Last night’s ‘American Idol’ was much more about the talking than it was the singing.

As the show’s results show has been mercifully cut to a half-hour (not any longer – RIP Surviving Jack), the music on this show has completely disappeared on Thursday nights. After initial teases of the judges’ bringing emerging acts to the results show, the show became nothing but a 30-minute chatfest as quickly as it was reduced.

Last night, the gabs reached their apex with not one, but two ‘Idol’ meals. First, the typical family-style dinner where the contestants talk about how great they all are and get bummed out that one of them are going to have to leave the next night. Then, there was a bonus meal of a pizza picnic in the park where the contestants again talked about how great they are and how excited they were about going to their hometowns. Of course, there was also much bumming out over the fact that somebody wouldn’t get that grand homecoming.

What fun! Watching the contestants chat rather than sing. It’s gotten so bad that I’m starting to crave the crazy medleys of yore with all their high school musical clunky choreography and mashups that didn’t make any sense. At least the Ford Commercials remain – sad that they’re now the most entertaining part of the results show, save for the departing contestant’s farewell song.

Last night, Pink Hair (Jessica Meuse) had the dubious honor meaning I won’t have her tresses to kick around again with my oh-so-clever nickname. Her departure also marks the twelfth consecutive year that my favorite contestant failed to capture the ultimate prize. Though I’ll admit – Pink Hair was one of the lower Molly Dewolf Swenson Scale favorites I’ve ever had. Down in the Anoop territory. I doubt I’ll remember anything about her other than her dye job.

As for the favorite to actually win this whole show. Let’s get to the final installment of this year’s power rankings:

1 (2) – Caleb Johnson

The judges just can’t get enough of this arena rock screamer and they appear completely bent on boosting him to a win this season. Between the standing ovations, the glowing praise and general shouting about his shouting, Caleb has gotten to the point where he’s nearly infallible. He’s never been in much danger of going home in any given week and with the way he’s being portrayed on the show, he doesn’t seem to be in much danger of losing at this point.

2 (1) – Alex Preston

It’s going to be one of the boys this year, though I think Caleb will be the only one to make the finals. Alex has fallen into a bit of disfavor with the judges the past couple weeks as he’s being painted as boring because he doesn’t bounce around the stage or try to blow out the amps with his screaming on every song. Talent has a bad habit of failing to win on ‘American Idol’ and Preston appears poised to join the ranks of the best losers. Though if he can get in the finals against Jena, I like him to win.

3 (3) – Jena Irene

Last year, a big-voiced girl won for the first time in years, mostly because the producers stacked the field so a guy wouldn’t win. Now that there’s boy talent back in the show to woo those supervoters, Jena will likely fall into the final girl zone where a belter ends up getting beat by a unique guy talent in the final round. I like her to get into the finals, but not at all to win.

Check back next week for my recap of the final performance show.