by Mischalova at

People magazine filed the following report about last night's American Idol ...

Last Call: Each week it's usually the judges â€" especially Simon or Paula â€" who sneak into their seats seconds before the show goes live to the East Coast. But on Tuesday night the audience was wondering, "Where's LaKisha Jones?" All the contestants except her stood front and center on stage as Ryan Seacrest read over the show's opening lines on the teleprompter and a production staffer yelled "30 seconds!" That's when LaKisha ran onto the stage to take her place next to the other finalists.

Urban, Tim

Notice Me!!!: Jordin Sparks lingered on stage for a few seconds waving to fans following her stellar performance of "To Love Somebody." She was overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection and the number of signs (many of which read "Jordin Sparkles"). One 6-year-old girl named Izzy yelled out, "I love you, Jordin!" in a squeaky voice that pierced through the din of the crowd. Jordin was being escorted off the stage for a wardrobe change when she stopped dead in her tracks to wave to her young admirer before being hustled back into reality.

Road Crew: It's no secret that Simon Cowell is a car aficionado. Most weeks he drives his Ferrari convertible to the studio. But this week he arrived in a new emerald green Morgan Roadster (which retails somewhere in the neighborhood of $75,000). The two-seater convertible is a definite attention-getter.

All Rise: Judge Judy Sheindlin, who had a front-row seat Tuesday night, came face-to-face with Paula Abdul â€" literally. The diminutive pair were introduced during the show's first commercial break. Later, Paula held court with Sheindlin during another break and remarked, "You're so petite." Sheindlin replied to her fellow vertically challenged judge: "You're tall, but you give a short performance."

Sign Me Up: Every week Idol audience members try to out-clever each other with homemade signs, and this week was no exception. Standouts at Tuesday's show included:

"Melinda Doolittle Does BIG Things"

"I Can't Decide: Blake? Jordin? LaKisha? Melinda?"

But best of all was the Simon Cowell Mean-O-Meter, complete with a movable needle to rate the judge's comments from nice to nasty. Simon caught sight of the fan's sign and gave a nod of approval before asking her to return the needle to the nice side in time for the next contestant's performance.

Dance Fever: LaKisha's syncopated, soulful version of "Stayin' Alive" was killing Paula. In a good way. Despite a lukewarm review, Abdul couldn't stay in her seat. Not only did she dance, she waved her hands by her ears and turned her head side-to-side. There was so much movement going on that Simon pushed her chair out of the way so that Paula wouldn't hurt herself (or anyone else, for that matter).

Beat It: Blake Lewis, a fan favorite, had an off night and the judges â€" especially Simon and Randy Jackson â€" were quick to scold the very thing they once praised: Randy told Blake, an average vocalist with outstanding beat box skills, that a little beat boxing goes a long way. During the show's final video recap, Blake looked dejected and could barely eke out a smile for fans in the audience.

We're sure Antonella Barba still loves him, though.

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by Mischalova at

At least he'll have more time to spend with Lauren Conrad now.

But he will need to be far away from best friend and cuddling buddy, Blake Lewis.

AI Crew

So it goes for Chris Richardson, one of two contestants voted off American Idol last night. The other was Phil Stacey - but he's bald, scary and hasn't seen Lauren Conrad nude. We can't think of anything to say about him.

With these two eliminated, the competition is down to its final four. Lewis is among them. So are three ladies: Melinda Doolittle, Laskisa Jones and Jordin Sparks (who The Hollywood Gossip staff is grateful to all for voting for).

Despite the fact that Antonella Barba was in the audience Tuesday night, she isn't being invited back onto the stage. Sorry, fellas.

So, who will follow in the footsteps of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood? Our money is on Sparks. Literally.

Until the winner is accounted, though, we'll just be thankful we aren't engaged to Tameka Foster. Sounds like that would suck.

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by Mischalova at

A few weeks ago, we urged fans of American Idol to vote for Antonella Barba.

At that time, though, we found the young singer attractive and - let's be honest - just wanted to see more of her on stage.

Acoustic Adam

But we're now urging all readers to get out and vote for Jordin Sparks for a very different reason: the girl can sing. Very, very well. Please don't punish the 17-year old for one poor Bon Jovi performance - if anything, admire her for going outside her strong suit.

In the view of our experts, Jordin has the second best pure singing voice on the show next to Melinda Doolittle. We'd like to see those two square off in the finals.

Of course, if fans were as blown away by Blake Lewis and his beat boxing last night as the judges were, it could become a three-horse race. And that's fine by us.

As long as Jordin is one of the horses, and not Lauren Conrad's piece of man candy, Chris Richardson.

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by Mischalova at

Does it really come as a shock that Simon Cowell isn't a great listener?

During an appearance recently on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, the American Idol judge admitted he's not always paying close attention to performances. So, just what is he up to as hopefuls sing their hearts out?

Haley Reinhart Pic

"I'm taunting [Paula Abdul] throughout the performance," Cowell said. "I'm saying to her, 'Try to say something interesting, try not to use the words mountain and lakes in your critiques because it's always: You'll climb mountains, you'll swim lakes, whatever.' "

But how can Simon judge contestants such as Chris Richardson if he's so busy bugging Abdul?

"I'll tell you a secret," he said. "I watch the dress run so I actually hear much, much easier what they really do sound like."

As for his American Idol picks, Cowell went with the favorites Jordin Sparks and Melinda Doolittle, but added:

"I wouldn't write off Blake Lewis or LaKisha Jones."

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by Mischalova at

American Idol gave back last night - to the tune of $30 million raised for charity. It was an impressive show and haul.

TV Guide now takes us behind the scenes of the show, one that also surprised us by NOT eliminating a single contestant. Not even the screamer known as Lakisha Jones ...

Lee DeWyze Live Performance Pic

Price of Admission: The place to be for free stuff was Idol's home studio where, upon entering, audience members were handed white rubber "One" bracelets in honor of guest mentor Bono's charity. And upon exiting at show's end, they received snazzy multi-colored canvas bags, courtesy of Ikea. And while tickets to view the event at Idol's home base were free - as they are all season-long - front-row attendees at Disney's Concert Hall revealed they shelled out $1,000 per ticket. Pricey, yes, but hey, it was for charity.

Fashionably Late
: Just under ninety seconds before the show went live, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell were nowhere to be found. Finally, one minute before, Paula came running into the studio as fast as her sky-high platform heels would carry her. Seconds later, the lights went down and a page ushered in recent American Idol castoff Sanjaya, along with his sister and pot-smoking mother.

As for Simon, he still hadn't taken his seat when Ryan Seacrest began his opening monologue. Maybe that's why the usually unflappable host flubbed his lines and had to start again?

Kleenex Please!: As footage rolled of the trips taken by Ryan and the three judges to devastated areas in this country and abroad, Simon put a comforting arm around an overcome Paula. Of the white-suited Idols, the most emotional by far were Melinda Doolittle and Chris Richardson, who teared up at least five different times â€" once during Josh Groban's stirring rendition of "You Raise Me Up" â€" and went through several Kleenex. At one point, the Justin Timberlake-esque singer left the stage, presumably to compose himself. When he returned, the other five Idols enveloped him in hugs.

Signs of the Times: If the number of audience members' signs were any indication of who will win, Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis have the edge. When Blake spotted an "I Brake for Blake" banner, he showed his appreciation by doing The Robot. Perhaps the strangest sign of the night was the one that read "Long Beach Misses Gina and Pickle!" Surely, the long-ago ousted rock chick and her good-luck-charm stuffed lizard would've been proud.

Don't Cry-a for Sanjaya: The infamous former Idol was the social butterfly of the night. Clad in a dark blue suit, with his hair admirably tamed, Sanjaya spent the evening greeting his (mostly pre-teen) fans and even got up during one commercial break to go shake the hand of one young boy who'd yelled out his name. During another break, he ventured to the judges' table, where Simon announced, "Sanjaya is back in the house!" before shaking his hand. (He got hugs from Randy and Paula, who absent-mindedly pulled stray hairs off his lapel as they talked.)

Asked and Answered: During breaks, audience members were allowed to ask the judges questions. While one girl wanted to know where Simon gets his shirts (Armani), another asked why Paula wanted to be a judge. "I didn't wanna be a judge," she replied, before explaining that what interested her about Idol was the chance to be involved with talented people and nourish their dreams.

Also Spotted: Co-host for the night Ellen DeGeneres shaking her booty to the Idol theme... Blake laughing hysterically when Ben Stiller name-checked him... All three judges deciding Madonna's taped appearance was the perfect time to take a break and duck out of the studio together... One side of the audience at Disney's concert hall yelling, "We love you, Kelly!" when first Idol champ Clarkson took the stage, prompting the other side to scream, "We love you more!"

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by Mischalova at

For at least one week, the homoerotic exchanges between Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell won't be the focus of American Idol.

Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, tonight marks the first of a two-night event called Idol Gives Back. A slew of celebs and performers will grace the FOX stage, with poor African towns and citizens receiving proceeds from the event.

Daring Artist

Contestants, such as Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, will sing "life anthems" meant to inspire those around the world.

Meanwhile, the list of stars set to make an appearance continues to grow. Daniel Radcliffe will be on hand, not dressed like Harry Potter, we presume.

Keira Knightley will hopefully have a good meal first and then use that sexy British accent to lure in donations, as well. Should we also be expecting an accent from Sacha Baron Cohen? Or will he leave the character of Borat at home? Tune in to find out!

The actors will take to the stage alongside singers like Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, Annie Lennox, Pink and Gwen Stefani.

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by Mischalova at

Now that the Sanjaya Malakar dismissal from American Idol has had time to sink in, how does Sanjaya's most vocal critic feel about it?

"I was on a very happy plane last night. I miss him probably in the same way I miss my favorite horror movie. And I don't mean that nastily. I like horror movies," Simon Cowell said via satellite during an appearance on Thursday's The Oprah Winfrey Show. "A very sweet guy. Quite entertaining but a horrible singer. That was the problem."

Season 10 Idol Finalists

During Idol's sixth season, Cowell had made little secret of the fact that he didn't exactly see a singing future for Malakar.

He criticized the 17-year-old's vocal ability almost as much as most guys complimented the legs on Haley Scarnato.

On Thursday, he also felt the need to reiterate his previous comments that he planned on quitting as a judge of the competition depending on how far Malakar made it.

"If he made it to the top three, I'm gone," Cowell told Oprah.

"But they wouldn't let me."

Considering the fact that he was far from a "Fanjaya," who is Simon now pulling for on American Idol? A couple talents came to mind.

"I have a soft spot for [Melinda Doolittle]. Very sweet girl. I like her," said Cowell. "Jordin was sensational this week. Chris I like because he's contemporary. But I'm a little bit worried about singing through the nose... My Top 3 or Top 2 would be Melinda, Jordin and I'm not writing off Lakisha."

In addition to having to suffer through several-too-many Malakar performances than he would have liked, Cowell said there's another aspect of Idol's sixth season that's been bugging him.

"I'm a little bit frustrated. I haven't had enough, 'Oh my God!' moments. I want to see a few more," he told Oprah, adding he thinks fellow judge Paula Abdul has become too sensible. "I love when she talks complete and utter rubbish. We haven't had enough of that the past few weeks."

We don't know about Simon, but seeing Sanjaya hanging out with Petra Nemcova was cause for an 'Oh my God' moment.

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by Mischalova at

Thanks to People magazine for this behind the scenes report ...

Say What?! When Ryan Seacrest announced that Sanjaya Malakar was going home on Wednesday's show, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe gasped with surprise as he turned to Simon Cowell. The rest of the Idols were there to support a tearful Sanjaya: the remaining Top 6 made their way over to their fallen pal for one final group embrace.

Sorry, Casey

And after the 17-year-old singer's final performance, Randy Jackson came onstage to shake hands and give him a hug goodbye, all the members of the house band walked over to wish him well and members of the crowd screamed, "We love you, Sanjaya!," prompting him to flash his famous smile one last time before leaving the stage.

Timed Out: Each week, the judges have been getting closer and closer to missing that mark when the stage manager starts to count down 30 seconds to airtime. On Wednesday, Paula Abdul â€" who had cut it about as close as one can previous times â€" finally did and was only halfway to her seat as Seacrest introduced the show. Lucky for her, the host kept his focus on the task at hand as she subtly tiptoed by just a few feet away and squeezed into her chair.

Tsk, Tsk: When Ryan tried to make Melinda Doolittle choose which of the two Idol groups (Jordin Sparks, Phil Stacey and Chris Richardson or Sanjaya, LaKisha Jones and Blake Lewis) was the night's bottom three, Jackson turned to Lythgoe during the commercial break and shook his finger in shame at the man who orchestrated the stunt â€" and had been lining up the Idols just moments before onstage.

Bucky in the House! Season 5 finalist Bucky Covington, who countrified last season with his vocal stylings, was in the house â€" and the judges were happy to see him (Randy even gave him a high five). Other former Idols there for country night: season 4's Amanda Avula and season 3's Matt Rogers, who was greeted by an excited fan screaming, "You rock, Matt!"

Sadly, Olivia Mojica was nowhere to be seen.

Uncomfortable Scene: In order to make it clear that Simon was not disrespecting the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the show aired the judge's yet-unheard comments to Abdul about Chris Richardson's nasal-y performance. Chris sat stone-faced as he had to relive the moment and listen to Simon trash his singing to Paula. But Chris got a boost from some Redondo Beach, Calif., high-school cheerleaders, who came out to support their favorite Idol.

During the commercial break, one of the girls took the microphone from warmup comedian Cory Almeida and shouted, "We love Chris 'cause he's a hottie!"

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by Mischalova at

First, we had to say goodbye to Haley Scarnato and her legs.

Now, American Idol viewers have finally bid farewell to Sanjaya Malakar and his hair.

American Idol Top Nine

The bandanna look just didn't work for Sanjaya this week. And the poor singing probably didn't help, either. He and Lakisha Jones received the fewest number of votes - and when Ryan Seacrest told the world it was finally time for Malakar to go home, the 17-year old fought back tears.

Nevertheless, Sanjaya had a great run. He may never sell as many records as Carrie Underwood, but far less talented people (we're looking at you, Kim Kardashian) have made it big.

We just hope Sanjaya's next career move isn't to pose nude with a guitar. Let's leave that up to his sister, Shyamali Malakar.

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by Mischalova at

Let's give Simon Cowell a break, shall we?

The guy may have an acid tongue from time to time on American Idol, but he certainly didn't mean an ounce of disrespect to anyone involved in the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy from earlier this week.

Go, Didi!

Here's what happened:

On Wednesday's show, Cowell's critique of a song by Chris Richardson â€" in which Cowell accused Richardson of sounding "nasal-y" â€" was cut short when Richardson, after talking about his sound, offered a quick tribute to this week's campus event.

"My heart and prayers go out to Virginia Tech," said Richardson.

"I have a lot of friends over there. Be strong."

The camera then caught Cowell turning to fellow judge Paula Abdul and looking annoyed, replete with an eye roll â€" from there, the judge found himself on the receiving end of some heated criticism from bloggers and TV critics across the country.

This morning, Cowell appeared on the Ryan Seacrest KIIS-FM radio show, with the host saying:

"We've got to clear this up. There are these people on the Internet trying to make something of this story, and let's just be honest, no human being would be that disrespectful to anybody involved in that awful tragedy."

"No, of course not," said Cowell. "And the irony was that we discussed this before the show and wondered, What do you do in a situation like this when something terrible happens? Do you ignore it?"

The decision was made to have Seacrest send out thoughts and prayers from everyone at Idol to begin the show.

As for the criticism he's received, Cowell referred to it as "this crazy story that appeared that I rolled my eyes disrespectfully at Chris because he made the comment ... The truth was is that I had switched off at that point. I was ... saying to Paula, "What does he mean he was singing nasal-y on purpose? I didn't understand what he was saying."

Simon went on to say that the possible boy toy of Lauren Conrad was right to acknowledge the horrific events because he's from that area of the country.

We now hope this non-story is over with. And viewers can focus on what's truly important about the show: the hair of Sanjaya Malakar.

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