Although Kristy Lee Cook's country disaster had everyone expecting her departure, she somehow got more votes than poor David Hernandez
Idol Three

”American Idol” recap: Bottom-three suspense

Viva Wide Stance! Long live Krazy Eyes! And tell that lonely barrel horse, wherever he is, that he’s gonna have to wait at least one more week — ’cause Mama’s not comin’ to get him…yet!

Indeed, despite the fact that her country-on-speed rendition of the Beatles’ ”Eight Days a Week” was uniformly detested by the American Idol judges (et tu, Paula?) and TV Watch readers, Kristy Lee Cook will live to strut the newly renovated Idol stage again — presumably in an incongruous blouse-jeans combo — and take another vicious swing at the Lennon-McCartney songbook next week.

Although America did not have the good sense to put Kristy Lee out of her misery, she at least landed in the bottom three — along with two other performers who struggled with pitch problems and overall relevance during week 1 of the season 7 finals. Alas, it was one of my favorites in the competition — David Hernandez — who ended up getting eliminated, proving once again that no matter how much talent you’ve got, it only takes one abysmal performance to destroy your Idol dreams. (Unless, of course, you’re a lyric-flubbing plush toy who has benefited from scads of screen time all season long. Yes, I am a tiny bit bitter right now. Sorry. I’ll get over it.)

Maybe it was the pressure of being on the big Idol stage for the first time. Maybe it was the widespread press reports over the past 10 days about David H.’s previous job at a gay strip club (which Ryan alluded to as a ”stressful week”). Whatever the reason, David H. seemed bizarrely disconnected during his Tuesday-night rendition of ”I Saw Her Standing There,” delivering the song with all the passion of a Banana Republic checkout clerk trying to convince you that, yes, actually, you would like to fill out an application for a store credit card and get a whopping 15 percent off that sweater. As a fan of the guy’s semifinal performances of ”Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and ”It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” it pained me to see him suddenly leering into the camera and trying to pass himself off as a pinup boy for screaming tween girls.

On the plus side, though, at least now there are only two Davids left in the competition, which should cut down on general viewer confusion over the next 11 weeks. (Now if we could just do something about the surplus of folks with the surname Cook — I say there’s room for only one on this year’s Idol tour.) TV Watch reader That’s So Raven had an interesting theory about why David H. went home before Kristy Lee, one that gave me just a little consolation: ”I don’t think our ears can handle hearing Kristy sing her version of ‘Eight Days a Week’ again, so hopefully she’ll stay and either David H. or Amanda will be singing goodbye to us.” (The joke was on us viewers, since the producers had each of the bottom three performers reprise their Tuesday-night performances.)

A reader named Eddy, on the other hand, argued that ”David H. had no right being in the finals. Everything about this guy is contrived and I’ll say it again, he can’t sing. Am I the only one who cringes whenever he leers at the camera?”

Still, the vast majority of you posters felt Kristy Lee should’ve paid the price for her fast-paced, fiddle-rific performance. Nadia H made the day’s funniest comment by arguing that ”if Kristy Lee was just ‘going country,’ then Deliverance was just ‘going canoeing.’ Horrible!”

And an anonymous reader also took issue with the way Ryan Seacrest (and a few EW readers) defended Kristy Lee by saying the judges had suggested she try to fill the country niche this season, then punished her when she did. ”There’s a big difference between pop country and the county-fair vaudeville show Kristy Lee put on last night. News flash: Country music isn’t just a couple of guys blowing over the hole of a jug while Clem picks a banjo anymore! You can’t just sing with a twang and a ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ dance and call yourself ‘country.’ The judges were right; Kristy Lee just dun them wrong!”

And picking up on the running Idolatry gag that Kristy Lee might actually be a robot, another reader noted that the contestant’s penchant for making sudden bulging-eyed expressions during her performances was caused by ”a surge from her batteries.”

Still, I have to hand it to the horse-lovin’ Oregonian for handling her bottom-three position with grace and good humor. I loved how she started asking for her microphone before Ryan even declared her fate, and her apology to the judges before repeating her performance (”Sorry you gotta hear it again!”) was priceless.

NEXT: Syesha, Little David, and sweaty medleys

As for Syesha Mercado, the woman who filled out this week’s bottom three, well, there wasn’t a whole lot of comment about her performance of ”Got to Get You Into My Life” on our message boards. A reader named YS picked up on that: ”I’ve been reading the posts on here, and no one talked about Syesha. It’s as if she didn’t exist last night. That means she made no impact on people, either good or bad. Being boring is just as bad as being bad.”

Unless, of course, your name is Jim Carrey, and you’re relentlessly plugging your upcoming role in the animated feature…

Actually, you know what? Sorry, Fox, I’m not taking the bait. I’m not going to say the name of your movie. You’ve got a thing or two to learn about product placement from those folks at Ford, whose contestant-driven ads and bizarre song choices (”The Distance”? really?) may not be great entertainment but don’t have the unintended effect of making me vow to never even consider purchasing their products in my lifetime.

Anyhow, before we cut to our roundup of random reader comments of the week, just a few more observations about tonight’s results show. Did any of you notice how profusely Michael Johns was sweating during the woeful group performances? Very scary stuff, especially in high definition! Was I the only one who got a good chuckle hearing former nanny Brooke White go all maternal and tell Little David to ”go sit down” after Ryan told him he was safe? And also, what is the deal with Idol bringing back a second consecutive week of Lennon-McCartney next week? Yes, week 1 was terrific, but does that mean the producers will continue to relentlessly flog the theme till every ounce of enjoyment has been wrung from it? Ugh!

Yes, still bitter a little. Come back David H.!

And now for some final reader comments about the new Idol set, those hand-waving contestants, and Little David’s musical education:

Murderpuss: ”The new set was underwhelming. It still looks like the world’s largest, most expensive mobile phone store.”


MakethemstopitPLEASE!: ”Okay, the worst part of this show (besides Paula’s incoherence) is the robotron audience. I have always hated laugh tracks when employed in comedies, but I’m thinking an applause track may be the saving grace for this show! Just lose the audience completely and replace the ‘deeply moved’ arm wavers with those blow-up googly things you see in front of car dealerships! They’ll probably come across as more sincere. And they will NEVER clap along during a slow, romantic ballad!”

Again, correct!

Michelle H: ”How could David A. not be familiar with the Beatles? Are you kidding me? I know he’s young, but if you’re trying to make singing your profession, shouldn’t the Beatles be somewhere on your iPod?? At the very least for the songwriting! I was so horrified I dug up my Beatles CDs so my three-year-old could listen to them this morning. (Even HE knew it was good — he was clapping right along to it.) No wonder David A. looked like a deer in the headlights. Poor kid.”

Sounds like the kid needed a nanny like Brooke White!

What did you think of tonight’s show? Were you surprised to see Kristy Lee survive another week? Would you agree with me that poor David H. had shown more promise to date than at least three or four other contestants still left in the competition? Did you enjoy Katharine McPhee’s performance? And what do you think about a second consecutive week of Lennon-McCartney? If you want to discuss any of the above on the next episode of Idolatry, e-mail your thoughts (along with a daytime phone number) to!

Episode Recaps

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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