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'American Idol' results: And 12 become 11

March 17, 2011 |  7:46 pm

Final12_1

Before the lights dimmed and we learned the fate of the final 12 "American Idol" contestants on Thursday night's results show, we learned a few other things:

We learned that back when these young singers were even younger, they aspired to careers like pro wrestler (James Durbin), astronaut (Scotty McCreery, admitting, "My brains weren't astronaut material, though"), journalist (Jacob Lusk), veterinarian (Naima Adedapo), comedian (Paul McDonald) and, of course, singer (Thia Megia and Pia Toscano).

We learned that when they sing together on group numbers (in this case a peculiar mashup of "Born to Be Wild" and "Born This Way") sometimes they remind us of "The Brady Bunch" and other times of "Up With People."

We learned that "American Idol" is not just celebrating its 10th anniversary this season, but also its 250 millionth download. "Yeah, that's a lot of music," Ryan Seacrest reminded us.

We learned that Ryan doesn't get as excited as Oprah when he tells the studio audience that the show has left them a little gift under their seats –- "Idol's" just-released 10th anniversary compilation CD. (What, you were maybe expecting the keys to a new Ford?)
 
And then we learned some things we'd rather not know –- like that Karen Rodriguez can make weird noises with her throat and that the "Idol" editors are already punchy enough at this point in the season to bleep out the breed of Pia's singing dog (a Shih Tzu).

But then, finally, after the lighting designer playfully wished the world a happy St. Patrick's Day via lights and music, we finally found out who had the luck of the Irish and who didn't.

Bit by bit, Ryan collected the bottom three in the swivel chairs of doom.

First, Casey Abrams, Jacob and Lauren Alaina are called to the stage. They are all safe. Casey looks particularly relieved to learn that his Nirvana performance did not smell like blasphemy to the "Idol"-voting public.

Then Haley Reinhart and Paul step forward.  As soon as Ryan lets them know that one is safe and the other in danger, Haley leans forward with an expectant look, like she's resting her head on the chopping block. Ryan's ax falls swiftly. Yes, Paul is safe. Haley heads to purgatory.

She'll soon be joined by two others -- but before we learn who, we learn that last year's winner, Lee DeWyze, who performs "Beautiful Like You," has gained only slightly more confidence onstage since we last saw him perform on the "Idol" stage, which is both endearing and disappointing.

Scotty, Pia and James? All safe. (Will Steven's promise to sing with James if he stays in it to the finale keep him in the running? Discuss!)

Stefano Langone and Naima: He's safe; she's sent to keep Haley company in the misery zone.

Karen and Thia: One of them has to be in trouble, and yes, it's Karen, just as you predicted.

And after the Black Eyed Peas fill a few minutes with what Ryan tells us is the world premiere of "Just Can't Get Enough," which they dedicate to the people of Japan, we learn that the contestant who must sing for a chance to stay alive (via the judges' save) is …

Karen.

She gives a solid performance of "Hero," sounding better than she has in weeks, but it's not enough to keep her (or sadder still, her mother's) dream alive.

It's not unanimous, Randy tells Karen, but the judges will not cough up their one save for her.

Oh well. Here's hoping Ryan at least introduces Karen's sister to Nick Jonas. What do you say, Ryan?

And what do you think? Do you think the voters sent the right contestant home?

Full Show Tracker coverage of "American Idol"

-- Amy Reiter

Photo: "American Idol" final 12: Top row from left: Pia Toscano (holding Casey Abrams' photo), James Durbin, Paul McDonald, Jacob Lusk and Scotty McCreery. Bottom row from left: Haley Reinhart, Karen Rodriguez, Stefano Langone, Naima Adedapo, Thia Megia and Lauren Alaina.

Credit: Michael Becker / Fox

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