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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)

Hmmmhhhh, not sure what is more shocking, Casey with the lowest votes or Naima still in the competition??!!!
I don't think I personally would buy a record from Casey, but I like what he brings on the table, very unique!!! I'm more shocked Naima is still there, one of the worst I've seen on Idol since years!!!!
My favorites are James, Pia and Scotty!!!

I already posted here, but after reading more of these comments, I have to add something. Casey has an unusual voice; it isn't necessarily "pretty", but it's who he is. So much of today's pop music sounds the same, and so many of the artists are cookie-cutter types just out for the stardom and fame and the big bucks. They have no idea how to perform without a choreographer or how to connect with lyrics or with an audience. Casey has so much soul...he really *feels* his lyrics. He also absolutely OWNS a stage and knows how to work an audience. And his voice is unique. Yes, this is a singing competition, but this is pop singing and pop singing is at least as much about the performance as about the voice.

I personally think that Casey deserved to stay and also I never vote for anybody because I think that America usually gets it right...but he did not deserve to be in the bottom 3 so I will definitely vote next time. I know a lot of people that watch the show but don't vote, and they were all surprised at the outcome...so I am pretty sure the people that didn't vote before will vote now.

I was not surprised by the vote outcome, but am surprised that people are assuming that Casey is in the upper tier. He is the one I most want to go home. I was so happy when he was almost gone then disappointed. So tired of looking at his large head, pubic hair face, big ego and unimpressive vocals. I think he will get a sympathy vote outpouring by his fans next week and then will go home in 2-3 weeks.

love casey & cannot stand scotty

I'm diametrically opposed to this notion that Casey is cocky. He's been hospitalized TWICE for stomach ulcers triggered by stress. If he's so confident, why would he be under so much anxiety?

Besides that Casey is mega-talented, no sane person alive would argue otherwise. I just think he was diverting a little too much from what made him so popular in the first place--that freshness and surprise and his fans were getting a little to smug. This, as dramatic as it was, was what Casey needed, and I suspect he'll be ascending right back up to the top as a favorite with his next performance. Can't wait.

Speaking of screeching the words, Jason does it right along with Casey.
Just sing the song.

I am a Casey fan and I am glad the judges used the save. I knew if it would come down to losing someone good like him,Jacob, Paul, or James that they would use it if they had to. There is nothing wrong with Casey. He something fresh that we have not seen before. That seems to be something that people can't really except. Come on, people! When being different or having a different style, apperance, or anything make someone less talented. *I agree that we have to start voting. With Casey's fans voting and him working on staying focused and bringing out that 'great Casey crazy' and control his tone..then he's golden. Top 4!

Naima and Jacob are the awful, out of tune screamers. Even my dog cringes when they try to sing. Leave your "African" Dance and "Gospel" screeching for another show. There are a few contestants this season that need to be performing at Disney World, the Love Boat or on Broadway...not on American Idol. No different than Lady GaGa wanting to be a Country Music Star....that boat won't even float.

Casey CAN"T SING! He should not have been saved over Ashton and Karen! He just talks and rants like a preacher through a song that is NOT SINGING! Any one can sing like that!

I do not see him as a person with a big ego. In some ways, he seems a little insecure. It is very obvious that he is stressed and wants to win just like everyone else. I think he is funny and a REAL musician. He is different and a wonderful entertainer. I was really shocked to see him on the bottom three. But I hope he learns from this and knocks the socks off of everyone this next week. I love his style and he has a sense of music that is excellent. I want to see Pia sing first next week. It is her turn.

@ThatGirlAtTheParty, I can see how you might have that opinion about Casey, his last two weeks were bordering on unwatchable. But really? Ashton and Karen? Sorry I'm afraid I didn't notice their talent, I was so distracted/disgusted by the over pandering by both to notice.

@ A Musician, I appreciate the frankness of your critiques but good god man, Pia not that good looking? :0 ...tough crowd LOL

Scotty and Jacob unfortunately have fallen into my FFC (Fast Forward Category). I acknowledge that they definitely have talent but, seems I've been there done that with them...I might with Pia too....but sorry Musician, I likey likey.

James is keeping strong, he has to be especially careful with song choice, he has to try and keep it real with the rock but tread that pop sensibility lightly. So har he's hit it out of the park. I'm rooting for him.

Surprised? I don't know anymore. Idol always has something going on that has people questioning if the show is rigged or the results are predetermined. I do know this much. Casey is a mediocre singer and should have been axed. What a waste of that save! The voters made it unanimous! I'm surprised that McDonald is still there. He can't carry a note! Thia is amazing in her talent and yet she ends up in the bottom three?? Is America tone deaf? That girl will come out on top with or without Idol. Mark my words. Earlier in this race I wasn't impressed by most of these singers but what makes Idol so interesting is watching how some of these young talents mature with each passing week. The material each contestant sings is so important to determine their singing capabilities. Let's hope they are vigilant in keeping within their means as singers!

Whoa,totally shocked Casey was last! My husband is a musician,we both like him alot! Oh,it's not ulcers he has,I read he has colitis,which is a serious disease that's hard to control. Poor guy,hope last night doesn't trigger more symptoms. Loved the show,lots of suprises!

I agree with both parties, ie, the American vote - Casey was not at his top form, and the judges - he should be saved. Now it is completely up to Casey. Be interesting what America does with him this time around.

On another note, Stefano was no prize either. Absolutely no feeling. Thia, great voice but nothing else! The point, 30 million did NOT get it wrong.

Casey has not struck me as an egotistical person. Rather, he has impressed me with his natural musical talents -- both in voice and on instruments. Good call Judges. I have to vote once in a while myself to mitigate the American reality show watching masses who will vote for Bristol Palin type talents because they're told to.

I can not believe the judges wasted a SAVE! He can not even sing! My dog growls betters! Hes friggin ugly!

Aren't the judges going to feel crunchy when this week Casey gets the lower votes AGAIN! Or is American voting ? If he stays then I'm done with it cause that will mean He is going to win and there are BETTER singers then him!

Seriously - the only reason that they said 11 would go was because of the save. AI is not stupid, Casey has health issues so they can't count on him for the tour of 10. The producers are just looking for ratings.

Now that the judges' save has been used, how ELSE will Ryan manage to stretch out the announcement of who's going home??

 
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