"American Idol" 2013: Results (Top 8 to Top 7)

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First, and most importantly, WHAT WAS LAZARO WEARING? It looked like “Day of the Triffids” attacking his shoulders.

The Top 8 opened the show with a group sing of “Old Time Rock N Roll.” The boys just shouted. The girls fared better. I noted that Lazaro and Amber were the only two not given solo sections. (Amber was basically ignored all episode long, despite having -- I thought -- the best performance of the night on Wednesday. The producers are making it awfully obvious who they’re pushing this season. *Cough*Kree, Angie, Janelle*Cough*)

There was some product placement for Ford in which the Idols had to mentor grade-school kids on singing Phillip Phillips’ “Home.” I have a cold, dead heart but even I thought that was cute. If we’re going to have gross product placement, I’d rather we have stuff like this than the stupid pimp-o-mercials.

In Jimmy Iovine’s recap of last night, we got some interesting tidbits. He said that Janelle’s poor performance in the duet with Kree negatively affected his overall opinion of her (but he loved her solo number).He said that Lazaro was indeed better than the previous week, but Jimmy obviously bristled at NickiMinaj’s note for Lazaro to ignore Jimmy. Jimmy thinks Lazaro needs to listen to something -- the melody, at least. SNAP! He thought that Devin sounded good, but compared to the rest of the crop, he “came up short.” Devin is so screwed. He also called the men’s group number terrible. Nicki’s appalled close-up during that performance was a thing of beauty.

After the recap, in which Jimmy predicted an all-boy Bottom 3 and a Lazaro boot, Kree got a nice surprise -- Aretha Franklin left her a voicemail telling her she did a great job on “You Lied” and saying she wasn’t going anywhere. Let’s hope the last part is true. Also, I found that really sweet and cool. Much better than those stupid hometown proclamations.

Then Season 11’s Colton Dixon came back. He put out his first album in January, and it shot to the top of the gospel and Christian charts. That does not surprise me at all. Colton was always incredibly marketable, and he was one of several contestants last year who I expected to find success outside the show, winner or not. (I am still waiting for big things from Skylar Lane and Jessica Sanchez.) Colton sang his new single, an emo-rock ballad called “Love Has Come For Me.” A bit overwrought for my tastes, but I’m sure people into that kind of music will love it. You cannot deny the high level of execution. He’s already a polished star. And just like Casey last week, he was a reminder that we have very few ready-made artists this season.

And then a blast from the WAY past! Season 5’s Katharine McPhee -- one of my all-time favorite “Idol” contestants -- singing with One Republic on its new single. I’ve found it weird that Kat has not appeared in the show lately, given her prominence on “Smash.” I assumed she was trying to distance herself from “Idol.” (Reportedly she’s doing that with “Smash” now, which…isn’t good.) She started singing her part while sitting on the couch with the S12 contestants. I thought that was kind of cool -- a sign of solidarity. She looks great with the shorter hair. The song sounded like modern Coldplay, which is not at all a bad thing. I found I liked it more as it went on. I noticed that she did not speak to Ryan at all.

And then Keith Urban came out to sing his new song, “Long Hot Summer.” Given how relentlessly Jennifer Lopez promoted her various projects on this show, I’m amazed that none of the new judges have performed up until this point. I mean,Nicki has to have stuff in the works. Anyway, this song sounded an awful lot like a couple of Keith’s other songs, and I thought he sounded shouty and sharp. The band was awfully thin for what is obviously supposed to be mainstream-radio bait. Keith’s got some great arms and a nice chest, though. I am objectifying you, Keith! Deal with it!

Results: we are obviously not going back to the public rankings. Way to put your dick on the table and then yank it back, show. Kree, Candice, Janelle, Angie, and Amber were all safe -- this has to be a record for the most number of weeks without this show losing a girl. That left the Bottom 3 consistent with Jimmy’s prediction: Devin, Burnell, and Lazaro.

Lazaro looked pissed. Devin seemed really frustrated. Burnell was largely inscrutable. He was the guy sent to safety, which is right. I didn’t like his number Wednesday night, but Burnell is a very talented singer. And shockingly (kind of) it was Devin who received the lowest number of votes. You guys, that was our best shot at getting Lazaro out the door. His fans will rally around him for the next few weeks, and every time he has a clunker of a performance that’s just going to encourage them more. God damn it…

For his sing for the save Devin did “Impossible,” switching to Spanish halfway through. I believe we’ve seen this exact performance from him before. Mariah Carey was literally crying and the judges seemed deep in conversation. Here’s the thing: Devin is obviously very gifted vocally. But he has been in the Bottom 3 EVERY SINGLE WEEK of the finals. He is so talented, but he does not connect with the audience. It’s not there, folks. Again and again and again this has been a problem for him, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Ryan made a point of saying that the judges only have three more weeks in which they can use the save. I was almost positive that the judges were going to use it, especially after the crowd literally chanted, “Save! Save! Save!” But Randy Jackson announced that it was NOT unanimous, and so they would not be saving Devin. I wonder who the holdout was there. My guess was Randy, although Nicki was stonefaced during that entire process. Mariah was clearly pro-Devin.

Ryan seemed legitimately shocked that they let him go. Honestly, I think it was the right decision. He had no chance of winning this competition, and within the next three weeks we’re going to start losing the girls, and I think every one of them actually COULD win this. So discretion is the better part of valor here.

Next week: let’s see if Lazaro can get even worse!

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