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Two contestants told to "Beat It" on American Idol

And Adam Lambert, realizing he's no longer in control of what kind of man-on-man photos are out there being forwarded around the internet, simply jumped on the hood of his currently driver-less car and ghost-rode the whip with a tantrum-style version of "Black or White," screeching and kung-fu-kicking and yelling "AND I TOLD THEM ABOUT E-QUA-LI-TY!" before hollering "I AIN'T SCARED OF NOBODY!" You don't have to like his highly stylized form of rafter-shaking histrionics, but you have to admire that his bark might also have some bite waiting in the wings if it comes down to that. I'm still not a fan of what comes out of his mouth. But I'm fully on board for everything else.

The results show was where the real action was, as usual. That's where they all sang "I Want You Back" together. And it's where you got to see stuff like Kanye West pretending that he invented Daft Punk, a big blue hand towel hanging out of his back pocket suggesting that when he's done changing your oil he'd like to check your wiper fluid. It's also where best-Idol-ever Kelly Clarkson (pictured above) got to perform her track-marks-scratching addictive new single, "My Life Would Suck Without You" and show the kids how, if you have the skills to back it up, you can refuse to get rid of that caboose and eat all the baby back ribs at Chili's you want. Go Kelly!

A new rule was invented this week, too. The judges can now save a contestant they feel has gotten the ax too soon from viewers, but they refused to use their new powers to retain the services of the instantly deflated Jasmine Murray or Jorge Nunez. And why this new singer-saving idea came along the season after Carly Smithson needed it most is beyond me. But this show never really gives me what I want. Not since Fantasia anyway.

The best new developments this week weren't about singing. They were about the return of the Idol mansion and the reinvention of Danny Gokey. We've been denied the opportunity to see into the off-stage lives of these kids for several seasons now. They've all been secreted away in various apartment buildings, unlike back in the early seasons when it was commonplace to watch them jump in unison into a pool in the backyard of whatever Hollywood Hills estate the show decided to rent for three months. And now they're all back to living in that grotesque approximation of Hollywood superwealth, one that includes a private bowling alley with hot pink balls. The effect this has had on Gokey's demeanor has been palpable. Gone is the feel-sorry-for-this-sad-puppy quality the show tried to foist on him. Now he's a dancing fool, jubilantly bumping and grinding in that half-drunk/fully-dorky way that's sure to win him some votes. That's what having your own basketball court and cotton candy machine will do for you.

And oh, hey, Idol I have a good idea. Why don't you force all the discarded contestants to join Michael Jackson on his upcoming tour? And follow them around with a camera crew? I'd watch that.


Previously > American Idol's lucky 13

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Noah Michelson