Wednesday "American Idol" results shows are my kryptonite (or Krypto-Nate), my Moriarty, my Waterloo, my black jelly beans. That's why, as those who have followed my "American Idol" recaps since the Zap2it days know, I take a minute-by-minute recapping approach, which allows me to raise the ante on snark and, once baseball season begins, dedicate most of my time to blogging on the Red Sox.
That's just a quick introduction before the recap for the first Wednesday (Feb. 18) "American Idol" results episode of the season, as we sit around for a full hour waiting to see who will join Danny "The Redeemer" Gokey in this season's Top 12.
Click through for the recap... with spoilers...
8:01 p.m. ET The first night of performances saw the casting of 24 million votes last night, many more than last year.
8:02 p.m. Asked if he was pleased with last night, Randy says that some people stepped up to the plate and some people faltered. Ah Randy. Way to work the rarely utilized half-sports-metaphor. Kara DioGuardi was also disappointed by some people last night. Ryan gives her the chance to name names and at first it looks like Kara will take the Paula way out, giggling and saying nothing. Instead, she outs Casey, Stevie and Stephen as the people who let her down. That's a bit cold-hearted, but I applaud Kara's candor. Stevie, who looks just a bit crest-fallen, could probably do without the honesty.
8:03 p.m. Michael Sarver worked on an oil rig. Just in case you didn't know.
8:04 p.m. I'd kinda hoped that we wouldn't have to do a group-sing this week. No such luck. Everybody gets to sing along to "I'm Yours." It's interesting that they give Stevie a power note all to herself, as a reminder of just how out of character last night was. Is it possible that Jackie Tohn is a bigger ham and camera hog than Tatiana Del Toro? There are several moments were she looks to be on the verge of shoving tinier contestants -- Alexis Grace, mostly -- out of the way to mug.
8:10 p.m. Let's take a look at the highlights from what Ryan describes as a "raw" show. Does anybody else wonder what the judges were smoking with their praise for Jackie? She's the poster-girl for desperation. We're made to once again pity Stevie, ogle Casey and remember that Michael works on an oil rig.
8:13 p.m. Tatiana turned the night around? Followed by a clip from Anoop and Ann Marie and Alexis, who all performed before Tatiana? Oh, "Idol." That's some clever editing.
8:14 p.m. Jackie gives herself a 91, a B+/A- for her performance last night. Anoop says everyone's relaxed tonight. Ryan puts him on the spot and he acknowledges, "I am the most nervous I've ever been." Actually, he looks a fairly chill. Don't lie to us, Anoop. We have a trust thing going.
8:16 p.m. Tatiana, tossing her hair with every word, describes herself as "humbled." How very Uriah Heep. Stevie continues to harp on that whole "They wanted me to be young and when I was young they didn't like me." No, Stevie, they wanted you to be young and good. Or maybe old and good. Nobody told you to be young and bad.
8:17 p.m. Up first under the lights is Casey, who we all know really isn't going forward tonight. She agrees with the judges that her song choice probably did her in. Randy agrees she's done. And then Ryan agrees also, telling her she isn't in the Top 12. Yet. So we all agree!
8:18 p.m. We're starting with people without a prayer. Stephen Fowler follows Casey. He also agrees that he may not have picked the right song. Kara agrees that Stephen didn't do enough to advance. And America agreed. No Top 12 for Stephen. Yet.
8:19 p.m. The first person who may go through is Alexis Grace, who still looks more like a transplant from an 1983 Cyndi Lauper movie than like the dirty girl the judges wanted. Paula says Alexis did a marvelous job. And, indeed, the first person in the Top 12 is Alexis Grace. I can get behind that. "You could be the next American Idol," Ryan tells her. "I know," Alexis replies. Is her father Meatloaf?
8:22 p.m. It's the winners who get to sing tonight. I guess that's preferable to having to hear all nine losers sing good-bye. Alexis is better tonight than last night, perhaps because her voice is a little tired. There's a rawness to some notes that helps rather than hinders.
8:28 p.m. Double-time now. Jackie and Ricky Braddy. If this show were really all about vocals, Ricky would be advancing. If this show were really all about annoying me, Jackie would be advancing. Alas, though, America disagrees with me about Ricky. He isn't in the Top 12. Thankfully, you at least agree with me (and Simon) on Jackie. Bye. Please don't come back for the Wild Card.
8:30 p.m. An interesting pairing, as Anoop and Michael the Oil Rigger join Ryan. These were the two I suggested last night could make the Top 12 on likability alone. Michael's a big guy, but Anoop is taller. It's deceptive. But this isn't basketball and Michael is the second member of the Top 12. Oh good! More stories about the oil rig. I kid. Michael seems like a good guy. He jokingly notes that the guys at work are either making fun of him for being a sissy or they're proud. I suspect they're proud.
8:32 p.m. Ryan says that Anoop is going home. I don't know if this is actually true, but it's a temporary thing. I couldn't be more certain that he'll be back for the Wild Card round. Ryan tells us only 20,000 votes separated Michael and Anoop. We're all guessing they were the third-place and fourth-place finishers (which might give Anoop an automatic Wild Card berth?).
8:34 p.m. This was dreadful planning. Everybody in America knows that Danny "The Redeemer" Gokey is going through. Everybody. And now we're stuck with 26 minutes to reveal that obviousness.
8:38 p.m. The "American Idol" experience just opened in Orlan-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
8:39 p.m. Oh, I get it now. They're building to a Last Two of Danny and Tatiana in the hopes of taking her down a peg. It's going to be cruel, but also entertaining.
8:40 p.m. Ryan calls the next two contestants up. But it's not two contestants from this season. It's Carly Smithson and Michael Johns! Somewhere "Idol" recapper Richard Rushfield is very happy. Embarrassingly happy. They sing "The Letter." Does anybody else suspect that the "Idol" producers spent a full week trying to find a bigger guest performer and then went with the two folks loitering in the parking lot? It's not like Carly and Michael required much rehearsal time.
8:48 p.m. Ann Marie is next. Then Brent. Then Stevie. They all stand together. Could this be anymore obvious? Randy guesses that they're all done. And, indeed, they are.
8:49 p.m. Excellent. I was right. And so quickly. It's down to Tatiana and Danny "The Redeemer" Gokey. She can't talk. He's calm, cool and collected.
8:51 p.m. Paula hems and haws, but finally says The Redeemer should advance. Her vote doesn't count, so Ryan leaves The Redeemer and Tatiana waiting through the commercial. She may be homicidal by the time they come back.
8:55 p.m. Tatiana tries to smile and tosses her hair ineffectually instead. Danny is a statue. Tatiana says that her fate is up to "The power of love." Danny just wants the results.
8:56 p.m. The Redeemer advances! Danny lets out a long whoop, shakes Ryan's hand and finally gives Tatiana the briefest hug in history.
8:58 p.m. Danny, Alexis and Michael are in the Top 12.
9:00 p.m. Next week's Group 2 (performing Wednesday, resulting Thursday): Megan Corkrey, Kris Allen, Mishavonna Henson, Matt Breitzke, Allison Iraheta, Matt Giraud, Jasmine Murray, Kai Kalama, Jesse Langseth, Adam Lambert, Jeanine Vailes and Nick "Norman Gentle" Mitchell.
Did America make the right choice? Who from Group One seems like a safe Wild Card bet?