'American Idol' recap: Han's Down

american-idol-season-11.jpgThe cuts from last night's show, set to Fleetwood Mac's "Chains," makes it look a lot more exciting than it was. I mean, sure, it was good, but not that good. After the credits and the entrance of the judges (sorry to say that Jennifer forgot her pants tonight), Ryan says that after last night's historically strong show, they're keeping it going tonight with performances by Nicki Minaj and Scotty McCreery. No, really that's what he says. And then he plugs Aerosmith's upcoming tour, with Steven joining him up onstage to close-talk with him about it for a while. So Jennifer's had a big announcement on the show and Steven's had a big announcement on the show, which can only mean there's going to be a new season of America's Best Dance Crew starting soon. Ryan waves a carnival barker's hand at the top nine, who are sitting on the increasingly roomy couch-bleachers. Up on the projection screen, Ryan points to not one but four tweets from the singers the contestants covered last night: Johnny Lang, Carrie Underwood, Lifehouse, and Mariah Carey, congratulating Phillip, Hollie, Colton, and Joshua, respectively. So clearly putting up the finalists' Twitter handles paid off big time. Ryan sadly tells DeAndre that he didn't get a Tweet, but that's because Eric Benet comes out of the wings in person to sit down next to DeAndre and tell him that he did a great job. Then there's this week's embarrassing music video, in which the finalists construct a wall of TV's in an alley to watch heavy metal versions of themselves cover Twisted Sister by singing the repeated untruth, "I Wanna Rock." Supposedly there's a magic contest-related badge in there we're supposed to look for, but I'm not paying any more attention to these mortifying aberrations than I already have to, car prize or no car prize. Eric Benet takes his leave, about a minute too late. I think DeAndre will be on the verge of tears for the rest of the night anyway.

Then there's video of the contestants being driven up Hollywood Boulevard and up into the hills to the mansion, which looks rather more like a glass-fronted hotel or office park than an actual mansion. Oh well, they might as well get used to having no privacy. Shots of the kids getting all excited about the pool, the giant rooms, the huge kitchen, and of course the bidet. Gotta show the bidet.

But now it's time to get down to the business of who's going to have to move out absent a save from the judges. Ryan starts by calling down Elise, Phillip, and Hollie. During the clips of Elise's performance and the judges' unreserved compliments from last night, Jimmy says everything came together for her. He adds that Stevie Nicks and Annie Lennox didn't have their first hits until the ripe old age of 26, so there's still time for even ancient, creaky, 28-year-old Elise, especially with '80s week coming up next week. Jimmy talks about how much Stevie likes Phil, and she's rarely wrong about people she likes. "He was flawless," he remembers to add. As for Hollie, Jimmy says she did a nice job, but that she lacks experience, not to mention Jessica's soul, so if it comes down to the two young girls, Hollie's going to get her pale ass kicked. Sure enough, back in the auditorium, the lights go down and Ryan tells Hollie that although Carrie Underwood liked her performance, she's in the bottom three. She heads over to the loser-stools at stage left. Phillip is safe, and Elise? Also safe. Finally.