That scream you heard around 8:53 pm ET last night was Nigel Lythgoe's. Alas, his ploy to make the manufactured drama of last night's results show last for the full hour was foiled after Steven told Ryan, "We're definitely going to use our card tonight," meaning the judges planned to save Jessica, Joshua, or Elise from elimination.
Of course, the judges needed to save teen phenom Jessica from the chopping block, as it was announced she had the lowest number of votes despite a stellar performance of Jazmine Sullivan's Stuttering the night before. (Even Jazmine Sullivan liked it!) Jessica had barely starting singing for her life (Deborah Cox's Nobody's Supposed to Be Here) when the tangerine-hued J.Lo grabbed the microphone out of her hands and said, "Are you crazy? We're saving you!" (I don't know about you, but I thought J.Lo's acting was as convincing as her performance in Maid in Manhattan.)
Not to be outdone, Randy (with his stuck-out-tongue lapel pin) then decided lecturing America was the smartest tactic, saying that Jessica "is one of the best singers in America, EVER! You have to vote for the best!"
Because they had been broadcasting the idea of the "shocking results" the entire night, I can't figure out how much of the contestants' reactionsand Jessica'swere manufactured, and how much was genuine shock. For someone who has been working toward being a famous singer "all her life," Jessica didn't honestly seem to react any stronger than she did when Ryan mentioned that Billy Joel liked her rendition of Everybody Has a Dream a few weeks ago. When Ryan asked her if she was surprised to be so close to elimination, she said, "I just do what I do, and whatever happens, happens."
I was amused by Randy's outrage that he's never seen a bottom three like Joshua, Elise, and Jessica "in 11 seasons." Clearly he forgot how shocked and outraged he was when:
- Tamyra was eliminated over Nikki McKibbin in Season 1;
- Ruben was nearly eliminated in Season 2;
- Fantasia, Latoya, and J.Hud were in the bottom three in Season 3 (which caused Elton John to call the show "racist");
- Constantine was eliminated over Scott Savol in Season 4;
- Chris Daughtry came in fourth (behind Elliott Yamin, Katharine McPhee and eventual winner Taylor Hicks) in Season 5;
- Melinda Doolittle was eliminated over Blake Lewis in Season 6;
- Michael Johns came in ninth (behind Kristy Lee Cook) in Season 7;
- Danny Gokey was eliminated over eventual winner Kris Allen in Season 8; and
- Pia was eliminated so early last season.
And of course, we had our seasonal farce of dividing the contestants into two groups and then asking the remaining contestant (this year's victim was Skylar) to choose which group she belonged in. (Has anyone fallen for this since Season 3, when Fantasia, J.Hud, and Latoya were in the bottom 3 over Jasmine Trias, John Stevens, George Huff, and Diana DeGarmo?)
Needless to say, Jimmy was apoplectic as well, as he predicted a Hollie, Phillip, and Elise bottom three, and claimed he needed "a new flat screen, since America is clearly seeing something I'm not" when the results were announced.
And speaking of Jimmy, WTF was with his denigrating Elise and Phillip for being "singer/songwriters" and not "technical singers," saying that when you take away their original songs, all they're left with is being a cover singer?
Honestly, the most priceless moment of the evening was when Colton laid his head in Phillip's lap during the (seizure-inducing) group number, P!nk's Raise Your Glass, as Phillip sang the line, "Why so serious?" (The runner-up was Colton's opening up a prom invitation from a girl from Wichita, saying "Oh, snap," and then calling it a "definite maybe.")
Did you tear up when Ryan asked the judges why they hadn't given Colton a standing ovation yet this season, while they've even given one to Heejun (and Jermaine!)? "We haven't stood for you yet?," J.Lo asked quizzically. How can she be expected to remember what she does? She has another show to concentrate on, too, you know!
Jennifer Hudson (who performed Think Like a Man with Ne-Yo) looked and sounded terrific, although I kept waiting for her pre-Weight Watchers self to come up onstage and try to sing, too. (I laughed when Ryan introduced her as the only contestant in the show's history to have won an Oscar and a Grammy. Umm, and a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award, Mr. Red Carpet...)
And oh yeah, last year's fourth place finisher, James Durbin, came back to scream his new single Higher Than Heaven, and show off his bleached-blonde locks. (When he announced that his tour was opening at the Viper Room, I still can't disassociate that place from where River Phoenix died.)
I'm still a little skeptical about last night's results. Clearly, this show's voting is biased toward the cute guys, but I have a very hard time believing that Jessica and Joshua were both in the bottom three. And if I were a conspiracy theory-believing paranoid, I'd be somewhat convinced that this was a ploy to ensure Colton and Phillip don't wind up as the final 2. But the show wouldn't manipulate things, would it?
So if they follow their own rules, next week two contestants should be eliminated. Will Jessica and Joshua's fans be rattled from their complacency, punishing Elise, Hollie, and Skylar for their safety, or are the two really at risk?
I don't know what will happen, but I know I can pretend to be more shocked than J.Lo, and I can be more awake than Steven. So, 'til next week...