By EW Staff
November 08, 2007 at 07:18 PM EST

From the desk of Alynda Wheat:

Hi, my name is Alynda, and I’m the founder of the Laurel fan club. Yes, I know that’s creepy. I don’t care! Last night Bonanza City had a talent show, and it turned out that the most talented member of the group* wasn’t even onstage. Laurel can sang. She’s not amazing — gotta save something for when she hits American Idol in ’09 — but that little red-haired girl’s got soul.

The rest of the kids though, they got stones. Jared busting out a monologue from Lear? Olivia and Kennedy making with the funny? (Has no adult ever pulled them aside and explained that chicks don’t do comedy, math, or guys on parole?) Surprising and laudatory feats of bravery, all. Quibbles, though: In spite of the fact that I’m not really sure I get why Kennedy’s performance was worth $20K, it wasn’t even my biggest issue with the show. Ohhhh, Savannah, c’mere. Look hon, we know you’re homesick and that’s sad. And sure, it seemed like a nice time to tell all the dancing bears that they’d amused you enough to convince you to stay in Bonanza City. But in spite of whatever you’ve been told, making things all about you is not an actual talent. Next time try juggling.

Moving on… raise your hand if you’re confused by the judgment of Kid Nationproducers. Higher, PopWatchers, some of you have short arms. Seriously,last night there were examples of good judgment, like learning thatthis whole time Bonanza has had its own Paris and Nicole, who, like theother Paris and Nicole, are pretty but bland. Thus, we were spared. Butthen there are moments of such abjectly bad judgment we wonder if MissHannigan is running the joint. I’m talking about the challenge. Let’sget this straight: The object was for these kids, some of whom haveexpensive orthodontia, to spend an hour chewing gum. Not sugar-freegum, mind you, but the stuff that’s encased in enough fructose to giveit the consistency of granite. As if that weren’t enough, they then hadto remove said gum, loogies attached, and pass it to their haplessleader. People, there isn’t enough anti-bacterial soap in the world tomake that okay. Bad producers! Bad!

And once again it’s time to vote on funniest moment of the night:Pageant Princess Taylor doing laundry? Greg and Blaine’s skit? Tryingto figure out which kids are future theater majors? Or my personalfavorite: Divad continuing to guarantee that she goes home broke bybeing the most sullen, surly, obsequious kid in town. Actually, maybethat’s not so much funny: ha ha, as funny: painfully lacking inself-awareness.

*Okay, technically, Kelsey was the most talented, but sluicing through a classical piece like Van Cliburn ain’t worthy spitty gum to middle-schoolers. Sorry kid. You’ll get your revenge when you’re at Juilliard.