05/04/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Idol Season 9: Top 20 -- The Elimination

RATINGS COVERAGE: American Idol's results show hit 19.3 million viewers, according to March Berman of MediaWeek, well above the competition but down about 10% from the 21.5 million viewers that tuned in one year ago.

SHOW COVERAGE: Four more Idol contestants said goodbye, none of them surprises. John Park and Jermaine Sellers were the two guys sent packing while on the gals' side it was time to wave farewell to Michelle Delamor and Haeley Vaughn.

The show began with another godawful lip-synced group performance. The group performances with 20 folks crowding the stage invariably have a painful, Up With People aura about them. But lip-syncing goes again everything the show is supposed to stand for. Mind you, I also hate, hate the Black Eyed Peas song "I Got A Feeling" though it was kind of delicious to see white-bread mullet-wearing Alex Lambert shout out "Mazel Tov!" with a street swagger.

I assume the logistics or vocal mix is just impossible with this big a crowd and that's why they don't sing live. But if that's the case, they should shoot a music video a la those Ford commercials. Come up with a concept and do something fun with the kids rather than just have them trudge around the stage and mouth the words. It's painful for them and the audience.

Todrick Hall and John Park faced off and John was sent home, which was no surprise to him. Jermaine Sellers and Andrew Garcia faced off (that ought to wake him up) and Jermaine was done. Sellers was polite but his comment about being a church singer is either disingenuous or silly. If he was a good gospel singer, America would have embraced him. (Does he think Yolanda Adams or Tonex would have flamed out this early? Really?) And plenty of singers on the show have brought a gospel flair to various performances. But a lot more singers have brought an undisciplined indulgence via endless runs and trills and acrobatic vocalizing they associate with the church or with Mariah Carey but which have nothing to do with good singing, no matter what the setting. It was nice to see him end on a positive note and acknowledge God; to often, God only gets a shout out when the person has won it all, so good on Sellers for that.

Danny Gokey sang his new single "My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me" pretty energetically, though he seemed over-caffeinated during the interview segment.

Then Didi Benami and Michelle Delamor and since it was a toss-up who would go first, they both handled it graciously when Delamor was cut. Finally, Haeley Vaughn and Lacey Brown faced off and Simon rightly told Ryan to put Haeley out of her misery without delaying the results.

None of the contestants proved a wrong decision was made with their performance, though John Park was probably the most improved. But poor, sweet Haeley Vaughn was painful. Her off-key warbling was so hard to watch, it made you really resent the judges for ever letting her get into Hollywood Week, much less the Top 24. It just wasn't right. I doubt she'll ever gain enough experience to become a good singer (she just doesn't have a voice) but she should never have been put in this spotlight. Surely they must have known it by Hollywood Week. Vaughn can at least hold her head high for being a trooper and maintaining her good spirits.

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