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American Idol: The Davids, Producers Tag-Team Mercado

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

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There was much talk earlier this week about the ever-shrinking ratings for American Idol and how over the past seven years—this season in particular—they've gradually been reduced from competition-trouncing proportions into the kinder, gentler "hit TV show" realm. It has to do with not living up to the hype. Remember the beginning of the season, when Idol host Ryan Seacrest promised us the best group of AI singers ever? Notice how that statement morphed into last night's much lamer claim that this is the "closest competition yet?" That's because of the three remaining singers, David Archuleta, Syesha Mercado, and David Cook, one should have been capable of blowing their competition out of the water, but none did. Considering the show auditions close to 100,000 people each season, it's justifiable why the Idol nation may be losing interest.

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That said, based on the fact that Mercado received the most negative feedback from judges (see Alicia Keys karaoke clip above) and doesn't have the backing of millions of teen girls as "the Davids" do, expect her swan song tonight.

Here's how it played out.

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