'American Idol' Recap: Three Is the Magic Number

Hollie is sent home, finally

american idol hollie
Michael Becker / FOX
Hollie Cavanagh performs in front of the judges on 'American Idol.'
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Welcome back to American Idol, where if you can wade through just 54 minutes of solid filler, we will find out who has been eliminated. Each week Ryan Seacrest tries to convince us that the results are particularly fraught, because it's the top seven!, or it's the last even number before five!, or whatever. But tonight there is actually something on the line. Specifically, hometown visits.

Whoever is eliminated tonight will not get the opportunity to fly home in a private jet to a hero's welcome and a ticker tape parade. Whoever is eliminated tonight will bring shame upon their hometowns and really disappoint the City Council, which had already started mapping the parade route. So who is going to go home on the wings of victory and who is just going home? Ryan is going to wait until the last possible minute to tell us, but for our viewing enjoyment he is going to torment a few of the contestants.

Speaking of torment, the group sing of "California Dreamin'" was thematically appropriate, but a bit hard on the ears. It's like none of the singers wants to budge stylistically, so they all sing their own version of the Mamas and the Papas song together. It's not very good, and neither is the choreography, but if you are into that sort of thing then may we suggest the Idol Live Show? The audience each gets a free ticket, maybe one of them will take you. While you are at the Idol Live show maybe you would also like to buy a Ford? If you're not sure about that purchasing decision, maybe a behind-the-scenes commercial about the commercial will help you make up your mind? Yes, Ford is airing a commercial about the making of their commercial in the middle of Idol . . . sigh.

Finally, Ryan pulls Phillip Phillips to center stage for Jimmy Iovine to check his teeth, kick his tires and make his assessment. Jimmy thought Phil-Phil's use of jazz sax in "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" was brilliant and that his Damien Rice cover brought together all of his skill sets. Ryan tells Phil to go sit on the couch, which poor little Phil thinks means he's safe, but really means that Ryan is just telling him to go take a seat. After an awkward clarification by Ryan, Phil looks nervous.

Photos: 'American Idol' Season 11

Hollie Cavanagh is the clear favorite to go home tonight after balking on Journey's "Faithfully" and "I Can't Make You Love Me." Jimmy was OK with the former but really thought she crashed and burned on the latter. Before we can find out whether Hollie is going home, we have to sit through a David Cook performance. Remember him? He beat out little David Archuletta for the crown and then promptly vanished like a pimple in a Clearasil shower? Well, he's back, and he's using Idol to promote his new album. Go buy it, y'all. And pick up a Ford while you're at it.

Surprisingly, Jimmy was not a fan of Joshua Ledet's Josh Groban cover. Jimmy strikes me as a man who likes a little Josh Groban after an hour with a glass of oaky chardonnay. But the real problem is that everything pales in comparison to Joshua's performance of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." The only problem Jimmy sees for Joshua in the future is finding a song that could outdo last night's performance. That is the musical equivalent of a First World problem.

Last up for judgment is Jessica Sanchez. Jimmy thinks her Etta James cover was too cover-y and not enough Jessica. He liked her Jennifer Holliday song a lot, though, and thinks she will be safe for another round, but it's anyone's guess.

Finally, it's the moment we've all been waiting for. No, not that moment where we actually pick a winner of this crazy contest. Nor is it the moment where we find out who is going home tonight. No, it's the moment where Jennifer Lopez tells us in no uncertain terms that she really wants to dance again. Once a Fly Girl, always a Fly Girl!

The performance is very Jennifer Lopez-y, and I think you know exactly what that means. She delivers exactly what she meant to deliver. The only real disappointment is that I couldn't tell if one of the backup dancers was her new post-divorce, twenty-something boyfriend. This show feels so looooong right now that one has to find one's entertainment somewhere.

After the judges are forced to say nice things about all the contestants, Ryan finally gets around to giving out some results. The first Idol to be in the top three is Jessica. Joining her is Joshua. That leaves Phil-Phil, who has gone almost the entire season without looking like he cared a whit about this competition, and Hollie, who very clearly cares a lot.

Ryan sloooooowly announces that Phillip is safe. Hollie doesn't look surprised, and how could she? That girl has spent a lot of time in the bottom this season. Joshua sobs on the sofa as Hollie bids them all farewell. Oh, don't worry, Josh, you can always buy a ticket and see her on the Idol Live tour.

Last episode: I Can't Make You Love Me