It's been a week of celebrations on American Idol. Wednesday was Mariah Carey's birthday and last night was Idol's 450th episode. To help mark the occasion (and fill the hour as they culled the top eight to a slim and trim seven), last night's results show was filled with performances. Not only did OneRepublic play their song "If I Lose Myself," two former Idol contestants – Katharine McPhee and Colton Dixon – returned to the Idol stage, and judge Keith Urban took off his judge's robe, metaphorically speaking, and picked up a guitar to regale us with "Long Hot Summer."
But it wouldn't be a results night on Idol without at least one group sing by the contestants. Last night the finalists took on Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" and thank God for the women, because they were the only thing tethering the performance as the three remaining male contestants seem to have made a pact to sing terribly together.
That's why Jimmy Iovine gave them the boy-band moniker "Wrong Direction" after Wednesday's abysmally flat rendition of "I Can't Help Myself," which ended with Nicki Minaj ordering the three men offstage to go think about what they had done. After that, there was little surprise that America's votes reflected their pitchy and bland performance. When the show finally got around to announcing the results in the last 15 minutes of the broadcast, Ryan Seacrest quickly revealed that all five women were safe, leaving the three remaining men – Devin Velez, Lazaro Arbos and Burnell Taylor – to battle it out in the bottom three.
Though Iovine predicted Lazaro would be leaving last night, it was Devin who got the fewest votes. As he sang his farewell anthem, the judges deliberated using their only save to keep him on the show. While the audience chanted to save him, the on-air Twitter vote indicator showed that America wanted the judges to use the save and Mariah cried actual mascara-mussing tears, it was time for Devin to go.
Here are some other highlights from last night's Idol:
The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin delivered a special message to Kree Harrison to let her know that she watched her perform "Don't Play That Song for Me" on Wednesday. The message brought tears to Kree's eyes and Mariah to her feet.
Keith's performance brought the house down. While he is a consummate professional, he looked a little sheepish on stage, undoubtedly knowing that the contestants were judging him while he played.
Dixon returned to the Idol stage for a victory lap and to perform his song "Love Has Come for Me." While the song is probably about God, that won't stop a million doe-eyed girls from thinking it's about them. After the fog from the smoke machine lifted, Colton gave Angie Miller a hug as a thank-you for performing his song on the show a few weeks ago and ensuring months of royalty payments.
OneRepublic invited McPhee to perform with them. Interestingly, Ryan introduced her as "recording artist Katharine McPhee," despite the fact that she's starring in a television show. Think that sums up how most of us feel about Smash.
After Ryan announced that Kree and Candice Glover were safe, Kree was so excited to hear Seacrest call Janelle Arthur's name that she wiped out onstage after jumping for joy in five-inch heels. While Iovine was wrong about who was going to be eliminated, he was spot on about Miller ("Angie got it wrong . . . she needs help getting back on track") and Amber Holcomb ("I would bet anything she's not in the bottom three tonight.")
Most Mariah Moment: After Keith's performance, Mariah held up a handmade sign that read, "#1 Keith Fan."
Previously: Mariah Carey Celebrates Birthday With Profanity