Crucial Week for Antonella on 'American Idol'

Here's one prediction for this week's "American Idol" that I'm absolutely sure of: no one will so much as slip off their shoe to rub a foot.

I mean, seriously, did Paul's whole my-lucky-bare-feet thing go thoroughly awry or what? I'm not just talking how he got the "AI" pink slip before other more deserving comrades. I'm also referring to the fact that he was the only one who didn't get so much as a one-sentence courtesy summary from Ryan about what the judges thought of him before being ousted. Sure, Ryan had probably gotten a signal that they were out of time, but what's with being kicked off a show without the rest of us getting to hear why?

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Of course, we can't blame this entirely on the guy's footwear choices — which were, you probably don't need to be reminded, nil — because the 32 million Americans who voted simply made some head-scratching collective choices all around.

In the case of the girls, America seemed to say, bad trumps boring, as Amy and Nicole, inoffensive as could be, got cut while a certain someone Simon accused, correctly, of being awkward and thus not remotely like a natural woman, stayed.

So where does this leave us for the coming week? Aside from the lack of naked feet, I'm also going to guess that Ryan will increase his use of the word "bro" — which I think I heard at least twice on Thursday night — but not get even close to reaching Randy "dawg" levels, Sundance will pick a far more bluesy song and keep his arms firmly by his side, and Antonella will either step it up a notch or be gone for good (during which time several more incriminating photos of her will surface). For some reason, I'm still rooting for that girl to surprise us.

You never know when that's going to happen. Consider the action over on "Survivor," where Michelle, who has seemed so far like the weakest (and most annoyingly voiced) cast member, single-handedly saved her tribe by melting a pair of glasses in the sun to make a fire.

The fact that this worked means either that the producers threw the tribe a pity match or that Michelle is an unsung hero who deserves, as far as I'm concerned, to win the booty based on that move alone. I'm telling you, watching her explain that melting a pair of glasses was the best use of time was akin to listening to Ian Benardo — forgot about him? Wish I could say the same — inform Simon, Paula and Randy that his stardom was imminent.

"The Amazing Race," meanwhile, isn't offering a ton of astonishments so far this season. Sure, we had a near pass-out from altitude sickness and some mildly amusing bickering between Charla and Mirna — and between them and several other teams — but Drew made himself so unsympathetic in this episode that trudging up compassion for his altitude issues became difficult and the more the Chara-Myrna team yelled, the more their drama started to seem like white background noise and the less interesting it thus became.

And so we were left with Rob and Amber's continued domination (and accompanying smugness) and the bitterness the other teams always feel for the beauty queens to entertain us.

At least they all kept their shoes on.

Anna David is a freelance writer. Her first novel, "Party Girl," is coming out in June 2007 from HarperCollins.

"American Idol" airs on FOX, which is owned by the parent company of

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