Welcome to the season's first "American Idol" results show. As usual, this recap will take a minute-by-minute format as we spend an hour on Ford commercials, lip-synched group performances and special guests before finally sending the season's first four singers home.
Click through for both the filler and the results.
8:00 p.m. ET Will Ryan Seacrest and the judges attempt to pretend like Wednesday's Top 12 performances by the "Idol" men weren't among the worst in the show's history or will everybody cop to sub-mediocrity? Surely Simon Cowell, with nothing invested in the show going forward, can afford to be honest?
8:02 p.m. Over 24 million votes were cast this week. For 24 singers over two nights, that doesn't sound like so many, does it? Maybe at the commercial break, I'll research what they told us last year.
8:03 p.m. Ryan tries pretending that "the buzz of the nation" was that Simon was meaner than usual. That's ridiculous and you know it, Ryan. Simon at least says that some of last night's performances weren't very good.
8:04 p.m. Ellen knows what it feels to perform live. She tells the contestants that they need to step up. This is coming from the judge who gave 90 percent positive notices.
8:04 p.m. Kara's husband has not left her in light of her on-going flirtations with Casey James. How confident.
8:05 p.m. The season's first Group Sing is set to "American Boy." The initial pleasure is in watching Crystal Bowersox attempt to participate as a team player. She does a good job of pretending she doesn't want to maul everybody around her. I'd have almost out money on Crystal just sitting in the corner glowering and popping up for an unnecessary harmonica solo.
8:06 p.m. If we're lip-synching this season, there are fewer egregious gaffes than last season. Casey James looks a little bit clueless on what he's singing. Somebody really should have explained to him that his best bet for success is, "Just smile and look pretty." Oh and "Try not to get shot by Kara's husband."
8:07 p.m. Ack. I take it back. Alex Lambert dancing!
8:09 p.m. After the first group of last season's Top 36, we were told that there were 24 million votes cast. That, of course, was for only 12 singers and on one night.
8:10 p.m. The girls are in the hot seat!
8:11 p.m. Siobhan Magnus is up first... She's safe. That's good. I want to hear her sing a better song next week. We get to Haeley Vaughn next and she appears to be holding in tears, but she's safe. I'll confess that one surprises me a tiny bit. Michelle Delamor, who got excessive credit for Alicia Keys karaoke on Tuesday, is also safe. What about Katelyn Epperly? Well, she's looking less like an '80s Madonna tonight and, in turn, she's safe.
8:12 p.m. That leaves Katie Stevens and Janell Wheeler standing in the last position. One of them is going home. Seriously?!?!? There's supposed to be drama here? Katie isn't breathing at all. Janell's pretty relaxed. She knows she's done. Randy pretends that it's too tough to call.
8:13 p.m. So Janell Wheeler is the first person voted out on this season of "American Idol." Oh, Janell. So hot. Such a dumb song choice. "That sucks," Janell says, with a big smile. She's a good sport. She's humble and appealing and predicts a female winner this season. I gotta say, there was no room for both Janell and Didi this season and this bodes well for Didi, who won't have to worry about confusion and vote splitting.
8:15 p.m. Sigh. If this was a bad song for Janell to sing on Tuesday, it's even worse for her to sing tonight, choked up and emotional. Janell says she's gonna miss up. And we, her.
8:20 p.m. It's going to be either Lacey Brown or Ashley Rodriguez going home from the bottom row, right?
8:21 p.m. After her "American Idol" performance of "Scars," Allison Iraheta will be heading off to her goth prom. I like when past contestants come back to "Idol" as far more polished products than when they left. Allison has a confidence and personality to her presence tonight, a personality that was so frequently lacking last season when she often came across as a robotic teen with a massive voice. *This* Allison I can imagine achieving a Kelly Clarkson-level stardom with the right cultivation.
8:24 p.m. She's all smiley and semi-relaxed with Ryan tonight. She may also be... um... drunk? But she's got a goofiness that only occasionally got exposed last year.
8:25 p.m. Back to the Ladies. Paige Miles? She led off the show with an over-sung, over-praised performance and she's safe. Ryan skips over Lilly Rose and goes straight to Lacey. Despite being forgettable and mocked by the judges, Lacey is safe. Back to Lilly. She's safe. That leaves Crystal, Ashley and Didi. Sigh. We're losing Ashley, aren't we?
8:27 p.m. Crystal is safe. Down to Ashley and Didi. Ellen tries telling Ashley and Didi that even if they're eliminated, this has been a good launching pad. Yes. Like all of the other quickly eliminated "Idol" semifinalists who have gone on to great things.
8:28 p.m. Didi is safe, making Ashley Rodriguez the season's second eliminated woman.
8:29 p.m. I have to say this quickly: America blew this one horribly. And embarrassingly. I picked Ashley Rodriguez as one of my favorites coming into the Top 24 and that was because she's one of the four or five best women in on the show this season.
8:30 p.m. But as much as I want to mock the American People for blowing this one, it was really Ashley's fault. She *was* bad on Tuesday night (and even worse tonight) and if you have one chance to make a first impression, it has to be better than this. So either America had to vote on her clear potential, or they had to vote based on what they saw on Tuesday. They did the latter. I can't blame them. But boy the competition is weaker for losing Ashley and keeping people like Lacey and Paige.
8:35 p.m. Before we go to the guys, we watch Tyler Grady rehearsing in boots and his bathrobe. It's not really funny. But it is odd.
8:36 p.m. The judges appreciated Big Mike Lynche's personality. And America agrees. By last night's standards, John Park was a vocal genius, or at least totally acceptable. Thankfully, he's safe, partially exorcising the ghost of Paul Kim. Of course Aaron Kelly is going through. Todrick Hall is next. The judges were needlessly harsh towards his oddball Kelly Clarkson cover, but America appreciated the effort (and probably didn't read those reports about his scamming the parents of little kids).
8:38 p.m. It's down to Tim Urban and Jose Munoz. Tim was epically bad last night. Joe was unmemorably decent. Kara notes that we have to send somebody home tonight, but she doesn't think it should be one of these two.
8:39 p.m. Tim is safe and Jose Munoz is the first "Idol" man out, proving what longtime "Idol" observers ALWAYS say: Better to be horribly bad, than to be tepidly good. This goes triply true if the horribly bad person is a cute-and-preppy white kid and the tepidly good person is ethnic. And this goes septuple-y true when the tepidly good person received no screentime at all and the horribly bad person had a fully developed and sympathetic backstory. Tim looks far more shocked than Joe does. It's OK, Tim. Just keep up with that comical falsetto and you'll be going home soon. Or, actually, just keep with that comical falsetto and you might win this whole thing.
8:46 p.m. Kris Allen is concerned about Haiti. Kris is performing tonight and his performance will be available for download on iTunes tomorrow with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Haiti.
8:49 p.m. While Kris is performing "Let It Be," I'm gonna head over to AmericanIdol.com to make a donation.
8:51 p.m. Or I *would* make a donation except that the "Idol Give Back" site crashed my browser three times in less than two minutes. Nice.
8:54 p.m. There are plenty of options to leave out of the bottom row group, but nobody expects Casey James to be going anywhere. He's safe. Jermaine Sellers was nearly as bad as Tim last night and yet he's still safe. Lee Dewyze was fine last night and so he's going to sing another day.
8:56 p.m. The judges pointlessly criticized Andrew Garcia last night, but the voters didn't listen. He's safe (avoiding Thursday Night's Curse of the Latino). It's down to Tyler and Alex Lambert. One of these two people was heavily featured in the auditions and Hollywood round. The other has the personality of a garden slug.
8:57 p.m. Simon tells Tyler that he's going home. This seems wrong to me. But Simon, as ever, is correct. Bye, Tyler Grady.
8:58 p.m. After the sound mysteriously drops out for two seconds, Tyler blames the judges for not giving him enough constructive criticism in Hollywood Week. Did Tyler say something he shouldn't have? I wonder... In any case, don't blame the judges for your weak performance last night, Tyler.
8:59 p.m. Good-bye to Janell, Ashley, Jose and Tyler. I'd say that not a single one of those four singers were actually the worst on Tuesday and Wednesday night. None of them were great. But boy oh boy were there singers, men in particular, who deserved to go home more.
9:00 p.m. This season of "Idol" isn't off to an encouraging start, y'all...
What'd you think of the eliminations? Who deserved to go home and who should have been spared?