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American Idol Pits Most-Annoying-Ever Contestant Against a Bunch of Boring Ones

We'd been wondering how the evil makers of American Idol would find a way for Tatiana Del Toro — by every measure the most irritating contestant in the history of competitive reality television — to remain on the show after viewers were granted the ability to vote her off. In just a few short weeks, she's quickly become the most loathed Idol hopeful ever, so it'd be a shame for producers to have to waste her tearful and hilarious elimination in one of the early rounds. And now it looks like they might not have to!

This week, 12 of the remaining 36 challengers sang for three spots in the top 12 (over the next three weeks, Idol fans will pick nine finalists, and three more will be added as wild cards). Competing against Tatiana last night were three train wrecks, seven boring contestants (most of whom have barely been seen on TV), and one actually great singer with an unassailable sob story (Danny Gokey, whose wife passed away four weeks before his original audition, which basically makes him unbeatable).

Tatiana's version of "Saving All My Love For You" (see it below) wasn't exactly one of the episode's high points, but it certainly wasn't one of the low points — she hit most of the notes, the judges begrudgingly admitted. And the only better performances came from Danny (who did Mariah Carey's "Hero") and two faceless holograms whom we forgot existed before they even finished their songs (Alexis Grace and Anoop Desai, in case you were wondering). Additionally, the producers let her sing second-to-last, thus ensuring that viewers somehow not inclined to hate her (plus everybody at Vote for the Worst) would remember to vote for her.

Simon, probably fearing Tatiana's possible survival ("Surprisingly, it wasn't bad at all ... It was better than I expected"), even asked her to "do the weird laughing," but she smartly refused. So, barring any major surprises, Tatiana will probably make the top twelve, if only because producers engineered the whole thing by holding back all the better, more charismatic talent until next week and the week after. Man, we hope we're wrong about this.

Here's her performance from last night:


Photo: Courtesy of Fox