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For millions of Idol voters, charity begins at home

It's a very special night, where your vote will not only "save" your favorite contestant, but also a life or two. Odd way to put it, but true. "Idol Gives Back" will raise up to $5 million for charities in the United States and Africa, and will also probably get the show the highest votes ever.

Relax: In keeping with the doing-good lovefest, the judges praise Chris, who delivers a laid-back version of Eric Clapton's "Change the World." It's so laid-back that across the country, people doze off.

Waking up: Melinda Doolittle, looking like they finally got her hairstyle, makeup and dress right, hits all the right notes with "There Will Come a Day." After the scolding from Simon last week that she should no longer look surprised, she just accepts the accolades with a slightly uneasy smile.

Imagine this: Blake turns in a version of John Lennon's "Imagine" that you might hear from someone who didn't understand a word of English, and only Randy calls him on it. Paula says, "That was the first real sensitive, emotional performance from you, Blake." Maybe if boredom were an emotion . . .

Believable: LaKisha Jones unleashes her big voice on Fantasia's "I Believe," and the judges are dubious. Randy says, "pitch problems," Paula says, "I liked Fantasia better," and Simon complains about her shouting and is booed by the crowd. He snaps, "Will you shut up!?" and everything is back to normal.

Heartfelt: Phil's song, "The Change" by Garth Brooks, is also subdued and a bit underwhelming. Simon suggests he dust off the "country tone" in his voice.

Great end: Jordin Sparks puts a masterful spin on the inspirational "You'll Never Walk Alone." She's on track to win.

e-mail: aneville@buffnews.com

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