'American Idol' recap: Filler Filler

american-idol-season-11.jpgThe pre-credits sequence reminds us multiple times that after Skylar's exit last week, we're down to the top four. And it also replays Carrie Underwood's new single that she sang on the show last night. Which I'm sure is just a coincidence.

The judges and Ryan come out to greet an unusually noisy crowd. Ryan polls the audience on their favorite, (who this week appears to be the finalist named "EEEEEEEE!"), then brings out the top four, telling us that one of them will be the next American Idol in fourteen days. But who's counting?

Ryan dismisses them from the stage, then says that the first theme will be "California Dreamin'," meaning songs by artists from California or songs about California (luckily for the finalists, there are plenty of artists from California), then the second theme is songs they wish they'd written. So how do four contestants fill two hours? Well, there's going to be a long farewell-style montage recapping each of their runs so far.

In Phil's, he overplays the modesty card, saying he never expected to make it past the first round of judging. He does tell us that his family has been encouraging, which he knows is sincere by how his brother-in-law told him how rough "Time of the Season" was. I agree with Phil's brother-in-law. Phil's California song "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Which is not really about California, necessarily, but CCR is from California and there are lots of surfing clips playing on the screen behind him, so I guess it counts. He's singing it sans guitar, but as another duet with that blonde saxophonist who's always auditioning for a gig in Phil's eventual touring band.