'American Idol' cuts country gal

Kristy Lee Cook.

Kristy Lee Cook.

LINDSEY WARD - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

America got this one right.

After Michael Johns' "shocking" departure last week (get over it already, people; it's not like he was going to win), faith in the American Idol voting system was temporarily restored with Wednesday night's elimination of Kristy Lee Cook.

The 24-year-old Selma, Ore., country girl had her last yee-haws with a twangy version of Mariah Carey's Forever on Tuesday's performance episode. When she, Brooke White and Syesha Mercado found themselves in the bottom three the following evening (after a perverse elimination process that involved host Ryan Seacrest juggling the Top 7 from stage right to left), it was a no-brainer the pretty farm girl was good to go.

"Your time is up this time sweetheart," a somewhat-sincere Simon Cowell uttered.

Spot on.

Cook had her share of both shining moments (Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA) and complete disasters (The Beatles' Eight Days a Week) on the show, but many country lovin' Americans kept voting in her favour.

Until now, that is. If anything, maybe Seacrest's pleas Wednesday night to the new owner of the horse Cook pawned off to get to American Idol will give in and sell her four-legged friend back to her.

As per usual, there was much more to this week's elimination extravaganza - and not all of it was bad.

Mentor Mariah Carey brought her fabulous self to the stage for a less-than-fab performance of Bye Bye - a single off her new disc E=MC2 (in stores now, BTW!). If you could see through the hand gestures (her index finger did much of the singing), you would have noticed her frame is looking mighty svelte these days - especially in that minidress that appeared to be cutting off circulation to her emotions. Oh, who am I kidding? She would look hot in a paper bag.

Earlier, scruffy and loveable Season 5 finalist Elliot Yamin sang his single Free, with a special note on his palm (a la David Cook) to his recently departed mom Claudette. Aww.

Idol has a six-pack on ice for next week: Brooke White, Carly Smithson, David Archuleta, David Cook, Jason Castro and Syesha Mercado. Andrew Lloyd Webber will grace them with his lordly presence, watching over them while they practise and perform his tunes. That's not nerve-wracking or anything.


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