'American Idol' recap: Saved By the Judges

american-idol-season-11.jpgFrom the overedited recap of last night's episode, we learn one major thing: Colton and Skylar are still not dating.

After the credits and the entrance of the judges and Ryan and a gratuitous shot of Jane Lynch in the audience, Ryan takes a while calming down the audience to say that tonight, one finalist may go home, but there will be performances from James Durbin, as well as Jennifer Hudson with Ne-Yo. He also misuses the word "upshot" when he means "upside," and then the top seven sing "Raise Your Glass" by Pink. Most of them sound like ass, but the silly choreography makes up for it. It ends up with all of them gathered behind the judges' table, and then at the last moment, Ryan dives into the foreground of the shot like Vince Fontaine in Grease, holding up a Coke cup in a way that makes nobody wonder why he doesn't get incorporated into more of the musical numbers.

The music video this week is basically an animated series of doodles in a notebook featuring stickers of the finalists' heads, so kudos to someone for coming up with a concept that doesn't require any of them to act. Then Ryan draws our attention to some Tweets by some artists who were covered last night, including Kellie Pickler, Jazmine Sullivan, and Skylar Grey, who congratulate Skylar, Jessica, and Colton respectively. Then Ryan hands Colton a handwritten prom invitation that came in the mail for him, which he flips through and gives Katie in Wichita, Kansas a "strong maybe." Hollie's also been invited to a spring formal, and Elise got some feather jewelry (and some to give to Steven, who as always is in desperate need of further accessorization). Finally it's time to start with some results, as Hollie and Jessica are called to center stage. During the clips of their performances last night and the judges' feedback, Jimmy compares the two highly technical singers, saying one seems stiff and calculated and the other seems effortless. I probably don't need to tell you which is which. Ryan asks Jessica how she deals with the weekly pressure (of everyone thinking she's awesome, I guess), and then checks with Randy to see if he's changed his mind after watching last night's show back. He hasn't, but we've killed enough time, so Ryan tells Hollie to start a group upstage right, and Jessica to start one upstage left. But then instead of starting groups they just go and stand there all by themselves. Can't these girls follow directions?

Coming back, Ryan plugs Jennifer's live show and then introduces James Durbin, who I take it is last year's Colton. He sings a song called "Higher than Heaven" into a stumpy little microphone that looks and sounds like a CB radio, while his lite-metal band plays as loud as they're allowed to on this stage. After that's over, Ryan and James talk about his wedding on New Year's Eve, which Casey Abrams was late to. And then he plugs his album and his tour, so I think we hit the high points with James.