Captive Audience for 'Idol'

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Jet Blue's flight 198 touched down at Kennedy around 9:45 p.m., a full hour late. About half the DirecTV screens in our vista were tuned to Idol; Martina McBride had performed, Blake had been banished from the bottom of the barrel, and Sanjaya and Lakisha stood alone at the gallows.

As the plane taxied, a dilemma unfolded: Would people disembark without finding out who was going home? Think about it: does mankind ever move faster than when the fasten-seatbelt light goes off, and you're free to wrest your luggage from the overhead bins and walk the narrow path to freedom? Who really wants to extend an already too-long trip back from NAB another few minutes?

We cruised along the tarmac as Seacrest stalled. 9:50 .We came to a stop. 9:52. Idol broke for commercial. 9:53.

The pilot cleared his throat. We were shifting to another terminal, and would have to remain seated for another few minutes.

Idol came back. Seacrest booted Sanjaya. The fasten-seatbelt light went off, the overhead lights came on, and we were free to leave.

Everybody won.

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