9:00 p.m. We begin the episode with a Top 12 montage set to The Everly Brothers' "All I Have To Do Is Dream." Presumably the joke is that the dream is about to become a nightmare for one contestant?
9:01 p.m. Close, but not quite. "One dream is on the line," bombastic text informs us. Uh-oh!
[Find out whose dream became a nightmare on Wednesday's (March 17) "American Idol" after the break..]
9:02 p.m. Ryan Seacrest begins in the crowd and introduces us to Irish lighting director Kieran. It's unclear if he's implying that Kieran is already drunk. Four people who are waiting a few hours to get drunk are Randy Jackson, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell.
9:04 p.m. Simon demands an apology from Ryan for his aggressive behavior from last night, calling it "uncomfortable" and asking if Ryan wants his job. We assume that Simon is joking, but this isn't exactly funny.
9:05 p.m. You know what else isn't funny? The Judges' Save is back. BOO!!! The stupid contrivance that failed to save Alexis Grace, but brought Matt Giraud back for two additional worthless weeks will return. Blech.
9:06 p.m. I like David Cook. His version of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is many times better than anything done by any of the men last night. David Cook does what Casey James *tries* to do, but can't come close to pulling off.
9:08 p.m. David Cook goes through the usual nonsense about being glad he doesn't have to hear from the judges. He's putting the finishing touches on a new album. And he's also heading off to Africa for "Idol Gives Back."
9:13 p.m. Stop talking about the Judges' Save, Ryan. It doesn't make anybody happy.
9:14 p.m. Time for the season's first Ford commercial! Set to "Tick Tick Boom," they're playing Ford paintball, or something to that effect. Casey James isn't in the Ford commercial, after coming down with the most convenient case of the flu in history.
9:15 p.m. Double ford commercial? The contestants get to work with a designer to come up with cheeseball decals to stick on a Ford Fiesta. Because who wouldn't want an Aaron Kelly signature Ford?
9:16 p.m. There are three Stools of Shame at the other end of the stage. Whose rumps will fill those shameful stools?
9:17 p.m. The first person up is Paige Miles and she's in the Bottom Three. That was fast. Way to milk tension. Lee Dewyze is next and we all suspect that he's safe for a while. Lee talks about the importance of letting loose and being himself. He'll get that chance, because he's through. Simon nods encouragingly.
9:18 p.m. Siobhan Magnus is looking more comfortable and less glam-tastic tonight. Ellen says that Siobhan has the potential to be an Adam Lambert-esque standout. More discussion of Snookie's pouf, which can still be explained next week, because Siobhan is in the Top 11. Aaron Kelly, like a teenage and human version of Snoopy's buddy Woodstock, was compared to Justin Timberlake last week and we'll get to abuse that ludicrous comparison next week.
9:20 p.m. Andrew Garcia and Tim Urban are asked to stand together. I thought these two were the worst performers last night, but in the balance I think Andrew is the superior artist. Kara wrings her hands and says that Andrew and Tim were both deserving of possibly going home this week after last night.
9:22 p.m. Andrew is safe. Tim is in the Bottom Three with Paige. So far, so good. I think we can safely assume the Judges' Save will not be rearing its ugly head tonight.
9:27 p.m. I don't know who Orianthi is. Sorry. She's cute. She likes black leather. And she looks a bit like Mary Lynn Rajskub of "24" would look if she were a rock star. I will not be downloading her single.
9:34 p.m. No, Ryan. Don't recap for me. Recapping is my job. Your job is... whatever it is you do.
9:35 p.m. Back to results. I like Didi Benami. Have I mentioned this? She promises to just follow her intuition and do what feels right. Mommy Benami (it rhymes) is in the audience and she isn't going to watch her daughter go home tonight. The audience like Crystal Bowersox. She agrees that last night wasn't her best performance and she insists clearly and plainly that she's never thought she had this competition in the bag. She may not think she's the favorite, but she isn't going home. She's safe.
9:38 p.m. Katie Stevens, who I'm convinced sang "Wild Horses" because of her love for ponies, is up next. Katie says she tried her best last night, but Kara hesitates and tells her that she's had problems with pitch. Kara says Katie should be doing more pop rock stuff. Simon disagrees and says Katie should do more country. Ellen suggests mariachi might be more Katie's flavor. It doesn't matter. She's safe.
9:41 p.m. The empty stool is not for Mike. But it's waiting for either Casey or Lacey Brown. Is this seriously supposed to create tension?
9:42 p.m. Was that final pairing there only about rhyme? Of course Lacey is in the Bottom Three. Hey, look at me. I guessed the Bottom Three. That may not happen again.
9:42 p.m. Ryan asks Ellen if any of these three would be worth using the Save on. She hems and haws. Simon says that one of the three is worth saving. That's silly, Simon. Don't be silly.
9:43 p.m. For all of that talk about this being the Year of the Woman, Tim is safe. That means that the first eliminated contestant from the Top 12 will be a woman. And that means that Tim and his floppy hair will live to reggae-ify more inappropriate songs. And, alas, FOX must continue to hold off on development on "The Urban Family."
9:48 p.m. Ke$ha is like a dumb teenage girl who misunderstands Lady Gaga's artsy self-reflexivity.
9:50 p.m. I'm not Native American, but I'm a bit offended by Ke$ha's headdress.
9:55 p.m. "Sing for The Save"? What a stupid lie, Ryan. The judges know if they're going to waste the Save already. And lemme assure you, it would be wasted on either of these two.
9:55 p.m. Randy's not surprised to see them there.
9:56 p.m. Lacey Brown received the fewest votes. Will the judges save her? Not if they have any sense.
9:56 p.m. Wait. You can now sing anything you want to sing? This is so silly. I mean, it saves us a repeat of the previous night's sucky performance, but it also perpetuates the ruse that the judges are making a choice on the basis of this song, even though they're sitting there talking and joking and not listening at all.
9:58 p.m. That was a nice and pleasant performance by Lacey. I still wouldn't waste the Judges' Save on her in Week One. But will the judges?
9:59 p.m. The judges were in agreement. Lacey is going home. No Save will be used. Then, in a shocking twist, the flower in her hair comes to life and devours Lacey's head.
10:00 p.m. I kid! I kid! Lacey is still very much alive. And while I don't think she was last night's worst performer, she *was* the performer I predicted would be heading home. Like I said, I suck at prognosticating, but I got this one right at least...
Are you sad to see Lacey go? Did you enjoy any of the night's three performers?