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American Idol recap: No Safe Passage

Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis perform a duet, and the judges pass up yet another chance to keep one contestant from going home

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Idol Alison Alexis Mike
Michael Becker/American Idol/Getty Images

American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

Someone in the Idol universe had one tough night last night. And I’m not talking about our ousted contestant, or even our dear, vacationing Slezak, who likely curled into a fetal position after hearing Ryan announce that Allison was in the bottom three (For shame, America!). Nope, I’m referring to Kara ”I want to maul Alexis” DioGuardi, who, during last night’s episode, watched her naughty little minx get booted off the Idol stage in a somewhat shocking elimination. Perhaps choosing ”Jolene” for Grand Ole Opry night was Alexis’ downfall, since her performance only reminded us how much better Brooke White sang it last year. Or maybe the voting audience preferred her sexy, growl-y takes on Aretha Franklin to her subdued performance Tuesday night. Either way, Kara certainly wasn’t going to be satisfied until girl whipped out a stripper pole and an ”I heart Bret Michaels” t-shirt, and I suppose Idol dialers weren’t either. How else can you explain her finish behind faltering contestants Michael Sarver and Scott MacIntyre?

Let’s face it: Alexis’ dull performance certainly wasn’t her strongest — and I cringed last night while watching her pitchy, cracked encore for the judges — but it was still solid enough to guarantee her a spot on the Idols Live! tour. And while I’m not quite passionate enough about the petite powerhouse to work myself into a tizzy over the elimination, I couldn’t help but hope that the judges might actually save her, especially since such a move would guarantee that they couldn’t save Danny Gokey in the weeks ahead. Come on, Cowell & Co! This is the same girl you compared to Kelly Clarkson just weeks ago!

Before we talk about the show itself, I must give homage to Slezak (who will return next Tuesday). I present to my version of the Idol results night song, dedicated to Alexis. Ah-hem…to the tune of Kenny Chesney’s ”She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”:

Well, Kara thinks you’re sexy/she always made a fuss

And now she’s coping/by watching Rock of Love bus

Okay, so I’m hardly the songwriter Slezak is. So I’ll just stop there.

Ryan began the episode last night by sharing a recap clip from Tuesday night’s performance show that was cleverly edited by producers to make it appear as though Danny had the best performance of the night. If that atrocity didn’t make you want to run out of the room cupping your ears screaming, ”Why, Idol producers? Why do you do this to me?” then the group performance certainly did the trick. Yep, our final 11 performed quite a dismal version of Travis Tritt’s ”Trouble,” during which the four remaining women curiously stormed the judges’ table, allowing Kara to eagerly stick dollar bills in Alexis’ dress (thankfully, the choreographers saved our eyes from another Danny air-hump).

Of course, the hour-long episode had plenty of filler (especially when compared to last week’s jam-packed double elimination). Other than the weekly Ford music video — in which the contestants hurled water balloons at one another to the tune of Ok Go’s ”Here It Goes Again” — the show provided viewers with a behind-the-scenes video that made me realize there is something crueler than forcing ousted contestants to sing. What could possibly be crueler than crushing someone’s dreams and then telling them to sing the very song they butchered? Why, making said contestants eat their farewell dinner at Buca. Sheesh, I know the recession is tough on everyone, but has Idol‘s form of currency been reduced to Paula’s chunky jewelry?

NEXT: (Cough) Sure you’re sick