Dish Of Salt: Wednesday TV Dish (Inside The 'Idol' Duets)

“American Idol” celebrated a little bit of a ratings return last night and it was a good night to tune in. The contestants tackled songs from the movies with Jamie Foxx as their mentor. While their solo performances failed to impress the judges, the duets between Lee DeWyze with Crystal Bowersox and Michael Lynch with Casey James earned high praise. How did the duets come together? I’ve got the story straight from the contestants.

Plus, Rob Lowe gives us a little hint about what will happen to him on the “Brothers and Sisters” season finale. Also, I’ll reveal the 25 bachelors vying for “The Bachelorette’s” heart in today’s Dish.

‘Idol’ Duets Impress

I had great seats last night inside the Idol studio to catch the final four perform. Of course, my favorite moment had nothing to do with singing. It was learning that Simon Cowell had never heard of the movie “Free Willy.” Simon was still confused when Big Mike explained the movie is about a whale. “I’m still confused because I can’t connect a whale called Willy and what you just did. It doesn’t make sense,” Simon told Mike. Kara DioGuardi explained to Simon, “Well it’s not about a whale,” which causes Simon to ask, “Well what’s it about? A willy?” You hear Randy off camera yell, “What? Hey! Hey!” After the show I chatted with Simon and took him to task for the snipe, which he swore was harmless. “I’m English, I don’t know what a willy is in America. Do you?” Then he tried to get me to say the P word, which I wouldn’t.

Oh Simon! The smirk and smile on your face said it all. You knew exactly what you were doing when you asked “Well what’s it about? A willy?” I’m proud to say I got the last laugh on Simon though, when he asked me what I was going to talk to the contestants about I replied, “Their willy’s.” I made Simon Cowell laugh! Now, that’s a good night.

OK, on to the duets. There was no fighting about who got to sing with whom last night. The contestants made the decision themselves. Casey told me he had wanted to sing a different song than the Bryan Adams love song but Big Mike won out. “There was a couple choices and one of them was a song that I really like,” Casey told me. “And Mike was so pumped up about the song we ended up doing and I was like, “Man I can’t. I can’t not do the song because he’s just way too excited.’”

Crystal knew immediately which song she wanted to sing. “‘Once’ is my absolute all time favorite movie,” she told me.

Lee and Crystal chose to sing “Falling Slowly” from the film, which Lee had recently seen. “She told me to watch this movie a couple weeks ago before any of this,” Lee then continued. “And I did and I loved it. That’s an amazing song.”

Both admitted that the whole ‘looking into each other’s eyes’ to sing part was a bit strange. “It’s just awkward at first when you’ve never sang with someone ever before and then here you are on stage so close to them singing a very intimate song in their eyes to them,” Lee admitted.

What did Crystal’s boyfriend have to say about the intimate on stage moment and what was the deal with his pants!? Check out the rest of my interview HERE for the answer straight from Crystal.

The Lowe-down on Rob’s Exit

This Sunday night is the season finale of ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters” and it will be Rob Lowe’s final episode. Lowe, who has played Senator Robert McCallister since 2006, is leaving the show. The question remains though - how will he go out? ABC gave us two possibilities this week. A promo for the finale episode (which aired after Sunday’s episode) shows what looks like a massive car accident with a voiceover explaining that “One member of the Walkers is not coming back.” Then on the ABC Web site, a preview clip shows Rob’s character suffering what looks like another heart attack and asking for the family to call 911.

So, which is it? Does Senator McCallister die in a fiery car wreck? Or, from a heart attack? Or, will something else happen? “Anything is possible,” Rob told us last night at a wrap party for the Web series “Into The Heart Of Italy.”

“My only request with the writers was let’s do something really dramatic. Let’s really do something and we did it,” Rob explained.

When the announcement came that he was leaving the show, Rob took to his Twitter page for suggestions on how to exit the show properly. “I said, ‘Lets pick top ways for McCallister to exit.’ Some of them were having him die. Some of them were having him join the CIA. Some of them were having him fall asleep in his soup during one of those endless Walker meal sequences - which was my favorite! I couldn’t get that one through and I don’t know why,” he joked. “So we are going to just have to see which one we picked.”

One thing is for sure. Rob will miss his TV family. “It’s upsetting. It’s a great character. I love playing that character. I love the relationships with the other actors. I’m gonna miss everyone. Saying goodbye was… I didn’t have to do any acting. Everything was right there because I’m gonna miss it so much.”

Rob can also be seen this week on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” where he will play a state auditor who comes in to the slash the budget of the Pawnee Parks Department. He’ll stick around for at least the beginning of next season. “The character is so fun,” he told us. “It’s so unlike anything that I have done in a long time and it’s silly. To be able to do ‘Brothers and Sisters’ in the same week and sometimes, in the same day, is what an actor dreams of. It was heaven.”

Heaven - which is where it sounds like Robert McCallister is going.

The season finale of “Brothers and Sisters” airs Sunday, May 16 at 10 PM ET/PT.

“The Bachelorette’s” Men Revealed

The names of the 25 guys vying for the love of 25-year-old Ali Fedotowsky on “The Bachelorette” were revealed today. They include a TV weatherman, a professional wrestler, an aspiring screenwriter and a landscaper. After watching the first episode, I like Frank, the aspiring screenwriter for her. He quit his job in mergers and acquisitions in Chicago to pursue his dreams. Plus, when he was told that Ali was going to be “The Bachelorette” he screamed like a schoolgirl. I think it’s love already. The show premieres May 24th on ABC.

Check out a photo gallery of the guys HERE.

In Case You Missed It

Rachel Berry lost her voice last night after a bad case of tonsillitis (isn’t the episode called “Laryngitis”?) on FOX’s “Glee.” Meanwhile, this morning I came across a great clip of Lea performing a song from “Les Miserable” (she played Cosette as a child on Broadway) on the “Sally Jesse Raphael” show when she was nine. I know this clip has been out there on YouTube for a while but you have to watch it again just to see how Lea still makes the exact same facial expressions when she sings as she does as Rachel on “Glee”! I thought that was really just her characters quirks. Check it out HERE.

Tune In / Tune Out

IN - “Modern Family” heads to Hawaii tonight to celebrate Jay’s (Ed O’Neill) birthday. Ty Burrell told me to look for a subtle reference to “The Brady Bunch” somewhere in the episode. They also took a family trip to Hawaii. Perhaps some sort of voodoo Idol or a tarantula? I cannot wait to figure this out! ABC, 10 PM ET/PT.

OUT - “FROM PARK AVENUE TO PRISON E! Investigates: Rich Kids Who Kill.” I think the title says it all. Just by giving these kids airtime, we add to the problem. E!, 10 PM ET/PT.

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