Season 3 vet weighs in on Paulagate: He rejects the idea producers put words in the judges' mouths, and recalls eyeing Paula, Simon, and Randy at dress rehearsals. Plus: Who he thinks will go home tonight
Paula Abdul, Jon Peter Lewis
Credit: Jon Peter Lewis: Nigel Skeet

Is it too much to hope they’re gonna bring Super Diamond up to perform with the Neil tonight? Yeah, probably way too much. Oh well, I’ll put in my copy of Saving Silverman as a close second place. In the meantime, let’s talk about last night.

Did anyone else feel frantically rushed? I know Ryan said there was a lot to get through, but it was almost manic, I thought. It was like I was being asked to sample lots of food and rushed off to the next morsel before I could think. I was imagining Debbie the stage manager telling everyone between every break how many minutes behind they were.

I think despite the pace the top 5 have a great advantage in that they have two songs to redeem themselves. I mean, it could have been a really bad night for Brooke White, but her second song was enough to make you forget her awkward movements and looks of wide-eyed terror during ”I’m a Believer.” Having a second song helped David Cook out, at least in the judges’ minds. He went from average to brilliant. That can’t hurt.

But now in light of the latest Paula Abdul flub, does having a good performance even matter? I mean, wow, there have been some questionable comments before, but giving comments to a performance that hasn’t happened yet is a little much to take. So I guess the question is, did she get the critique from dress rehearsal or was she told what to say by Ken and Nigel? My opinion is from dress rehearsal, which seems to be the lesser of two evils. I’ve been in so many dress rehearsals with the judges, which by the way is pretty unsettling if you’re not sure of all the lyrics. I would always wonder what they would use from those performances, but I never really thought they were taking notes. Apparently, I was wrong.

I think the idea of the judges being scripted is totally false. I’ve spoken with way too many of Idol‘s influential people who have expressed genuine surprise at the outcome of a judge’s remark or a results show to think otherwise.

So, who’ll go? People have been pretty down on Brooke lately, which makes me think that despite her redemptive performance she’s probably on her way out. Not before Syesha Mercado, though. I think she’s the one to get the boot. She has a better voice but is whole lot less interesting than anyone else on the show — and in my mind that means less votes.

Thanks for sticking around to read, and we’ll see you next time.

Jon Peter Lewis’s second album, Break the Silence, is due June 3. The single of the same name is available for download at all major online music outlets. For more on Jon, check out

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American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

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