American Idol: Carole King edition

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James rules: It's all over but the voting.

I wasn't sure about this one. I'm not a big Carole King fan -- too much pop, not enough edge -- and I didn't see how my favorites, Scotty and James, were going to pull it off. I expected schmaltz and '70s-teenybopper drooling (and trust me, the '70s teenyboppers are getting plenty old enough to drool.)

It started out just as I feared: Jacob did "Oh No, Not My Baby," and while he gets points for his spankin' bow tie, and the judges liked it, I got bored halfway through. Ugh. Sap. Time for another drink; this is going to be a long night.

And just to make things worse, out comes (yep!) Miley Cyrus, the queen of teen sugar pop, to help "coach" Lauren through "Where You Lead." A good song for her, not a good song for me, probably enough to keep her alive one more week. That's about it, though.

And then a break for a Haley and Casey duet of "I Feel the Earth Move." It's a little tricky doing these songs when both of the two remaining girls are 16 years old; I think even Casey was a bit unnerved singing about orgasms with a high-school kid. But they did fine, I guess.

Then Scotty. "You Got A Friend." He's still a country guy and it's hard for him to get out of his element, but he's so far above most of the rest of the class that he shines at almost anything. He did that song as well as it can be done.

And at last, James. Didn't know you could turn "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" into an awesome rock anthem. Amazing. (Steven Tyler: "That was the first song I ever made out with a girl to. In a bowling alley. And no, Jennifer, I didn't strike out.") The only really stunning performance of the night. I'm starting to think we've found our finalist; nobody else right now is even close.

Scotty and Lauren did a duet of "Up On the Roof," kind of a snooze. Casey hit it hard with "Hi-De-Ho" and the jazzy blues thing suits him well. Very cool, good entertainment. (Steven: "That made my scalp itch, it was so good.")  Haley closed out with "Beautiful," and yeah, she's got a great voice, but she's just not ready for the big time. Not yet.

We're down to the end here, and the final three are going to be James, Casey, and Scotty. Jacob goes home tonight. Nice guy, nice run, he's given it all he has. But it's over. James Durbin is the next American Idol. You read it here first.