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'American Idol' Recap: Amber Holcomb Eliminated
Will.i.am and Harry Connick Jr. perform as field narrows to three

After a top four do-over, with hometown visits and a slot in the top three in the balance, tensions were high on American Idol last night. Even the judges seemed genuinely torn up at the prospect of losing one of the remaining contestants. During the show Mariah Carey tweeted, "Sitting in anticipation yet Ugh ! How ? Can't let go of any of these Girls :("

Randy Jackson, meanwhile, announced that he wanted them all to be safe. They weren't, though, and after 81 million votes were cast (presumably a combination of last week's tally and this week's), Amber Holcomb went home. There were few dry eyes on set as Amber bid farewell and Ryan Seacrest escorted her father on stage to hug her while she cried. 

'American Idol': Rolling Stone's Complete Coverage

While it's sad to see Amber go, Kree Harrison undoubtedly breathed a sigh of relief at sticking around for another week, even though Jimmy Iovine thought she "hasn't lived up to her potential in the last two weeks." Her place in the standings reflected it, too: Although she was in the top tier last week, this week found her in the bottom.

Angie Miller was the first person to learn she was safe, reflecting Jimmy's belief that even though she missed an opportunity to shut down the competition, "she wasn't terrible enough to get sent home, either." Candice Glover was second in line for a spot in the top three. Candice looked stunned as she stumbled toward Ryan asking, "Can I hug you?" He allowed it. 

To kill time before the contestants learned their fates, they sang an ultra-contemporary cover of Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" that had less in common with the album version than the rendition on the new Jay-Z-curated soundtrack for The Great Gatsby.

Will.i.am also stopped by to perform his Great Gatsby contribution, "Bang Bang." The first few minutes of his jazz era-inspired performance were broadcast in old-timey black and white, which is always a nifty camera trick. Also on set, last night's mentor Harry Connick Jr. seemed to have recovered from his on-air squabble with Randy to perform his new single, "Every Man Should Know." 

The Idol hit parade continued when they invited Season Seven winner David Cook back on the show to remind us that he still exists and to sing his new single, "Laying Me Low." Idol hashtagged his performance #IdolTBT (that's Throwback Thursday for you Twitter neophytes) as a seeming justification for his appearance, as well as for the continuous stream of former Idol contestants the show has hosted this year. The producers also took us on a trip down memory lane with a quick visit with Constantine Maroulis and his Jekyll & Hyde inspired god-awful facial hair. 

Best reason to tune in next week: Hometown visits with Angie, Candice and Kree. 

Previously: Top Four Face Off Again


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