Last night it was time for the top four to become the top three. Who would it be? Who would get to go home to fanfare and camera crews next week, and who would just get to go home? 72MM votes decided the fate of James, Lauren, Scotty, and Hailey – the largest vote total for a top four in Idol history. It was a night packed with surprises, quite a few performances, and big disappointment for fans of one of the top four. Let’s jump right in and see what happened.
- Look – Casey was in the audience again. Thanks for joining us Casey!
- Scotty and James started off the night with a duet on “Start a Band” by Brad Paisley. They sounded really good together. Scotty again proved that he could sing country and James proved that he could sing anything. Their voices blended surprisingly well together. At the end of the song they both picked up guitars to play; Scotty an acoustic, and James an electric that looked suspiciously like the one Zakk Wylde played with him a few weeks ago. All in all, it was one of the better duets. (One question. What was up with the children sitting on the judge’s dais? Random.)
- Hailey and Lauren were up next with their rendition of “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert. (Must have been country night…) Lauren looked great and sounded phenomenal – it was a perfect song choice for her. Hailey waved her uncontrollable left arm around a lot and sang. It was 50% of a great performance.
- Microsoft evidently ponied up a little dough and got to sponsor a segment with the contestants talking to their loved ones at home via Windows 7. I wonder how many times that had to edit out the blue screen of death during the filming?
- Instead of a bottom three this week, Ryan set out to build a top three. Three golden stools represented the three tickets to next week’s show. The first person sent into that top three? Lauren. I thought she was going to jump out of her shoes for moment. To say that she was excited would be an understatement. My only thought was – “Good job America. Just don’t let me down with the other two…”
- In what has to be a first (at least as far as I can remember on a results show), Idol had a performance that didn’t even pretend to take place on the Idol stage. Lady GaGa evidently performed via DVD, as the contestants sat down to watch a clip of her in concert. She sang “You and I”, the song Hailey stumbled through last week. I preferred GaGa’s version much more – I really enjoyed it. I just have one question – don’t patent leather panties chafe? I’m just asking…
- Right after Lady GaGa, Enrique Iglesias hit the stage to perform. I’ve never been much of a fan, but the crowd seemed to have a good time. I’ll give Enrique this – he sang much better live with an auto-tune than wil.i.am did.
- The Ford music video this week was “Fireflies”. It was a nice 30-second nap for me.
- The third guest performer of the night was Jordin Sparks with her new single “I Am Woman”. She lip-synched the song – very disappointing (almost as disappointing as the song itself.) Thankfully, my TiVo decided to spare me in the middle of the song when it lost signal for a few minutes. Yep – my TiVo loves me.
- With only 15 minutes left in the show, and we still had only one member of the top three. After the break – we still didn’t get any results. Instead, we got the world premiere of Steven’s new video, “It Feels So Good”. I wanted to like the song a lot more than I did. There’s no danger of it being mistaken for an Aerosmith song – it lacks the punch you get from the full band. The video was itself was a bit strange, but that was to be expected. Bonus points to Steven for including Nicole Scherzinger – herself a product of a reality TV music competition (you remember Eden’s Crush, don’t you?)
- Finally it was time for the results. Ryan dimmed the lights and filled the second golden chair with – Hailey. Seriously? Seriously? Bad choice, America. Bad choice.
- So which of the guys would be going home, James or Scotty? James looked incredibly nervous as Ryan went to the break. When they came back, James and Scotty stood arm in arm as Ryan read the results. Scotty was safe and James was going home. To say that I was stunned would be to call the Grand Canyon deep. (I’ll have to go back and check, but I believe this is one of the few – if not the first – time someone has gone home after singing in the pimp spot in the top 4 or earlier.) There’s no question about it, America screwed the pooch on this one – big time. James was clearly emotional as he talked with Ryan and received a standing ovation from the audience and the judges. As they played back the initial interview with James, I was reminded just how much he had worked through to get to the Idol stage. He’s shouldn’t have been going home.
If there’s any silver lining, Ryan foreshadowed it last night – Chris Daughtry also went out in fourth. James has a big career ahead of him and I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting his album. I also hope Steven still delivers and performs with James at the finale. He’s earned it.
Next week we see the contestants travel home to see their families, and perform three songs apiece. I guess I’ll be pulling for Lauren but, honestly, at this point I almost don’t even care to watch next week. I will – but I can’t promise the sarcasm factor won’t be turned up to eleven. Until then – Word Zombie out.
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