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Reality Check: No More Mr. Nice Guys and Girls

You need only conjure up an image of Sanjaya in that hat — and remind yourself that he'll be performing again this week — to comprehend what an unpredictable season we've had on "American Idol."

Still, we're moving along in the competition, and that means that this week, Mr. Malakar probably won't need to waste any more of his tears on that previously-ousted sister.

Siblings, in other words, should be happily reunited in just a moment.

The situation, I feel, is probably just as dire for Haley, who despite a sweet dedication to her fiancé last week, some near-dimples and a decent voice, seems to be winning the silent award for least memorable.

(I would also add that "Scarnato" just isn't a last name that rolls off tongues easily enough for her future to be one in lights, but Kellie Pickler, Eva Pigford and plenty of other reality stars-turned-celebrities have done such wonders for bringing horrific sounding last names to the mainstream that I'm afraid we won’t be able to blame Haley's departure on all that Scarnato business.)

As for the boys, I'm going to go out on a solo limb here and speculate that the judges and America may soon see that Chris Richardson's greatest talent is for looking ever so slightly like Justin Timberlake.

I know that's almost a sacrilegious statement to make after the way everyone responded to his "Geek in the Pink" number, and I'm certainly not suggesting that he's going anywhere now, but I'm catty enough to say that his way of performing — that bouncing back and forth thing that suggests seizure more than singing — is ruinous.

Speaking of catty, some old-fashioned jealousy managed to get coquettish, tough Liliana kicked off the "Survivor" island.

It became a battle between the girls who aren't getting any skinnier (one of the repercussions of being a member of the tribe that seems to be dining better than your average "Survivor" producer) and the men who were attracted to Liliana.

Every girl knows that catty, jealous energy is stronger than any other kind that exists, which means that Liliana was out of there before she even had the chance to offer another guy a back rub.

It's only a shame that such enviousness can’t help get Rob and Amber eliminated from "The Amazing Race." The two are so drunk on their own smug superiority that you can't help but wish horrible car trouble — or sudden resentment for each other — on them.

Instead, they continue to be giddily in love and come in first, reinforcing the notion that congeniality is one of the least important qualities when it comes to reality show domination.

Which may help cushion the blow that Sanjaya's sweet smile — which burns all the more brightly when he's being insulted — may not be televised again after this week. Being nice, after all, can only get you so far. Right, Antonella?

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

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