It was an emotional night in the Idoldome tonight, as presumptive frontrunner James Durbin was sent home in the time-honored shocking elimination spot previously occupied by the likes of Tamyra Gray and Chris Daughtry. We didn’t see that one coming — after last night, we would’ve picked The Durbz as the only one who was an absolute lock for the Top 3. What happened? We may never know. But here’s how it went down:
Judge fashion check! Randy in a black pleather jacket, Jennifer in rather fetching forest-green sequins, Steven in a screen-printed black and white ensemble.
After Ryan let us know that last night was the highest vote totals for a Top 4 ever (almost 72 million!), we were treated to a recap of last night’s performances, in case you’d forgotten. Seeing as last night was, y’know, yesterday, we hadn’t forgotten, so let’s move on.
The first musical number of the night was a duet between Scotty and James. Apparently they couldn’t meet in the middle musically, because they sang Brad Paisley’s “Start a Band.” The Durbz totally embraced the country tune, affecting a twang, which was hilarious. Haley and Lauren followed with a duet of their own, and it seems tonight’s episode was about making Lauren and Scotty look good, because the girls also sang a country song: Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.” For what it’s worth, the girls sounded way better than the guys.
Next on the agenda was a little product placement featuring the Top 4 talking to family at home through the power of Windows 7. It was kind of silly, but kind of cute, and we did enjoy seeing Hunter, James’ adorable son.
Time for the first results of the evening! With one billion musical performances to get through tonight, Ryan didn’t have time to waste jerking the contestants around, so he quickly told us that the first person in the Top 3 was... Lauren! Lauren hightailed it over to the shimmering golden stools — because tonight, they’re not Stools of Shame, they’re Stools of Success.
Speaking of success, next up was Lady Gaga’s performance. If you’re a Little Monster, you probably will have realized that it was a clip from her HBO Monster Ball Special and have already watched it 500 times anyway. If not, she performed “You and I” off her upcoming album Born This Way and played piano while wearing a leather bikini and thigh-high boots. Either way, it was awesome.
Next up: more music! Enrique Iglesias was in the house to perform a medley of his new single “Dirty Dancer” as well as his hit “I Like It.” It was another one of those performances that makes you think it’s ironic that they’re on a singing show — oodles of Autotune, which is weird because Enrique can actually sing. Regardless, the performance was a ton of fun, with a balloon drop and some of The Durbz’s pyro.
After this week’s Ford commercial, we got one more musical performance, this time courtesy of Season 6 Idol champ Jordin Sparks. Jordin, who was 17 when she won, is 21 now, and the difference is wildly apparent. Ms. Sparks has gone full Beyonce, performing in a short dress with a tiny fringe skirt. Her new single, “I’m a Woman,” was kind of grating, but she looked gorgeous.
Before we could get any more results, we were treated to the world premiere of the new video by our very own Steven Tyler. Bellydancers, jetskis, monkeys, elephants, a vulture, a scuba diver... we’re not exactly sure what the concept was, but it looked pretty awesome. It also looked more like a commercial than a music video (disregarding that all music videos basically are commercials).
Ryan proceeded to totally give away the next set of results by making sure to note that people this season have been talking about how great the guys are, and sure enough, the next person into the Top 3 was... Haley! Well, yay, but also OMG! Pretty shocking, especially since Lauren was already in. That left Scotty and James, our two season-long frontrunners, in jeopardy.
After a commercial break, we came back to find The Durbz already in tears, while Scotty just looked nauseous. Who would’ve guessed one of those guys wouldn’t make the Top 3? Nobody. But that’s how the votes went, and the final person in the Top 3 was... Scotty McCreery.
James was obviously heartbroken, but he held his head high and went out gracefully. "I worked so damn hard to get here and I was really hoping to get there, but I had a feeling today... I did so much stuff that's never been done on this show before,” he told Ryan. “In my eyes and in my mind, I did what I came here to do and that was to give metal a chance!”
He chose “Maybe I’m Amazed” for his singout, and while his voiced wavered, it was, as the judges said a few weeks ago, “emotionally perfect.” He worked the crowd, hugged Casey Abrams, and paused mid-song to kiss his fiance. When he finished the performance, back at center stage, he did one of his split leaps in the air, and after he came down, he thanked the audience.
“This is amazing! Amazing!” he yelled.
And it was, in fact, amazing.
So what do you think, Wetpaint-ers? Are you happy with the Top 3, or was James robbed? (Don’t kill us, but we would’ve sent Lauren home.) How about those guest performances? And Steven Tyler’s new video? Let us know what you think in the comments!