The Bottom Three:
Eliminated: Alexis Grace
Ryan Seacrest opens the show by telling us there were 31 million votes this week. Hmmm, that's 2 million less than last week. Normally, the vote totals go up as the season progresses, not down. Is the public's enthusiasm for Season 8 on the wane because of the contestants or because of all the rule changes? Will more fans defect after seeing the results of tonight's show? Probably.
Seacrest also says tonight's results might shock us. Well, no. We've seen DialIdol.com and the results are actually right in line with what they predicted. What will shock -- and dismay -- us is the cruel way that Alexis Grace is forced to "sing for her life" and then told by Simon Cowell she is good, but not good enough. You gotta be kidding. They'd rather kick Alexis to the curb this week than let her stay and hopefully eliminate Michael Sarver, Megan Joy or Scott MacIntyre from the tour next week? One thing's for certain: They've saved us the ticket price of this year's tour. Bleh.
The group number, Travis Tritt's "T-R-O-U-B-L-E," once again focuses on Scott's limitations, as he plays piano while the guys first gather round him and then take to the dance floor with the girls. There are no solo vocals and the entire thing comes off as lip-synced. In fact, we're pretty sure we notice Scott not singing in a couple of shots.
Watch video of group number "T-R-O-U-B-L-E"
We waste no time getting to the Ford video this week, sung to OK GO's "Here It Goes Again" and involving water balloons. While introducing it, Ryan tosses a water balloon at Simon. After the video Ryan tells us it went over Simon's head and hit a studio audience member. Cool. Does she get free tix to the finale for getting drenched tonight? On second thought, would she even want tix after tonight?
Watch video of Ford commercial "Here It Goes Again"
Before the night's cruel- ness begins, it's time for a heart- warm- ing spot and a few hints to who is going to land in the Bottom 3. Ryan presents a clip of the farewell dinner held for Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nuñez. It opens with *surprise* Alexis Grace talking about how she hates Result Night because in the back of your mind you always think it is going to be you. Ha! After the clip, Ryan goes directly to Alexis and asks her, "Did you ever think it would be this emotional?" Why is he toying with her? He couldn't ask someone who was obviously safe? His next victim is Michael. Do you see a trend here? Those are the two who with face the chopping block at the end of the show. Everyone chokes up and gets teary when Ryan asks, "Michael, how is it being away from the family and the kids," and Sarver says his 3½ daughter, who doesn't understand why he is away, asked him last week, "Why don't you want to be with me anymore?" Of course, Michael then has to follow that with, "So being away from your family is really tough. It's worth it in the end and I still want to go on real bad." Ryan then encourages Michael to say hello to his daughter McKenna, on camera. It's a Hallmark moment, as he says, "McKenna I love you ... with all my heart." The audience audibly "aaaaahs." Ryan then goes to Megan to ask how she's feeling and shows a clip of her from that day with her head enshrouded and other contestants wearing face masks to protect them from her germs.
Watch video of Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nuñez's farewell dinner and Alexis Grace, Michael Sarver and Megan Joy chatting with Ryan
Now it is time to start the torture. Ryan begins with Danny Gokey, who, of course, is safe, as are Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai. Allison and Michael are asked to stand. Allison is told she's in the Bottom 3 and to take a stool onstage. Michael, thinking he has escaped danger, sits. Ryan has him stand again and tells him that he, too, is in the Bottom 3. So now, before we're told, we know who is taking the third stool. Alexis had the lowest vote total on DialIdol.com. But Ryan won't reveal Alexis' fate just yet.
Watch video of Allison Iraheta and Michael Sarver put in the Bottom 3
The first guest performance of the night is by Brad Paisley who performs his new single "Then." We like Paisley, but restlessly wait for the results to continue. It feels like a long night already.
Watch video of Brad Paisley performing "Then."
Back to the nail-biting. Scott MacIntyre and Megan Joy are safe and we're wishing they were in the Bottom 3 along with Michael. But, after all, this is "Idol." Also safe are Matt Giraud (yea!) and Kris Allen. Alexis and Adam Lambert are asked to stand. Ryan asks after watching back on TV, whether Simon still thinks Adam's performance was "horrific, indulgent rubbish." Simon says after watching it back, he thought it was even worse. Ha! Randy says he loved Adam's "Jeff Buckley take" on "Ring of Fire," a version that only seems to exist in Randy's head, not on video or MP3 anywhere on the Internet. Do we even need to type that Adam is safe and Alexis is heading to her doom? Alexis joins Allison and Michael onstage and Ryan immediately decides to send one back to safety on the couches. It's Allison. We're relieved.
Watch video of Alexis Grace joining the Bottom 3 and Allison Iraheta being sent back to safety
Back from the break and it's time for the second guest performance of the evening, by Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis. But before that, Ryan presents a video tribute to Carrie's career to date, from Oklahoma farmgirl to country superstar.
Watch video of Carrie Underwood career tribute
Before their performance, Underwood and Travis chat with Ryan. Carrie, who looks awful in a modern-day Minnie Pearl getup, says she is flattered that the contestants sang her songs (and happy for the royalties, heh). The red dress is bad enough, but we can't stop staring at the bouffant hair and what looks like a black lacy wrapping- paper decoration sitting on her head. The duo perform "I Told You So." Carrie's vocals soar and we are reminded why she won Season 4. Her voice never fails to impress. That's why Lil should never have attempted "Independence Day," and Danny sounded lame on "Jesus Take the Wheel." They can't touch Carrie's vocals. Travis even looks over in amazement a time or two at the notes Underwood hits. She's an "Idol" treasure. Right before the break, Ryan asks the judges if they'd consider saving either of the Bottom 2. They say, yes, there's one they'd consider saving. Any question who it is folks?
Watch video of Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis singing "I Told You So."
It's the time of reckoning. And, sadly, Michael is safe. He really needs to be back home with his daughter. Simon tells Alexis that, yes, she was the one they were thinking of saving, but first she has to sing for her life. And she does, turning yesterday's softer version of "Jolene" into one of desperation, pitchy power notes and cracking vocals. The words take on a new meaning as they echo Alexis' own situation, begging the judges not to take her out of the competition. It's so sad, especially as we get the feeling that this was all predetermined and the show the judges make of deliberating are probably, in reality, just them making dinner plans. In the end, Simon, with a seriously contrite look on his face, tells Alexis that "We're kind of unanimous on this. It was good, but it was not good enough. Sorry. It's the end of the line, I'm afraid." Emulating her last name to the end, Grace tells the judges "I wish I could have done better. But things happen for a reason, so, you know ..." We watch her journey video. We cry. The end.
Watch video of Alexis Grace elimination
Next week, "Idol" will air on Wednesday and Thursday, as the show is pre-empted on Tuesday for a presidential press conference. The theme will be "50 Years of Motown," with the contestants performing classic Motown songs (sigh, Alexis would have done great with that). Berry Gordy, the man behind the Motown sound, appears on Wednesday. On the results show, Motown legend Smokey Robinson performs and Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard sings his new single, "Together."
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