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We Watch . . . So You Don't Have To

Katharine McPhee and her cleavage perform on last night's
Katharine McPhee and her cleavage perform on last night's "American Idol." (Taken From Tv)

And no, we don't mean spotting Tori Spelling in the audience.

When Taylor Hicks sang "Just Once," Paula said he looked "handsome as heck" (more frantic e-mailing among "Primetime" producers) and when Simon started to trash-talk his performance, Paula leapt up and shouted Simon down, screaming, "We love you!" like a woman wailing to her demon lover.

" Paula , I am the one who was talking!" Simon yelled back to no avail, while Paula turned to the audience with a "back me up here, people!" look.

By the time Chris Daughtry did his psycho-stalker rendition of "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman," Paula was utterly out of control.

"LOVE YOU!" she hollered, jumping up and down.

"We all love you!

"Love!

"You!"

* * *

Armed with a Sing Along With Rod episode of "American Idol," featuring songs loved by your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, Fox pulled into a tie with ABC for first place this season among the 18- to 49-year-olds advertisers covet. Go figure.

Here's a look at the week's bewitched and bewildered:

WINNERS

"American Idol." Last week's competition, featuring tunes by George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Isham Jones, etc., and coaching by 61-year-old rocker Rod Stewart, outstripped its combined five-network competition by nearly 30 percent among 18- to 49-year-olds.

"Unan1mous." Airing immediately after the "American Songbook" voting-results broadcast of "Idol," Fox's underground torture series continued to rank as the No. 1 new series this season in that demographic group craved by advertisers. When we figure out what it all means, we'll get back to you.

"Deal or No Deal." NBC's one bright spot last week was Monday's chicks-with-money-in-briefcases series, which beat Fox's highly hyped "Prison Break" in its hour by nearly 30 percent among young viewers.

LOSERS

"Celebrity Cooking Showdown." Suffering succotash -- those were some kind of stinky numbers NBC's sounded-good-on-paper celebrity cookoff series scored! After three consecutive nights, NBC came as close as it could to canceling the five-night special on which it had too many product-placement deals to actually scrub: It burned off the remaining two episodes Saturday night. And that brought NBC the smallest audience in two years of any Big Four on a Saturday night -- just over 3 million viewers.

Miss USA Pageant. Friday's pageant scored 7.8 million viewers on NBC -- about where it was when CBS decided not to renew the contract to air the chick parade after 2003.

The week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: Fox's Tuesday and Wednesday "American Idol" and "House"; CBS's "CSI," "Without a Trace," "CSI: Miami," "Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island" and "NCIS"; ABC's "Desperate Housewives"; and CBS's "The Unit."


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