9:00 p.m. ET. Wednesday (May 12) night's "American Idol" opens like an utterly half-hearted movie trailer homage/parody. There are tens of thousands of self-edited YouTube clips with a better understanding of movie trailer grammar than this. On with the show, y'all...
Full recap of Wednesday's show, plus results, after the break
9:02 p.m. There were 37 million votes cast last night, the highest total of the season. Last season on this same show, there were 64 million registered votes.
9:02 p.m. Ha. Ryan Seacrest points out that Daughtry is performing tonight, fitting since he was eliminated at this point in the competition in his season. Although that season produced a beloved oddball winner in Taylor Hicks it also was rather insanely deep in talent. Don't believe me? Check out how many albums Kellie Pickler has sold. Or, heck, how many country albums Bucky Covington has moved. And Elliott Yamin survived the earthquake in Chile.
9:03 p.m. I say this every time she returns, but Fantasia remains my favorite "American Idol" winner, one of the few utterly unique vocal stylists this show has ever produced. Then again, she's never returned to sing anything particularly good and this new single, "Bittersweet," isn't the streak-breaker. It's here I offer the there-but-for-the-grace-of-some-deity reminder that Fantasia's name was actively shuffled around for Effie in the "Dreamgirls" film, that little role that won Jennifer Hudson an Oscar. The talent is still there.
9:07 p.m. Fantasia's new album is coming out this summer. It's her first album in three years and it's mostly soul.
9:12 p.m. Ford music video time. Something called "Message in a Box." Meh.
9:13 p.m. Next week is Visit Home Week for the surviving contestants. It's a such a momentous "Idol" moment that we've getting a montage tribute to Visits Home. Wow. How many FOX affiliates can we showcase in a short period. See all of those affiliates? They're the reason Conan O'Brien's gonna be on TBS next fall and not FOX.
9:15 p.m. Large Michael Lynche wants to go home to see his puppy. Crystal Bowersox wants to play a gig with Franky May. Lee Dewyze wants to thank the people who have been supportive. Casey also misses his puppy, as well as the Texas air.
9:16 p.m. The contestants' families are actually on the stage sitting on the couches, while the contestants sit on stage.
9:17 p.m. The results are coming in no particular order tonight, Ryan emphasizes.
9:18 p.m. Ryan first discusses the duets from last night. We learn that "Once" is Crystal's favorite movie. Lee had never seen "Once" until three weeks ago when Crystal recommended it to him. Oddly, there isn't a cut over to Crystal's commitment-phobic boyfriend, which is sad, since we all want to know what country's flag he's gonna be sporting on his pants.
9:19 p.m. The first person safe tonight is... Casey, sporting a fresh perm tonight.
9:19 p.m. So we pretty much know that Large Michael's going home, right? Either "Idol" just totally killed the suspense for tonight, or else there's going to be a surprising and slightly infuriating elimination. I'd bet on the former.
9:24 p.m. Woo. Daughtry. Wait. That's not Daughtry. Why are we starting on Daughtry's guitarist with the Justin Bieber hair?
9:28 p.m. Dang. Daughtry rocks.
9:28 p.m. This *is* 1994, right?
9:29 p.m. Daughtry does not take his fans for granted. Ellen tells the Top Four that they also could be Daughtry someday. You can practically see Casey cringe and cradle his flaxen flocks in paranoid follicular terror.
9:34 p.m. Back to results. Kara tells Large Michael that he should have done what he did on "Woman's Work." More than any season before, the judges are prone to getting stuck in the past this spring. Large Michael swears he was totally emotionally attached to his "Free Willy" performance from last night. Lee tries arguing that his performance last night wasn't karaoke, even if he could have done more with the arrangement. Crystal's still basking in the glow of her "Caddyshack" performance. Simon tells her she has a real shot.
9:34 p.m. Lee is headed back to Chicago. In a good way, I guess. He's in the Top Three. That means it's Large Michael or Crystal going home. Again, we're stuck with either a total no-suspense no-brainer or else the rest of the season can just be scrapped. If these results really are in no particular order, it's a weird choice to have Crystal experience this Bottom Group pressure. It might have helped her last week, but tonight it's both pointless and cruel. We really all know Mike's done...
9:43 p.m. Ladies and gentlemen... Bon Jovi!
9:47 p.m. Ryan loves Bon Jovi and engages in a brief, yet hard-hitting interview starting with, "How are you still so awesome?" and ending with "How is it possible that you've become even more awesome during this brief interview?"
9:52 p.m. Casey and Lee are still safe. They're surrounded by their families, but they're nervous for the two in the middle. Casey says that when Ryan said his name, he expected to be going home. Really Casey? You figured this week's elimination was gonna come 20 minutes into the episode?
9:53 p.m. The person in the Top Three is... Crystal Bowersox.
9:54 p.m. Large Michael Lynche is heading home. At least the judges got better value out of their Judges' Save this season than they did with Smaller Matt Giraud last season. He got five bonus weeks and the judges never were forced to feel like they blew it.
9:55 p.m. Let's relive Large Michael's journey. He became a father. He made Kara cry. He lifted Ryan (and everybody else) into the air. He was Saved. Good for Mike. I liked him. He produced lots of good moments and very few bad moments, which is all you can really ask in a season this mediocre.
9:56 p.m. Kara's advice for Large Michael, "Do not stop. Keep going."
9:59 p.m. Once again, we finish early. And when that happens, it can only leave time for one thing: Hugs! Mike hugs his way across the judging panel and through nearly everybody on stage.
10:00 p.m. It's very sweet, as the episode ends with Mike cradling his child who appears to be, alas, just a bit freaked out by all of the noise and lights. Remember Drew Brees' baby at the Super Bowl with the noise dampening headphones? There was a reason for that.
Were you OK with this week's results? Didja like the performances? Were you relieved we didn't have to have Jamie Foxx perform?
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