Sheryl Crow may think that the first cut is the deepest, but the gang over at A List Of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago has always liked to point out that on “American Idol,” the last round of the semifinals actually produces the deepest cuts. It’s here that we trim four contestants out of 16, the highest percentage of contestants eliminated in a single show until the end of April.
So who’s going home? And who makes our Top 12?
Follow our minute-by-minute recap of Thursday’s (March 11) “American Idol” after the Break…
8:00 p.m. ET This week’s performance shows weren’t great, were they? I mean, there were great performances. I’m thinking of Michael Lynche, of Siobhan Magnus. But mostly? The “Idol” contestants seemed like they didn’t want to go home, rather than seeming like they want to win.
8:01 p.m. ET “We could be in for a surprise or two…” Ryan Seacrest teases, starting the show. “Are you ready?” I guess I am, Ryan. I guess I am.
8:02 p.m. A duet from Matt Giraud and Scott McIntyre? Only if it’s on dueling pianos, please.
8:03 p.m. Ryan starts with a picture of Randy Jackson’s head super-imposed on Bikini Boy’s boy. That was a minute we’ll never get again.
8:03 p.m. Michael Buble-driven group sing. You know, I don’t think of Lee Dewyze as a tiny guy, but standing next to Michael Lynche, he’s positively petite. Michael’s wearing a scarf which would be a full-body shawl on Siobhan.
8:06 p.m. Some songs, I can understand why lip-synching would be required. This one isn’t exactly difficult and the choreography is limited to the contestants leaning against each other. Why not try to let them sing out loud? Just for fun?
8:10 p.m. BREAKING NEWS: The first theme night will be music of the Rolling Stones! That would, indeed, be breaking news if several publications hadn’t broken the news last night.
8:10 p.m. The ladies are on the hot seat first. Ryan begins by bringing The Lovely Didi Benami down to the stage and takes time to remind us who Didi is. Oh, Ryan. We know who Didi is. Randy cautions everybody that consistency is everything and that there’s an expectation that they be hot and dope every night.
8:11 p.m. Didi Benami is the first member of our Top 12. And this recapper does a tiny happy dance. Didi, if you ever perform without your guitar… To the moon!
8:12 p.m. Up next is Siobhan, looking extra-cute, even if she appears to have a dreamcatcher stuck in her hair. Ellen recommends that Siobhan continue to do what she’s been doing. So far it’s been working, because Siobhan is our second Top 12 contestants.
8:13 p.m. Ryan brings Paige Miles and Katelyn Epperly down to the stage. These were actually the two I picked to go home. Simon says that Paige hasn’t had it together in the live shows, while Katelyn has had one good week. Simon still insists that Paige is the one with the most potential.
8:14 p.m. Paige is in the Top 12, meaning that Katelyn Epperly is the first singer to go home tonight. Simon is utterly ridiculous, because if Paige really had that much potential, she wouldn’t have stunk three consecutive weeks. And she was AWFUL on Tuesday.
8:16 p.m. That being said, keeping Paige around means that the “Idol” voters avoided eliminating every available minority female from the competition. Kudos, America!!!
8:17 p.m. Katelyn really didn’t deserve to go home. I predicted she would, but that was just because she was boring on Tuesday, not because she was bad. Oh well. She’s sad. She cries into somebody’s mic.
8:21 p.m. Time to send a guy home.
8:22 p.m. Ryan brings Tim Urban, Lee Dewyze, Todrick the Entertainer and Casey James down to the stage. He doesn’t send anybody to safety immediately. He just reminded us who they all are.
8:23 p.m. “Casey… you stripped for Kara,” Ryan says. For that reason and perhaps no other, Casey is safe. He’s the first man in the Top 12.
8:23 p.m. Tim Urban is the second male member of our Top 12. Three cheers for prettiness!
8:24 p.m. It’s down to Lee and Todrick the Entertainer. Randy says that Lee has been consistent and deserves to stay around more.
8:24 p.m. Lee is in our Top 24. Todrick is going home. Todrick’s better tonight than he was last night. Probably with smarter song choices, he wouldn’t be going home tonight. Well, maybe he would. But he’s not the worst remaining male and at least one worse singer is already in the Top 12.
8:32 p.m. Ack. Bad cut to a piano keyboard.
8:32 p.m. Scott and Matt are, indeed, doing dueling piano. So they’ve got that going for them. That’s not quite the same as either of them being able to sing in tune, but you can’t have everything, can you?
8:34 p.m. The singing is awful, but the piano showdown is at least a little entertaining.
8:35 p.m. Scott has an album out. It’s available on iTunes and on his self-titled website. And Matt has a single at No. 1. On iTunes. On the iTunes jazz chart.
8:40 p.m. We haven’t eliminated anybody for a while. Let’s get to business, Seacrest.
8:40 p.m. Crystal Bowersox. Oh, don’t bother. We know she’s safe, Ryan.
8:41 p.m. Crystal is in the Top 12. We’re shocked. That’s a lot of guitar players in our Top 12.
8:42 p.m. Big Mike Lynche gets called next. He goes to the wrong place on the stage and blames Debbie for the misdirection. Kara refuses to apologize for bawling like a baby last night. Big Mike says that he can fit on one stool and Ryan sends him over to try. Kara cries and does a Paula clap.
8:43 p.m. Lacey Brown insists she knows who she is an artist. And who is that? “I’m just myself,” Lacey says. Ryan invites Lacey down to the stage. She’s safe and in the Top 12. Wow. That’s a wee bit of a surprise. We’re losing Katie Stevens, aren’t we?
8:45 p.m. Aaron Kelly is called down to the stage next. After last night’s performance, Aaron deserves to go home. Instead, he’s in the Top 12.
8:46 p.m. It’s down to Alex Lambert and Andrew Garcia. Neither of these guys deserves to go home. This is a big ol’ mistake from America. Simon actually looks concerned.
8:47 p.m. The last spot for the guys goes to Andrew Garcia. Alex Lambert is going home. Alex laments that he should have broken out of his shell sooner. Ellen tells him to believe himself. Siobhan is very, very sad. Now we’re never going to see Alex cut his mullet.
8:48 p.m. Oh, this was such a mistake. Alex is a big ol’ awkward lump on the stage, but he can SING. Aaron and Tim cannot. Losing Andrew would have been every bit as big a mistake.
8:52 p.m. And now we’re down to Katie and Lilly. If Lilly goes home, it’s a freakin’ travesty. And if Katie goes home, it isn’t a travesty, but she’s sure going home ahead of several women with less potential.
8:54 p.m. Woops. We came back too soon and interrupted hugging. Alex Lambert is still crying. So sad.
8:55 p.m. Will it be Katie, who the show has been pimping since her audition in Boston? Or will it be Lilly, who I still maintain is a bit awesome?
8:56 p.m. Kara finds it “interesting.” She says that Lilly knows herself very well, but Katie is still struggling.
8:56 p.m. After the nationwide vote, the final stool belongs to… KATIE.
8:56 p.m. Lilly Scott is going home and my appreciation for the “American Idol” voters has just gone utterly in the toilet. Lilly is confused. Heck, everybody is confused. “It’s surprising,” Lilly says. “A lot of incredible talent is going home tonight.”
8:59 p.m. That was as close as I’ve ever seen to an “Idol” contestant basically calling the voters morons.
9:00 p.m. Heck, I have to live with this Top 12, America. And you’ve stuck me with a lot of mediocrity and eliminated at least two singers who I actually really liked. Sigh.
9:01 p.m. Now I’m off to the Top 12 party in Hollywood to chat with the remaining contestants about a mighty surprising night in “Idol”-dom.
What’d you think, readers? Did the right four people go home? If your answer to the previous question was “Yes,” we can’t be friends anymore.