Reality Check: 'American Idol' Says Bye-Bye to Chris Sligh; Sanjaya Stays On

At this point it shouldn't surprise anyone that Sanjaya not only wasn't cut from "American Idol," but that he wasn't even relegated to the bottom three.

Some part of the world has gone Sanjaya-crazy, and whether they're follicle-obsessed, devotees of the Web site or simply people who just like seeing those pearly whites of his — which were on full display as Ryan sported a seven-ponytailed faux hawk wig mocking Sanjaya's most recent hairstyle — doesn't much matter at this point, does it?

Meanwhile, funny guy Chris Sligh is gone. And I miss him already. Sure, he had some tempo issues on "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," and his whole look didn't exactly scream rock star.

But I don't care. I liked the guy, and when Ryan called him "one of the most clever contestants we've ever had," I both agreed and realized that there might not have been a lot of competition in that department.

We've seen a lot of strong pipes on "American Idol." Nobel Laureates — or even quick-witted wisecrackers — we have not.

Phil Stacey and Haley Scarnato joined Sligh in the bottom three, and no one was more surprised by this turn of events than Stacey.

I've been developing a theory — based on the way he answers questions and waves at the audience — that Phil is sort of the anti-Melinda and that being on "Idol" has gone to his head.

And I feel that my suspicions were confirmed when Ryan called him to stand up and he grinned from ear to ear, certain he had nothing to worry about, before being informed of his status.

In other bottom-three news, it seems quite ironic that early on in the season — that is, before he developed a crush on her — Simon told Haley that she was so forgettable he couldn't even remember her name, and Ryan actually called her "Stacey" Wednesday night.

I know, the unflappable Seacrest only did that because he was getting tripped up by Phil's two first names, but considering the fact that I call Haley's singing forgettable every time I don't forget to mention it at all, I enjoyed the coincidence.

Another moment I appreciated: Gina demonstrating impressive acting skills by appearing absolutely devastated when Ryan announced that she was safe but Chris Sligh was headed for potential eviction.

Now I understand that, like Oscar nominees who know the cameras are going to be on them when they lose, "Idol"-ers have to wear a game face that doesn't always reveal their real feelings.

But Gina may have taken note of Haley, who didn't make any effort to mask her deep pleasure over making it while Sligh was nixed, because she seemed to make a rather rapid emotional recovery by the time she was grooving to Sligh's final performance.

Sanjaya made no such emotional journey. He just kept that wide grin going the whole time, probably secretly planning his next hairstyle.

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

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