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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 04/15/2011

‘American Idol’ 2011: Paul pays the piper


Did Paul make it through another performance night? (Michael Becker - Fox)

A staggering 53 million votes were cast Wednesday night, “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest announces at the start of Thursdays results show.

In other big news, they’ve done away with the Group Sing again – thank you “American Idol”!

Instead, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery come out to sing a little country number, “American Honey.” Scotty is once again holding his microphone like it’s a fife and he’s part of a Revolutionary War re-enactment event at which Washington’s troops are singing Lady Antebellum tunes.

The life of an Idolette is a “lifestyle no one wants to depart,” Seacrest says, by way of segueing to the making of this week’s Ford Music Video. It’s about zombies. Zombies drive Fords. Somewhere in the studio audience an ad agency creative type is saying to his friends: “I sold that to Ford with a one-word pitch: Zombies!” Anyway, the Idolettes had a great time – big fans of prosthetic makeup.

Next, Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams sing a jazzy duet to “Moanin’.” They’re cute as buttons, and so good they get a standing O from the studio audience and the show’s three judges: Randy Jackson, who’s dressed a day early for Casual Friday, Jennifer Lopez, who’s wearing a gold-plated sundress that says “Inca sacrificial virgin at the beach.” Steven Tyler is wearing a shirt in black and white that looks like a Xerox copy of a Steven Tyler shirt.

How good are Haley and Casey? They’re so good Seacrest decides to have the judges critique their performance, as though this were Wednesday night.

“Yo, Haley! Whassup! That’s how you do it! Where was all of that? Oh! My! God!”

That was Randy.

“You sound like you’ve been doing it all your lives!” raves JLo.

“You just summed up what I always knew. Thank you for whipping that out on us,” Tyler adds archly.

The four duet singers are lined up center stage. Casey’s “Nature Boy” of Wednesday gets him to safety! Either that or hipsters rewired the AT&T text-messaging system! Scotty and Lauren are safe too. But Haley once again finds herself in the Bottom 3 and has to go sit on the Pedestals of Probation. Hey, it’s a chick thing on “Idol.” Since they culled the crowd down to the Top 13, every week another chick has gone home.

As part of their ongoing showbiz education, the Idolettes get schooled by Rob Reiner on a traditional Hollywood skill: shtick.

Reiner sings some funny lyrics he made up to the theme song from “Chariots of Fire,” tells a few jokes that fall flat and yet, somehow, are wonderful, and offers to answer any question. Casey asks if there’s a hope for him to be as good as Jack Black who, Casey says, acts well and sings well. This looks like a setup for a punch line but Reiner lets him off easy with “Jack Black would be very happy to hear he sings well.” Reiner advises him to go for the image of “Seth Rogen’s younger bass-playing brother.”

Reiner signs off by saying “Thanks for listening to an old, fat Jew.” Next week in the Idolette’s showbiz education: Ari Emanuel shows them how to scream into a phone.

Jason Aldean and first-season “Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson take the stage to sing their new tune, “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” After their number, Seacrest asks Kelly about her tweet about Casey.

“He’s certainly delicious – he’s cute,” Clarkson grinned. She’s got more to say on the subject but Seacrest cuts her off, explaining he’s on a tight schedule, so he’s “got to get right to it.”

“Just like a man,” Clarkson says. Oh snap!

And guess what Seacrest’s got to get right to? Introducing an extended clip from the new flick “Cowboys & Aliens.” Somewhere in the audience a writer turns to his friends and says, “I sold that script with a three-word pitch: cowboys and aliens!”

Next, it’s time for Jacob Lusk, Stefano Langone, Paul McDonald, and James Durbin – Los Lonely Boys – to mash together two Simon and Garfunkel tunes from “The Graduate: “The Sound of Silence” and “Mrs. Robinson.” Then it’s judgment time for the quartet. Paul, of the pearly whites, is in the Bottom 3, as is Stefano, of the perpetual performance squint.

Before the ousted Idolette is announced, here comes Rihanna to sing her new hit “California King Bed” on a set with giant sheets hanging from the ceiling and power yoga dancers pulling on the sheets till they fall down. The same thing happened to us at Bed, Bath & Beyond all the time. Rihanna, as usual, makes the most of her limited vocal range and unlimited legs.

It’s The Moment of Truth: Haley is safe! The Chromosomal Curse is lifted!

Then, Stefano cheats doom one more time, leaving Paul to claim the distinction of the first Guydolette “to leave the Idol stage” since the Top-13 were selected, says Seacrest.

JLo has a special request: she wants Paul to sing “Maggie May” as his swan song. But the “Idol” band has read her mind -- they’re already started the tune before she announces her request. And for the last time we see Paul do “a cool dude in a loose mood”, as Tyler called him, and sign off in a blaze of teeth.

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 04/15/2011

 
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