It's "American Idol" results night, in which 13 finalists will be turned into 12. In honor of the occasion, judge Steven Tyler is wearing a duster coat with fur print lining, and judge Jennifer Lopez is dressed as a jonquil. Judge Randy Jackson just got pulled out of the gym.
On tonight's show, P Puff Diddy Daddy Dirty Money is going to sell some tickets to his upcoming concert tour, and Adam Lambert is going to sing.
The Jennifer Hudson Memorial Judges Save is back, show host Ryan Seacrest announces. That's the gag that allows the judges to save themselves the embarrassment of letting America vote to boot someone really talented from this competition - like we did to Jennifer Hudson lo these many years ago. The Judges Save allows them to bring one person back into the competition, but it can only be used once per season, it has to be unanimous among the judges, and it has to be used before we get down to the Final Five.
Seabiscuit orders someone to open up the screen to "reveal your beloved 13."
Idolette Casey Abrams is back in the hospital. He was in the hospital a couple weeks ago too. Seabiscuit tells us all to wave to Casey. "Feel better - shout out to the nurses!" Seabiscuit says to Casey, who he assumes is watching on TV.
In pre-Casey-in-hospital times, the Idolettes taped their arrival at Chateau d'Idol, a house so ridiculously gigantic it has to be in foreclosure. The entryway alone is large enough to be an RV dealership. The Idolettes tear through the place like they've been released for recess. But there's a nasty surprise waiting for them upstairs - where it's orphanage living. Yes, each Idolette gets one narrow bed in a wide open guy or chick dormitory. We think we saw a pail and scrub brush by each bed.
On the show, they insist Chateau d'Idol in Beverly Hills - on the other hand, they also said Pasadena is in Hollywood. But, enough about West L.A. real estate -- time to Group Lip Synch! It's a Michael Jackson medley because he's not here to defend himself. Scotty McCreery is the only Idolette who does not get a solo bit during the number, though Paul McDonald barely gets one.
"There's a lot going on tonight," Seabiscuit says about 10 minutes in, with absolutely nothing having happened with regard to actual competition.
But, before Seabiscuit breaks the bad to one unlucky Idolette, the Ford Music Video makes its comeback. We love the Ford Music Video, in which the Idolettes learn the hard life lesson about singing for one's supper. This week's Ford Music Video features the Idolettes pulling up in some abandoned urban landscape, hopping out, and defacing a brick wall via some kind of special effects. We think the car model was called The Tagger, but we can't be sure.
In return for the sweat of their brows, the Idolettes get to plug a movie and it looks as though the best "Idol" could do was "Red Riding Hood" because, we hear, "Jane Eyre" turned them down flat.
Flick star Amanda Seyfried is in the audience and Seabiscuit sits his self down next to her while she looks at him like he's the Big Bad Wolf.
"Did you enjoy it?" Seabiscuit wants her to tell him.
"It was the best experience of my life?" Amanda guesses.
This next part is a little painful, but we'll tell it anyway. The Idolettes are taken to stand on the red carpet for the premiere of "RRH," where they ooh and aah over the stars and prose for pictures with Shiloh Fernandez (Owen Camos in the 2009 season of "Gossip Girl"). And then, they were obviously NOT LET IN to the premiere, because we see them reacting to the movie while seated in what's obviously a small screening room. And, probably at midnight they all had to go back to the Chateau d'Idol to scrub the floors.
"The movie looks frightening but nothing is scarier than sitting up here, sweating it out," Seabiscuit says after the movie plug has wrapped.
Jacob Lusk, Karen Rodriguez, and Stefano Langone are brought down on stage and Seabiscuit sets the atmosphere of a show trial where everybody has to apologize for things they may or may not have done. Jacob, with the big voice, jumps out with "I definitely messed up", though his performance was okay, not bad.
Karen who really wasn't very good, attributes it to "a couple technical difficulties" and promises to "totally make it so much better next time." And Stefano says something along the lines of "humble, humble, humble, blessed."
Seabiscuit makes it seem like all three are safe then swings around and sends Karen to the Parrot Perch of Purgatory. She looks crushed. "Idol" for these singers must be like living in the court of the Red Queen, where one minute they're sitting down to tea and the next minute it's off with their heads.
Adam Lambert, our all time favorite "Idol" contestant is back. Okay, we need to qualify that: he's our all-time favorite "Idol" contestant singing other people's music, because now he's performing a number he wrote. It's formless and shapeless and a bit of a tease for the audience, who keeps expecting him to break into one of his powerful high notes but he doesn't and then he does but it's not really the end of the song which drags on for a few more bars.
The number has a nice message of acceptance among humans, and Adam tells Seabiscuit after he's finished singing that money raised from sales of the tune go to the "It Gets Better" project. This project provides hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and other bullied teens by letting them know that "It Gets Better."
Our attention must have wandered because, next thing we know, Seabiscuit, Adam and, JenLo are in a fervent conversation about a dance called The Dougie, even though Adam had performed the entire song sitting down. Well, you snooze you lose on "Idol."
Next, Lauren Alaina, Ashthon Jones, and Haley Reinhart are called to the Court of the Red Queen.
Lauren, who was a whole lot better Wednesday night than the judges let on, hesitates before bursting out with "it was bad and I'm sorry." Then she starts to cry, so Seabiscuit lets up with "unfortunately, darling you are going to have to endure more stress on this show," and sends her to the Sofas of Safety.
Ashthon, who turned in Wednesday night's worst performance, has concluded "the thing that I should have done was pick a song everyone knows" when, in fact, you and I know the correct answer to Seabiscuit's "What do you think went wrong?" question was:
a) should have stayed in tune.
Then Seabiscuit and the judges go all Red Queen on Haley, who turned in a good performance Wednesday night and should not be in the Bottom Three. Randy trots out the old "Idol" chestnut "Who are you -- where are you really?" and advises her to "find your lane," which is not to be confused with that other, opposite, Idol chestnut of "You've got to be true to yourself."
Haley snaps back, "I like to switch it up a lot" which makes us like her even more. But Seabiscuit nonetheless sends Haley to join Ashthon and Karen on the Parrot Perches of Purgatory.
The rest of the Idolettes sitting on the sofas are told they are safe, because the show is quickly running out of time and they've still got one P Puff Diddy Daddy Dirty Money to go.
P Puff Diddy Daddy Dirty Money is a true media mogul, Seabiscuit tells us.
Puffy Money is also strangely animated tonight.
After his number, Seabiscuit drags Puffy Money over to the Sofas of Safety to give the surviving Idolettes what is known as The Talk about the facts of life as a pop singer.
"You get out of life when you put into it," Puffy Money says. Also:
"Keep on practicing, keep on rehearsing." That and keep god in your life, he adds. What did JLo ever see in this guy? Oh wait - that's right, he's a media mogul!
Time to send two of the Bottom Three back to the Sofas of Safety.
"The Person who may be headed home is - Ashthon," Seabiscuit announces.
Now Ashthon, by the cruel tradition of "Idol," is supposed to sing, one last time, for The Judges Save, though you'd think they'd have some kind of second choice, like Howie Mandel would come out and tell her that the man in the booth had authorized her to go home with $5,000 and a Ford Tagger if she wants to leave now.
But, no such luck, and Ashthon elects to sing Diana Ross again so it's diva or die for Ashthon. This time, nerves make her actually worse than Wednesday night - a thing we did not think could be done.
We see a cut-away to the judges table where Randy is going "Psst! Psst! Psst!" in Jen's ear, like they're seriously considering whether to save Ashthon -- or maybe they're comparing contract terms. Anyway, it falls to JLo to tell Ashthon it's over. She turns the knife, telling Ashthon it was unanimous, and they roll the Obituary Tape.
Got "Idol" questions? Join Lisa's TV chat at 1 p.m. Friday.