For weeks now, "American Idol" fans have been wondering how the competition plans to handle what appears to be an extra week of programming beyond what could be justified by an elimination-per-episode pace.
Will we get a two-week finale?
Will we have a Non-Elimination Episode?
Will we get a Save that isn't followed by a Non-Elimination Episode?
The latter possibility would *seem* to be out of the question unless "Idol" is changing the Save rules without warning.
So will Angie Miller, Candice Glover, Kree Harrison or Amber Holcomb actually be going home on Thursday? Or are we going to be treated to performances from Lee Dewyze and Stefano Langone, followed by some trickeration.
Click through and follow the excitement.
8:01 p.m. Those "Idol" kids are really busy. They rehearsed and entertained sick kids and met James Bond!
8:03 p.m. Hi Judges. Hi Ryan. Hi Chris Berman at the NFL Draft.
8:04 p.m. Ryan Seacrest has some big news that's going to shake up the competition. Sigh. Here comes the trickeration. I hope they at least bluff well.
8:04 p.m. More manipulatively adorable footage of the Top 4 meeting with sick kids. After the visits, the patients went into a room and they were entertained by The Fantastic Four. Manipulation aside, this was a very good thing they did and it kinda makes you wonder why this isn't something that they do at a different hospital every week. I mean... Sure, they have to make time for their Ford Missions, but maybe Ford could just sponsor a different form of activism each week? Who would take hurt? You could stick a Ford logo in one corner of the screen and then "Idol" would be doing good. Otherwise, you have Ford sponsoring the Finalists playing soccer with SUVs. Who does that benefit? Literally nobody outside of the Ford corporation. And who does it make happy? Literally nobody outside of the Ford corporation. This made kids happy.
8:07 p.m. Ugh. I keep saying this over and over and over and over again: "Girl On Fire" isn't a good song. It's not in the Top 20 of Alicia Keys songs. Why is it getting so overexposed? It's nice that Angie gets to play some piano on a group number, though. "Idol" probably would be happiest with an Angie win. You can market her more easily than the other three.
8:09 p.m. Meanwhile, how could the Kansas City Chiefs possibly need 15 minutes to announce the first pick in the draft?
8:13 p.m. Back to "Idol."
8:13 p.m. The weekly Ford Fiesta Mission is to stalk Ryan Seacrest. Ryan is busy. So everybody has to do Ryan's job. Because he's so busy. And powerful. I *think* they're doing a play on "Charlie's Angels," but they aren't doing it very well. In the end, we discover there are actually four Ryan Seacrests. And that's how he works so much.
8:15 p.m. Ryan makes a joke about polishing Jeff Probst and Tom Bergeron's Emmys. Is his point that he does so much work and doesn't get recognized? THAT'S WHAT THE MONEY'S FOR.
8:16 p.m. The Finalists have 20 seconds to tell us five things about themselves. It's harder than it looks. For them. Angie hates pink, lives in heels and loves olives. Candice loves SpongeBob, sleeps in socks, loves Drake and loves purple. Kree has been bitten by a snake, loves rap and sucks. Amber likes showers, likes 90 degree weather, was on the drill team, was in a play, loves neon green and has her septum pierced. Amber wins. Nothing.
8:18 p.m. Let's pass a little judgement. Amber's up first. Well, Eric Fisher is up first, but that's only if you're also watching the NFL Draft. Jimmy gives Amber an A+ for her first performance, but he hated her "MacArthur Park" performance. "You can't interpret lyrics unless you understand lyrics," Jimmy says. Yes. We saw all of that last night. This is why you can't double-dip Jimmy. He doesn't have that much new information to impart.
8:24 p.m. Kree, still looking vaguely exhausted and probably still ill, gets recapped next. Jimmy didn't think that "Whiter Shade of Pale" redeemed Kree. He also thinks that it's "a bad song with corny lyrics." Jimmy is so dramatically underestimating the actual longevity of Procol Harum it's comical. They aren't in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, but they've been nominated and that's because they're solidly influential, even if you only know that one song. Poor Procol Harum.
8:27 p.m. Stefano Langone has a new album coming this summer. He's happy because he's going to sing to the girls. Stefano may be the corniest human in human history. And this song matches his corniness beat-for-beat.
8:30 p.m. My ears are bleeding.
8:30 p.m. And not in a good way.
8:33 p.m. We have a trade! In the NFL Draft. Not on "Idol." Though that would really switch things up the way Ryan Seacrest promised.
8:34 p.m. Time for Candice to get microscoped. "Candice has a big voice and big voices are difficult to maintain," Jimmy says. He's worried about Candice. I'm not sure why. And we already know that Jimmy thought Candice was better in her second performance. Jimmy says that his experience last night was his first time on-stage on a live TV show. We saw all of this. Why is he recounting it? Jimmy thinks Nicki Minaj is sweet on him. "I was kinda waiting til 'Idol' was over to reveal that my new Sugar Daddy is Jimmy Iovine," Nicki agrees.
8:36 p.m. Drake liked Candice's performance. He sent an audio message. He calls her voice "angelic" and says he wishes that she had been in the studio with him and... ZOMG! Drake is in the house. The ladies are all excited, none moreso than Candice. And possibly Angie, who rushes out to make sure she gets a hug of her own. They're all big "Degrassi" fans, I assume.
8:42 p.m. Please don't remember us that Lee Dewyze beat Crystal in Season 9. I didn't hate Lee in his season, but he shouldn't have won under any circumstances. But Lee has a very pretty wife. That's nice. He's also finishing up another album, which is about finding hope when you think there isn't any. Or something. The first single off the album is "Silver Lining" and... Here it is.
8:44 p.m. Oh look! Lee likes Mumford & Sons, too! This is possibly even more shamelessly derivative than anything on Phillip Phillips' album. But it's also so much better than what Stefano did that I'm totally respectful of its aspirations. There's some musicality here. So good for Lee.
8:47 p.m. The judges are much more muted in their appreciation of Lee than they were for Stefano. That's a bit funny.
8:50 p.m. How long must we wait for the big twist Ryan led the show with? I mean, we all know what it's gonna be, but I want to see how Ryan's going to frame it.
8:51 p.m. First, we have to be reminded that Angie won last night. Yeah yeah. "She had two great songs and two great performances," Jimmy says, claiming that Angie's "skin fits better" when she plays the piano. Jessie J liked Angie's performance, but she isn't here tonight. "I would die," Angie says. Fortunately, that wasn't a fake-out. Mariah tells Angie to stay on the darned piano.
8:53 p.m. We're forming two groups of two: The Top 2 and the Bottom 2. Amber struts stage right. Angie stays stage left. Kree's sent to join Angie. Interesting. Slightly. Candice joins Amber in what I assume is the Bottom 2.
8:57 p.m. GET TO THE TWIST.
8:58 p.m. The lights are dimmed. After an unmentioned number of votes, Candice & Amber are the Bottom 2. Kree and Angie are safe.
8:58 p.m. Next week's theme: Now & Then.
8:59 p.m. "The person who *could* be leaving tonight is... NO ONE," Ryan says. Angie rushes over and attacks Amber and Candice.
8:59 p.m. They have a bonus week in their schedule. So... Yeah. OK. So 38 million votes were cast last night and they'll be counted along with next week's vote.
9:00 p.m. That was predictable.
Thoughts on... nothing?
Everything: American Idol
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