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'American Idol' results: Which two contestants did Elton John trip up?

March 31, 2011 |  7:50 pm

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"American Idol" results are in, and the top 11 has shrunk to the top 9. In the video montage that started the show, we were warned (via graphics on a piano, in a presumed nod to Elton John, whose songs the contestants tackled Wednesday night): "And you won't believe / who is going home."

Normally, I'd assume that was just the usual "Idol" hyperbole. But after last week's results show, in which the talented Casey Abrams appeared to be in serious danger of not just going home, but perhaps going back to the hospital, when the judges breathed new life into his Idol hopes, I did have a few quivers of doubt. After all, as Ryan Seacrest reminded us, "No more saves, no more second chances, and no one can escape the outcome of more than 55 million votes … a new record at this stage of the competition."

Would we lose another favorite, rather than two of the expendables? Or even ... two favorites?

Fortunately, we didn't have long to wait for at least some preliminary results.

After Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery sang what was actually a really nice duet of "I Told You So," Ryan got right to it, ushering them to the center of the stage, "right up front."

"After the nationwide vote," he told them. "Both of you get another chance to impress. Congratulations, you can take a seat."

Then, after a particularly forgettable Ford music video (I remember only a falling gargoyle, caught by Casey, and a glowy-eyed Naima Adedapo) and some chitchat in which the newly trimmed Casey says he's a "beardy kind of guy" and James Durbin shows off a custom-made WWE world champion belt someone sent him, Naima and Jacob Lusk perform "Solid as a Rock." I spend the whole song trying to figure out if Naima did definitely have work done on her teeth (as well as having undergone some eyebrow-shaping improvement), and musing on how, last year, Crystal Bowersox refused to let them fix her teeth, only to have the work done once the "Idol" season was over. That unpredictable Crystal …

But not at all difficult to predict: Naima is in the bottom three. "Jacob," Ryan says. "You are safe."

Season 3 winner Fantasia performs "Collard Greens & Cornbread," looking like a million bucks in a sparkly red dress, with a giant blonde curl on top of her head, and declares her love for Steven Tyler as she finishes her song.

Ryan leads her over to dispense some advice to the remaining contestants. "Only one thing?" she asks, like she's been saving up a few tips. Ryan tells her yes, "due to time." And so she squishes it all in as fast as she can: "Love what you do and that is music … Keep good people with you … people who are going to tell you when you're wrong and when you're right … It's not always peaches and cream. It's not always good, but because you love music, you can do it."

Haley Reinhart, Pia Toscano and Thia Megia perform Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," making me think of how great Darren Criss' performance of that song was on "Glee," but also how much better Pia and Haley are than Thia, who looks a little tacked on next to them.

Lo and behold, Pia is safe, Haley is safe, and Thia is sent to join Naima on the purgatory stools.
 
Look, Kris Allen is in the audience. Look, the Idols are meeting Reba McEntire, Kelly Clarkson and Muhammad Ali at a charity event. Look, there's Lauren Alaina falling down the stairs. Look, the mansion the Idols have been staying in is actually possibly made of cardboard. Look, the Idols are getting primped and spray-tanned.

Then Paul McDonald, Casey, Stefano Langone and James step up to perform a not-bad version of "Band on the Run," and Steven offers them a gig opening up for Aerosmith next year.

But before they can think too hard about Steven's (possibly serious?) invitation, Ryan gives them some results: Casey, is safe. "My friend, if you knew how many [votes] you got, you'd be proud," Ryan says, rushing to deliver the good news, perhaps for fear of a worrisome replay of last week. "You are safe. Congratulations."

James is also safe, which leaves Stefano and Paul, one of whom will be in the bottom three. And that person is – mildly surprising – Paul.

Jamie Foxx and will.i.am perform a song from the movie "Rio" featuring some Busby Berkeley-esque choreography. And Ryan finally asks for a dimming of the lights.

The two people who will go home are …

Thia and Naima.

The camera alights on Lauren Alaina, face streaked with tears, but me? I can't say I'm surprised or terribly sorry to see either of them go. And you? Will you miss Thia and Naima? Or not so much?

Full Show Tracker coverage of "American Idol"

-- Amy Reiter

Photo: Final 10 plus one: Clockwise from top left: James Durbin, Paul McDonald, Pia Toscano, Scotty McCreery, Jacob Lusk, Stefano Langone, Lauren Alaina, Casey Abrams, Naima Adedapo, Haley Reinhart and Thia Megia. Credit: Michael Becker / FOX.

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