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'American Idol' results: One goes home, and one goes missing [Updated]

March 10, 2011 |  7:27 pm

_RAY7456 Even before one finalist was eliminated on Thursday night's "American Idol," as the top 13 was about to shrink to an even dozen, one contestant was missing: Casey Abrams, who had been hospitalized for stomach pains just two weeks ago, was apparently back in the hospital. (Fox is not saying why, or whether Casey is expected to return.)

"You'll notice that Casey is missing from the group. He is unfortunately sick and in the hospital right now," Ryan Seacrest announced as the show began. "We know you're watching, buddy. Feel better. Shout out to the nurses. Get back here soon, OK?"

[Updated at 8:30 a.m.: Casey Abrams tweeted last night that he's "feeling better": "i got some nice fresh blood in me and feeling better. People at Idol & cedars are treatin me real good."]

And as the show moved on, you could forgive yourself for being a little distracted. Casey was surely in no danger of being eliminated Thursday night, after having turned in a performance of "With a Little Help from My Friends" that inspired Steven Tyler to call him "a rainbow of talent" and Jennifer Lopez to say he was "somebody important," but it would have been lovely to see him bask in his next-day glory. Plus, the crushing of an "American Idol" hopeful's dream can be a somber business, and I, for one, could have used Casey's scruffy sparkle and sly humor to liven up the proceedings.

Get back there soon, buddy, OK?

So, to borrow more "Idol" vernacular, whose dream ended Thursday night? Who did more than 30 million votes opt to send home?  [For the record at 8:30 a.m.: An earlier version of this post stated it was 30 million voters but has been changed to reflect the number of votes, not voters.

After a giddy tour of the Beverly Hills mansion in which the "Idol" finalists are bunking this year; a better-than-average group medley; a Ford music video; an extended promo for the movie "Red Riding Hood," in which the contestants could be seen gushing over Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried (who was also in the "Idol" audience during the results show), Shiloh Fernandez, and red carpet glitz and glamour in general, Ryan finally segued from the horror movie back to the matter at hand.

"The movie looks frightening but nothing is scarier than sitting here sweating it out," he reminded us, before he carefully -- then all too quickly -- collected the bottom three: Karen Rodriguez was first. Then –- after Adam Lambert gave an acoustic performance of "Aftermath" and Dougie danced with Jennifer Lopez (or at least promised to) -- Ashthon Jones and Haley Reinhart joined Karen in purgatory.

The tense trio sat there looking glum as Diddy Dirty Money performed and Diddy himself dispensed some remarkably generic life advice – "You get out of life what you put into it. Keep on practicing. Keep rehearsing. ... Don't stop. Don't ever stop."

Then, finally, the bottom three learned their fates. For Ashthon, the news was not good. And after she sang a reprise of the Diana Ross song that had sunk her once, the news was even worse: The judges wouldn't use their one save of the season on her. Ashthon -- who just last week was being hailed by the judges as a baby diva -- was headed home.

Jennifer, looking a little teary herself, reluctantly broke the news to a weepy Ashthon: "Not this time, baby. I'm sorry. And it was unanimous. I'm sorry. And you know I was rooting for you, baby. I'm sorry."

And so Ashthon departs, and the rest of the 12 (please come back, Casey) move on to the next round.


'American Idol' recap: The top 13 try their luck

'American Idol' picks the top 12 ... or 13?

'American Idol' recap: Top 12 'ladies' take their turns

'American Idol' recap: 12 talented men take the stage

-- Amy Reiter

Photo: Casey Abrams performs on "American Idol" on Wednesday. Credit: Ray Mickshaw / Fox