In recent years, "American Idol" voters have followed a similar pattern: Get to the Finalists and then start picking off the women. In a season that the judges and most reasonable viewers would agree has been dominated, thus far, by the female singers, will things be any different?
After all, without a White Boy With Guitar, who will voters flock to?
Let's see what we can learn!
8:02 p.m. ET. The first thing we learn is that Ryan Seacrest says that somebody *could* go home tonight. That presumably means that the Judges' Save is still in effect? Or... something?
8:02 p.m. Over 26 million votes were cast last night.
8:03 p.m. "It's clear to me that the girls are just out-performing the guys," Jimmy Iovine reflects. He's worried that if Curtis Finch Jr. doesn't mix things up, he could be gone by the Top 8. However, Jimmy is sold on Janelle Arthur, seconding Mariah's praise for her "aura." Jimmy is a Devin fan, but he didn't love the performance from Wednesday. Jimmy likes Angie Miller, but of her Wednesday performance, he says "It wasn't as great as some of the judges thought it was, in my opinion." Jimmy thinks Paul is "pure pop," not country-pop." "That's what music is supposed to feel like," Jimmy says of Candice Glover. Jimmy thinks Lazaro Arbos needs to learn to take the criticism. Jimmy calls Kree Harrison one of the few artists who can pick her own material and says she's in his Top 3. Jimmy says that Burnell Taylor was "1000 percent" the best guy last night. "I'm a big fan. She's absolutely in my Top 3 tonight," Jimmy says of Amber Holcomb. That's why
8:08 p.m. "American Idol," for the first time, is going to announce the Top 3, but not in any particular order. Way to get steered by "X Factor," guys.
8:08 p.m. Devin received over 25 percent of the vote in Puerto Rico. Janelle received over 30 percent of the vote in Tennessee. Candice won 42 percent of the vote in South Carolina. One of them is in the Top 3. And it's Candice, which makes sense.
8:13 p.m. Our first Group Sing. It's "Shine Your Way," from "The Croods." You know the only good thing about the "Idol" Group Lip-Synchs? They weren't commercials. Way to kill that, FOX. Yeah. This is awful *and* it's a three minute commercial for "The Croods."
8:15 p.m. "I'm excited to see that," Seacrest says of "The Croods." Unclean. Unclean.
8:15 p.m. Ryan Seacrest has the Mayor of Woodville, Texas in the audience. Woodville is Kree's hometown. Kree hugs the mayor, who reassures her that she's welcome back in Woodville. WHEW. He gives her the key to the city. Oh and Kree is in the Top 3.
8:17 p.m. This format is so, so, so strange. Oooh! Commercial for "The Croods."
8:20 p.m. Jane Lynch is in the crowd. Ryan trips, fakes that he was jokingly falling inter Jane Lynch's lap and awkwardness ensues. Then Ryan introduces Bon Jovi, before sitting down on another fan.
8:21 p.m. Bon Jovi.
8:25 p.m. Still Bon Joving.
8:27 p.m. We all survived that.
8:28 p.m. Time for the AT&T sing-off for one performer to join the Top 10 on Tour. Up first is Charlie Askew, singing the original "Sky-Blue Diamond." Ummm... Where was this Charlie Askew the past two times he performed? The song isn't so much worth discussing, but it's the first time we've heard Charlie's voice properly showcased since auditions. Suddenly, I'm pissed off that we're stuck with Lazaro Arbos and Paul Jolley. Yes, Charlie's a bit shrill on some of the big notes, but I'm genuinely impressed by that performance in a way I wasn't genuinely impressed by any of the guys last night. The song meant a lot to Charlie.
8:31 p.m. So Charlie was the sixth-place guy. The sixth-place girl? Aubrey Cleland. Singing "Out Here On My Own," Aubrey is beautiful and boring and decent. Charlie was in all ways more interesting and intriguing, but you also imagine the producers would have an impossible time knowing what to do with him on the Tour.
8:33 p.m. America gets to vote and we don't get the results until Wednesday.
8:37 p.m. Stop texting Nicole, Keith Urban. You're on TV. GEEZ.
8:38 p.m. Phil-Phil! He's doing "Gone, Gone, Gone." It's his latest Mumford-esque single from his Mumford-esque debut album. As with much of the album, it's reasonably decent.
8:41 p.m. Say what you will about Phillip Phillips, but he would win this "American Idol" season in a walk. Randy comes on-stage to present Phil-Phil with a quadruple-platinum plaque for his first single.
8:42 p.m. Back to results. Lazaro and Angie stand in tandem. In Florida, Angie received 17 percent of the vote, but Lazaro still beat her. "Sorry," Lazaro apologizes. For the nation, though, Angie is in the Top 3, joining Candice and Kree.
8:47 p.m. I can deal with that Top 3.
8:47 p.m. In fourth place... Lazaro Arbos. WOW. Now we know. Folks love Lazaro.
8:48 p.m. In fifth... Amber Holcomb. She'd have been in my Top 3, so if you want to know which of the ladies will be in trouble if she has an off-week...
8:48 p.m. In sixth... Janelle Arthur. So the women are all safe.
8:49 p.m. In seventh... Burnell Taylor does a happy-dance.
8:49 p.m. In eighth place... Paul Jolley.
8:50 p.m. So the Bottom Two is Devin Velez and Curtis Finch Jr.
8:50 p.m. "These are both great singers," Keith says, saying he's a little shocked. "I definitely think Curtis should not be in the Bottom Two," Nicki says, though she acknowledges that Curtis' Wednesday performance wasn't his best. Nicki also vows to go home if Curtis goes home.
8:54 p.m. There will, indeed by a Save. It has to be unanimous and can only be used once.
8:54 p.m. The person with the fewest votes is CURTIS. "Bye," Nicki say and stands up to leave. She retreats to her seat to listen to Curtis sing for his life. He goes back to the "I Believe I Can Fly" well. It's ridiculous that Curtis would go home this early, but it isn't at all ridiculous that he'd be the lowest vote-getter after last night's performance.
8:56 p.m. On one hand, this requires serious consideration, but if they save Curtis tonight, it's an iron-clad guarantee that Amber or Candice will go home in the next two weeks. It's up to the judges to decide how they want to deal with that. Curtis slays a highly emotional performance.
8:57 p.m. "I am completely shocked," Mariah says. Randy has to reveal the results. "We are not unanimous, unfortunately," Randy says. "I think we really needed an extra minute to discuss it. I don't feel like there was a lot of discussion about it..." Nicki grumbles.
8:59 p.m. Yup. That was a weird vote, but I think Curtis made some big mistakes in song selection. He became familiar and boring when he was at his best and then he chose to give his worst performance when he was opening a long show. That's a recipe for disaster. Saving him in the first week of the season would have been a total waste of the Save, because if America doesn't like Curtis, they don't like him and they're gonna need that Save for when Lazaro keeps skating by and one of the Big Four gets shockingly bumped off in a week or two.
9:00 p.m. Farewell, CURTIS FINCH JR.
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