Blah blah, charity, blah blah — niceness has never been American Idols strong suit, so it was good to see the show return to its ruthless roots on Wednesday with not one but two eliminations. And as I'd predicted, Phil and Chris went down in that proverbial blaze of glory. They've both been on the verge of going home for a while now, so I can't say I'm surprised. They were two of the least versatile performers this season (Timberfake was all nasal all the time; Phil was stiff and dull, except for his all-too-brief forays into country rock), and I think that hurt them in the end.
Three of the remaiing four — Melinda, LaKisha and Blake — seemed like sure bets for the top four the second the performance rounds started. All three made a splash right away, and despite some iffy outings from LaKisha recently, all three have been consistently good. Jordin is the only surprise, a dark horse contestant who came on strong in the finals. I still believe she can win "Idol," but she'll have to be a lot better than she was this week.
Amazingly, the combined vote total for the two weeks was 135 million — which means that almost as many came in this week (65 million) as last week (70 million). Considering that the totals had been hovering around 30 million per week for the season so far, that's quite a leap. For more revelations from Wednesday's show, read more
- Oh, Seacrest, sometimes you are remarkably self-aware: "Once again, we'll be stretching this show into a full hour. And I promise, no filler."
- Simon bobbing Paula's head around by tugging on the back of her hair? Weird! Then there was some crazy Simon/Seacrest banter about puppets and Simon's girlfriend, and I think Paula said it best when she said: "EW! What are we talking about?"
- Blake got props twice from the judges: Simon said Blake got top marks for rock night because he took a risk, and Paula seemed to be speaking directly to him when she said some contestants had "career-defining" performances. We also got a little infomercial from Blake about how he creates his arrangements, and it's cool to know that he really does the work himself.
- The results came in two groups of three. In group one, Melinda and LaKisha were safe and Phil was out. In group two, Jordin and Blake were safe and Chris was out. Blake and Chris are so cute together, by the way. Right at the end, after Chris sang, someone said something into the microphone that made everyone crack up, but I didn't catch it — anyone know what it was?
- Quote of the Night: "I'd do it again." — LaKisha, on kissing Simon.
- I'm not the biggest Bon Jovi fan, but I enjoyed the performance on Wednesday, though I wish they'd gone for a more uptempo song and not a ballad.
- When Ryan promised that the three "Idol" winners who didn't show up on "Idol Gives Back" would be on Wednesday's show, I really thought they'd be performing. Instead, Reuben, Fantasia and Taylor showed up in video plugs for the charity.
- About "Idol Gives Back" — I know they still want people to donate, but ... that show was two hours long already, so I really don't think Wednesday's several-minute recap was necessary. I could be wrong, though, considering that Seacrest pointed out that "Idol Gives Back" videos occupy the top three spots on iTunes.
- Robin Thicke is going to grow up to look just like his dad. If you think he's hot now, you better enjoy it while you can.
- The Pimpomercial was set to "Paint it Black," against the backdrop of an old-school circus; the scenes with Melinda as a contortionist were seriously bizarre.
- Want to prevent another "Inside Your Heaven" debacle? The top 20 "Idol" songwriting entries are awaiting your votes.
- Next week: "boogie sounds" with Barry Gibb.
Photos courtesy of Fox