American Idol, Top Ten

Michael Becker/FOX

Nicki Minaj was right on time and American Idol is down to nine.

Ryan Seacrest worked on making Thursday's elimination show a little more informative than usual, giving the leading vote-getters some extra bragging rights by revealing a top three and then ranking the fourth-through-eighth-place contestants.

Before all was revealed, however, Bon Jovi rocked the crowd with "Because We Can," a definite show highlight (he'd make a good judge, wouldn't he?), Phillip Phillips sang "Gone, Gone, Gone," and Charlie Askew and Aubrey Cleland showed up for a sing-off to earn the 11th spot on this summer's American Idols Live tour.

The winner of that will be announced next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the "official top three" tonight consisted of Candice Glover, Kree Harrison and Angie Miller—no surprise there (and no word on who was tip-top)—while the remaining seven were left hanging until the waning moments of the show.

Rounding out the top eight, from fourth to eighth, were Lazaro Arbol, Amber Holcomb, Jenelle Arthur, Brunell Taylor and Paul Jolley. Meaning...

"If you go home, I go home," Nicki, who traded in yesterday's black hoodie for a chartreuse minidress tonight, told Curtis Finch Jr., in the bottom two with Devin Velez.

Curtis Finch, Jr., American Idol

Michael Becker / FOX

Nicki's threats notwithstanding, Devin was in ninth place and Curtis had to sing for the save—and he did R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly." Again! And not quite as proficiently as he did the last time.

So, Nicki may be staying in the long run, but we'll just be seeing Curtis on tour.

"I think we needed an extra minute to discuss it," Nicki complained after Randy Jackson revealed the decision to let Curtis go was not unanimous. "I know it's a live show, but..."

"I am completely shocked that this is where we're at," Mariah Carey said, in agreement with Nicki for a change. "This entire situation has been about Curtis in a lot of ways for me."

Do you agree with America's choice? Or are you shocked to see Curtis gone so soon?

As the Idol field dwindles, it's time to get excited for the new cast of Dancing With the Stars!

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