THE BLOG
04/02/2008 10:45 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

American Idol : Top 9 (to 5)

Dolly Parton night.

Okay, I like Dolly Parton. She's got a good sense of humor, doesn't take herself too seriously. But I'm sorry, with all the plastic surgery she now looks like the Joker in a blond wig. You've seen those scenes where a guy in tight pants bends over and they rip in half? Every time Dolly smiles that's what I think is going to happen to her face. So it's a tad disconcerting. And it must be worse for Ryan to see himself in 10 years.

Maybe it's because I'm not a huge fan of country music (it's fine for playing in the background at barbeque joints) but Ms. Parton wrote 3,000 songs and they all sound the same to me. The only tune I liked all night turned out to be written by others -- Cynthia Weil & Barry Mann (who currently have a musical running in Pasadena based on the movie Mask -- a heartbreaking story to us, a cautionary tale to Dolly).

Brooke White kicked it off with "Jolene." It's about one woman telling a prettier woman not to steal her man. Songs about Jerry Springer topics don't thrill me. Brooke was fine. She managed to sing it all the way through without stopping. Beyond that...I dunno.

Before David Cook sang some gut-wrenching song about a sparrow he did a brief interview with Ryan in Coca-Cola Corner. He explained how he chose his various cover versions. "Damage Control... brought to you by Coke!" The judges fawned all over him (AGAIN!) in a futile and transparent attempt to make the viewers believe someone other than David Archuleta is going to win.

Next up -- Remiele Malubay, who would kill her parents and eat them if it meant making head cheerleader. "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?" was the Dolly ditty she oversang the snot out of. But if you disagree, vote for Remiele at 1-866-B-E-T-T-Y B-O-O-P.

Jason Castro sang "Travelin' Thru". "I'm travelin', travelin', travelin' thru." At least when Steve Martin sang, "I'm a ramblin', ramblin', ramblin' guy" it was a joke. But Jason did an okay job of it and she should be safe for another week.

I thought the best performance of the night was Carly Smithson's "Here I Come Again" (the song penned by Weil & Mann). Simon criticized her wardrobe. She's not dressing like a star. What he really means is WEAR LONG SLEEVES!!!

David Archuleta sang "Smoky Mountain Memories," a song about reliving painful distant memories. So who better to really sell that than a 12-year-old?

Since this was a country-themed week, Kristi Lee Cook didn't have to wave Old Glory and shoot fireworks out of her ass. She warbled one of those interchangeable, forgettable country songs that will keep her safe for this week and land her a job singing at Knott's Berry Farm.

Syesha Mercado never met a song she couldn't strip of its melody. She attempted to do "I Will Always Love You" with her usual senseless runs and vocal tricks and topped it by trying to top Whitney Houston. She wasn't even as good as Angelica Huston.

Michael (Bolton) Johns did "It's All Wrong But It's All Right" as if Freddy Mercury performed at a rodeo.

I think Remiele and Syesha are in the bottom two but the real suspense Wednesday night will be seeing Dolly perform under all those bright lights.

You can read more from Ken at kenlevine.blogspot.com