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American Idol Inspires Us -- For a Change

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We can see the finish line. American Idol is down to the final six finalists and this seemingly never-ending season is almost over. Thank God. We need to watch real TV. Like Tori and Dean: Inn Love.

But tonight the show focused less on the lame Ford-commercial filler and actually tried to inspire the millions of people watching. (But not necessarily with the music -- which has been pretty average this season.) The Idol Gives Back program is raising money for children and young people in both the US and Africa. Tonight, sponsors donated money for each call made by voters. Its website contains donation links to various charity organizations. AI taped spots from Africa, Atlanta, New Orleans and even Second Harvest/Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. Tomorrow, during a two-hour special, they'll do an entire variety show telethon before cutting one more performer.

Which brings us back to the real reason for American Idol. It's supposed to be a popularity singing competition. So here's how the top six did in LAist's estimation. The theme was "inspirational songs":

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1. Melinda Doolitte. She sang Faith Hill's "There Will Come a Day." Can't we just cut to the chase and hand her the trophy?
2. Phil Stacey. For the second week in a row, he chose a really good country song (Garth Brooks' "The Change") that fit him perfectly. We thought he was a goner a few weeks back, but we think he has a chance of sticking around a little while longer.
3. Jordin Sparks. She sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel and made a song from 1945 work in 2007.
4. Chris Richardson. Our little JT did really well this week with "Save the World." Seems like he left nasally back in "Mayberry" last week.
5. Blake Lewis. His rendition of "Imagine" was vocally good, but boring as hell.
6. LaKisha Jones. We had high high hopes for LaKisha this week, but she didn't do well with Fantasia's "I Believe." She just couldn't hit her low notes. We're worried for Kiki during the results show tomorrow night.