Wednesday, May 21, 2008

American Idol: Final results, minute-by-minute

"American Idol" finale spoilers, minute-by-minute (or thereabouts) coming right up (though I'll admit the picture above kind of gives a big hint)...

7:58: So, last night Randy dialed up some molten lava hot praise for young David, and Simon said that L'il Archie scored a knockout over David Cook. Yet DialIdol predicts Cook winning in a landslide. To quote the great Mike LaFontaine, wha happen? Well, either DialIdol's way off (which wouldn't be a surprise), or else at this stage of a season fanbases matter a lot more than how anyone does on the final night (also not a surprise), or else Simon throwing Cook under the bus for three very good performances riled up the Cougars for Cook and the casual voters enough to get the rocker the win. We'll see.

8:00: Ryan Seacrest is hushed as he asks, "What happens when a nation is gripped by the closest competition it has ever seen? What can you expect when two ordinary people achieve the extraordinary? What does it look like when the country's number one show reaches its critical mass? Well, it looks like this. And this... is the 'American Idol' season finale!"

For the record, I'd put both the Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry and Bush v. Gore just a little bit ahead of Cook v. Cook in terms of closest American competitions of my lifetime.

Ryan declares that if every single person in Canada, Spain, Ireland and Australia voted last night, it wouldn't have matched their vote totals. 97 and a half million votes came in. "You didn't just break the record for the show; you smashed it by over 23 million." He says one David received 56% of the vote; the other David, 44%. Which, if I've done my math right, roughly matches what Dial Idol says about Cook's alleged landslide victory.

8:02: Matt Rogers! Did you know he played in the Rose Bowl? And were he and Mikalah really the two best "Idol" alums they could get to host the two hometown remotes?

8:03: the top 12 team up with the stars of "So You Think You Can Dance?" for our evening's first group song, opening with "Get Ready." Our dance-averse finalists seem to actually be moving with something vaguely resembling choreography. (At the very least, it's "Brady Bunch" Silver Platters-worthy choreography, though the "SYTYCD"ers predictably outshine them.) What's up with that? Also, why is Kristy Lee Cook front and center for the Motown song?

8:10: Cook and Archuleta dueting on Chad Kroeger's's "Hero" -- or, rather, Cook singing "Hero" with occasional kibbitzing from Archuleta. It's not quite like the bit in the season five finale where Mary J. Blige barely tolerated Elliott Yamin's presence on their "duet" of "One," but you can definitely tell which of the two finalists picked this particular number.

8:12: Seacrest tries to lead the Davids (or, rather, Cook, as it's tough to get anything coherent out of Archie on live TV) into an extended plug for an upcoming movie starring a former "Saturday Night Live" player who has decided that little people are inherently funny. I used to really like this particular "SNL" alum. Again, I ask: wha happen? Go back to making Scottish-accented jokes about oversized heads, guy!

8:16: And now they've brought the "SNL" alum out onto the stage? Isn't this a Paramount movie? Why are they devoting this much time to pimping some other company's studio? Or did Paramount buy out NewsCorp this afternoon while I wasn't paying attention?

8:18: Seal comes out to duet with Syesha on "Waiting For You." After what Constantine Maroulis and other contestants have done to "Kiss From a Rose" over the years on this show, I admire his willingness to associate himself with this show. Then again, Heidi and the baby Seals gotta eat. Not a bad number, really.

8:25: Seacrest says interviewing Jason Castro was like pulling teeth, but listening to him was very pleasant. Are we sure he's not talking about Archuleta? Castro at least answered in something resembling complete sentences, even though he always sounded stoned while doing so. Good on them for letting him sing "Hallelujah" again and remind us why we all liked him before all the nonsense about "Michelle, my bell" and Paula traveling through time and the shooting of sheriffs.

8:27: The season's final product-placed car commercial, to "Let the Good Times Roll," splicing together outtakes from all the different product-placed car commercials, leading to the annual presentation of two product-placed cars to the two finalists. Despite having watched the show for years, both make a convincing display of being surprised by the gesture.

8:29: The female finalists, dressed all in red, do a Donna Summer montage. Amanda Overmyer, God bless her, still looks like she had no idea how she wound up on this show with these people. Brooke White, God bless her as well, still looks like her legs are being operated by remote control. And is it wrong that I had completely forgotten Ramiele existed until this number?

8:31: Donna Summer herself comes out to plug/sing her new single. Again, I give her props for appearing on a show where many of her tunes have been previously massacred (including only moments ago by Amanda Overmyer, whom I love but who should never be asked to sing disco). Plus, she throws in some "Last Dance" at the end, and I also have to applaud golden oldies artists who recognize that, while they have new product to promote, people really only want to hear the classics.

8:39: Michael and Carly get a very special Early Shock Boots Duet of The Box Tops' "The Letter." They're exactly as you remembered them: Michael with the smoldering looks (and the occasional missed cues), Carly with the saucy dancing and constant threats to shout, but they sound really good together. Did I mention that I'm still bitter about randomly picking Michael in my "Idol" office pool and then seeing him go out so early? Or should my bitterness be about the fact that Chikezie went home even earlier than Michael, and therefore likely won't even get a duet showcase tonight?

8:43: Jimmy Kimmel (did ABC buy out NewsCorp as well? Or is Rupert Murdoch going around and scarfing up all the other media companies?) comes out and tells a Sanjaya joke that cracks up the actual Sanjaya much more than anyone else in the theater, also throws in a random Chris Sligh sight gag and mocks Paula's adventures in fortune-telling. Setting all of Simon's insults to "Pop Goes the Weasel" was a nice touch, though.

8:45: Guys medley this time, doing Bryan Adams. Somewhere, Robin from "How I Met Your Mother" is giddy. The runners-up version of "Summer of '69" segues into the top 2 doing "Heaven," which as I recall, Archie sang in the Hollywood round. Does he realize the song is about post-coital bliss?

8:47: The real Bryan Adams! I think Robin from "HIMYM" just had a heart attack.

8:54: Jordin Sparks plugs a new "Idol" attraction at a product-placed theme park that is also not in the NewsCorp empire. What's going on here? Where's the synergy?

8:55: Cook teams up with ZZ Top to perform "Sharp-Dressed Man." I wouldn't have pegged the baddest beards in rock 'n roll as among big David's influences, but he looks like he's having a swell time up there, even busting out a little bow-legged dance during the instrumental portion.

8:59: Brooke and Graham Nash (of classic rock supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash, for you young'uns) duet on "Teach Your Children." Brooke can't really harmonize, but it's still like the ultimate Nanny Brooke song.

9:03: David Cook, in his underwear, gets to channel his inner Tom Cruise circa "Risky Business" in a Guitar Hero ad. Is this the first time we've seen a finalist get a product endorsement before the season's officially over? And how glad are we all that they didn't ask Archuleta to do that one? (I'm suddenly having horrific flashbacks to John Stevens IV and Diana DeGarmo in towels.)

9:07: Hi. I'm old. I think those are The Jonas Brothers, but I can't say with 100 percent certainty.

9:09: Time for the parade of the freaks. Yippee! How is it that I only watched one or two audition episodes and yet I recognize all these people? And is it wrong that I'm more excited to see the return of Renaldo Lapuz than I am about half of the Best Top 12 Ever? On the other hand, I'm guessing this makes the possible Chikezie solo even less likely, dammit.

9:17: Hi, I'm still old. One Republic comes out to sing "Apologize." Oh, wait. I'm only old in that I didn't know the name of the group or song. I've heard this before. Never mind. Plus, Archie gets to perform it with them. So Cook gets the literal graybeards while Archuleta's paired with a current act? Is this the "Idol" producers' way of trying to combat the perception that big David's a contemporary artist while little David can only sing 80-year-old spirituals?

9:23: Jordin's on the stage this time to remind us that she won last season. Nothing against Philippi's daughter, but season six began and ended for me with Melinda Doolittle.

9:31: Last year, we got Celine Dion dueting with Zombie Elvis. This year, we get Zombie Gladys Knight with the cast of "Tropic Thunder" -- including Number One Star In the World Robert Doweny Jr. -- as The Pips. I'll never complain about a chance to hear Iron Man sing (dude has serious pipes), but why do we need Zombie Gladys if the real Gladys is among us?

9:35: And now it's time for Carrie Underwood, aka The Last Successful Winner We Had. (And, no, none of us bought last night's attempt to slip Chris Daughtry into a montage of former winners. This ain't "1984," guys, and you can't write Taylor out of history just because you hate him.) It's really amazing how well her handlers have coached up Carrie. When she was on the show in season four, she had all the stage presence of a lox, and now she's totally plausible as the biggest star in country music.

9:41: God help us all, they did an Archie version of the Guitar Hero ad. At least they put him in boxers. But I'm still having those unfortunate JSIV/DeGarmo/towel flashbacks.

9:43: Our final group song of the season, a George Michael medley. As always, Amanda's mic seems to be turned off except for her bizarre solo. And now it's George Michael himself. Is this an "Eli Stone" plug? Who the hell owns the Fox network right now? Don't make me go all Jack Bauer on this show and start shooting people in the leg until I get an answer, people. TELL ME WHO YOUR CONGLOMERATE IS!!!!

9:51: As George Michael continues to sing, two thoughts occur to me: 1)We're late enough into the show that we'll almost certainly be doing without the lame Golden Idol awards (though I would arguably have preferred them to the bit with the "SNL" alum), and 2)It feels wrong to have a George Michael on the Fox network who isn't working at a banana stand.

9:57: We're back from the final ad break. Ryan asks the judges for final thoughts. Randy trots out the Clay/Ruben-esque "You're both winners" theory. Paula gives us a Zen koen. Ryan asks Simon about what it was like on second viewing -- which gives him a chance to apologize and backpedal from the Cook bus-throwing from the night before. Is this a sign that Dial Idol called it right and Simon doesn't want to look stupid? Or just Simon trying not to make the co-winner look bad?

9:59: The accountant certifies the results, Ryan wishes them both luck, and the winner, by 12 million votes, is David Cook!!!!!! Sorry, gonna be impartial for a second. Yes!!!! A total breaking-the-mold choice, proof that you can show actual musicianship and creativity on this show and succeed, and, perhaps best of all, a repudiation of Randy Jackson.

10:01: David fighting back tears. his mom and brother are on stage with him. David calls all the finalists up as he sings the actual coronation song, "Time of My Life." The song is predictably artery-clogging, but Cook's emotions and his affection for his fellow contestants (including David A., who's taking his defeat admirably well) are so palpable that, like Fantasia on "I Believe," I'm okay with it. Justice is served. How 'bout that?


Unknown said...


Does anyone else feel like America wasted all its good karma on this? Like, now Obama will never win.

Anonymous said...

Shcoking development.

Where the hell were all the tweeners with their text messages?

Nicole said...

I muted the Mike Myers stuff because the movie looks like crap and he was a total douche when he was in Toronto filming it this summer (of the little people cannot look directly or talk to me variety) that I will never pay to see a movie he is in again.

I didn't watch the first hour in great detail, but I did laugh at the Nickelback, because the comparisons have been endless this season. I wonder if Cook reads the forums.

The reject idol segment can be skipped in the future because it was not funny. The Clay Aiken impersonator was the only time that worked.

George Michael was cool, but the Prince moment is still the best.

Robert Downey Jr is always welcome, even if we have to endure Jack Black and Ben Stiller to get him.

Also, I don't know what the hell Carrie was wearing... I was waiting for her to trip.

As for the "content", I started to think Cook had this when Simon backtracked and apologized. And is 12 million votes a close margin? I tend to think not, but don't have the figures.

The Idol song actually had rainbows, and I think it wasn't ironic. I would have preferred the song he did the night before.

Right result, and he could be the most successful idol, but will need was better songs than the "winning" one.

Alan Sepinwall said...


It's the only way I can make it through these things.

Does anyone else feel like America wasted all its good karma on this? Like, now Obama will never win.

Shhh!!! Don't say something like that out loud!

K J Gillenwater said...

OMG, they did it AGAIN! My TiVO cut off literally after Ryan Seacrest said, "The winner is David..."

I'm NOT kidding! 2 hours of filler only to cut off the ending for the 2nd year in a row??? To give the guy NO time to enjoy his win on live tv but a matter of seconds? And for all TiVO viewers...not at all????

Glad David Cook won, but if American Idol needs to know why there are losing viewers, this is why. We want to find out who WON not hear George Michael sing a song or the 12 finalists do some horrid group sing. God, get a clue producers! At least give the last 5 minutes to the darn winner...


Okay, I want David C. to release his album now.

Can anyone confirm if Mr Archuleta's head blew up after the announcement?

Anonymous said...

Woo-hoo! That was so the right result. His taking a moment to hug David A., then his emotional reaction, and insisting that his buddies and fellow contestants join him were awesome. And the entire show just demonstrated how much stage presence he has.

Also, I actually like Archie better when he's interacting with Cook. And they both looked like they were having fun.

One final thought: What Not to Sing has David's performance quality from last night whooping Cook's. I wonder if Simon's backtracking will have any impact on late breaking rankers.

Anonymous said...

OMG, they did it AGAIN! My TiVO cut off literally after Ryan Seacrest said, "The winner is David..."

Happened to me too. Since we were also tivoing other stuff and comercial-skip-tivoing AI, we didn't get the results. However, we were within 30 seconds of being caught up, so we ran to the other TV to watch the confetti over Cook.

On the show, I really liked the Pips. Really. Jack Black's pants falling down, just cracked my sh*t up!

Anonymous said...

Re George Michael... in the "Father Figure" portion of the medley, I can't decide if it was appropriate, ironic, or just completley hilarious that they had the gay stripper sing the line about being "bold and naked by your side". Whatever it was, I was on the floor.

Anonymous said...

it's a sad day when Mike Meyers is as embarassing to watch as Robin Williams was on IGB. How does Mike Meyers not have enough money at this point in his life that he can spare himself such humilating self-promotion?

Speaking of which, Robert Downey Jr. is the biggest star in the world at the moment and he is made to lip-synch on Idol? I can't see Jack Black without wanting to punch him in the head and that segment was excruciating.

I really watch the show for the cringe factor but I have to admit to being a little teary when David Cook won. He seems like a good guy and the affection he and Archie have for each other seems genuine and it was an actual, nice, real moment at the end.

I give Amanda about 3 tour dates before she gets drunk and punches out one of the other Idols.

So awesome to see Chechezie (I'm sure I spelled that wrong). He was such a fun guy to watch, I think he's going to have a blast on tour.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I give Amanda about 3 tour dates before she gets drunk and punches out one of the other Idols.

Luckily for Amanda -- or not, given that the people on the tour make somewhere in the six figures -- she was eliminated in 11th place and therefore just missed the cut for the tour. This is the last time she'll ever have to perform with these people, and I'm sure she's very glad of that.

Nicole said...

I give Amanda about 3 tour dates before she gets drunk and punches out one of the other Idols.

Maybe she can aim for Dadchuleta.

Mrglass said...

So Cook won? Oh well Alan, you still spotted the finalist in top24, not too bad.

I guess Idol wanted a winner who would actually sell albums, unlike the next two years. Cook has topped iTunes sales all season long.

KrisMrsBBradley said...

Thank you, Alan, for the minute by minute! We Tivoed and got cut off at the second before the winner's name was read. We rushed right over to your blog to see who won.

Yes!!!! David Cook!!!!

Anonymous said...

Luckily for Amanda -- or not, given that the people on the tour make somewhere in the six figures -- she was eliminated in 11th place and therefore just missed the cut for the tour. This is the last time she'll ever have to perform with these people, and I'm sure she's very glad of that.

So they bring back the 12 finalists for this night but numbers 11 & 12 don't get to go on tour? That seems cruel! Like, you should either be in or out, but if you're not in, why do you have to come back just for this nonsense? I guess in Amanda's case, she's probably glad, but as a somewhat casual viewer, I just assumed everyone that got brought back tonight was part of the tour...otherwise, why bring them back?

Maybe she'll get drunk tonight and punch Jack Black in the head for me.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I actually watched and enjoyed most of the final, especially the George Michael spot. As always, he sounded great, but what the hell did he mumble to Seacrest after the song? It was like he was channeling Castro/Archie.

Very glad that Cook prevailed. I despised l'il David (aka, the baby vulture from Bugs Bunny) from day 1, but I actually felt a little bad for him when it was all over. Cook was guaranteed some measure of success no matter what happened, but I feel that for Achuleta, he needed the win in order to retain some sense of self-worth as he drifts back into oblivioun.

Anonymous said...

It seemed like Shrek wasn't even in the same room with the Davids when they filmed that bit. They had that green-screen awkwardness to them.

And Kimmel was pre-taped too, I assume.

wjm said...

As I watched Mr. Cook perform with ZZ, all I could think was that I was seeing the distillation of the words "pure joy."

A joy matched only by mine when I saw the first "Guitar Hero" commercial. High-LAR-ious. His acting chops are going to come in handy in the career he now has ahead of him, methinks.

KendraWM said...

This show actually did not bother me as much as past seasons.

I was so excited to see George Michael, going to see him in Boston in August.

At the end he told Seacrest that the tour kicks off in San Deigo and his cold should be gone by then.

Mo Ryan said...

It feels wrong to have a George Michael on the Fox network who isn't working at a banana stand.

hah! Because of that, and the great Obama joke above, I can now officially say that my 2 hours watching this finale (OK, 47 minutes thanks to Tivo) was not wasted.

My new theory of Idol is that it's much more fun to read about than to actually sit through. I'd rather read Alan and Ken Levine riff on whatever happened than actually hear from most of these people ever again.

Good for Big David. Is it wrong that I would totally pay money to hear him sing all of Bryan Adams' "Heaven"? Yeah, I would. It's wrong but I can't help it. I must have some Canadian in me somewhere.

Poor Archie. As you predicted, Alan, I'm sure that car ride home will be just a leettle bit uncomfortable...

Anonymous said...

The "bold and naked by your side" was pretty funny. I say he was a good sport all around.

Very happy David Cook won...justice prevails.

Seacrest breakdancing...I agree Carrie Underwood has improved her stage skills tremendously...both David's were in good voice. I couldn't help but think, 'hey look its the Canadian Bruce Springsteen onstage'.

Do you think bringing Frenchie, the stripper guy, Antonella Barba, Corey Clark and all the contestants involved in AI sex scandals back to do a medley with George Micheal would have been over the top?

Undercover Black Man said...

Thanks from the West Coast. Reading your play-by-play was more fun than watching would've been.

Cheers, David Cook.

Stephen said...

We don't have tivo in Australia but have something similar and if a show such as this is on and I know it is going to run long I simply set the system up up to tape the next scheduled show on the channel. Wouldn't this fix the problerm?

Anonymous said...

Nigel Lythgoe was on the Ryan Seacrest radio show on Monday where he promised "the biggest star in the world."

I had no idea George Michael was that huge.

Kimmel was on Idol gives Back, and now he's on Fox's biggest night of the year.

What gives?

Isn't he totally associated with ABC, and Dancing with the Stars? And doesn't he regularly mock Idol on his show?

I'm thinking maybe Fox is ready to grab him if/when ABC takes Leno.

Anonymous said...

Here, BTW, is Lythgoe's interview with Seacrest:

Unknown said...

Really happy to see Cook take it. My favorite Idol contestant of the year.

George Michael... his best days are behind him but it's great to see him getting some stage time. "Listen Without Prejudice," that's a really fantastic album, and "Praying for Time" is really a classic. Carrie Underwood did it surprising justice on "Idol Gives Back," and it was nice to see GM (leaving the banana stand on his uncle's Segway?) perform it.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I had no idea George Michael was that huge.

I'm assuming he was talking about Iron Man.

Michael said...

When we came back from the commercial, I looked at the time on my TiVo-recorded show and saw that it was going to be close. Mine cut off just after Cook's name was announced, as he was clapping for Archie, so I didn't see anything after that.

I don't check the spoiler sites so I was genuinely surprised that Cook won.

Amanda Overmeyer may be a one-trick pony, but I happen to like that trick. I noticed she was not enthusiastic at all during her singing and dancing, as if she was just phoning it in.

But holy crap! Carrie Underwood gets hotter every time I see her.

Anonymous said...

I'm really happy for David Cook. I was very impressed by the graciousness with which he won.

BTW, I thought The Letter by Michael and Carly sounded great.

K J Gillenwater said...

The whole rest of this season, the TiVO was 'told' by the powers that be, if Idol would run over by 2 or 3 minutes. Usually all that was cut off was the recap of the night or, with the results show, the loser singing the song as they left.

Since last year it was the same fiasco...finale cut off winner announcement for DVR users....I thought they'd for sure fix that issue. Do you really have to wait until 9:59 to announce the winner? Even if it runs 1 or 2 minutes over, you aren't giving much of a victory lap for the winner.

Yay, It's David....and now the credits. I mean, honestly. Weeks of watching, and the most important part is dumped in the last 2 minutes???

I didn't think they would allow the run over this time...just because everyone was so damn angry last year. Besides, I wanted to tape something else at 10 pm. Not 2 minutes of Idol and 55 minutes of local news.

Anonymous said...

It was definitely wasn't as bad a finale as we've seen some years. Other than the usual hideous group sings, most of the performances with the pro singers were good.

Alan, you're right about Carrie. She went from some sort of bland singing robot to this sexy woman with legs for miles and a great voice. Now she's on top of the country world.

The Mike Myers segments were hideous. The guy must have hundreds of millions of dollars---has anyone else ever starred in three huge movie franchises---and he chooses this as his big comeback? He should have stayed retired and rolled around in piles of money.

I never would have thought that Brian Adams would age better than George Michael, but there it was.

Oh, and David Cook. We had the right winner.

Anonymous said...

For everyone whose DVR cut out (Mine did too), here is the end of the show.

Anonymous said...


More than Dial Idol, I should have trusted the reliability of prediction markets, which have proven themselves over and over.

I guess I should be ok with getting 2-1 odds on a 44-56 proposition. That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

Obama voters should feel good actually - prediction markets have him winning 61-to-39 right now.

Do people truly believe that David Cook will be one of the bigger selling Idols? I didn't find him all that special, but admittedly I've only watched very few performances.

I'm pretty sure Simon is given the results beforehand so he can always cover his ass and look like he knows what he is talking about. Going from "it's a knockout" to "you both are great, I don't care who wins" sounds like a backpedaling excuse to maintain his status as head expert.

dark tyler said...

Actually I think Carly and Michael stole the night. (Not the George one, the Johns one.)

And Bryan Adams... Damn, I don't know, maybe it's the fact that I was 9 years old when 'Everything I Do' came out, but I have such a soft spot for the guy... You can sell me anything that goes with some Bryan Adams.

Anonymous said...

Sorry -- I don't feel sorry for people whose DVRs cut out.

You guys must be the same people who set the recording for the Oscars and Super Bowl for 3 hours!

It's a massive live event, unlike the other Idol shows. OF COURSE it's going to go over.

If you're not going to be watching live, you should plan on that.

It's Season 7. At this point, it's guaranteed to happen.

KrisMrsBBradley said...

This is the first AI season finale I ever bothered to watch or pay attention to.

I wish someone had warned me that I needed to lengthen my tivo recording time!

Nothing like missing out on the most important 2 minutes of a 2 hour broadcast!

Mo Ryan said...

Nigel Lythgoe was on the Ryan Seacrest radio show on Monday where he promised "the biggest star in the world."

Clearly he meant Seal.

Anonymous said...

Sorry -- I don't feel sorry for people whose DVRs cut out.

You guys must be the same people who set the recording for the Oscars and Super Bowl for 3 hours!

It's a massive live event, unlike the other Idol shows. OF COURSE it's going to go over.

Yeah, except for most of us that record the show, we have it on a season pass. We set the show to record in January and forget about it. It's not a one-off like the Oscars or Super Bowl. The finale gets automatically recorded and it's easy to forget to set an extra few minutes at the end.

Mine also cut off right at "The winner is David - " but I just thought it was hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention this, but the most important observation of the night was Jimmy Kimmel being given 5 good minutes on Fox's biggest stage. Isn't this a pretty good indicator on what will happen after Leno leaves NBC?

Leno --> ABC
Kimmel --> Fox?

Otherwise I can't figure out why Kimmel got chosen twice to be Idol's official roastmaster.

Also, there IS such thing as bad publicity after all. I can't help but think that Mike Myers did more harm than good with his Guru crap. Speaking for myself, I went from a 'maybe' beforehand to a 'no way' afterward regarding seeing that movie. The only amusing part was watching the two Davids squirm and suffer being forced into his lame skit and trying to play along.

Anonymous said...

Very funny, Al. Esp. re George Michael and the banana stand. :)


Unknown said...

Doesn't Kimmel have a relationship with Fox via its NFL Pre-Game Show?

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