It's Elimination Thursday for "American Idol." Somebody's going home. I can't really predict who it's going to be, though I said "Paul McDonald," because you've gotta say something. Between absentee judges and a lack of truly awful performances, we could be headed for another surprise. Or the "American Idol" voters may just eliminate another woman, in which case Haley Reinhart is probably doomed.

Click through for my recap of the proceedings... It's sure to be fun!

8:01 p.m. ET The Most Beautiful Woman in the World is wearing gold tonight.

8:02 p.m. We had "over 53 million votes" last night. Ryan Seacrest claims no records and he also doesn't tease the possibility of shocking results.

8:03 p.m. After a one week return to The Dreaded Group Sing, we're doing small performing groups again. Our country teens Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina are doing a Lady Antebellum song that I don't know. Scotty and Lauren's voices go fairly well together, but it's hard for Lauren to develop any chemistry with The Beloved Hunchback of "American Idol."

8:10 p.m. This week's Ford commercial features zombies and because the mere commercial isn't enough, we get several minutes of pre-commercial behind-the-scenes excitement. Haley is a sexy zombie. James Durbin is a very committed zombie. Scotty can't really get the zombie posture. This is because nobody has handed him a microphone.

8:12 p.m. "Right now we're happy to debut the final product," Ryan says. It's a commercial. Call it a commercial, Seacrest.

8:13 p.m. Casey Abrams and Haley do a jazzy duet of "Moaning." This is right in the Haley/Casey wheelhouse and they're a lot of fun together and they have the chemistry Lauren and The Hunchback lacked. The judges are mighty appreciative, standing for the duo. "Yo Haley, baby! That's what up," Randy Jackson raves. "Thank you for whipping that out on us,"  Steven Tyler says confusingly.

8:17 p.m. After their performances, Casey, Haley, Scotty and Lauren have to face judgement. Scotty is safe. Duh. 

8:18 p.m. Lauren is also safe, as she's the girl America seems not to hate.

8:19 p.m. Haley's back in the Bottom Three, which isn't exactly surprising. She keeps a big smile throughout.

8:24 p.m. Rob Reiner, who was perplexingly in the audience last night, apparently coached the Top 8 on... something. He entertains them by singing lyrics to "Chariots of Fire." Wow. Way to know your audience, Meathead. The Finalists are confused by his schtick (and, for the most part, by his identity). "Thanks for listening to an old, fat Jew," Reiner concludes. This was not the most glamorous part of their week. 

8:27 p.m. It's Some Guy in An Oversized Cowboy Hat and Kelly Clarkson. Ah, remember the good o' days when a woman could win "American Idol"? This duet is a lot like Scotty and Lauren, except that Jason Aldean can stand up straight and Kelly isn't afraid of her own voice.

8:31 p.m. Kelly Clarkson makes a premature ejaculation joke involving Ryan Seacrest. It's festively awkward.

8:32 p.m. Universal's difficulties conveying the tone of "Cowboys and Aliens" continues with the new extended trailer. 

8:35 p.m. Jacob Lusk, Stefano Langone, James and Paul do bad, bad things to the harmonies on "Sound of Silence." We know that two of them are in the Bottom Three, so it's hard to pay much attention as they transition into "Mrs. Robinson." The real star of the performance is Jacob's Restless Leg Syndrome. The judges do not give this quartet a standing ovation.

8:38 p.m. Results? James is safe. As well he should be. Stefano is back in the Bottom Three. As well he should be. The last person in the Bottom Three is... Paul. Fair enough. "Is it what you predicted?" Ryan asks. No. I predicted Lauren in Stefano's place, but I like it better this way.

8:45 p.m. It's time for a performance by Rihanna. I fully expect her to be eliminated half-way through the song. It's just that tough to be a woman on "American Idol." This is kinda a dirty song. Why is Rihanna so over-dressed? Either Rihanna is getting better at this singing thing or she's lip-synching. I can't tell which.

8:50 p.m. Rihanna is a lot taller than Ryan Seacrest. She reveals that they're building a section for her fans to sit on-stage during her tour. Seacrest is very excited by this possibility. He likes being close to the stars.

8:54 p.m. We're gonna send somebody home now. "Since the Top 13, we've only seen girls leave this competition..." Haley's got her "miserable" face on already.

8:55 p.m. "She follows in the footsteps... of the others on the couch," Ryan teases. Haley is safe! Part of me is very pleased.

8:56 p.m. The first guy to leave the competition is... Paul McDonald. More survivor guilt for Stefano, who just keeps standing next to eliminated contestants on Thursdays. He's rapidly becoming The Male Kristy Lee Cook. Don't worry, Stefano. One of these days we'll send you home. Promise.

8:58 p.m. J-Lo asks Paul to sing "Maggie May" for her. He's a relaxed enough dude that he gives a fine send-off performance. In the balance, I think that Paul is vastly more talented than Stefano, but Old McDonald hasn't been very good for many, many weeks. This was a perfectly legit time for him to go out and there's no shame in finishing eighth on "American Idol."

 

Can we agree not to get too worked up about this week's results? A little disappointed, maybe, but not exactly passionate?