If the introductory rules of rock stardom are "teach thyself to pick slide," "tight clothes" and "pyro!" then Rihanna has been paying attention in her "Rockstar 101" classes after all. The singer showcased nimble touring guitarist Nuno Bettencourt while debuting her latest single on American Idol (and promoting her upcoming Last Girl on Earth tour) last night, following Jason Derulo's athletic performance of "In My Head" and David Archuleta's stirring reprise of John Lennon's "Imagine," one of the songs that propelled him to the top of Season Seven's Idol class.
Lennon/McCartney week proved more successful for the lady hopefuls, and the bottom three was revealed to include Michael Lynche, Aaron Kelly and Andrew Garcia — meaning yes, Tim Urban will get to meet Adam Lambert next week as a member of the Top Eight (for the record, Sanjaya made it to the Top Seven during Season Six — the clock is ticking, Tim!). So will the struggling Garcia, who has failed to translate his off-camera personality into his dull performances. Since the show has so clearly been pulling for Lynche, a likable personal trainer from Queens, New York, whose wife gave birth during auditions, it seemed extremely likely that the "shocking" results (Ryan Seacrest's usual hyperbole) would end in the use of the one-time-only-before-the-top-five Judges' Save.
Lynche was indeed saved, throwing the Idol auditorium into a warm pandemonium — many of the contestants seemed visibly relieved, too, especially Crystal Bowersox who glared when Seacrest revealed the bottom three. But the judges' deserved some ire too, for praising Lynche's interpretation of "Eleanor Rigby" Tuesday night — it was indeed one of the few original performances — then backtracking while dissecting his save-me rendition of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work": "The frustrating thing is, Michael, is that we all wish you did something like that yesterday, and this is why you're in the position you're in right now."
Two singers will be sent home next week when Idol looks for a ratings boost from the return of their most glamtastic contestant ever. Relive Lambert's sparkly AI run here: