Scotty McCreery had to find a country song from the 90s for Song From the Year You Were Born Week. (Ray Mickshaw/Fox)

Twelve will become 11 on “American Idol” tonight. As befits this solemn occasion, judge Jennifer Lopez is wearing a doily that she has had made into a very short dress. Judge Steven Tyler is dressed as one of those middle-aged ladies who lunch, who is attending an evening art gallery opening. Judge Randy Jackson has grown a Van Dyke, and host Ryan Seacrest is wearing a gorgeous suit.

Because this week was the annual Songs from the Year They Were Born nightmare, we are subjected to a baby picture of last year’s “Idol” winner Lee DeWyze. We are also going to be subjected to a DeWyze performance, later in the night, Seabiscuit warns us

And, we get to learn get to learn what each of the Idolettes had to say when asked what, as toddlers, they wanted to be when they grew up.

James Durbin, who we are growing to loathe, wanted to be a pro wrestler.

Scotty McCreery wanted to be an astronaut but his brains were not astronaut material, he says. Jacob Lusk wanted to be a TV journalist.

Okay, is anyone going to give the right answer?

Thia Megia says she always wanted to be a singer.


Pia Toscano comes close, explaining that, “growing up I always knew I had to be on stage” as we once again see that video of her as a tot, singing a tune while staring menacingly at the camera.

Tonight, one of them will have his or her “American Idol” dream dashed.

But first, it’s time for Idolette Group Lip Synch. But, what’s this? Are they actually singing live? Or have the producers deliberately made the sound so bad on the pre-recorded song we will think it’s live? Is there no end to the “Idol” mind games?

After a few things are sold in commercials, we visit the land of Ford Music Videos. This time we’re at a drive-in where all the cars are Fords, and the Idolettes are simultaneously in the cars watching the movie, and in the movie itself. It’s like some Stephen King plot if he were in car marketing. James Durbin, is totally believable as the serial killer while Karen Rodriguez and Haley Reinhart play BFFs, until Stefano Langone shows up and begins to huge Haley -- a lot. No kissing, of course, because music mogul Jimmy Iovine had made all the Idolettes take the no-kissing vow after they all started to get sick at Chateau d’Idol.

Once the video wraps, Seabiscuit notes this is the 10th anniversary of “American Idol” and pulls an Oprah, telling everyone in the studio audience to look under their seats. They pull out American Idol 10th Anniversary Compilation CD’s. It’s not a trip to Australia, or a Pontiac, but it seems to make them very happy.

Now it’s time to learn more things about the Idolettes. Karen Rodriguez can make adorable little noises in her throat. Thia collects quarters – she really is scary. Scotty can wiggle his ears. Casey Abrams can moonwalk. Paul McDonald has a 14-year-old “wiener dog.”

Pia has a dog too. Her dog can sing. Her dog is a shih tzu. When Pia says “shih tzu” the American Idol Decency Police hit the Bleep Button in a panic. We officially dare Seth MacFarlane to do an episode of “Family Guy” in which they rescue a stray shih tzu.

And finally, just when you didn’t think it was ever gonna happen, Seabiscuit starts the whack-an-Idolette process.

Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina, and Casey are called to the middle of the stage. Seabiscuit notes the judges thought Jacob had some pitch problems the previous night and asks Randy how one overcomes pitchiness.

“You have to know what the note is,” Randy pontificates. Randy’s like those football coaches who, when asked in interview how he plans to handle the team his guys are facing in this week’s big game, reveals, “Well, we gotta move the football down the field.”

But JenPez thinks the only way to overcome pitchiness is to be able to actually hear yourself singing while the “Idol” band is working overtime to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We’re going to work on that,” she says, looking stern.

We would not want to be that band right now. Seabiscuit decides to change the subject quickly and tells Jacob he’s safe.

He notes Lauren has been sick and decides to make her feel much better by telling her she’s safe too.

Only Casey is left. Does anyone think he’s in danger this week? Yes, we graded his Kurt Cobain performance Wednesday night on a curve because he’d had less time to rehearse, having spent a few days in the hospital being treated for something called ulcerative colitis. And:

colitis + beard/nerd parents = sympathy.

Anyway, Casey’s safe. Duh.

Next, Haley and Paul are put on the spot. Paul is safe; Haley’s in the Bottom 3. Had Haley been wearing those shorts she’s wearing now when she performed the night before, she would not be in the bottom three. Live and learn.

You know what would cheer up Haley right about now? Hearing last year’s winner, Lee DeWyze perform, to remind her how someone can win this competition and yet not do so well with record sales as, say, the runner up.

Out comes Lee DeWyze. He’s just like we remember him. Actually, we didn’t remember him and now we remember how forgettable he was.

Scotty, Pia, and James. No tension here – they’re the three least likely to be sent to the Parrot Perches of Purgatory.

Pauls’ declared safe.

Pia’s declared safe.

James is declared safe. “And the legend grows!” James says in his head as he struts back to the Sofas of Safety.

Stefano and Naima Adepapo are brought to the center of the stage. It’s been a long week so we’ll cut this short: Stefano’s safe and Naima joins Haley on a Parrot Perch of Purgatory. Naima, as always, is dressed in a riot of color. Her voting bloc is heavily made up of HDTV set owners who want to feel good about their purchases. We hope she survives.

Karen and Thia are the last two to be brought to center stage. Thia is thumbing her nose at the judges by braiding her hair and sticking some feathers in it – a sly reference to her performance of “Pocahontas” treacle tune, “Colors of the Wind” Wednesday night, for which the judges nicked her mightily. Tonight, she also disagrees with the judges, in re their “we don’t know who you are” complaints. Chick’s got gumption.

Time to bring out the Black Eyed Peas, in the world premiere of their tune “Just Can’t Get Enough” which they say they are performing as a tribute to the courage of the people in Japan. I know whenever I hear the words:

Boy I think about it every night and day,

I’m addicted, wanna jump inside your love,

I wouldn’t wanna have it any other way

I’m addicted and I just can’t get enough

I think about the thousands who have died and the tens of thousands left homeless by the devastating earthquake that triggered an epic tsunami that triggered a potential nuclear disaster.

And, nobody can shimmy for Japan like Fergie. But what has she done to her face?

The Peas are so 2010. Why didn’t “Idol” instead have that Rebecca Black chick perform – you know, the teen automaton with the viral hit “Friday.” She’s brought the magic back to reciting the days of the week, like we first felt with the Peas “I Got A Feeling.”

Seabiscuit reminds viewers how they can text in a $10 dollar donation to the Red Cross for Japan relief efforts. It’s finally time to whack an Idolette: Naima, Karen, or Haley.

In short, Karen’s out, unless the judges play their Save Card. While she sings one last time, the judges pretend to huddle, instead of listening to her last performance. The producers have got to work on this.

“Uh, this is not unanimous,” Randy announces when the tune is over.

Bye bye, Karen.