There wasn't much singing on tonight's show, though there was a lot of riding up and down a tiny elevator. There was a camera in the elevator, so we saw various contestants spewing emotion from a cramped little space, where each was all alone, except for us millions of Americans who were watching them and occasionally even feeling some real some real emotion. Let's list a few high spots (which don't include the news, which we already knew, that the Brittenum twins have problems that took them out of the competition).
1. Katharine McPhee cracks her knuckles cutely as she waits nervously. She makes it and kisses all three judges on the lips (even though at a later point in the show a contestant reminds herself of the rule that they cannot approach the judges).
2. Ace Young is the new and improved Constantine. We see him singing. He's cute but why must he slur his words like that? There's something smarmy and deficient about him. But he is cute. He makes it.
3. Eugenia Littlejohn. I'm sorry but I'm completely distracted by her reverse French manicure: the tips are painted black. Anyway, she doesn't make it.
4. Robert Bennett, Jr. freaks out in the elevator. He's made it and he's all manic. He reminds me of a comedian that I just can't quite remember. Oh, it's Gene Wilder! Yeah. I remember now. He's not very attractive, but when he gets all emotive like that in his small space, you've just got to love him.
5. Mandisa Hundley, the new and improved Frenchie. She's a large woman, and Simon has insulted her. She says: "I figured that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you." That moves Simon to say: "I'm just so appalling, aren't I?" She makes it, and as she walks back to the elevator, she says: "Y'all are looking at my bottom while I'm walking out, aren't you?" And, yeah, we are. But we love her. And, damn it, we still love Frenchie, the great lost hope of the show. Remember when we said we'd never watch the show again, because of how they treated Frenchie? But somehow we went back...
6. Lisa Tucker. They're concerned that she's only 16. But so what?
7. David Radford. He's got a bit of a Tom Cruise vibe. He makes it.
8. Sway makes it. Elliot Yamin makes it. Brenna blabs and makes it. Gedeon McKinney is a little arrogant -- "I'm ready for America to see what God has done" -- but he makes it.
9. A new favorite of mine, Stephanie Scott, makes it. She's tall and sweet and classically trained. "I love opera!"
10. Ayla Brown, the basketballer, makes it. Patrick Hall, who's not pretty, but is good, makes it. Kevin Corvais, who's heart-rendingly nerdy, makes it.
11. Paris Bennett, who was so good in the audition, but not all that great in Hollywood -- and knows it! -- makes it.
12. Kelley Pickler, who's good and innocent -- a bit Carrie Underwoodish -- makes it. She might be a bit dumb, because when she's told she made it, she seems as though she can't understand, and then she blabs inanely about her mascara.
13. Taylor Hicks, the guy with the gray hair, pours it on, walking in playing the harmonica. He makes it. Great!
14. They end with two pairs, two women and then two men. In each case, we know there is only one slot. One of the guys is William Makar. You know, my new favorite. Phew! He makes it.