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Eye on 'Idol': Bye, bye, Barba - stay tuned for Bono

Hunter Hauk
The Dallas Morning News (MCT)

No time for the usual tomfoolery this week. Much "American Idol" news. Must report.

First thing's first: The four contestants who got cut Thursday night, barely missing the Top 12, are Jared Cotter, whose pretty face wasn't enough; Antonella Barba, whose pretty other things weren't enough; Sabrina Sloan, who was robbed, yo; and Sundance Head, the sacrificial lamb in the ongoing Sanjaya reign of terror. Regarding Sundance and Sabrina, not even Paula could hide her feelings about America's misjudgment. "Mind-boggling," she called it.

Now, on to this announcement that kept us all awake at night (or maybe just me). The big news is that Simon Cowell actually has a heart. Kidding ... kind of. It's a charitable initiative called "Idol Gives Back," which will offer monetary relief and focus the attention of the show's viewers on poverty in both the United States and Africa. A very special episode in April will feature, among others, Bono.

Nice, but I was hoping for something more juicy. Call me hardened.

The last order of business is to rank the new Top 12 in order of finale worthiness. Here I go.

1. Melinda Doolittle: A flawless vocalist who lights up the stage. She's not likeable; she's downright lovable.

2. Lakisha Jones: Like Fantasia before her, she keeps you on your seat's edge, wondering what she'll do next.

3. Blake Lewis: The most pop-friendly contestant, he might sneak through and win it all. And he'll beatbox his acceptance speech.

4. Stephanie Edwards: A top-notch singer who works that camera better than anyone.

5. Jordin Sparks: Simply adorable, with her youthful energy and curly locks. If she picks the right songs, she'll be one to beat.

6. Gina Glocksen: Gotta have the token rocker chick. And I kinda like her cynical streak.

7. Brandon Rogers: Technically an excellent singer, but lately, sort of boring.

8. Chris Richardson: Justin Timberlake called and he wants his aura back.

9. Chris Sligh: I've pretty much lost interest. Plus, he asked Seacrest for a hug. Eww.

10. Phil Stacey: Good guy, but he has no instinct for song choice ... or wardrobe.

11. Haley Scarnato: Maybe she could win in a sorority talent show or do voiceovers on one of those CGI "Barbie" movies, but she doesn't belong here.

12. Sanjaya Malakar: The Kevin Covais of this season. ... No, scratch that. The devil incarnate. ... No, too strong. ... The worst contestant in "Idol" history. Ahh, just right.

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