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'Idol' takes us to the movies and we demand a refund

Try choosing the worst part of last night’s final four edition of “American Idol” and you’ll be overwhelmed by the choices. Was it mentor Jamie Foxx’s “Artist”/“Contestant” T-shirt angle? Or maybe it was the low-brow idiocy of the judges playing up Casey James’ rendition of “Mrs. Robinson” for crush Kara DioGuardi. (I could rant for pages on how awful the judges were last night.) Perhaps the worst part was Lee DeWyze’s pitiful attempt at Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose,” and the awkward “Michael Mann-ing” mentoring style Foxx took with the already painfully awkward Lee. It was a terrible show, barely saved by duets, which seemed counter-productive in a singing contest.

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But just to be clear, the order of best-to-worst performances last night goes something like this: Michael Lynche, Crystal Bowersox, Casey and Lee. They sang songs from movies and the results ranged mostly from cliché (Casey doing "Mrs. Robinson," which was stylistically boring but worked OK) to downright putrid (can't detest enough Lee's out-of-tune, unimaginative pillaging of Mr. Heidi Klum's "Batman Forever" track). Only Mike, as pointed out by Simon, attempted to match the intensity of "Free Willy" kinda-cheesy, kinda-not jam "Will You Be There." (He is no King, though — it was a slightly above average, straight-laced performance. Not terribly memorable.) And Crystal was predictably Crystal (is it as boring to you as it is to me yet?), doing her Janis Joplin-screech to Kenny Loggins' "I'm Alright." I can't fully support Crystal because I find little to like about her (if this were strictly about singing, this wouldn't be reality television). It's mainly her inability to accept the judges' criticism (which is rarely negative). If any judge has the slightest knock, she begins speaking over them to defend her performance. Host Ryan Seacrest asked Crystal last night, "Do you think the judges have been a little tougher on you the last couple weeks?" Instead of answering humbly, "No, that's what they're here for" or "Maybe, but it's pushing me to perform stronger," the surely wounded Crystal replied, "Um, yeah, but that's OK." Oh, how terrible for you, Mamasox!

I was sure Lee was going to Hinder his way to Season 9's winner circle, but after last night, it's a toss up between Crystal and Lee. Casey will be just fine, getting a label contract to riff on his guitar and sing in his limited range. The odd man out is Mike, who will undoubtedly get a contract, too (once he figures out what type of artist he wants to be), but the saddest part is he deserves to win this season. For the most part, Mike has outperformed the other contestants and is as strong vocally as frontrunner Crystal. For the first time all season, I voted last night — for Mike — and now I'm hoping one vote can make a difference. Too cliché? Damn you, "Idol."

(Also: Admit it, you miss Siobhan Magnus.)

Wesley Case is a presentation architect at b. Follow him on Twitter, @wesleycase.

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