I thought I had it all figured out last week. I assumed that unless Lazaro Arbos went home, anybody left would receive the Judges’ Save and be kept around. What I didn’t count on was Lazaro finishing so high — Top 3 and the producers probably know exactly how far up — that the judges couldn’t afford to keep Burnell Taylor for another week for fear of losing one of the five women in a double-elimination this week.
Instead, Burnell went home and we were treated to Lazaro’s cover of “Close To You,” which stands as one of the worst performances ever by a Top 10 finalist on “American Idol.” I guess we would have been treated to that performance either way, though. Never mind.
But anyway… I’m started tonight’s episode with the exact same assumption as last week: The only person going home tonight will be Lazaro. Any of the five women would get the Save.
Let’s see how things play out…
8:00 p.m. ET. Candice Glover is tonight’s photo, because she had one of the all-time great “Idol” nights on Wednesday, including a rendition of “Love Song” that will almost certainly find its way into the Top 15 or Top 20 of “Idol” performances. I don’t think any of the women are going home, but Candice is REALLY not going home.
8:03 p.m. Turn your hat forward, Jimmy Iovine. It’s not a baseball game and you’re not 13. Geez.
8:03 p.m. Kelly Clarkson tonight. Plus Scott McCreery. The Save Is Still Alive, Ryan warns us.
8:04 p.m. Ugh. Bacharach/David medley for tonight’s Group Lip-Synch. Janelle Arthur gets a long solo to start the medley, handing things off to Angie Miller. Both sound much better tonight than they did on their Bacharach/David solos last night. Funny how that works. I’m gonna go check in on the Red Sox-Orioles, if you don’t mind.
8:06 p.m. It’s 1-1.
8:06 p.m. Hmmm… Maybe this is actually live? Because I can’t believe that Lazaro would be this bad if he were going over a recorded track. Fortunately, his solo amounts to maybe 10 seconds. In contrast, Amber Holcomb and Candice get a couple minutes to duet. That’s the way it should be.
8:09 p.m. For the purposes of this group number, Lazaro is basically the guy who dances in the corner of the stage when the Mighty Mighty Bosstones perform. Only he isn’t dancing.
8:12 p.m. Tonight’s “Ford Fiesta Mission” is to use cars to score goals. This is so very, very, very bad. Why are these “missions”? What do they get if they win? How are they penalized if they lose? And why am I being subjected to it? Ugh. “Nice skills,” Ryan Seacrest.
8:14 p.m. Time to recap last night’s show with some commentary from Jimmy. Mr. Iovine says that Kree gave a great vocal, but she needs to show more personality. Jimmy calls Angie “competent,” but says it wasn’t enough to win the night. Jimmy tries saying that for an inexperienced performer, Lazaro did very well and says that his first performance was “not a great start” and says the second performance failed to offer redemption. Jimmy places Lazaro 10th for the night, out of six. Lazaro sits on the bench shrugging and rolling his eyes.
8:17 p.m. We’re pairing performers for some reason. Angie goes to the far right. Lazaro goes to the middle. And Kree goes to the left.
8:22 p.m. Kevin Bacon is in the audience. “I would be terrified,” Bacon says of how he would do on “American Idol.” Jimmy Iovine has turned his hat around the right way and he’s sitting in front of Kevin Bacon. I think that means he’s part of the cult.
8:24 p.m. Scotty McCreery won Best New Artist on the ACMs. Apparently. He’s also going to NCState. Go Wolfpack. Survive and advance, Scotty. Survive and advance. He’s performing “See You Tonight,” or as the kids probably spell it “C U 2nite.”
8:28 p.m. Scotty McCreery would win this “American Idol” season in a walk.
8:29 p.m. Ryan Seacrest is impressed that Scotty’s been working out. REALLY impressed. He mentions it twice. We cut to commercial before the cuddling begins.
8:32 p.m. What did Jimmy have to say about the other contestants? Jimmy prefers when Janelle does interesting interpretations in her own style and suggests she didn’t do that on Wednesday. Janelle goes to join Angie on the far side of the stage. Hmmm. I bet Jimmy’s gonna say nice things about Candice. Well, he gives her first performance a 10/10. And that wasn’t even the good one. He raves about her song selection. Candice goes to join Kree. I suspect Candice/Kree is your Top 2. But… Hmmm… I guess I can see Amber being in the Bottom Two. Jimmy is baffled that America doesn’t get Amber.
8:36 p.m. Ryan confirms that, indeed, the pairs are the Top 2, the Middle 2 and the Bottom 2.
8:41 p.m. ZOMG. Dunkleman reference. Awww. This is the best “Idol” episode ever.
8:42 p.m. Kelly Clarkson is back, but did she bring Dunkleman with her? PRETTYPLEASE?
8:42 p.m. No. I miss Dunkleman.
8:43 p.m. Kelly Clarkson is pretty awesome. And I think her eyelids glow.
8:45 p.m. I hope the audience was given acid before this started.
8:46 p.m. Kelly Clarson being starstruck around Mariah Carey is possibly the most adorable thing in human history.
8:48 p.m. “I’m so glad you’re not mean,” Kelly says. Please, FOX. I need more Kelly/Mariah. Buddy comedy, please?
8:52 p.m. Let’s get voting some details, Seacrest.
8:52 p.m. Naturally, Kree and Candice are the Top 2. That sounds right.
8:53 p.m. Lazaro and Amber are the Bottom 2, which makes sense in context. And Angie and Amber are safe in the middle. Everybody loves everybody. And everybody has their mics on too loud.
8:55 p.m. Presumably Amber being in the Bottom with Lazaro takes away the Save suspense. There’s no way the judges let her go home, even if there are dangers next week if that have to use the Save now.
8:56 p.m. After the nationwide vote of 34+ million, Lazaro is “at risk of elimination.” Whew.
8:57 p.m. “You know what to do?” Ryan asks. “Sure,” Lazaro replies.
8:57 p.m. The “Idol” Twitter poll suggests America wants the judges to use The Save. People on Twitter are dumb. Me included.
8:58 p.m. “Feeling Good” is a much better version of Lazaro than we’ve seen for a while. Randy laughs jovially through Lazaro’s performance.
8:59 p.m. So?!? Will we get the Save? Randy says that Lazaro has been a treasure, but they’re not using the Save. “Sounds good,” Lazaro says. And, honestly, I believe him when he says it. He hasn’t been connected for weeks and why should he have to stand around listening to famous people insult him on national TV and unfamous people insult him on the Interwebs.
9:00 p.m. For the first time, it’s an all-female Top 5 on “American Idol,” which is exactly the way it should have been, given the way the judges steered things before this season begins. We will have our first female winner since Jordin Sparks. Woo.
I assume you’re OK with these results?