It was the best of times, it was the worst of times — while Rock and Roll Hall of Fame week brought some terrific performances, it also brought this season’s most shocking — and undeserved — elimination.
Judge fashion check! Steven and Randy both in monochromatic ensembles, Jennifer looking stunning as usual in red, with her hair in a high bun.
Things started off on a high (or at least entertaining) note, as the Top 9 kicked off the night with a rock and roll medley that included “I Love Rock ‘N Roll,” “The Letter,” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” There were a few technical issues sprinkled throughout, but hey, at least it means they were singing live. Cheesy goodness, y’all!
Product placement time! Ford music video and then Russell Brand as a “charisma coach” so he could promote his remake of Arthur (which we admit looks kind of cute).
Next, it was time for the first set of results. Dim the lights! Ryan called Lauren, Casey, and Stefano to center stage, and after a brief fakeout with Casey, Stefano made his way to the Stools of Shame. No surprise there, really.
For the night’s first guest performance, Season 4 Idol finalist (and current theater dude) Constantine Maroulis performed kind of a rockin’ take on the classic “Unchained Melody.” Connie’s stage presence still occasionally borders on a little skeevy, but his vocals made up for it — the Tony-nominee sounded terrific. After the performance, Constantine urged people to go see Rock of Ages on tour (it’s a great show, by the way, we recommend it!) and showed off his adorable baby daughter, Malena.
After a quick behind-the-scenes segment in which Gwen Stefani helped the girls choose their clothes for last night’s performance (Gwen looked great, but did anyone else think the girls hated all the clothes?), it was time for more results, as Ryan called Paul, Scotty, and Pia to center stage. Scotty was safe, of course, which left Paul and Pia waiting. “And just like last week, I’m going to send [Paul]... to safety,” Ryan said, which meant that Pia was making her first (and, spoiler alert: last!) appearance in the Bottom 3. Lots of boos from the crowd — and hilariously, a boo from the crowd when Ryan introduced the next segment: the finalists receiving media training from TMZ. The segment was worthy of the “boo” it received, so we won’t recap it, although we would like to high-five Casey for getting in a “your mom” joke at Harvey Levin’s expense.
After that thrilling segment, Ryan called James, Haley, and Jacob to center stage in order to reveal the last set of results. First James was announced as safe, and then Haley, which meant that the Lusky Stank was Bottom 3-bound. As we cut to commercial, Jacob was clearly appalled to find himself on the Stools of Shame. Apparently, America really wasn’t ready to look at themselves in the mirror. Lesson: never diss sex and/or Marvin Gaye, Jacob!
Something amazing happened next: Iggy Pop, shirtless and snakelike and 100 percent out of place, tore up the Idol stage on “Wild One,” which was a Top 10 hit for him in 1987. It was by far the most out-of-left-field guest performance we’ve seen on AI this season... or possibly ever. And it rocked!
And then... and then... things got even crazier, as first Jacob, and then Stefano were announced safe, which meant that our Pretty Princess Pia Toscano was out. Whoa! While we’ve been tough on Pia for her lack of personality, she had quite possibly the best pipes in the competition. The whole room pretty much fell apart at the announcement — the camera cut away just in time to miss Randy mouthing obscenities, most of the finalists were in tears, and the audience went nuts. While we were thrilled that the judges saved Casey two weeks ago, we couldn’t help but wonder if they wished they’d held on to their save for tonight.
Ryan asked Pia to sing us out, and she chose to perform “I’ll Stand By You.” On the verge of tears, Pia turned in probably her most passionate performance ever on the show. As she finished, the other contestants ran over to hug her, and you could hear her sobbing into someone’s mic. Aww.
So that’s what went down. Noteworthy: All of the eliminated finalists so far have been females. The Top 8 consists of six guys and two girls (and who could’ve predicted that Haley would be one of the last women standing?). We guess Lauren and Haley had better watch their backs!