“American Idol” results night opens with the remaining five Idolettes at a photo shoot. They are enjoying their little moments of fame and attention, posing for the cameras, primping in mirrors, then the title card drops.


But first the producers want to play a game of Judges Entrance Charade with us.. Hmmm, let’s see, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are decked out in pewter-colored vaguely military-ish outfits, while Randy Jackson is in polished black leather. The gift shop at Colonial Williamsburg!

View Photo Gallery: The 11th season of “American Idol.”

Tonight’s guest performers: Coldplay and “Idol”Alumni Club Honorary Chairwoman Carrie Underwood.

Host Ryan Seacrest wants to start off with results right now. Call Joshua Ledet to the center stage, alone.

We see bits of Joshua’s two performances from Wednesday night. Mentor In Chief and Reality Checker Jimmy Iovine thought Josh’s first number last night, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” was merely “fantastic,” but on his second number “To Love Somebody,” Iovine says “the sky opened.”

“This year, that was the best performance on ‘American Idol’,” Iovine adds, and repeats his amazement that Josh learned the song for the first time in 15 minutes during a break in rehearsal yet “sounded like he was singing it for 30 years.” And he pledges that Interscope, the record label that he heads and that is going to sign Joshua no matter what, apparently, will “do everything we can not to drop this ball” and get Josh the right material to have a great singing career.

Well, no surprise here, Josh is safe.

“Now, we have a fairytale for you,” Seacrest says. That’s a first.

This week’s Ford Music Video Time brings more business for the costume department at Fox studio. There’s some kind of Mad Hatter’s tea fairy tale theme, with Josh as Mad Hatter, Hollie Cavanagh as a princess locked in a cage, and Jessica Sanchez and Skylar Laine as, well, other princess, and some giant golden eggs. Oh, sure, kids, enjoy your play time now because


Idolette Phil Phillips must be playing the character wearing the Cloak of Invisibilty, or maybe he didn’t’ show up for the shoot.

Look! It’s Coldplay, making their very first ever visit to “American Idol” to sing a new song, called “Paradise.” It’s very Coldplay -- slow but still with that plinky-plinky sound. We don’t think they are Showing Growth.

Call Hollie and Phillip to center stage for their moments of judgment.

This was a “critical week” for Hollie and he liked her first number “River Deep,” commending her for not trying to do a Tina Turner, and instead singing like “I’m a pop girl and I know who I am.” All in all, “the most believable I’ve seen her yet,” he says. In re her second performance, “Bleeding Love,” he feels “neutral,” he says.

Now, about Phil2. For the second week in a row, Iovine makes excuses for Phil. based on unexplained health issues. “First ,Phil should be commended because, the way he’s feeling now, most people would have quit. He’s just that strong a personality and that strong a character,” Iovine says.

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned on Idol, it’s that song choice is more important than character. “This week I think he did two very bland songs. In life you have to be willing to fail in order to really win. I think Phil’s been coasting,” Iovine says, adding he thinks Phil should be in the bottom two, but probably won’t because he has “so many assets.” “Assets” is “Idol” speak for “things tweener girls find irresistible.” Based on “performances alone,” says Iovine, then he draws his thumb across his throat. Tweener chicks in the studio audience boo vigorously.

We’ll hear the results -- but not until Phil spits out his gum, Seacrest insists. Phil places it on the piece of paper with the results in Seacrest’s hand. Seacrest pretends to fling the gum at Jimmy, then says it’s still stuck on the paper. We are sure that an Idolette sticking his wad of used chewing gum on the week’s results is steeped in symbolism, but we’ll get back to you on that. Anyway, we think this should become a show tradition.

It’s Hollie to The Stools of Shame; Phil and his assets go to the Couch of Safety.

Carrie Underwood sings her new song “Blown Away” about a girl who locks herself in the cellar to let her abusive father and “every tear-soaked whisky memory” blow away in a tornado, which gives the “Idol” producers the chance to test the limits of their wind machine.

Time for Skylar Laine and Jessica Sanchez to know their fates.

Iovine loves it that Skylar “suits up and shows up” every night and fights her way through her songs. He liked her first number, “Fortunate One,” though he wishes she had understood the lyrics. Ditto her second number, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” in which he felt she missed the dark message of the song as conveyed in the original by Dusty Springfield. But, he also blames the staging for making it too Vegas – and too Broadway!

If Skylar is going to win, she “will have to find a crushing song that wins the night and she hasn’t done that in a while,” he says.

Iovine loved Jessica’s second number “You Are So Beautiful” (“she took you on a journey”) but her second performance, going all Tina Turner on “Proud Mary,” he calls “a travesty” for a 16-year-old. “That dress was too mature for her. I believe there were a lot of people at home last night that felt uncomfortable.” The dress in question was tight and short

“That dress was too mature for her. I believe there were a lot of people at home last night that felt uncomfortable,” Iovine complains.

He regrets that he didn’t listen to guest mentor Steven Van Zandt ,who tried to warn them off “Proud Mary.” His excuse: She looked like a teenager in rehearsals. But on stage, “it turned into burlesque. Stylists, what are you doing?! You’re torpedoing this girl!”

Seacrest asks JLo for her reaction. “We’re in show business, we have a whole different standard,” she says. “For people voting across America, I could see how they could go ‘ooh that’s a little too much’.”

Only Jessica is safe, and it’s Skylar who going to the Stools to join Hollie – America apparently having been more offended by Skylar’s lack of lyrics comprehension than Jessica’s little dress.

Coldplay is back with “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” and so is the wind machine and “Idol” apparently got some great deal on confetti because there’s even more of it blowing around now than during Underwood’s tune about dad and the tornado.

Let’s take a few minutes for the judges to express their sadness that


Randy: “I’m sad every Thursday because I love all of them. “ The Bottom 2, Hollie and Skylar “both sang their faces off last night so…” he says, then makes that air sucking sound between his teeth we’ve come to know as his trademark noise.

And Tyler, who gets to deliver one memorable line every show, has this to say: “At first, we tried to understand you guys and name it. But now, we’re all experiencing and feeling it...Thank you for letting us feel your music.”

After “nearly 60 million votes,” says Ryan…

…Skylar is going home. Iovine got it right-ish. Skylar wasn’t giving us a story arc that kept us interested. Hollie on the other hand, has visibly overcome her nerves, and the nagging judge’s demand she stop “thinking.” She became the better story. This week, anyway.

Extended hug for Skylar from a very tearful Hollie. So extended, Skylar tries to break the clinch. This is cutting into her farewell song time. And, she knows how to pick a farewell song. No weepies for her: It’s Miranda Lambert’s angry girl anthem “Gunpowder and Lead”:

“I’m going home,

gonna load my shotgun…

I’m gonna show him what little girls are made of:

gunpowder and lead!”