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American Idol: Then There Were Nine

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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I WILL NOT ALWAYS LOVE YOU Cowell With an alarmingly tight-faced Dolly Parton at the helm as mentor, the three words that best describe last night's American Idol, now down to its top nine, would be good but forgettable. This late in the season, there's no breakaway winner in the pack, and even the writers are bored. When Ryan Seacrest's lame opener announced that the show was being pre-empted by the "American League of Vocal Coaches" and being replaced with a Moment of Truth celebrity edition with Simon Cowell, it was the show's April Fools joke! Get it?

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Parton, who despite her questionable plastic surgery, has a personality cuter than ever, has penned more than 3,000 songs in her career. The contestants had plenty to work with in her songbook—after the jump, snap judgments on each of the performances:

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