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'American Idol': Who needs suspense when you've got Kelly Clarkson?

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The first results show of American Idol‘s season 8 finals has come to a not-so-shocking conclusion here on the East coast. The good news is, Kelly Clarkson sounded great on “My Life Would Suck Without You,” and better still, I don’t think anyone with functioning ears is going to be too terribly upset about the way America voted. As for news that’s got me feeling ambivalent, Ryan and Simon revealed the “surprise change to the rules” hinted on last night’s telecast. Apparently, the judges will have the right to save one eliminated contestant this season, before the top 5 round, and only if Kara, Paula, Simon, and Randy all agree to the decision. If the judges grant immunity to a singer, then no contestant will be eliminated that night, and there will be a double-elimination the following week. And the judges can collectively save only one contestant during the course of the season. Hmmm. So in other words, the show’s producers are going to be outwardly manipulating the competition, rather than working hard to do it surreptitiously. (Badum-bum.) Anyhow, I am off to write my full episode recap, which will post early tomorrow morning. In the interim, watch yourself some Idolatry (if you haven’t already caught the four episodes Jessica Shaw and I taped about last week’s shows) then hit the message board below to dish tonight’s voting outcome. Here’s hoping you got the right answers for EW.com’s Idol Prediction Challenge!

More on ‘American Idol’
‘American Idol’ recap: This Is Thriller Night!
Carrie Underwood’s ‘American Idol’ exit song: A vast improvement on ‘Celebrate Me Home’
‘American Idol’ Power List: Vote for your favorite from the top…14?
‘America Idol’ sex-line snafu: And you thought Bikini Girl was racy!
 ‘American Idol’: Our Advice for the Top 13
‘American Idol’: Tracking the Top 13 Finalists with our Idol Tote Board
‘American Idol’: Q&As With the Top 13!
 EW’s ‘Idol’ Headquarters