Caroline" and "America." "Sweet Caroline" is first. He sings. The crowd goes apeshit. And I've come to a decision: If it can't be Carly, it should be this kid. Aside from the sweet legal emancipation from stage parents that he clearly needs and that I and every other Idol blogger have already been over, here's why:

1. Failure, at this stage in his life, when all he's been groomed for is upward momentum, might cause a psychological break that would turn him into one of those people who walks into a Burger King with an AK-47 and just starts mowing down innocent Whopper Jr. eaters.

2. Groupie sex. He'll be 18 soon enough and he'll be able to indulge in that activity legally and with virtually anyone he chooses, provided they are not his primary fan base of 10-year-old girls. Or boys. Whatever he turns out to be -- straight, gay, bi -- he'll have an assistant whose job it is to procure a ripe, eager audience member with proper ID, then have that person washed and delivered to his suite. The boy seems pent-up and this will be good for him.

3. If he's smart, he'll befriend the cast of High School Musical or Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers. Somebody with an action figure in their likeness currently in production. He'll need their wisdom. Maybe David Cassidy gives seminars on this kind of thing, with field trips to visit Leif Garrett in jail.

Anyway, it's pretty much a done deal that the finale will be The Davids in a heated but predictable battle for Idolness. Archuleta will probably win. Cook will be #2. Both will get record deals. And apparently Carly has some offers, which is a total relief to me. She told the Entertainment Weekly guy, Michael Slezak, that news -- and by the way, Mr. Slezak, you're always right about pretty much everything, especially about Carly. So you're a right-on dude.

Syesha sings "Hello Again." It's pretty. It's fine. She's pretty. She's fine. A touring company of Dreamgirls waits for her. The role of Deena is hers for the taking. I wish I could muster up some kind of concern or affection for her. She doesn't seem like a monster. She's just the opposite of interesting to me.

Time for the judges to talk. And it's a shitstorm of crazy. Not because of Randy and Simon, but because of Paula. She actually winds up offering critiques of songs that haven't been sung yet. Or at least that's how it appears here. Possible explanations, none of which involve her being high (because, really, too easy):

1. She read to Castro the notes she wrote down for Cook.

2. She read notes she wrote during dress rehearsal.

3. The producers feed her things to say and she was just parroting them.

4. She was lip-synching some other woman's critique.

5. Unsuccessful silencing of the voices in her head.

6. SHE SEES THE FUTURE AND JUST KNOWS WHAT'S COMING. Oh, wait, Seacrest just beat me to that joke. Dang. Well, I'm not deleting what I just wrote. Fuggit.

I vote number 5 anyway.

The second half of the show is like being in Groundhog Day, where you have to relive exactly what just happened to you, like it or not. The kids sing more Neil Diamond songs I hate. Cook comports himself rockishly in that somewhat rockish way that he does, all ugly hair and jackets. He lives it like David Blaine lives The Magic. Kristy Lee Cook called Archuleta and told him, "Not like you need this advice, but you should sing 'America' and really just stomp the rest of them into the ground with it. That bullshit is guaranteed. The rest of the lyrics could be about slitting your own invalid grandmother's throat and as long as you yell, 'LET FREEDOM RIIIIIIIING!' at the end people are going to act like you poop sweet vanilla ice cream." Syesha sings something I don't know. Like it matters. NONE OF THEM ARE CARLY. WHY SHOULD I LISTEN?

Answer: I don't have to. Thank you, fast-forward button.

Elimination Night. Here's what happens...

1. Kristy Lee Cook is in the audience, controlling the proceedings with her mind.

2. Group-singing time: "Cracklin' Rosie," with Castro kicking it off. Well, "kicking" is the wrong word. More like gently, absentmindedly, moving it around in the dirt with his foot. It's hard to tell if he could give any less of a fuck about this song. I think not. Then they move on to "Song Sung Blue," and Syesha delivers it like she's in a fight with the band about how fast it should go. Then they do that travelin' salvation show song. I think I like it less now.

3. Constantine is here with Gina Glocksen. They're hosting something called American Idol Extra that I refuse to watch. Why should I when Constantine is already never not in this studio audience. He's already beaten Crying Girl, Hasselhoff, and Denise Richards's records and he's going for a personal best.

4. Seacrest tells the whole world that "the rumors" about Paula are not true, that she is part of their family and that they love her. Oh, well, in that case, I guess it's true.

5. Natasha Bedingfield performs her stunningly dull new single.

6. In the Stupid Fucking Questions From Viewers moment, they've actually dug up the British woman who gave Simon Cowell his first kiss at age 9. He remembers her, which is kind of funny since it was something done by another human being who isn't Simon Cowell. He looks somewhat sheepish and wistful. I'm uncomfortable with this side of him.

7. They show a commercial for What Happens in Vegas. I'd rather watch the puppy mill episode of Oprah again, twice in a row, than sit through that movie.

8. Neil Diamond performs one of his new songs from his new CD and -- holyfuckingshit the mail just arrived and inside this big padded envelope is a promotional copy of American Idol: Season 6, Finale Performance Show--The Top 2. IS IT NOT BAD ENOUGH THAT CARLY IS GONE? IS IT NOT BAD ENOUGH THAT I HAD TO WATCH THE FUCKING PRESIDENT READ FROM A TELEPROMPTER ON THIS SHOW LAST WEEK? IS IT NOT BAD ENOUGH THAT BROOKE SANG "I'M A BELIEVER" AND NATASHA BEDINGFIELD JUST TRIED TO HURT ME AND THAT I CAN'T ESCAPE CONSTANTINE NO MATTER WHERE I LOOK? MUST I OPEN ENVELOPES FULL OF BLAKE LEWIS TOO? The entertainment journalism gravy train of swag is not all it's cracked up to be sometimes. The universe hates me.

9. Brooke gets eliminated. Ruben celebrates her home. She cries. She sings her Humiliation Number. Cries some more. Maybe her husband can console her by taking her to see What Happens in Vegas. It's PG-13, I think. Better her than me.

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