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Entertainment behind the scenes

We have a final two, but Fantasia dominates “Idol” buzz

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fantasia2.jpgIt was supposed to be Syesha’s night. After all, it was the axed Floridian’s last chance to shine on “American Idol” after a meteoric rise to third place that no one expected.

But here we are, the top two “American Idol” finalists decided after four intense months, and yet the buzz following Wednesday night’s elimination show centered not around the impending David showdown, or on the ouster of Syesha Mercado, but an over-the-top performance by an “Idol” winner from four years ago.

Fantasia, the passionate, raspy-voiced single mother from North Carolina, to this day is arguably the edgiest “Idol” winner ever (Taylor Hicks and his premature head of gray hair don’t count). Tonight, however, she truly outdid herself, bursting onto the stage with a head of fire engine red hair and three backup dancers and delivering a high-energy performance of her song “Bore Me.”

The performance immediately sparked a lively debate on the Web over whether Fantasia was back to her magnetic self or had completely lost her mind.

Paula puts nail in Syesha’s coffin as “Idol” heads to finish

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syesha.jpgNot many “American Idol” viewers expected to see Syesha Mercado make it past this week. Let’s face it, a face-off between the two Davids, Archuleta and Cook, has been considered a foregone conclusion for weeks now.

But notwithstanding the near certainty of a David showdown, it was still a shock to see Paula Abdul administer Mercado’s death sentence on Tuesday night’s episode.

Mercado likens her “Idol” run to Civil Rights Movement

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mercado.jpgThere’s no question that Syesha Mercado is one tough “American Idol” contestant.

Week after week, the 21-year-old beauty from Sarasota, Florida, has stepped up her game, delivering performances in recent episodes that many thought she wasn’t capable of. Now, despite having been among the lowest three vote-getters a whopping five times, Mercado is the only woman to have made it to the show’s Top 4.

“Idol’s” Mariah night: was it a burger bun or a luau?

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mariah.jpgIt must have been conceived as some sort of cruel joke.

For seven seasons now, the judges of “American Idol” have repeatedly told contestants to steer clear of singing songs by Mariah Carey, ostensibly because the singing competition’s up-and-coming star wannabes could never hope to measure up to one of the great voices of pop music.

So, let’s just say it was a little strange to find Carey as the guest judge on Tuesday night’s show. Because you know what that means: the contestants were allowed to perform an old Mariah song, a new Mariah song, or any other Mariah song of their choosing.

Shock and awe as “Idol” Johns is sent packing

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johns1.jpgBoy, was he surprised.

“American Idol” delivered its first major shock of the season on Thursday with the ousting of Aussie hunk Michael Johns. The studio audience gasped when host Ryan Seacrest said Johns was being sent packing, and even Simon Cowell said he would miss Johns, who he called “a very very nice guy.” The remaining contestants, who should have been celebrating their own guarantee of another week on the show, appeared positively grief-stricken.

Carly Smithson, the Irish singer whose rendition of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” bombed on Tuesday night, broke down in tears. Seems she thought it would be her to get the axe this week, not Johns, particularly after raising her hand when the camera focused on her, Johns and Syesha Mercado — the show’s bottom three vote-getters — and Seacrest said one of them would be going home.

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