Idol: Picture Simon Naked, Catch the Beat With Blake

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Last night’s episode of American Idol was a snore. Even Paula disappointed. Sure, she offered up her patented seal-at-the-zoo clap for the performances she liked, and she slurred some nonsensical insults at Simon and advice to the contestants – which she actually managed to combine at one point. (When asked for her suggestion on shaking off nerves she told the 11 remaining hopefuls to "picture Simon not dressed" and Monday called Cowell "Little Ben" on the Letterman show) But still, her presence lacked that special shine that those glassy eyes normally bring to the judging table.

Guess she just wasn’t into songs from the early ’60s and the guy from Herman’s Hermits. On the plus side, there were no truly abysmal moments, everyone remembered their words, and Sanjaya’s hair went back to normal

It was "British Invasion" night, and the contestants were coached by former Herman’s Hermits Peter Noone (whose last name sort of sums up who he really is to the young American viewing audience—no one), and Lulu, a sassy lady with a scratchy voice.

Of all the contestants, Melinda Doolittle still seems to be the front-runner, but people continue to really like the Justin Timberlake wannabe Blake Lewis. Last night, he was bringing Zombies back with a cover of their hit "Time of the Season," which of course, he felt the need to "update." His definition of update is to dance to every song as though he has RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome). Does anyone else feel like kicking him in the balls? If you did, his reaction would most likely be an involuntary beat-box sound. He’s almost Tourettes-y with them at this point. He couldn’t stop himself from doing it when the judges were talking to him, or when Ryan was instructing the audience on how to vote.

But every contestant managed to get upstaged by "Ashley," a tweenage fan who managed to get a lot of camera time as she sobbed uncontrollably throughout the broadcast. And while her tears were that of joy, her emotional breakdown still sort of mirrored how unfortunate those two hours were in our lives.

–Tracie Egan

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