After last week’s Judges’ Save of Casey Abrams and last night’s criticism-free Elton John performances, Thursday is Anything That Can Happen Night on “American Idol.” I predicted Thia Megia and Naima Adedapo for eliminations in my recap, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if neither of them even makes the Bottom Three.
Click through for the presumably unpredictable “Idol” result show…
8:00 p.m. ET. These pre-show introductions are getting more dramatic and more over-produced every night! Next week, Nigel Lythgoe’s gonna have to blow up the White House (CGI-only, of course) to top the spectacle. The upshot is that if you listened to the judges last night, each and every performer was the most awesome singer in the history of the world, so ANYBODY COULD GO HOME.
8:02 p.m. Jennifer Lopez is dressed as The Black Swan tonight. She was too much the White Swan last night. Perhaps Mila Kunis gave her some coaching last night.
8:03 p.m. 55 million votes were cast last night, a new record for this stage in the competition and a meaningless piece of trivia when you factor in that we’ve never had Internet voting before. Chuck D has taught me well. I’ll choose not to believe the hype.
8:04 p.m. Performances tonight from Fantasia, Will.I.Am and Jamie Foxx. Woot.
8:04 p.m. “Idol” is trying out a different structure tonight. What’d I tell you? Anything Can Happen! We’re dividing our contestants into performance groups. Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery are kicking things off with a duet on “I Told You So.” On one hand, this is definitely better than watching the entire group trip and flounder through a group performance. On the other hand, does this mean that we’re getting the equivalent of four or five Group-Sings this week? Scotty and Lauren are a kinda sweet vocal pairing and because they’re both eight years old, it’s not sketchy at all. Hopefully we’ll be spared Paul McDonald crooning to Thia Megia. That would be sketchy.
8:07 p.m. And now, having just performed, Lauren and Scotty are immediately facing results. Presumably, they’re both safe, unless going first derailed Scotty’s smooth path to “Idol” stardom. “Both of you get another chance to impress,” Ryan reassures them. If last night’s show placement and performance weren’t enough to land Scotty McCreery in the Bottom Three, he’s gonna be really tough to beat, y’all.
8:12 p.m. I have not been playing the Ford Music Video Challenge. And I’m not going to start now. Our high-budget DC Universe inspired video this week is set to “Kryptonite.” They’re all superheros. I’m not all that interested.
8:14 p.m. “I am a beard-y kind of guy,” Casey says, reassuring America that he plans to keep at least some of his facial hair. Damn skippy, Casey. Keep the faith alive, my bearded brother. Time for James Durbin to show us the custom-made Wrestling Belt that he received from a fan. It’s darned impressive.
8:15 p.m. Up next to perform are Naima and Jacob Lusk. They’re singing Ashford and Simpson’s “Solid.” Vocally this duet also isn’t bad, but it’s almost impossible to imagine two performers with less on-stage chemistry than these two. The judges stood for Lauren and Scotty. They only clap politely for Jacob and Naima. They’re also facing results and I’m guessing that I was at least right in figuring Naima will be in jeopardy tonight.
8:18 p.m. The first person in tonight’s Bottom Three is… Naima. Jacob is safe.
8:23 p.m. As I mention every time she visits, Fantasia remains my favorite “American Idol” winner, because she’s perhaps the closest to a truly unique voice the show has ever produced. She’s given some bad performances on the “Idol” stage since her season, but she’s fantastic tonight, regardless of whether I’m necessarily a huge fan of this particular song. I am, however, getting really really hungry. She ends with “Steven, I love you…” Fantasia’s advice is that you need to love music and if you love music, you can make it, even if it isn’t all peaches and cream.
8:28 p.m. Our next performing group is Haley, Thia and Pia. They’re performing “Teenage Dream.” Do tonight’s performances have any theme at all? It’s funny. If you asked me who I preferred between Pia and Haley, I’d say Pia, but Haley’s so much more charismatic on stage that the director is seeming to forget that Thia and Pia are there at all. I can’t tell if downplaying her hotness is Pia’s stealth weapon or her potential mistake. I’m leaning towards the former.
8:31 p.m. Smart money says that out of this group, Thia’s the one who should be in the Bottom Three. Pia is the first one sent to safety. Haley is also safe, which sends Thia off to the Stools of Shame. I didn’t go out on any huge limbs last night with my predicting, but so far so good. I don’t remember who else I predicted for the Bottom Three, though…
8:36 p.m. Time for a clip package celebrating the rock star lifestyle experienced by our Finalists. It includes going to Phoenix to perform at a celebrity charity event featuring Muhammad Ali. Dang. They got to meet The G.O.A.T. But not everything is awesomesauce. Their lovely mansion leaks. How much do you want to bet that’s why the mansion was available at all and the producers decided to roll the dice that March in Los Angeles probably wouldn’t be rainy season? Meanwhile, it’s our fourth or fifth time reliving Casey’s dramatic Save from last week. It turns out Casey felt survival guilt, but he got a group hug, so everything was OK.
8:41 p.m. Paul, Casey, Stefano Langone (the third person in my Bottom Three) and James all bring out their instruments to perform “Band on the Run.” I’d definitely hire these guys to play a bar mitzvah. I’m not sure if they’re ready for a bigger venue quite yet. Tonight, Paul’s whitened smile says, “Yeah, I’ve spent the last year failing with a dozen bands that were better than this one.”
8:43 p.m. “You can open up for Aerosmith next tour,” Steven Tyler tells them. In “Idol”-land, that’s a binding contract, Steve-O. Ryan doesn’t tell us how many of the 55 million votes Casey got, but tells him he’d be proud if he know. Casey’s safe. James is also safe. The final person in the Bottom Three is… Paul. Darnit. In my recap, I wrote that Stefano would edge Paul out to make the Bottom Three. Wrong instinct, Dan!
8:50 p.m. From “Collard Greens & Cornbread,” it’s on to Jamie Foxx and Will.i.Am performing “Hot Wings.” I’m getting hungry. Neither of them can carry a tune, which would be embarrassing if the whole thing weren’t simultaneously a live Busby Berkley dance number and commercial for “Rio,” which is “fun for the whole family,” Foxx tells us.
8:57 p.m. Time to send somebody home. And Lauren is already crying in anticipation.
8:57 p.m. The person who is safe tonight is… PAUL.
8:57 p.m. Farewell to Thia Megia and Naima Adedapo. Last year, the first three Finalists sent home were women. This year, it’s the first four (and counting). I’m sad to see Naima and her personality and spirit go.
What’d you think of this week’s results? And what’d you think of the different performance/elimination structure?