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Live Blogging American Idol, Neil Diamond Week

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If you aren't familiar with Neil Diamond, folks, you will be after this night. The finalists are singing two of his songs each, while the judges won't critique them until after the first performance. Can Simon Cowell hold his tongue that long?

Live Blogging American Idol, Neil Diamond Week

Jason Castro gets us started with "Forever in Blue Jeans." Tempo and song-type fits Castro's style, but we're not fans of the lack of immediate judging. Who will even remember this rendition in an hour?

Up next? David Cook. He responds to Ryan's question about preparing for Neil Diamond week by asking Ryan how he prepared for it. Seems like a prepared segment, as Ryan went right into an attempt at humor by describing how he used to sing in front of the mirror with a hairbrush.

Cook sings "I'm Alive." He's wearing a coat that reads "AC" in the top left; David's initials are "DC." Get it?, rock fans!?

Now Brooke White is singing "I'm a Believer." She's strumming a guitar, she's got a smile plastered on her face, she's trying to bop up and down. We're not buying it. Especially after the "whooo!" she just tossed in. That was really bad.

Back from commercial and Ryan casually strolls down the aisle, talking about how fans can own a piece of every performance, thanks to iTunes. And, wouldn't you know it, he walks right by Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson! No way that was planned. (Don't ask how we knew it was her, please.)

Diamond refers to David Archuleta as "kind of a prodigy." Well, this quasi prodigy sings "Sweet Caroline," causing a certain Yankee fan we know to think even less of him.

It's time for "Hello Again" from Syesha Mercado. Is it just us, or does she look different every week?!? Must be the hair or something.

Quick judge thoughts on round one:

- Simon didn't like any of the performances; Randy referred to Archuleta as the "bomb" and, well, Paula critiqued Jason's second song, even though he's only sang one so far. Ummm.. check it out NOW.

- Jason Castro is back for "September Morn." And, now, the judges do respond right away. Thank goodness. Paula can finally speak her mind about the performance she tried to critique a few minutes ago. Overall, the judges detested this rendition. Ouch.
Live Blogging American Idol, Neil Diamond Week 1

- "All I Want is You," sings David Cook. And all the women out there wish he were singing it to them. Rumors, of course, say he's actually singing to Lacey Schwimmer. But we might be digressing here. The judges love it. Simon calls the performance "brilliant" and Paula said she's looking at the next American Idol. It's the most coherent thing she's said in years.

- Brooke White is up and... ummm... she has lyrics written on her hand?!? We're sorry, but you just can't do that, Brooke. Aren't you supposed to be acting like a professional? The judges enjoy "I Am... I Said," and so did we. But we can't get over the crib notes.

- According to David Archuleta, they're coming to "America." As Kristy Lee Cook proved, the fans do like patriotic songs. Again, Simon essentially points this out. We love that guy.

- Syesha Mercado closes the rushed night with "Thank the Lord for the Night." She's really coming on strong. She deserves to be in the final three. Heck, we'd rank her ahead of Archuleta.

Overall impressions: The night was WAY too rushed. Why attempt to get two songs in for each contestant? They couldn't find great filler? That would be a first for the show. Anyway, Brooke has to go. She has the weakest voice and she WROTE LYRICS ON HER HAND. You can't do that.

Write in and let us know your favorite performer of the night!

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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PAULA SHOULD REALLY KNOW WHAT PLANET SHES
ON!! OH HOW MANY SONGS DID YOU SING? SORRY IM STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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David Cook is great, the rest kind of leave me cold. David A, what's the deal with him he sounds like a kid in high school. Jason
sounds like a folk singer from the 60's.
And what's the deal with Paula has she lost it or what?

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Maybe someone didn't tell you yet, but David Cook's "AC" is for his brother who has cancer. Just an FYI...

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My favorite performer last night was the same as my favorite performer every night -DAVID COOK! He is the best by far! He should win the competition hands down. He'll go far regardless of the outcome. He's got my votes!

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Not sure about this, but I think that the AC on David Cook's guitar is in tribute to his brother who has terminal brain cancer. I thought David C was the best, but then again I always do. I thought Jason Castro was horrendous as usual. I may be bucking the trend here, but I don't get the fascination with David A. The tone of his voice just doesn't do it for me. Fun blog!

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I'm with you. I have the leaders as David Cook, Syesha and the David A. In that order. Jason is quite disappointing. If he could actually sing a love song like he meant it he would be fantastic but the goofy look has got to go. Brooke should have been gone weeks ago.

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I personally Loved David Cook's Performance. He is amazing every week. I would have to agree with Paula that he is the next American Idol. I think its between Jason Castro and Brook White that are going home tonight. Jason was bad 2 weeks in a row. The only thing that is keeping him going is his teeny boppers who like his dreds. Brook just bombed 2 weeks in a row also. Week 1 she foregets the lyrics and starts over. I've been performing for 5 years and if you forget the lyrics you forget them you do not DO NOT stop and start over again. And this week terrible. What was she thinking singing I'm a believer. That is just Neil Diomond Suicide. She sounded like she was at her sisters party before her wedding and all the girls are drunk and there trying to attempt kareoke. Those are my thoughts. David cook is "Da Bomb"!

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David Cook was my favorite, although Syesha gave a strong performance.  Based on tonight's performances, Jason should go.  But Simon is probably right.  It will be Syesha.  Totally wrong, but there you have it.

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David Cook by a landslide !!!

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David Archuleta is FANTASTIC! He is versatile, owns the stage and people of all ages love him. He is an AMERICAN IDOL. Sorry, David Cook sounds exactly the same week after week with his screeching. My opinion is that Brooke will leave this week.