'American Idol' Recap: Carrie Underwood Sings, Burnell Taylor Is Cut

Somehow Lazaro Arbos ended up among the top three this week

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It's easy to see why American Idol voters love Kree Harrison and Angie Miller, but their affection for Lazaro Arbos is more mystifying. Yet there he was, third among the top three on an elimination night that sent Burnell Taylor home and featured Season Four champ Carrie Underwood performing her new single "See You Again." 

Though Lazaro's rendition of "We Are the Champions," was passable, it wasn't great, and certainly not better than Candice Glover's "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" or Amber Holcomb's "What About Love." Yet America loves Lazaro, despite the fact that he appears incapable of singing anything but ballads. 

'American Idol': Rolling Stone's Complete Coverage

With Arbos safe, it was an open question who else would end up among the bottom two, but Burnell seemed like a reasonable guess, thanks to his uncomfortable performance Wednesday of Bon Jovi's "Shot Through the Heart." Lest any viewers forget, Idol is a cutthroat world and one bad performance can send you packing, which is exactly what happened to Burnell when he didn't merit rescuing by the judges.   

He certainly tried. With encouragement from fellow bottom-dweller Janelle Arthur, Burnell sang in the hopes that the panel would use their save, but when the song ended, Randy Jackson announced without hesitation, "Unfortunately, we're not going to use it." With Lazaro seemingly immune, it was apparent that the judges wanted to preserve the save in case they need to protect one of the women next week. Sorry Burnell, but it's hard to argue with that logic. 

Here are some other thoughts on last night's Idol

Carrie Underwood has 17 Number One singles, has sold 15 million records and won six Grammy Awards. In case we had forgotten the details, American Idol made sure we all knew her bona fides before she returned to the Idol stage. Her performance was far more understated than last season's performance of the barnstormer "Blown Away," where the set designers managed to create a veritable tornado on stage. But Carrie's performance was as solid as expected. 

Season Nine finalist Casey James headed to the Idol stage to simultaneously remind the viewing audience of his continued existence and to perform his new single, "The Good Life." He won this member of the viewing audience over by bringing care packages to the remaining seven contestants because he remembered how homesick he was during the competition. 

Does American Idol own the Queen songbook? While Queen is certainly important to the rock canon, they are not the only rock band. Yet after featuring two Queen songs Wednesday, they once again trotted out Queen for an opening number, this time "Somebody to Love." Someday, someone on Idol will sing a Replacements song and it will be fantastic. 

Jimmy Iovine seemed to think that all the contestants picked the wrong songs, especially the recently departed Burnell. However, it does make you wonder why he, as a putative mentor, doesn't take a more active role in guiding the contestants in their song choice. 

Most Mariah Moment: While trying to pick her personal top three, Mariah almost burst into tears before launching into a rambling statement about how important it is to be true to herself and that it broke her heart not to pick every single one of the finalists as her favorite.

Previously: Kree Harrison Offers 'Piece of My Heart'

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