Kristy Lee Unhorsed; David on High Horse

Kristy Lee Cook got the boot on
Kristy Lee Cook got the boot on "American Idol."
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By Tamara Jones
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sell the horse, suffer the consequences: Kristy Lee Cook is headed back to the Ponderosa, leaving six wannabe American Idols still standing.

Or not.

Actually, they're sitting -- cross-legged, in the middle of the stage -- in the first-ever live "American Idol" protest, led by dangerous teen anarchist David Archuleta, who is probably being reprogrammed by special Fox "counselors" at this very moment. Send donations to Free Baby Elmo, care of this newspaper.

Last night's drama unfolded after guest mentor Mariah Carey performed a song called "Bye Bye" from her new album, waving like a malevolent homecoming queen at the finalists miserably waiting to see who was going to get whacked this time.

Despite such cruelty, Mariah did thoughtfully dress in what appeared to be one of the postage stamps -- or maybe just half of one -- being hawked to raise donations for Idol Gives Back.

Speaking of giving back, inordinate attention was given for the 748th time to the "sacrifice" Kristy Lee had to make to get to "Idol": selling her favorite barrel horse. Kristy Lee revealed that the buyer now didn't want to sell it back to her. Imagine that.

Desperate to gin up suspense, host Ryan Seacrest first shuffled the finalists around like so many cards in a deck stacked with mostly fours. We were left with Syesha Mercado, Brooke White and Kristy Lee in one group, and David Cook, Jason Castro and Carly Smithson in the other.

David A., looking queasy backstage in a too-small red leather jacket (but thankfully, no weird black leather pants like the night before), was summoned forth, pronounced safe and ordered by Seacrest to go stand with whichever group he thought was safe.

He sat down instead. "I just wanna stay here," he said.

Okay, okay, so maybe it was more an act of paralyzing indecision than bring-on-the-pepper-spray civil disobedience, but unless he's the surprise guest mentor next week, this is as close to Gandhi as "Idol" is going to get.

After failing to goad the 17-year-old to his feet, an increasingly annoyed Seacrest finally disclosed that Brooke, Syesha and Kristy Lee were in the bottom three. They all made cute pouty faces, and Seacrest told David A. to join the "safe" group. Still wouldn't budge. Which left Seacrest no choice but to summon the others over to join the Little Engine Who Wouldn't. David C. happily joined David A. on the floor, as did Jason, who is so mellow he would probably join a suckling pig in a pit barbecue. Carly ruined the moment -- so like her, she does it to herself all the time! -- by being unable to figure out how to sit down while wearing a dress.

Moving back to the more malleable Group of Doom, Seacrest granted Syesha immunity. Judge Simon Cowell predicted the obvious: "Maybe, Kristy, your time's up this time, sweetheart."

Added Seacrest: "To that guy out there, can she have her horse back?"

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