Pools of sorrow, waves of joy. It's just your average American Idol elimination night.
Tension was in the air right off the bat, with Ryan Seacrest informing us that "shocking results" were coming.
Last night's homage to the work of John Lennon and Paul McCartney had indeed resulted in a shift in the status quo, with 16-year-old Aaron Kelly failing to melt the judges' butter with yet another languorous love song and Tim Urban offering up his most pleasing performance in weeks, good enough to attract some new Urbanites to the neighborhood.
Also back on track was Katie Stevens, whose voice was clear as a bell on "Let It Be," while Siobhan Magnus also sounded great but was criticized for giving a "restrained and polite" performance of "Across the Universe."
But did America take note of the shift in the tonal wind?
It turned out not to matter in the end.
The judges invoked their one save of the season to bring Michael Lynche back from the edge.
Yeah, we couldn't really believe it either, when it came down to Michael and Andrew Garcia, who has shown life the last couple weeks but in all honesty should have been booted a month ago.
Michael hasn't exactly done anything to make us pick up the phone, not even his ballyhooed cover of "This Woman's Work" (which he redid tonight to save himself), but he's been consistent and, up till now anyway, a fan favorite.
Michael was plucked out of a bottom three that also included Aaron, who didn't bomb last night but had nowhere else to go after Tim, Lee Dewyze, Casey James and the girls all outperformed him.
Speaking of which, we hadn't even realized that Idol was down to six guys and only three ladies. We didn't notice the gender gap until Siobhan, Katie and Crystal Bowersox were informed of their golden status early on, leaving the gents to sweat it out.
No offense to Andrew, but we don't know what the heck is going on with the voters.
David Archuleta, as beaming and breathless as ever, returned to show how Beatles night should be done, sitting down at the piano for his much-lauded "Imagine" cover that blew the judges away in season seven. Kara DioGuardi protégé Jason Derülo also performed, as did Rihanna, who really should teach "Rockstar 101."
After tonight's unexpected turn of events, the top nine will perform yet again next Tuesday, and the following day two contestants will be sent home. Adam Lambert will serve as mentor and perform on the elimination show.
What do you think America is thinking? Are you big Andrew fans? Please tell us what we're missing in the comments section.
(Originally published April 7, 2010, at 7:05 p.m. PT)
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