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Reality Check: Too Many Cooks in the 'Idol' Kitchen

I can't believe I'm writing these words, but I was actually a bit heavy-hearted to see Kristy Lee Cook say sayonara on "Idol."

I know that I've repeatedly written about the fact that she should have gotten nixed a while ago, but the girl was actually becoming living proof that the "Idol" boot camp can cause vocal makeovers. I'm telling you, she was getting pretty darn good lately.

It's true. And I have to say that her rendition this week of "Forever" was my favorite performance of all. While Simon, never a Kristy Lee enthusiast, criticized the fact that she picked one of Mariah's lesser-known songs, I actually thought her decision was wise. She made the song seem like it was utterly her own, mostly because we hadn't heard it 79,000 times, like most other M.C. songs.

While she did look a bit awkward in that dress — girlfriend needs to stick to jeans, which consistently look amazing on her — and she does this kind of teen talent show thing with her arms when she sings, there was no denying the fact that this week she was, in Randy parlance, hot.

I know that the judges, particularly Simon, make a big deal about the fact that each performance is significant and one magnificent or terrible night can make or break a contestant, but I'm going to respectfully disagree.

Kristy Lee was far better than, say, Brooke this week, but throughout the season, Brooke has been the stronger candidate. So she stayed while Kristy Lee went. I'd liken it to when Al Pacino finally won his Oscar. He deserved it, we all knew he deserved it, but did he deserve it for "Scent of a Woman?"

To keep the elimination lively, Ryan divided the Idols into two groups and forced poor David Archuleta to pick which ones (David Cook, Carly and Jason Castro versus Syesha, Brooke and Kristy Lee) he thought were in the bottom.

Since Archuleta seems incapable of doing anything that could potentially be construed as hurtful, it is likely this may have given the kid about 49 new ulcers.

David Cook, Jason Castro and Carly Smithson were far more relaxed: Cook seems to have somehow slid past Castro and Archuleta into the role of Resident Hunk, Castro was as cheerfully blasé as ever and Carly continued to showcase the recently unearthed sunny side of her personality. She also confronted Simon about how hard he is on her in a way that was somehow thoroughly devoid of bitterness, and got him to admit that he's tougher on her because she's so good.

So the show will go on, minus one Kristy Lee Cook — just when she was beginning to grow on me. Pray tell, does that mean if Syesha grows on me, she could get eliminated, too?

Anna David is a freelance writer. Her novel, "Party Girl," is in stores.