At this point in the competition, the only way to fill an entire hour of primetime is to start each show with an increasingly long montage of shots from last night’s incredibly long show. The very scenes we watched last night are now woven together into a tapestry of reality show fame displayed over a soaring soundtrack and dedicated to the patron saint of time-killing… Saint Stefano, I think.
Ryan Seacrest waltzes onto the stage looking rather spry for someone who was on death’s door last night. I guess that virgin he sacrificed (they have those in Hollywood, right?) really paid off, because he is looking fit and spray-tanned. Tonight, we find out which of the Top Six contestants are no longer in the running to be in badly produced Ford commercials while singing Top 40 hits of the 2000s. But before we can find out which wheat is being separated from which chaff (I’m making farm analogies out of boredom), we have to sit through something called the Queen Extravaganza, with no real explanation of what we are watching or why.
As they play “Someone to Love,” it becomes increasingly clear that this band has way too many members and that they brought their friends along to play tambourine because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Eventually, the surviving members of Queen join them onstage, bringing the total up to about 18 people for absolutely no good reason. As the last notes ring out, Steven Tyler gets on his feet despite the fact that they truly don’t deserve it.
Because Idol knows that we will watch anything they put on screen so long as someone gets eliminated at the end of the show, we are then forced to watch 10 minutes of the TMZ television show. I now assume that Julius Caesar made everyone watch informational programs on wheat farming before gladiator bouts. Finally, Ryan calls down the first set of contestants: Elise Testone and Jessica Sanchez. Prior to the results, though, they have to sit through Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine‘s critique. I’m sure Caesar also gave his opinion of his gladiators’ performances the night before (“I would have chose the club over the whip, but you killed the lion, so I guess we’ll call it even”). Jimmy thought Jessica’s performance was less Queen and more Stephen King, but he loved her Luther Vandross so it’s a big nil. Jimmy didn’t think Elise picked the right Queen song and ended up sounding like she was in a nightclub, which I guess is a bad thing as opposed to an end goal? Elise is sent into the bottom, but she’s been there so often, it’s like a second home to her. If she’s there another week, maybe she’ll head to Ikea and pick up some knickknacks with Swedish names.
Finally, it is the big performance that everyone has been waiting for: Stefano! Wait, what? Woe be the Idol contestant who gets to premiere his new song on the same night that Katy Perry is performing. The song is Cheese, Interrupted with Stefano getting in touch with his inner boy-band and bouncing around on the stage like it’s Romper Room. Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson are playing along, but when the camera captures the look on Steven Tyler’s face it is the hilariously perfect illustration of “WTF?”
Ryan calls down Joshua Ledet and Hollie Cavanaugh for their results, but Jimmy doesn’t mince words: If Joshua gets voted off tonight, there is something wrong with the voting in the competition and the entire ball of wax. Sure enough, Hollie is in the bottom.
As they exit the stage, Katy Perry descends from a helicopter onto a fog-filled battlefield complete with barricades, night vision and, of course, camo-covered crotches. I’m not sure why she wants “Part of Me” to give flashbacks to PTSD victims but it’s a look, all right. It’s admirable that Katy Perry is singing live (with a track) – unfortunately, it’s a slightly janked-up performance. But who cares? She’s declaring war on Russell Brand and writing a breakup dance anthem for the ages. Clear the dance floor, boys!
Ryan calls the final pair of contestants to judgment: Skylar Laine was good and Phillip Phillips was weird, but as the only remaining straight boy in the competition, he’s going to get some votes from girls willing to overlook his twitchiness in the hopes that he might write a song about them someday. Girls are silly like that. Jimmy alerts us to the fact that Phil-Phil is having a rough time healthwise and Jimmy thinks it is starting to show. Hear that ladies? He needs your help! Someone give him a kidney. Jimmy thought Skylar’s performance was solid, if her song choice self-indulgent. So who does America choose to keep around? Phil Phil! Putting Skylar in the Bottom Three, but Ryan doesn’t bother pretending that Skylar is out. He immediately tells her she is safe, too. That leaves Elise and Hollie up for elimination. While Hollie deserves to go, it is Elise who is out. She doesn’t look thrilled to have been outvoted by a 12-year-old in Celine Dion’s pantsuit, but she had to know it was coming. Ryan reminds her that Stevie Nicks said she would hire Elise and Ryan tells her to give her a call.
As Elise sings her farewell anthem, J. Lo puts on an ugly rocker face (she looks just like Steven Tyler!) and then realizes she can’t justify all the Botox and softens her lines. The judges stand up to bid her farewell. When Elise sings “Whole Lotta Love,” Steven grabs the mic and sings along with her, which is how his people say goodbye.
Last Episode: Show Must Go On