Dolly week ends with a performance by the lady herself, followed by Ramiele's tearful departure

”American Idol” recap: Goodbye, Dolly!

Darn you to heck, Brooke White!

There I was, sitting on my couch tonight, unwrapping a Lindt chocolate in celebration of America totally getting it right and putting Ramiele Malubay and Kristy Lee Cook in the bottom two. But as Ryan Seacrest told Lipgloss McCrinklenose that her journey was over, and she burst into uncontrollable sobs, the G-rated nanny’s words came back to haunt me: ”We throw everything we have into this thing — here at American Idol.” All of which made me feel ever so slightly sad.

Seconds later, of course, I remembered the sage words of the philosopher Simon Cowell concerning this week’s bottom three — ”I think this is absolutely right” — and promptly got over it. What? I’m not gonna lie: My decadent bite-size dessert was delicious (and worth every calorie), and Ramiele most certainly deserved to go home this week.

Seriously, even if you were a fan of Ramiele’s vacant, wobbly performance of ”Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” on Tuesday, it was pretty clear the contestant herself was ready for her big exit. Why else would she show up to the results show in the season’s most unspeakable outfit, a sloppy oversize T-shirt paired with a minuscule black vest, black leggings, and tall brown boots? I mean, why not just show up in plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a crumpled Hanes Her Way sports bra?

Yes, yes, I am fully aware that just 24 hours ago, I was giving Simon grief for trashing Carly Smithson’s not-so-flattering ensemble, and I’ll admit to being a complete bonehead for doing so. As a reader named Ginger pointed out on our TV Watch message boards, Carly’s Dolly Parton night ensemble made her look ”like an extra from Pirates of the Caribbean. With the britches, boots and tattoos, all that was missing was a parrot on her shoulder.” And indeed, the name of the show is American Idol, not America’s Best Vocalist; like it or not, presentation counts, and my apologies to Simon for expressing such unjustified indignation. (That said, I still think Cowell’s a bonehead for not praising Carly’s awesome vocal on ”Here You Come Again,” which I fully intend to purchase on iTunes this week. One can only play it on YouTube so many dozens of times without feeling like one is stealing.)

Anyhow, Ramiele’s reign of underwhelming song choices and age-inappropriate baby talk is over, and since I’ve been beating up on her for the last seven weeks, I’m going to take this moment to be kind and simply ”celebrate her home,” whatever the hell that means. After all, she already had to endure a harsh insult disguised as a compliment from none other than Paula: ”I thought Ramiele had a good night, for Ramiele.” Ouch! And also, her post-crying exit performance was one of her best moments on the show, even though her fellow contestants didn’t exactly help with their out-of-sync attempts at clapping along to the beat. Instead, we now turn our vitriol to three more appropriate targets.

1. Ruben Studdard’s Idol exit song: Honestly, every time it starts playing, I go into such a deep state of nothingness that I’m wondering if it’s some kind of alien mind trick, the better to hypnotize Idol viewers while Martian scientists swoop in and perform some kind of dubious collective experiment on an unsuspecting nation.

2. The Idol stylists: As a reader named Baffled declared, ”Who dresses Ramiele!? Please remove yourself and your horrible fashion sense from the gene pool. You should not be dressing anyone/anything…not even a salad.” (And I’ll throw in a repeat dose of outrage over Michael Johns’ violet cravat, David Archuleta’s array of neutral jackets with mini popped collars, and Syesha’s often unfortunate hair choices. Isn’t there a team of professionals that is supposed to be helping these contestants?)

3. And finally, the Idol choreographers. I was not a brave enough man to hit the rewind button on my DVR tonight, but I am 99 percent certain I saw David Cook and Ramiele bump butts during the group performance of ”9 to 5.” And the folks at 19 Entertainment expect these kids to go out in the world six months from now and begin credible careers as recording artists? Way to hamstring ’em, Nigel!

NEXT: The Cook and Brooke perplex

Anyhow, back to tonight’s bottom three. Was I the only one who felt like it was total foreshadowing when the cameras cut to the contestants backstage (before a commercial break) and showed Brooke there with her arms around Kristy Lee and Ramiele, while Rocker David, Jason, and Model/Actress/Whitney-phile stood off to the side?

As for the ”Kristy’s Seat” sign trotted out by Ms. Cook, well, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I’ll admit it gave me a chuckle, seeing a contestant gamely embrace her negative critiques and complete underdog status, but then again, there was maybe just a whiff of irritation in Kristy Lee’s demeanor, an ”I don’t understand how the judges/America don’t think of me as a front-runner, but I guess it’s just my lot in life, y’all!” The whole moment was pretty much a wash for me.

One reader, though, made a good point that Kristy Lee’s Tuesday-night song choice, the beautiful ”Coat of Many Colors,” isn’t exactly the kind of number that benefits from being condensed, Idol-style. ”Can we add ‘story songs’ to the list of songs that should not be cut to fit the minute and a half time frame?” asked Lunaburning. ”Kristy Lee managed to turn ‘Coat of Many Colors’ into a song about how a young girl with bad fashion sense got totally PUNKED by her seamstress mom.”

And as for Brooke’s lack of voter support for her performance of ”Jolene,” while I was thrilled to see her sent back to the safety couches first tonight, I couldn’t argue with those of you who thought she deserved to get a little scare this week.

”Can Brooke stop ‘nannying’ the judges?” asked Kar0319. ”Telling them ‘it’s all right’ in that placating tone when they criticize her is just so weird, like she’s talking to her young charges after they’ve been caught coloring on the wall. And ‘Jolene’ was just so wrong for her — does she even understand what the song is about? I’m not sure that Brooke can get mad at anything, much less some red-haired woman trying to steal her man! Besides, in Brookeworld, that just doesn’t happen! Let’s all go bake some cookies!”

Finally, before we get to the reader comments of the week, a few more thoughts about tonight’s results show:

Dolly Parton continues to amaze me, rocking the Idol stage at 62, and remaining blissfully unaware of Ryan’s attempts to get her involved in a tussle with Simon over the latter’s snide remarks about a few of her songs on Tuesday.

The only thing better than the expressions of agony offered up by the Clark Brothers during ”This Little Light of Mine” were the ones of shock and numbness from Ryan and the eight finalists as they bore witness from the midnight-blue couches just a few feet away.

I wonder when the producers will grow tired of playing ”Taunt the emotionally fragile Irish lady!” Probably never?

And with that, I pass the mike to you guys on the message boards:

KristyLee’sHorse: ”Kristy Lee sewed the rags together. She sewed every piece with love. She made my stable blanket of many colors that I was so proud of.”

Think About It: ”If Carly wins, she’ll just use the money to buy her husband more tattoos. That’s enough reason for me not to vote for her.”

To Vader: ”Yes, Simon knows a thing or two about marketing, but I have trouble trusting the opinion of a man who doesn’t understand the pretty blatant metaphor in ‘Little Sparrow.’ He’s starting to be like Randy where he learns a new word and needs to infuse it into his commentary each week. The new secret Simon word is…’busking.’ Aaaaaah! I miss ‘Pee-Wee’s Play House.’ ”

Lauren: ”Michael, David C, and Jason were incandescent this week. As usual, I played the first two guys over again and will buy them on iTunes. Hey! There’s an idea — you should have to vote by buying the song on iTunes!! Everyone will make money and we will actually choose a winner that people actually want to listen to! Pass this idea along, Slezak!”


What did you think of tonight’s elimination? Any pangs of sadness for Ramiele? And who do you think is most at risk singing an ”inspirational song” for ”Idol Gives Back” week? (Yep, they’re having a special Thursday-night elimination show next week, so mark those calendars!)

How did the top 9 results show look from inside Stage 36? See Adam B. Vary’s American Idol: On the Scene report

What did season 7’s ”little sister” have to say the day after she got voted off American Idol? See Jessica Shaw’s exit Q&A with Ramiele Malubay

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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