How long does it take to tell 10 contestants that they're in and 14 that they might have to go home? Particularly when there are no real surprises and pretty much everyone knows what's going to happen? Wait! I just did it! About 11 seconds!
But no, this is American Idol 2011, where Ryan fucking Seacrest fucking Productions, Inc.  has to drag every bit of drama out of every possible minute and extend things endlessly, to make time for more commercials and expand the cash machine that seems to be all that's driving the show anymore. So we watched for an hour and a half -- 90 minutes -- before His Seacrestness was done breaking the news. (Ryan, Dawg: This isn't the Oscars. The envelope thing was lame.) Much hugging (wait -- if I go on Idol, can I hug J-lo?), much sadness, much joy -- oh, the humanity!
Please, please, can we get back to the singing now?
I really have no gripes about the shakeout -- the right people went through, the right ones went home, and the final 30 minutes, when six contestants sang for their (financial) lives, was great. All of them: great. Best talent pool ever.
Not happening on Idol, not for Brett. But I suspect many of the also-rans got the exposure they need to start getting real gigs. J-Lo was right -- all of them belonged there.
If we can just get rid of the drawn-out nonsense now, It's going to be a great season.