Lyford, Maxwell recap this week's show

Here we go with the most excruciating hour of the week. That’s right, an hour, to tell four people they’re going home. Of course, who could blame the network? They could slap the “American Idol” logo on a test pattern and still win the timeslot against almost any competition.

So how do they fill the hour?

1. They spend a good deal of time defending the fact that several of the contestants aren’t exactly undiscovered talent.

2. They show a video of the contestants’ “journey” set to a Daughtry song. It involves planes, cars and lots of walking. And loving shots of Michael. He’s pretty cute, have we mentioned that?

3. All 24 sing a medley of the most dreadful songs from the ’60s. They all look awkward and have weird hair. It’s like watching “Hullabaloo.” I always forget how excruciating the singalongs and videos are. I am forever scarred by the singing puppet Ford Focus video from a few seaons back. Compared with that, or the Devo one they did in the same season, this one was a Dean Martin Christmas special.

4. They recap the boys’ performances.

5. Then it happens. The hammer comes down on Leif Garrett Haley out of nowhere. Whoa, dudes, that was harsh.

6. Then it’s time for the “Idol” tradition that’s always made the least sense to me: Assaulting the insanely loyal audience with a repeat of the worst performances of the week, delivered by a young person who’s just had their dreams crushed on national TV. What’s next, Fox, marathons of our favorite moments from “Anchorwoman”?

7. Recap the girls, tell Kristy she’s safe, boot off pretty Amy. Amy sings. Bye, Amy.

8. They show Paula’s new video. Holy crap. There’s Randy playing guitar. There’s lots of airbrushing and wind machines and electronic help for Paula’s voice. Make it stop. Paula’s video reminded me of her MTV VMAs in the early ’90s when “Vibeology” came out. Fifteen years later and she’s still using the same tricks to hide her tummy. Paula thanks Randy for getting her back in the studio. Yeah, thanks Randy. Thanks a heap. “Anchorwoman” repeats are sounding better and better.

9. Joanne and Amanda are invited to the center of the stage. One of them is gone. Guess which one. Bye, lovely, awesome Joanne. Joanne sings, better than she did last night. The girls cry. Like all of them. Except Amanda. Atta girl.

10. Chikezie and Colton centerstage. Colton is booted and somewhere Kyle Ensley smiles. Colton is the first of the four rejects to cry. Paula and Randy inexplicably tell him to continue to pursue his dreams of a music career. And Simon, always the voice of reason, says “Get a job, kid.” Thank God for Simon. Colton sings us out. Almost all the girls, including Danny, cry.

Kathy: So no surprises really. Chikezie and Kristy are very lucky. I thought Amy would slide by on her looks for a few weeks, ala Haley Scarnato, but it wasn’t to be. “AI” forgot to cast a villain this year, so I feel a little sad for all four. I’ll get over it.

Erin: As for the goners, adios. Thanks for all the ammo and allowing me to vent on you. Only my therapist will miss you.

To borrow a phrase – Until next week, Erin and Kathy: Out.

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