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American Idol recap: The Mo(town), the Merrier

KICKIN’ IT OLD-SCHOOL Danny, Alison, and Adam all tried to be worthy of their chosen Motown classics

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American Idol Adam
Frank Micelotta/American Idol/Getty Images; Michael Becker/Fox(2)

American Idol

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

Earlier this week, I found myself feeling particularly disenchanted about the current incarnation of American Idol. For starters, I was still reeling from Alexis Grace’s too-early departure from the show — girlfriend never even got the chance to break out her guitar! — and what’s more, I couldn’t muster up any excitement about the impending Motown Night extravaganza. (Not even repeated YouTube viewings of Fantasia tearing it up on ”Superstition” could prime my pump for another round of Idol‘s most played-out theme.)

And then, of course, there was Simon Cowell visiting The Tonight Show on Monday (along with Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest) and predicting that the season 8 finale would come down to Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey, with Lil Rounds rounding out the top three — thereby confirming my suspicion that the new Judges’ Save rule should really have been dubbed the ”Judges Save…One of Three Preordained Favorites, and Only Pretend to Deliberate Whenever Any Other Contestants Sing for Their Lives” rule.

But the cloud of negativity above my head began to dissipate shortly after the start of tonight’s telecast. (I say ”shortly” because I have yet to embrace the time-wasting, self-serving introductory walk that Randy, Kara, Paula, and Simon have been doing for the last three weeks.) Five, maybe six, of the 10 remaining contestants performed well enough to keep themselves within striking distance of the season 8 crown. Paula continued her streak of offering pertinent, salient critiques — moustache-painting incident aside, that is. And I came away with 10 very important take-home messages concerning the nation’s most popular talent competition.

1. A certain Idol judge has trouble with remedial math. Yes sir-ree, the winner of tonight’s award for most unintentionally hilarious sound bite is…drumroll please…Kara DioGuardi, who delivered this zinger after Adam Lambert’s rendition of ”The Tracks of My Tears”: ”I got six words for you: One of the best performances of the night!” I could speculate that Kara had spent the afternoon practicing some pre-written critiques, then made the unfortunate decision to modify her opinion with the addition of the words ”one” and ”of,” but that would be overthinking the situation in the extreme. Better to concentrate on Adam’s superb interpretation of The Miracles’ 44-year-old classic, which received a standing ovation from co-writer and guest mentor Smokey Robinson.

NEXT: Listen all of y’all, it’s a sabotage