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'American Idol' results: And the summer tour will include ...

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Holy "American Idol" bleep sign! E to the Z and the tweedlydees or whatever insane thing Steven Tyler might say in this situation. "American Idol" really ripped itself a new beauty mark on its top 11 results show Thursday night.

Ryan Seacrest warned us right at the start that, after more than 30 million votes poured in to determine who would stay and who might be denied a spot on the "Idol" tour this summer, the outcome of that vote "may shock you."

But we've heard hyperbole from Ryan before, and plenty of it, so perhaps we can be forgiven for not getting too worried about our favorites as we contentedly watched Jennifer Lopez's husband, singer Marc Anthony, give the "Idol" contestants a lesson in using the in-ear doohickies that kept the judges from having to use the word pitchy even once on Wednesday night's show.  Then we were treated to a group number that culminated in Stevie Wonder singing "Happy Birthday" to Steven Tyler (who turns 63 on March 26) as a bunch of the female contestants presented Steven with a colorful cake and an even more colorful Warholesque Tyler portrait. (What was that painting? Did Naima paint it?)

Steven was surprised but, I'll tell you what, he wasn't the only one who was shocked by the goings-on on the "Idol" stage Thursday night. (If you haven't watched the show and you like surprises, you might want to hold off clicking through to the rest of this post until you do. Don't say you weren't warned.)

Still with me? OK, so one forgettable recycling-themed Ford music video later and Ryan requests the requisite pre-results light dimming.

"We're looking for the bottom three," he reminds us, gathering Lauren, Pia and Scotty on stage.

"The judges all had positive things to say about you," he tells them, "but because of the vote, I'm afraid you'll all be packing your bags …" [cruel pause] "… in a few months" -- they're all going on the "American Idol" tour.

A shot of the stools, empty, awaiting the bottoms of bottom three; a commercial break; Sugarland performing "Stuck Like Glue" (Does Jennifer Nettles need a new stylist, or what?); and a long video about how much James Durbin – and to a lesser extent, Paul McDonald – loves pro wrestling and idolizes Hulk Hogan. 

We finally get a couple more contestants -- James and Paul -- called to the center of the stage for their results. Ryan positions them carefully, a few feet apart.

"The nation has spoken and both of you guys are not safe," Ryan says. Then adds, "I mean, you're really not safe tonight."

Enter … Hulk Hogan. Paul is excited, but James appears to be having a heart attack.
Then Hulk growls, "I've got some really, really good news and some really, really bad news – the good news is that both of you guys are safe and both of these guys are going on tour. And the bad news is you, Mr. Ryan Seacrest, you're not safe."

Hogan chucks Ryan into the audience and rips off his shirt, the scraps of which are later given to James as a special keepsake as we get more results.

Jacob, Thia and Stefano are called to the stage. Jacob is quickly sent back to the "safe" zone, while Thia and Stefano are both sent to perch on the stools of doom.
 
So there's one chair left as Ryan calls up Naima, Haley and Casey. Naima and Haley have both been in the bottom three – Haley twice – but Casey, an early favorite, never has.

Naima is sent to safety, while Haley and Casey are left to sweat it out. By now, you've probably figured out what's coming, and you're right. It's Casey who's in the bottom three.

"Idol" alum Jennifer Hudson sings a grammatically incorrect but impressively performed song and Thia is sent back to safety.

Leaving Casey and Stefano.

Surely it can't be Casey, right? He's so talented. But we've increasingly got a bad feeling. He's pushed "Idol" boundaries by singing Nirvana and his "Heard It Through the Grapevine" really wasn't terribly good on Wednesday night. Plus a commenter on my recap Thursday totally predicted that he was in danger.

And yes, Ryan breaks the news: "The person with the lowest number of votes and in danger of leaving us tonight is Casey. Stefano, you are safe."

Stefano gets Casey in a clinch, and when he finally lets him go, Casey looks completely shocked. He sings (oh, the irony) "I Don't Need No Doctor," returning to form. Then Randy stops him short. They know what Casey can do, Randy says. He doesn't need to sing.

Steven says, "This is crazy wrong. We made a decision here to keep you on."

The judges have used their one save of the season (of course they did) but Casey starts to hyperventilate and I suddenly become deeply concerned about his health. Maybe he really does need a doctor. "Are you OK, buddy?" Ryan asks.

But Casey recovers enough to chant "I can't believe it. Oh my god. I can't believe it." He thanks the judges, later explaining that he'd never imagined they would use their save for him, especially so early in the season. He hugs his mom and tells Ryan that when Randy stopped him from singing it "scared the stuff out of" him.

Jennifer tells Casey to knock off the growling and "just let people feel your soul" and he'll be OK. "You deserve to be here," she says.

And as the credits roll, Ryan explains that Casey's save means two contestants will be sent home next week, but that Casey will go out on tour this summer with the top 10 finalists, making it a top 11.

For me, the biggest surprise was how badly Casey actually seems to want this "American Idol" thing. I think the voters were punishing him for what has come off in recent weeks as overconfidence and a refusal to kowtow to mainstream tastes. If that's true, his (hospital-related) absence during a results night and Steven's comment about his ego this week probably didn't help.

What about you? Where you surprised by "Idol" tonight? Or did you see it coming?

Full Show Tracker coverage of "American Idol"

-- Amy Reiter

Photo: AMERICAN IDOL: Final 11. Clockwise from top left: Pia Toscano, Stefano Langone, Lauren Alaina, Paul McDonald, James Durbin, Scotty McCreery, Naima Adedapo, Jacob Lusk, Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart and Thia Megia. Credit: Michael Becker / FOX.

 
Comments () | Archives (85)

AMEN, Lori!

Love these 11 contestants and I cant wait for the tour-better than the seasons with Kelly Clarkson and Adam Lambert. Would love to see Jacob & Hayley do a duet with "Youre All I Need" (Marvin Gaye/ Tammy Terrell). Lauren Alaina needs to have belief in herself and not worry about others. We think her voice sounds as wonderful as Faith Hill. Go for it Lauren!

As a first time viewer I feel like so much of this show is "Staged"...hahaha...Did like Stevie Wonder..That was a nice surprise....As for the show last night...Fake it for the ratings!They are low.

I was shocked that Casey was last. Where's your head AI voters? Surely Stefano or Niama should be there instead. I'm glad the judges used their one Save for him. BTW, the show was really great; perhaps the best AI show I've seen.

What really shocked me last night was that Naima is still around for another week. She should have gone at least two weeks ago. Interesting look but ordinary performer. Same for Pia: beautiful but boring. The real performers here are not the best voices, but that's how the pop music business is.

If people are taking his confidence as he has a big 'ego,' then they are nuts. He is confident and when he's on stage..he's nothing then just himself. Just Casey! I think the biggest problem is on that they run into every season...even on So You Think You Can dance. People have their favorites, they watch the show..but don't vote. I am guilty of that. I have got to start voting. People we have to vote!!

And for people who are judging him by his looks...you do not know talent. Your forgetting about the voice. Today, the music world all sounds the same. Music is losing that spark that it once had. Anybody can be famous for dumb songs nowdays. Yet, here on American Idol you have people who have a real talent..yet you want to put them in the same box as everyone else. Vote for talent. Vote for changing music for the better.

Who cares? Stupid game show.

Iam so thankful that the judges used the save for Casey. I knew they would and he was soo grateful, it brought tears to my eyes. He IS an artist. Simple as that. He has so much soul, he just has to try and convey that each and every time. He can growl, but he's got to contain it and control it. He has a bit of work to do, but he's unqiue and he will go far. I think EVERYONE has to start pushing the envelope. Everyone can sing, no doubt about it. But people HAVE GOT TO START PUSHING THEMSELVES other wise a lot of the good people are going to go home soon.

David cook isn't too popular on here. But he really was a contestant on the show who changed it up every week. He took normal everyday songs and made them his own. He changed them up and owned them. People this season have to start owning those songs.

Casey - he will go far if he sticks to his roots. Show America you can sing. And DON'T CUT YOUR BEARD!!
Scotty- he's good. But sadly he will only go so far doing country style songs. He has to step it up. he has a great future in country music.
Pia - she has got to push herself!! She has to let loose and move. Dance. Sing up tempo. She has to do more.
Haley- she's no janis joplin. She has to find out who she is as an artist. Contain that raspyness and work the crowd. Smooth that raspyness out into powerful lyrics.
Thia - keep going with upbeat songs. Start doing more mature songs and owning those songs.
Stefano - your cute, but you have to stop singing power ballads. Work on that connection with the crowd, it's so key.
Jacob - He has to continue to contain his voice. He did great this past week, sing songs great and then keep the people wanting more and then just blow them away with those notes.
Lauren - keep singing great, but start challenging yourself a little bit more. And stop crying!
James - try to work doing a little bit more to distinguish yourself from Adam Lambert. B/c the songs on itunes sound just like Adam. Keep showing America that you can sing
Naima - sing more. Sing everytime like it's your last song. Keep representing for your people and wear your African gear proudly

Thanks for the shout-out, Amy! I did predict Casey in the bottom three, but never would have guessed he'd be dead last. I agree with some of the other posters that he's seemed a little full of himself, but his utter shock at being saved ("It's top 11! Why did you do this?") will go a long way toward redeeming him in the fans' eyes. My new prediction: he'll actually listen to the producers and the judges and do something more restrained and melodic next week. And although it may seem as if the judges used their save early, it was right of them to make sure Casey would be on the tour.

I'm glad the judges told Casey to stop growling - should have told him that the week before. If you remember back to his performance with the bass he is a very talented musician with great timing. The growling was ok when called for in a performance , but to keep it up 3 weeks in a row cost him.

Honestly, I was shocked. And I am not someone who claims to care about reality TV. But this Casey is stupid talented, and head and shoulders above all but a few of the final 11 contestants. How could America get it so wrong? I can only assume people are voting among party lines.

I can't believe some of you are watching the same show--so many comments are nuts!

Naima and Stephano need to go ASAP--they're horrible, and horribly boring.

Thia and Scotty must go.

Some of the other women are so bland, I can't remember their names or any of their performances. Be gone!

Pia? Boring!--but technically proficient. And no, she's not that good looking.

Jacob has the best pipes, but I hate watching him. Still, he's amazing.

Twitch boy? I'm tired of the Lambert-style overuse of the upper registers. Yes dude, we know you have range, but the tone is a bit shrill. I'm also tired of watching the twitchiness!

Casey blew it during the past two weeks--not because he's cocky and over confident, but I suspect he locked into what he thought was a pattern that worked for him. It did when it was fresh, but then it's overuse became annoying. When he sang for his life last night, he sounded awesome. He's the best musician of the bunch, and I think he'll prove the most versatile when he reverts to using the growl as the spice, rather than the meat, of his performances. But dude, package yourself better.

Based purely on "main stream" (boring) vocal ability, Jacob or Pia should win. But who would pay to watch either of them on stage?

I'm shocked that Casey was going to be sent home. Naima and Haley both have been extremely inconsistent and Naima's voice is usually off key and "pitchy" - not always that pleasant to hear. She's visually stunning and a great performer on stage but she might think of either getting singing lessons or giving up that part of her career. I see her more in a dance troop or as an actor - she shows tremendous talent in that aspect. Both ladies were very off-key in the opening number last night and, to succeed, consistency is what matters most.

It never fails to surprise me how superficial and misdirected the american public can be. Not to mention AFRAID of someone who shows confidence in what they are capable of doing.

How on earth do you see any arrogance or ego in Casey Abrams. I see a very talented young man who recognizes that he can sing and is proud of what he's able to do with his voice. If we encourage more young people to be proud of what their good at and to go out and use it what an amazing world we would have. Instead we try to tear them down for it. When you've voted Casey out, who's next, James?

I'm very happy that the judges had an option and were able to be the voices of reason Above those of you voting for the wrong reasons (hair, beard, looks, and personality).

Casey is an amazing talent, one of the best Idol has had and one of the best this year. While this years top 11 are all very good, there are a few who clearly are not as good and do not know how to "bring it" when it's time to perform.

Pia is amazing, but continues to perform to an image she's created of herself as the next Celine or Whitney, not listening to the judges and what they want to see. As another commented earlier Stefano always looks like he's performing to an audience of screeming teens and not listening to what the judges are saying. I do like Haley, Lauren, and Thia, however, they are consistently inconsisent and not in the same level as Casey, James, Scotty, and Jacob who are and should be the top 4 remaining at the end.

@ A Musician: James has Tourette's Syndrome, which means he can't control all those facial tics. Now that you know this, perhaps you will be kind enough to stop calling him "Twitch Boy."

That Sugarland singer Jennier Nettles - you're right! She looked like she took her wardrobe from some clown's closet. Her voice was terrible too. Not terribly shocking after it came out a couple weeks ago that they stole their hit song from Alan Parsons.

That episode hurt in so many ways. Seriously they should have sent Casey home to do us all a favor. they sould have kept the save for someone who desirved it more than Casey did

I agree wuth Ralph Jones

Casey needs to man up. That emoting when he was saved was uncomfortable to watch. He is talented but not American Idol CD selling material. He would be great in a Vegas lounge show playing all his instruments. James is the leader so far and would make a good lead singer for a rock band but not a single. Thia has a beautiful voice, perfect for animated soundtracks. The country boy is ready to go pro now but only for a country audience, not as an Idol. Pia has the looks and the voice, but needs to show she can move and entertain. Haley should be signed for a TV series or the movies. Lauren, country rocker, ready now for Nashville. The gospel singer, has a terrific voice, but again not Idol material. maybe the lead in the Lion King, or broadway musicals. Stefano, another lounge singer in Vegas or Atlantic City. He should try to be the next Jerry Vale. Niama, immensely talented, she could cut a CD right now or she could be in Vegas. Paul has a great voice, and should be a contender. I would buy a CD of his doing Sam Cooke, Elton and Rod Stewart covers.

Casy is not Carrie Underwood good, but deserved the save.

Guess it doesn't bode well for Paul that all you summarizers are forgetting him, but to me he's the only original voice in the bunch. Reminds me of the great, identifiable singers of the 70's -- Rod Stewart, for sure, but also of Marianne Faithful. Holds your attention, knows who he is, feels like he's been doing it for years. Go Paul!

 
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