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'American Idol': More judging, less singing!

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Remember the good old days of American Idol, when Top 3 Night featured nine individual performances? Tonight, though, “the three amigos” were limited to two songs apiece, which allowed the production to focus on the things that really count: Simon and Kara trying to top each other with petulant quips (and with the score at 0-0, it’s a draw!); Simon and Paula continuing their grade-school-level flirtation/disgust pas de deux; the Dawg rambling on and on, as though anyone actually cared; and Ryan and Simon coughing up one more fetid homophobic nugget before things move to the Nokia. [West coasters: Beware of SPOILERS!]

Despite the judges’ best (worst?) efforts, though, the stars of the night were Adam, Kris, and Danny. Because, as Randy and Simon both reiterated tonight, American Idol is a singing competition, and as Paula would say, we’re just here for the music. When it all shook out, nobody exactly tanked, but one puppy-eyed crooner covered Kanye West, and proved great risks can yield great rewards. (Yes, Kris, I surrender: I will buy your record the day it comes out.) One glam-rock belter served vocals so huge, they may cause potential tidal waves on remote Pacific islands over the next 24 hours. (Note that Simon begged his fan base not to get complacent; Mom, are you voting?) And one goofy Wisconsin dude tackled a song that former Idol champ Taylor Hicks covered during Top 3 week in season 5, and his reboot did not match up. I know the smart money is probably on an Adam-Danny finale, but my crazy/sentimental/optimistic bucks say it’s gonna be Adam-Kris. How about you?

Post your thoughts about tonight’s show below, and as for me, well, I’ll be back in the early a.m. with my full TV Watch recap. In the meantime, don’t forget to make your pick in the EW.com Idol Prediction Challenge! Oh, and a word of warning: There won’t be an On the Scene at Idol report on PopWatch tomorrow morning, but fret not: Adam B. Vary will be in the Idoldome for results night on Wednesday, and back with his usual brand of jaunty on Thursday morning.

More on ‘American Idol’
‘American Idol’: If you were a judge, what would the Top 3 sing tonight?
‘American Idol’ Power List: Who’s your favorite from the top three?
Allison Iraheta Q&A: ‘It’s Been Such a Great Ride’
EW Cover Story: Adam Lambert: Shaking Up ‘Idol’
‘American Idol’ recap: Crime-Scream Investigation
‘American Idol’ recap: Go Fourth and Prosper!
‘American Idol’: On the scene for Top 4 performance night…and chaos
Paula Abdul remakes, improves on Kylie’s ‘Here for the Music’
‘American Idol’: 15 Theme Nights We’d Kill to See!
EW.com’s ‘American Idol’ HQ
EW.com’s Idol Prediction Challenge: Who’s going home this week?