''Idol'' recap: Voter misfire | EW.com

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''Idol'' recap: Voter misfire

In an outrageous elimination night, rebootin' Brooke sails through while Syesha and Carly go to the bottom two, and our favorite tattooed lady goes home

Carly Smithson, Syesha Mercado, ...

”Idol” recap: Voter misfire

I’m not gonna lie. I shed a couple tears at the end of tonight’s episode of American Idol. Over the past 10 weeks, I’ve slowly but surely fallen for Carly Smithson, looked forward to Tuesday nights so I could hear her wrap her big, bombastic rasp of a voice around whatever musical theme the show’s producers threw at her.

Not that I ever had any illusions she might win this thing — or even crack the top three. Carly’s tattoos, her unwavering delight in showing off said body art, her husband’s tattooed face, her desperate desire to please Simon Cowell, her angsty facial expressions, the pre-season brouhaha about her failed 2001 major-label CD, her sometimes off-putting stage banter, her occasional vocal inconsistency (see ”Idol Gives Back” week), and even the fact that she’s from Ireland, well, they were all warning lights that combined to spell a simple, disconcerting message: ”For a limited time only.”

And yet, as in most doomed relationships, I simply didn’t know how to quit Carly Smithson.

Ah, well, at least we’ll always have ”Crazy on You.” And ”I Drove All Night.” And ”Come Together,” ”Blackbird,” and ”Here You Come Again.”

And as Ryan Seacrest reminds us all twice a week: ”This…is American Idol.” Heartbreak and disappointment are integral parts of the ritual, as fans of Kristy Lee Cook, Michael Johns, Ramiele Malubay, Chikezie, Amanda Overmyer, and David Hernandez can confirm.

Which is one of the reasons that tonight, right after Carly’s exit package — including that heartbreaker of a post-audition interview, in which she tearfully talked of the way her dreams have repeatedly slipped through her fingers — I poured myself a soothing little glass of Hazelnut Kahlua, toasted the Irish barmaid, and (for lack of a better exit song) celebrated her home.

Heck, if Carly could manage to keep her chin up and keep smiling, seemingly at peace with America’s decision to send her packing on a week when she brought the freakin’ house down, and Brooke White performed as if she’d accidentally stumbled onto the set of Don’t Forget the Lyrics, who was I to come emotionally undone?

Better still, when I sat down at my computer to start writing tonight’s column, I found a special treat in my in-box — an e-mail from the iTunes store titled ”Your pre-order for ‘Top 6 (American Idol Studio Version) Single’ is now available.” Which means that at this very moment, I am listening to Carly’s amazing rendition of ”Superstar” — and it sounds even better the 16th time through. (Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, no?)

Before this TV Watch morphs into an uncomfortable, unsuccessful stage show called Carly Smithson Superstar, however, let me make a couple troubling observations about her behavior during tonight’s results show, which hopefully can also serve as advice for current and future Idol contestants.

1. Never, ever, ever ignore a fellow contestant while he or she is delivering what might prove to be his or her final Idol performance. Carly and Ryan definitely put the ”ack” in ”tacky” during Syesha’s encore rendition of ”One Rock ‘n’ Roll Too Many,” completely ignoring what was happening on stage to, well, I don’t know…discuss rising gasoline prices? Place bets on whch David is going to take home the season 7 crown? Swap breathy anecdotes about getting their first tattoos? Whatever caught their attention, it could’ve waited till Syesha had finished singing her heart out. (Yes, Syesha’s could’ve-been-an-exit-number was far stronger than Carly’s tonight.)

2. Unless your backfield is firmly planted on the hideous blue-velvet ”safety couch,” you do not look into the cameras and tell America what you plan to do for your next performance-night spectacular. Yeah, I know, Carly was like a presidential candidate with a catchphrase, determined to drive home the point that she was going to have more fun on stage (fun!) than any (fun!) contestant in the (fun!) history of any (fun!) televised performance show, but at its best, her sound bite seemed premature, and at its worst, kinda cocky.

NEXT: Syesha’s risky stage business

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