'American Idol' Recap: Casey at Bat - Rolling Stone
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‘American Idol’ Recap: Casey at Bat

An ‘Idol’ golden boy nearly geta the shaft in an ultra-dramatic elimination round

: Michael Becker / FOX

There was a time when Casey Abrams was nothing but a charming creature with shaggy hair and a trusty melodica. Blessed with serious skills, he was the kind of brilliant goof everyone automatically had a place for in their hearts. But by Wednesday of this week, he’d been reborn. Hair slicked back, a “swagger” in place, he lurched from the stage to the audience like an old man at a nightclub. He pressed J. Lo to call him sexy again. She’d been pumping him up with the word, and he was starting to get used to it. “I’m what?” he asked. “You’re sexy,” she said. Who cares whether he sang well or not? He was terrible. We should have smelled a downfall.

But of course, we didn’t, as Idol knew we wouldn’t. Ryan started things off with what seemed like an innocent announcement. The ten who avoided elimination would go on to star in the Idol tour. Yes, readers, the Idol tour. This meant extra pressure and higher stakes. Plus more reason to pity the loser. After some extended fake-outs and a totally necessary Ford music video, Thia and Stefano were sent to the chopping block. It was soon down to the last trio of potentials: Naima, Haley and Casey, one of whom was a bottom three-er. Naima and Haley were the clear suspects. America hadn’t liked them in weeks past, and there was no reason to think anything had changed.

Ryan dropped the tiniest bomb first, enjoying every second. It was Casey America had cold-shouldered into the bottom three, not the girl who sings as a way to spice up her dances, or the serial growler. Casey! The crowd went bananas. Randy mouthed, “What the hell,” like he was hearing the news for the first time right then instead of hours before in whatever back room they hear things in. Jennifer Hudson sang a tune as if the earth hadn’t just exploded into a Casey-shaped hole. It finally came time to reveal the true loser. We steeled ourselves to say goodbye to Thia or Stefano. They’d each had good runs, but Thia is probably too young to really hit her stride as a performer, and sometimes it sounds like Stefano isn’t singing in English, when he is. BUT IT WAS CASEY! Casey was the loser! It was too much. Seriously. This was an episode that involved Stevie Wonder appearing out of nowhere and Hulk Hogan tearing through a wall of lightning. And this was hands down the craziest moment.

That is…until…the magic save. Not content with the iron grip it already had on our hearts, Idol went on to play the highest card it holds, a one-time boon in which a contestant is saved from sure death. The magic save is like the shower in your high school chemistry room that’s pulled when someone is covered in acid. It’s like the emergency blow-up slide on an airplane. It’s screaming “Fire in a movie theater. It is every option in life that exists but is never exercised. Casey had by now launched into a tune, smiling with a steady voice as he sang for his life. “Stop, stop, stop,” Randy said. “We know who you are, we don’t need to hear any more.” He looked to his right, where the members of his all-powerful trinity held their court. They nodded. It was to be done! Casey looked like he might throw up. The other contestants were crying, even though this meant they could never be magic saved. It didn’t matter! Two people will be eliminated next week, but the Idol tour will feature eleven stars! Every puppy gets a home! You don’t need to growl anymore. You don’t need that, Randy told Casey. Just let people feel your soul, J. Lo advised. Yes, do that. Also lose the hair gel and find a melodica. Become who you used to be Casey, and the magic save will not have been in vain.

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