And so last night we trudged on again, this time with only three oxen to pull Mother Courage-Seacrest's war wagon through the mud. Was it a successful journey? Yes and no.

Yes it was the Final Three, that storied, thrilling time when two competitors walk tall and one bug-eyed lost sheep stands around shifting their weight awkwardly, wanting desperately to go home but also being scared for the journey to end, because what will they do when it's over... That's the tradition and it played out in typical fashion last night. Well, in more muted fashion. I mean, we're still talking about Idol Season 9 here, the jug blower in overalls alone in a sea of bassoonists in tuxedos. This season is still the rootinest-tootinest-completely underwhelmingest season this show's ever seen. So though there were a couple Moments last night, they certainly weren't MOMENTS like we've seen this close to the end before. But whatever. What can you do.

I got confused about this last year, so lemme check: They will show more extended clips of the kids' journeys home tonight, right? Last night's wasn't all it was? OK, 'cause I was gonna get sad there for a second. Did you see Casey's little thing where he was standing on that stage OUTSIDE AN AT&T STORE (as was Crystal) and there were, oh, maybe 30 little girls in the crowd and that was it? It was depressing. He could have been teaching a middle school class. Maybe he was? So many classes are held OUTSIDE THE AT&T STORE. C'mon guys, with that. Really? "Here's my favorite spot in my town, right outside the beautiful AT&T store. It's a pretty nice place to be with my pre-algebra class here." Anyway, I hope that tonight there are a few more people in the home crowds! And that there's no AT&T store! Remember just last season there were parades and police motorcades and Danny Gokey was given the gift of flight? This year I think it might be like people wave at the Idols as they drive by on their way to work and the Idols just stand on their creaking little stages and say "Yeah, shoulda done this a few years ago, huh."

But it'll be OK. I'm sure it will. I'm sure we'll see more tonight. Don't you wish we got to see Timmy-Tim Urban's home visit? And the cameras would follow him into his house and up the stairs into his bedroom and then Ryan would be sitting on the edge of the bed, flipping through a magazine, and he'd look up startled and say "Oh, uh, hi, it's a new thing... I'm doing, where I go to the contestants' houses. All of the contestants." And then he'd be stuck in a lie and would have to go sit in Aaron Kelly's weird house that smells of onions and Phil Dweezy's sad carpeted apartment and stuff. That would be great. "Oh, yeah, I bring wine and Sade music to all of the contestants' houses. Here's your wine and Sade... Casey."

Ah well.

The Good
Goooo Riverlox! Well, only half a "Goooo" because mostly she blew it out the box on one song. Her first, what she chose, was "Come to My Window," a song about Melissa Etheridge wanting Gwyneth Paltrow to crawl through her window. Oh wait, that's the other one. "Come to My Window" is about Juliette Lewis going crazy in a room. Either way, the song just wasn't a terribly thrilling choice for Thunderhox, because we've seen her do that business so many times. But then L'Ellen picked her second song and it was "Maybe I'm Amazed" by that old lady from Wings and it was so good! She didn't play the guitar, she was wearing sexy mistress boots, and she sang purdy notes. The one funny thing is that she had to sing "Maybe I'm a man" many, many times. Gender confusion on Idol is always slightly distressing, just because you don't know who's watching and voting and what if someone said "First she sang that Melissa Etheridge song and now she's calling herself a man, repeatedly? In a song given to her by known lesbian Ellen Degenerate? I do not like that." And then they don't vote for her! And then she doesn't make it to the Top 2, which is totes magotes where she belongs. We'll have to see. Don't let us down, America.

Oh, Phil. Geez Louise, huh? I never thought I'd say this but when I was watching the program last night I turned to your dad and I said, "He did it. He really did it." I think your cousin may have won the Idol program with those songs he did last night. Don't you? Maybe I'm crazy. I called your Aunt Karen right after and she was real nervous still, still didn't want to jinx anything. You remember when Phil thought he was going to get into that special music camp that one summer? You know, the one at Muhlenberg they got for teens for a coupla weeks in August or something? Oh sure, your aunt even bought him that new guitar special, and he was, oh you know, he was strutting around a little bit, the big music star. Oh but then he got that letter, and they said it had been a big year for applications and they were real sorry but they just couldn't fit him in. Well, I'll tell ya, I'm glad I wasn't there to see that boy's face. And he was in his teens, fifteen, sixteen or so, so I know he didn't cry and carry on, but he was real upset. Sure. So, you know, Karen's worried about that. But I said to her "Keeks, I know lots of people sing the Hallelujah song on Idol show these days and it's probably too many people, but he did sound pretty darn good and it was definitely one of those moments people are always mentioning. So you gotta figure that he did well and he made ya proud, and that's all that really matters in the end." And heck, he got over the Muhlenberg thing real quick. Sure, Susie Dyson moved in across the street so he was busy mooning over her for the rest of the summer. Got a job at Ice Cream World and had that one big scooping arm, you remember? Funny kid, your cousin. He always bounces back. He always does. Anyway, you're going out tonight, huh? I can tell, you're getting antsy. Well, don't let me keep you. I'll just be here, puttering around. How's that Hallelujah song go again?

The Bad
Well, I suppose that leaves Cayman Junkers. That he winds up alone in the Bad category this week isn't really his fault. Well, it's half his fault. The song that he chose was some song that no one has ever heard of by Eric Clapton or some such person and it was just an easy midtempo mellow rock jam that you'd hear played at a beach party in a Charles Grodin comedy. It was sooo boring and dumb. Why did he pick this? Maybe he wants to go home. Well he certainly got some help on that front from the judges. Kara picked the song, and it was the one about John Mayer being good to your daughters. It was slowwww and didn't have much variation and Kara defended the choice at the time, but afterward you saw that the judges had picked two big bombastic Momintz songs for Dweezy and Flowerpox and you realized, "Ohhhh they totally sabotaged him!" They deliberately picked a boring dumb song that is boring and dumb because they need him to go home. Because who would watch a finale that was so lopsided as to have Chevron Joyner-Kersee competing for the crown? Literally no one would watch. Idol's ratings for the night would be 0.0. Everyone would be watching House Hunters International instead. No one would care. So they couldn't have that. They had to slip Corvman the cyanide pill, and so they did, in John Mayer form. Mayyyerrrr!!!!

Sweet Relief
Yeah, it's gonna be Coolio Jones, isn't it? It has to be. Crystal and Phil had their big towering moments, while Coltron had... "Fathissss be good to yo daughtisssss." There is no competition there. It's OK, Coleman. After you are voted off you will hear a "knock knock" at your dressing room door and there Kara will be, wearing her cut-off mesh football tee and her Ripley underpants, half-drunk bottle of Kendall Jackson merlot in hand, and she will purr in your ear, "You know, I'm somebody's daughter... You wanna be good to me?" And you will gulp and say "Gee whiz, I never really thought this was gonna happen, but, OK..." and you will shut the dressing room door behind her and begin to undress and you will suddenly hear a loud hissing sound and as you turn around to see what's going on Kara will quickly pounce and with one loud snap bite off your head, like a praying mantis, her sharp teeth pointy and glistening. You will be dead, but you will also be part of Kara forever. So take comfort in that.

OK, no more. What'd you think? "Hallelujah" has become terribly overdone all of a sudden, huh?