Paul Jolley never really stood a chance on this season of American Idol.
The judges and producers have seriously stacked the deck against another generic white guy winning the competition, after the past five winners – from David Cook in Season Seven to Phillip Phillips last year – all fell into that category. So the masterminding puppeteers must be patting themselves on the back right now, as the elimination of Paul – the only white male in the top 10 this season – guarantees that the next idol will be "different." (Now they just have to complete their grand scheme and help pick off the remaining three guys clinging on for dear life.)
Speaking of hanging on, even with the sympathy vote, how in the world did Lazaro Arbos stay out of the bottom three again this week? Instead, standing alongside Paul were Devin Velez and Amber Holcomb. (Oddly, the show dropped the new formula it just introduced last week of revealing the top three and the overall results rankings.)
It was a bittersweet night for Paul, who was presented with a proclamation from his hometown in Tennessee declaring it Paul Jolley Day practically in the same breath as host Ryan Seacrest telling him he got the least amount of votes and had to sing for survival.
It was pretty clear poor Paul knew he had no chance of earning the judges' one and only save of the season, as he phoned in a lackluster performance of Heart's "Alone." And, indeed, the judges passed on having him stick around. "Go away! You're not welcome here, white boy!" Nicki Minaj squawked with the flip of her hand. OK, so we just totally made that part up. But we'd give the show way more credit if they'd let a truth bomb like that slip through every once in a while.
Speaking of truth bombs, mentor Jimmy Iovine ripped the judges (and some poor lowly production intern) a new a-hole during the night when he called them out for "coddling" the contestants and being too nice.
Also rounding out the results show were performances by past American Idol also-rans Casey Abrams and Jessica Sanchez, featuring Ne-Yo.
Now, with just eight contestants left – five of whom are women – we'll see how long the remaining guys can stick around. (So help us all if Lazaro winds up being the last man standing . . . )
Previously: Beatles Songs Fuel Top Nine