It's been a long and winding road for Jason Castro.

The unlikely "Idol" contender managed to blow right by naysayers like yours truly and really stake out his place in the competition. Whether he was goofing up an interview, blowing us away with a shockingly good performance or simply converting a slew of teenage girls into dreadlock appreciators, you've got to admit that Jason Castro was always amusing.

Still, it was slightly unnerving to have someone in the mix that seemed so thoroughly indifferent to the show results. While on the one hand I definitely admired this in him — I wish I could be half as relaxed about situations in my life that aren't nearly as massive as, say, winning the world's biggest singing competition — another part of me wanted to shake him and remind him to at least act like he cared.

Even when he was given his walking papers on Thursday, the oh-so-mellow one admitted that he was relieved, because now he wouldn't have to learn three songs for next week. A sore loser that boy is not.

On the other end of the stress spectrum, we have David Archuleta, whose body — all 99 pounds or whatever of it — looks like it won't be able to take much more. And who could blame him? Just try to imagine how much energy smiling that much would take out of you.

Ryan, rather than showing the young lad mercy this week, insisted on forcing him to talk about what his game plan had been on Tuesday night. To which I say: Ryan, can't you direct all these types of questions to Syesha from now on? The girl is happy to answer whatever you'd like her to and Archuleta may well have a televised heart attack if you keep on him like this.

Speaking of Syesha, far too much time was spent discussing and analyzing her Tuesday night tears. Even though she'd explained — several times — why she was sobbing, Ryan tackled Crygate like it was a serious issue at the top of the show, and he and the judges actually had a real conversation about whether she'd been crying out of sadness or joy, or because of Randy or Paula.

Later on, Syesha chimed in on the matter, managing to work into her answer something about Clinton and Obama, as if her mascara-streamed face really had more to do with the upcoming election than with her own fate (crafty work from the girl sitting in the middle of a David sandwich).

We also got to see Maroon 5 and Bo Bice in action, watch a feel-good extravaganza package of our top four in Vegas for the Beatles "Love" show and hear Ryan make dramatic pronouncements about people's dreams being crushed.

And then, of course, we got to find out what "Idol" fans most want to know. I say that if we've learned anything from the viewers' questions, it's that it's not really worth asking the contestants anything. I don't blame them — it isn't being easy being charming on the fly, especially when your dreams may be crushed in a nanosecond — but their sputterings this week were even more painful than usual.

I mean, when a 14-year-old calling in and asking our competitors about the different challenges they've faced this year is roughly 100 times more articulate than our entire crew put together, it's potentially time to ix-nay the entire segment. Or at least only allow the questions for Simon to go through.

But what would "Idol" be without filler? We need something to keep us tuned in as we wait to find out which David will take the crown.

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