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'American Idol': Capt. Sully, Octomom and, oh yeah, someone goes home

"Idol Gives Back," this week's results show/fund-raiser/ performance extravaganza means business right from the start: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama offer a taped welcome. He jokes about judge Randy Jackson being his "dawg;" she encourages judge Simon Cowell to play nice.

Then, the parade of celebrities and performances begins. Look, there's Jennifer Garner! Hey, it's Capt. Chesley Sullenberger! What is Fergie from the Black-Eyed Peas wearing? What is wrong with Jim Carrey? Wait, who couldn't make it because of the Iceland volcano?

We also get taped segments from the United States and beyond, all about people in need and the tremendous good that our donations can do. I think it's great that "American Idol" hosts this charity event, but it does make for a long results show. I'm sure many people checked out – or their DVRs stopped recording! – before the night's evictee got the boot.

'American Idol': What would Spider-Man sing?

This is the week that "Idol" will "give back." Which, from a good standpoint, means producers will be raising a lot of money for various charities.

From a not-so-good standpoint, it means all of this week's performances will be "inspirational." In other words, prepare for overwrought, sappy ballads from the "This Is My One Moment in Time to Shine and Save the Children of the World and their Puppies" School of Songwriting.

Whatever you do, "Idol" hopefuls, don't pick an inspirational song that was in a superhero movie. Because Simon Cowell just can't wrap his judge's mind around that. Songs about basketball-playing bunnies are fine, of course, because what's more inspiring than that? 

What to Watch on Wednesday: American Idol Gives Back

American Idol: Idol Gives Back (8pm, Fox) - One contestant is eliminated in this 2-hour benefit special raising money for U.S. and global charities such as Children's Health Fund, Save the Children, United Nations Fund, and Feeding America. "Idol" and its fans have raised more than $140 million over the past few years. Performances tonight by Carrie Underwood, Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Joss Stone, and Annie Lennox. Emceed by Queen Latifah. There's also rumored to be a very $pecial $urprise in store from Bill Gates.

Food Inc (9pm, UNC-TV) - PBS's Point of View (P.O.V.) series debuts season 23 tonight with a special broadcast of the controversial documentary on how the practices of the U.S. food industry impact our health and the environment. Check out our review (Adrienne may be eating food again by now). Stay tuned for a special UNC-TV program airing immediately afterward ("Views on Food Inc") in which parties involved in the food industry in North Carolina comment on points raised in the film. 

Law & Order: SVU (10pm, NBC) -  Speaking of powerful corporate food entities, Olivia goes undercover tonight to investigate the murder of a young woman who had been in the process of exposing questionable practices in the meat-packing industry.

In Plain Sight (10pm,USA) - Steven Weber guest stars in an episode in which Mary and Marshall try to convince an FBI informant to join WITSEC.

The Locator (10pm, WeTV) - In the season finale, Troy Dunn helps a young soldier search for his biological father. 

'American Idol': The Elvis impersonators have left the building

It's a special double elimination night on "Idol," which will whittle its field of hopefuls from nine to seven.

But first, we get a group singalong to the songs of Tuesday night's theme artist, Elvis Presley. Many of The King's hits – from "Return to Sender" to "Teddy Bear" to "Viva Las Vegas" – are featured in this mashup mess. Meanwhile in Memphis, Elvis is no doubt turning over in his grave.

We also get a performance from this week's mentor, Adam Lambert. He seems to be channeling the young, golden-jacket-wearing Elvis while on a weekend bender in the merry old land of Oz. (Maybe Adam's tribute to both Elvis and the munchkin coroner who just passed away?) Regardless of how strange he looked, Adam was singing his hit "Whataya Want From Me," which you have to admit is dang catchy.

'American Idol': It's tough to be The King

A week after the judges used their one save of the season on Michael Lynche, we're back with nine hopefuls. But there's a catch – two of them must be sent home this week.

Fresh from singing the songs of Lennon and McCartney last week, the singers tackle the Elvis Presley songbook this week.

The results are all over the map, with a couple performances that the judges can't help falling in love with, a few that leave them all shook up and at least one that's a downright hound dog.

What to Watch on Wednesday: "Ugly Betty" says goodbye

America's Next Top Model (8pm, The CW) - There's a photo shoot on the subway, and judge Andre Leon Talley (Vogue editor and Durham native) harshly criticizes one contestant's outfit.

Human Target (8pm, Fox) - In the first season finale, Chance's former boss (Armand Assante) tries to convince him to come back to his old job, which prompts Chance, Winston, and Guerrero to reminisce about how they all ended up working together.

The Middle (8:30pm, ABC) - Frankie and Mike eliminate their cable TV to cut down on expenses, but miss it more than they thought they would (NO KIDDING!).

American Idol (9pm, Fox) - Two contestants out of the final nine are eliminated tonight, plus last year's runner-up Adam Lambert performs "Whataya Want From Me."

Ugly Betty (10pm, ABC) - In the series finale, Betty tells Daniel about her future plans, Justin and Bobby try to convince Hilda that they should move to Manhattan, Amanda mourns the loss of a loved one, and Marc is discouraged by his romantic prospects.

In Plain Sight (10pm, USA)
- A BATF agent whom Mary has been protecting awakens from a three-year coma. Rita Moreno guest stars.

'American Idol': Sound and fury, signifying nothing

It's the "American Idol" results show, coming to you LIVE! And as usual, it's TV's longest hour of the week.

Before they can send someone packing, the "Idol" producers make you sit through all the usual annoyances:

1. The cheesy group singalong, which celebrated Tuesday night's theme of Lennon-McCartney songs.

2. The awful promotional tie-ins. (Look, the Idols are dancing and singing around a Ford!)

3. The guest performances. Rihanna? OK, she's a fairly big name. Jason Derulo? Meh. At least he could sing more of "Whatcha Say." David Archuleta? Um, no. We were tired of him several seasons ago. And singing "Imagine" again? Really?

'American Idol': They can work it out

This week, the nine remaining "Idol" hopefuls take on songs from the Lennon-McCartney songbook – and they aren't bad, surprisingly.

There's not a real clunker in the bunch. Even Tim Urban manages a fairly good performance.

Paul McCartney doesn't show up to mentor the contestants, but we do get a couple of strange musical instruments mixed in.

And our 9-year-old blogger is stumped about who is likely to go home.

What to Watch on Wednesday: Rihanna sings on "American Idol"

America's Next Top Model (8pm, CW) - The models pose at a photo shoot with comedian Ross Matthews (love him on "Chelsea Lately") and then visit New York's Garment District. Don't forget, there's an open casting call for ANTM in Raleigh - tomorrow!

American Idol (9pm, Fox) - Rihanna (left) sings and one contestant is eliminated. 

In Plain Sight (10pm, USA) - The first witnesses Mary and Marshall ever put into the protection program are in danger after a break-in. And through flashbacks we see how Mary came to join WITSEC in the first place.

Being Erica (10pm, SoapNet) - In the Season 2 finale, Erica is desperate for direction as she faces big decisions in her love life and career. This is a pretty decent little show, but I never have time to watch it. One day, I'm gonna sit down with Hulu and catch up

Top Chef Masters (11pm, Bravo) - Season Two debuts tonight with a new crop of master chefs and no shortage of egos.

'American Idol': Finalists and Krakens

During its hourlong infomercial for that cheesy new "Clash of the Titans" movies, "American Idol" did manage to send one of its finalists packing Wednesday night.

But first, we had to sit through a lot of mess. There was the belabored opening montage that mixed in clips from "Clash of the Titans" with snippets of the remaining nine "Idol" finalists. There was that "Titans" trailer soundbite we've all heard a million times by now: "Release the Kraken!" (Apparently the Kraken is some kind of horrific monster that is set loose to terrorize all humanity.)

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