8:59 p.m. Oooh, tricky. Not only did FOX skip Obama tonight for "Lie to Me," but "Lie to Me" ended at 8:59, putting a minute of "American Idol" into the 8 p.m. hour. That's bound to either confuse several DVRs -- you only missed an over-dramatic recap of last night's show -- or bump up the ratings for Tim Roth's bubble drama.
9:01 p.m. 47 million votes were cast last night. I'm honestly not sure if that's impressive, given that there were two lines per contestant, meaning much less chance of getting busy signals. A couple million more votes than last week just isn't all that stunning, no matter what Ryan implies.
[Recap after the break...]
9:02 p.m. "Everybody was good," is Simon's begrudging comment on Tuesday's show, predicting that this is "the most open competition." We're going to pad tonight's show with performances by Taylor Hicks, Natalie Cole and Jamie Foxx.
9:03 p.m. This week's Ford commercial is set to "Energy" and features some really arty photography of our Top 5 running in slo-mo in the desert. They stop when a Ford shows up, because why run when you can drive?
9:06 p.m. Paula Abdul didn't choreograph this week's Group Lip-Synch. As a result, the Top 5 stand lazily in the center of the stage and pretend to snap along with the beat. Actually, Kris Allen doesn't pretend to snap along. His hand just spasms. I'd make fun of his rhythm except that the twitching has the look of a neurological condition and that wouldn't be funny at all.
9:10 p.m. Ryan's feeling guilty that he mentioned Allison Iraheta's birthday on Tuesday's show, but that Danny Gokey's birthday last Friday was forgotten. Is that why we get a weird staged bit with the Top 5 cooking and eventually getting into a food fight together? Or is it an effort to make Allison and Danny more likable? Or has Betty Crocker just come on-board as a sponsor? Ryan gives Danny a $6000 bill for the maid service that cleaned up after them. Oh, the foibles of the not-rich and reality-TV-famous! I guess the indigenous workforce of Los Angeles should be grateful.
9:13 p.m. Time to begin the results. Matt Giraud, ripped by half of the judges last night, is sent to the right side of the stage. Ah, we're setting up for that classic "American Idol" moment where the last person will have to choose between two groups, guessing which group is safe and which is the bottom. Danny goes to the other side of the stage.
9:15 p.m. Allison joins Danny. Kris is going to join Matt, leaving Adam Lambert in the George Huff position. We've learned over the season that the correct move in the Huffing position is to refuse to take a side. I hope Adam's been paying attention.
9:17 p.m. Indeed, Ryan asks Adam which group he thinks he belongs in. Oh no! He ANSWERS! He says he wants to join Allison and Danny, based only on last night's performances.
9:17 p.m. Wrong choice, Adam! Allison and Danny are safe, but Adam has to go join the other two in the Bottom Three. Shocker! Madness! Meh! If we're pulling 60 percent of the contestants as the Bottom Three, there's bound to be a tiny bit of weirdness.
9:18 p.m. Paula calls it "crazy." Simon says that it isn't crazy, that he has to give it up to Allison and Danny. Randy mentions his conversation with Jamie Foxx and reassures the Top Five that they're all brilliantly talented.
9:19 p.m. Previous contestants in the George Huff position have included Bo Bice, Taylor Hicks, Melinda Doolittle (she of the best "Idol" version of "My Funny Valentine") and Mr. David Archuletta. Bo refused to move to either side. Melinda sat down in the middle. Little Archie sat down in the middle and encouraged David Cook to join him. Now you know... [Gracias to My Buddy Sepinwall for the memory assist.]
9:24 p.m. From her album "Still Capitalizing On My Father's Legacy," here's Natalie Cole singing "Something's Gotta Give." I usually like Cole's grave-robbing renditions of standards, but this is shrill and, by the end, really grating.
9:32 p.m. No, Ryan. We aren't giving it up for the Soul Patrol. We're giving it up for the guy the Soul Patrol liked. The first 50-something "American Idol" isn't at all bad, now that he's fully embraced his status as a middle-aged honky-tonk singer. He's musical and energetic and entertaining. He could have given Adam pointers on remaining objective.
9:36 p.m. Taylor reminds the Top Five that it's about song choices. Yes, FOX promos have been mocking Simon for saying that.
9:37 p.m. That's two shout-outs in one night for Kieran the Light Guy.
9:38 p.m. Ryan sends Kris to safety. That leaves Adam and Matt in the Bottom Two. Thus, tonight's results are either going to be really shocking or not even slightly shocking.
9:42 p.m. Am I missing the part where Jamie Foxx is singing a single word? Nevermind. I'm going back to Sox-Indians. Rally time.
9:46 p.m. "No question why that's the No. 1 song in America," Seacrest says, kissing Foxx's rump. Foxx, in turn, kisses the show's rump, calling the Top Five some of the most talented people he's seen in the past decade.
9:47 p.m. Tie ballgame. Oh. Jamie says that it doesn't matter who wins, so it doesn't matter if America picked the right Bottom Two.
9:48 p.m. "And also, I've got a movie out now, called 'The Soloist,'" Foxx segues smoothly.
9:52 p.m. Ryan confuses the judges' reviews with predictions and asks Simon if he regrets being wrong. Seacrest, you moron, read the results.
9:52 p.m. "Adam, you are safe..." Ryan says. Adios, then, to Matt.
9:53 p.m. So the Judges' Save gave us two additional subpar weeks of performances from Matt Giraud. Well worth it. I mean, sure, we might have gotten five or six more weeks out of Alexis, but there's no point in beating that dead horse anymore, is there?
9:55 p.m. "I'll definitely remember being the cat with nine lives up here," Matt says.
9:57 p.m. Matt reprises "My Funny Valentine," but he doesn't take enough time, so we get to hear last words from the judges. Paula tells Matt that he has at least 40 million fans waiting for what comes next. Her math is fuzzy, as is her logic. Kara says that saving Matt was one of the best things they did this season. More fuzzy logic.
9:59 p.m. Next week's theme is Rock and/or Roll, with guest mentor Slash. We're sure he'll have lots of solid vocal advice...
So, did the right person go home? [Correct answer: Yes.]
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