The five minutes why we dig

American Idol

: LaKisha Jones, looking the whole night like she knows what's coming, schooling herself not to cry and to remember the words to "Stayin' Alive," finally gets the ax after the goofy group hug uprising against Ryan.

And you feel that tug, as you realize she's the only one with a real personality, she's funny, she's got that kiss thing with Simon, we're missing her already, she's the real deal, from Flint, a bank teller, the little girl at home, we're glad we got to know her and hear her sing, we hope she makes it anyway. Don't go LaKisha!

But then there's this: the rest of the show, the Ryan Atrocities, the 55 minutes during which we feel like we're visiting our good friends and all they're doing is inviting other friends over or else they're running errands or you're wondering when will they just sit down already?

And we're trying to figure out, when did that funny little kitschy show called American Idol turn into a telethon and a pageant and, worse, a vehicle for the careers of anyone whose agents can negotiate them onto the show or into the audience? Bill Maher? Please. Can the Ryan Seacrest Book Club be far behind?

Why was Pink performing last night, because the tape didn't make it into the Idol Gives Itself a Pat on the Back two-day thing? At least, come up with a better reason for us, before the show becomes completely like the second coming of the Smothers Brothers. Only not funny.

And worse, why was there like a 12-minute discussion of a new movie, whose title we will not mention because that would be just doing what they want. Why? Go away and leave us alone, publicity departments all over the globe! Find your own show. Buy a commercial.

See the American Idol jokes turn stale. Oooh, Simon and Paula switch seats! See Simon clap like Paula, and Paula rub her torso like Simon! See Ryan make a joke about breast size! And Simon's body! And Simon's girlfriend!

See Blake Lewis show how he doesn't care what Simon says! He's not even listening, he tells Ryan, because he's in the moment after his performance. Everyone has forgotten that Simon is the most interesting thing about the show. We want to hear what he has to say (and not just "Haven't finished!" as he's cut off) and the performers are supposed to care. And why has Randy stopped saying "Dawg"?

The contestants now think they're bigger than Simon, and everyone thinks they're bigger than the show itself. Ryan thinks he's bigger than the contestants, metaphorically of course, not literally, because literally, he is smaller than all the contestants, and it's getting a little weird, especially compared to Jordin Sparks, who towers over everyone left, and all you can think about when Jordin and Ryan are side by side is "Ryan's so little!" and "Wow, Jordin is a big beautiful woman! She really looks like the daughter of a linebacker!"

(And before you write in and complain, her father Phillippi Sparks was a defensive back in the NFL AND Jordin won a plus-size model contest last year that got her a full-page ad in Seventeen Magazine, so there. In addition, we learned last night a teacher put her between two filing cabinets to keep her quiet.)

The only thing to say about Barry Gibb's live performance of Jordin Spark's rendition of "To Love Somebody" is that it felt like a strange discotheque in a foreign country. The blogosphere remains divided as to whether Gibb most resembled Sean Connery or the Geico caveman during his dubious appearance on Idol. Please, please, please, as Fiona Apple would say, no more mentoring. Unless it's Fiona Apple.

Of the final three, Blake needs to leave the beat boxing aside for next show and bring his original vibe back. He could still slip through the diva vote. I think the Melinda Doolittle run will end next week – is a boring professional backup singer really what this show is about? Blake and Jordin will go head to head. Or at least head to ribcage.

As for the winner, we side with the kid interviewed at the (again, why?) Hollywood Farmer's Market: The Lakers! At least their run has ended, unlike this show.

Contact staff writer Amy S. Rosenberg at 609-823-0453 or arosenberg@phillynews.com.