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

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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.

 
Comments () | Archives (49)

About time Thia and Naima got the ax. Thia has a sweet, lovely voice, but she's not a pop singer; she belongs on Broadway.

Naima should forget about reggae -- too corny for my taste -- and turn to motown. I can see her doing covers of Martha and Vandellas, the Marvelettes, the Supremes, etc. And do something about those teeth.

Pia is beautiful and has a beautiful voice, but as a performer, she's B-O-R-I-N-G. I remember a Patsy Cline bio on a&e a few years ago in which her producer told her quite frankly, "You have a voice made for love songs." Well that's Pia.

No, Scotty has no range, either vocally or stylistically. But what he does have is electrifying basso profundo low notes and simple country charm. Even if he doesn't win, I'm sure Nashville is sold on him.

James just takes over a stage. He's a rocker and easily the best performer of this current crew, and Casey runs a very close second. And if you're tired of all the screeching, don't forget that's what rockers do. Those two are rockers.

And Haley has surprised me by being a bit of a rocker herself. I never would have guessed that she had that in her. Her rendition of Benny and the Jets blew me away. But she has more range as far as material than either James or Casey. She can -- and more importantly, WANTS to -- do the moody ballad stuff too.

Paul is a Rod Stewart wannabe, but he doesn't have nearly the sex appeal of Stewart. He might be the next to go, and if not him, Stefano.

Stefano is an OK singer and an OK performer. What's kept him around this long, I think, is that the girls like him. He's "impossibly cute". But cuteness will take you just so far. You gotta have the goods too, and I don't think Stefano does.

No surprises on the decision. Thia is great but too young, to undeveloped.

My dark horse Haley showed up BIG. Haley will have to continue to have WOW performances to make top 5 and build popularity... I think she can, I think she can, I think she can...

My man Casey just needs to keep playing the audience and build popularity... the man is an incredible music talent and can just plain sing but the contest becomes more and more about popularity as the weeks go on.

Pia will need to do something more than just sing or she is gone. If she comes out of rut should make the top 5.

Lusk is powerful and amazing but if he does not cut the drama he'll not make the top 3. This guy can sing circles around Pia yet she gets all the singing accolades because of her command of the performance.

Scotty is country and this country loves country. Don't know how far he'll go, probably top 3. He has no one really challenging him, maybe Lauren, so competition for him will be all popularity.

Lauren plays the cameras super cute and that is worth a at least a couple more rounds unless she really blows the singing/song aspect of the competition. Can't win with all the other talent.

James is fading unless he can deliver more of who he is and less of the style. That's a tall order because I think he's sweet, simple, and a boy in a man's body who's taking orders from the behind the scenes people. They can deliver performance results but they can't deliver James.

Paul is annoying and will be gone in the next two weeks.

Stefano is improving and can really deliver a song but lacks diversity needed for top 3. Should be gone in the next two weeks.

Too soon to pick a winner but my personal favorites based on ability are Casey and Lusk. Based on personality Casey, Haley and Scotty.

Too bad the judges wasted their save on Casey, he is not that good!!, he did a litlle better this past wednesday but really up until then he was just as bad as Naima. Paul I predict will be next to go. This country likes country music but American Idol is about diversity and representing America and Scotty can't sing anything other than coutnry...too boring for me. So any of these 3 can go this week..

Haley is too phoney and the trying to be sexy is coming off cheap. Naima should have never been in Top 12. Scotty will sell tons of music. Lauren will do well after she matures from the tour. Pia is the most professional and seasoned singer and James is the only one that can rock. Top 4 will be Pia, Scotty, Lauren, James.
Haley and all the others will be voted off over next few weeks.

I think they sent the right two home.
I do not want to watch James Durbin get his much needed excersize on stage much longer, can't stand him, do not see anything outstanding about him,so he can rock out dude, so what,68% of american males were probably doin the exact same thing while watching.
I also feel pretty much the same way about Jacob Lusk,although he has a good voice,watching him sing is disgusting,Its like watching a rhino yawn.
Pia Toscano, nice voice but nothing unique or outstanding...more like warm vanilla pudding.
I LOVED Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreerys duet and I think each of them are star material.
Haley Reinhart ruled last week.
As did Casey Abrams, I just love his voice.

Oh I almost forgot Paul McDonald which is obviously easy to do...his father would't be that McDonald that dresses up like an old time cowboy and had a hit back in the 70's like wildfire or one of those songs would he??? It wouldn't surprise me and he's just about as interesting!

My top 4 pic is:
Lauren Alaina,Scott McCreery,Haley Reinhart,Casey Abrams.
Haven't decided which I think will win,But if America votes with there ears and eyes and gauges on tatent and no other reason it should be one of these 4.

Oh excuse me I meant THEIR ears, My appologies!!!

Scotty keep the country going your realy good and one day you will be a star.Really you already are.Try to see if you can sing Paint me a Birmingham please.

 
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