'American Idol' Recap: Someone Tells Ryan 'No'

Also: Jennifer performs, Steven promotes, Randy self-deprecates

Michael Becker / FOX
Scotty McCreery
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Last night, Jennifer came out with her eyes done up like a tiger's to shout the names of places that never fail to get strung together in club songs like her single “On the Floor”: Brazil to Morocco! London to Ibiza! Vegas to Ah-free-kah! Not once was there a shout-out to “The Idol studio audience! And those wah-ching at home!” This was no parochial bullshit. Jennifer sang for the world.

Also onstage was Lady Antebellum, who in Idol terms is a band of two Scotties and a Lauren, only better. They debuted “Just a Kiss,” a sweet, leisurely country-pop ballad without a discernible hook. Steven hawked his book Does That Noise in My Head Bother You?, and Ryan kidded Randy about his lack of fame. “Don't forget about Randy's bake sale this weekend in Tarzana.”

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Soon it was time for a Ford Music Video. Finally! This one unveiled a series of clearly CGI'd effects – James juggling five or so balls while balancing a chair on his chin, Scotty doing a very slow spin on the back wheel of a bicycle, Lauren knife-throwing cards into a perfect diamond shape – built to the final devastating scene: Haley allowing her Ford Focus to parallel park itself (probably not a CGI effect). A Bing commercial followed, disguised as an interview with the contestants on how they choose songs and clothes (short answer: somehow!), Jennifer premiered her next music video, which looks a lot like her most famous one, and the kids starred in a multi-part feature with Gordon Ramsey, who crowned Jacob and Lauren the two best in a group of terrible culinary minds. In real life, Jacob and Lauren stood stage left, shaking in place as they contemplated whether they, or James and Haley – the last of whom got a stellar performance review from Jimmy Iovine – were the loser group.

As the minutes ticked down, Ryan told Scotty he was safe but not off the hook. He'd have to guess who the winners were and stand with them. This was Idol at its absolute worst, and Scotty – human being that he is – flat-out refused. “I'm not going to do that, man,” he murmured over and over and over, until Ryan literally looked evil. Eventually, Ryan abandoned his plot and steered Scotty over to James and Haley while Lauren cried some more.

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Finally, it was time and Ryan made the announcement. Jacob, our "spa concierge turned superstar" would be going home. The only surprise there is that he's lasted this long. Meanwhile, the obvious winner in the Final Four is the only one whose eyes were dry last night. Despite Idol's best attempts to drain the contestants of joy, Haley somehow seems to be having fun.

Last Episode: Who's in It to Win It?

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