Rocker Shocker as 'American Idol' Cuts to Seven
With Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson sent to safety, Michael Johns is going home
8:00 p.m. The results are in and American Idol is actually starting at 8 p.m. What a sweet relief after all of the 8:58 and 7:31 starts of recent weeks.
8:01 p.m. Even more guest stars and surprises? Hannah Montana? Please?
8:02 p.m. Remember last night? I do. I was watching for all 158 minutes. But just in case you've forgotten... Did we get to a googillion dollars? And can we ban Robin Williams from live performances until he gets back on the drugs? I mean, I know we're supposed to say "No," but if it'll make Williams and Dan Aykroyd funny again...
8:05 p.m. So what's the Brad Pitt-saving soundwoman's name? You can't keep showing her without giving her some real recognition.
8:05 p.m. So far, the Idol Gives Back tally is over $60 million. Good on you, America.
8:06 p.m. This Jewish recapper isn't exactly sure why the very Jesus-specific "Shout to the Lord" is getting its second performance in two nights. There are so many fine religious songs that are directed at a general, more-encompassing, all-loving "God." One of those might bring more viewers under the Idol Big Tent (we won't discuss the atheists or agnostics who might also want to watch Idol without being preached at). Uh-oh. Cue the hate e-mails.
8:13 p.m. Puberty hasn't been kind to Zack and Cody. Uh-oh. Cue more hate e-mails. I'm on a roll tonight. Anybody got a puppy for me to kick?
8:14 p.m. Hi, celebrity lip-synching montage that didn't make the cut last night (set to "I'm a Believer"). Poor Cat Deeley. She's primetime-worthy to me. Ditto with Eddie Izzard. Dr. Phil? He should stick to mid-afternoon when it's easy to concentrate on my job and avoid his existence. And Vinnie Jones? He's the Juggernaut, bitch!
8:15 p.m. There were 31 million votes cast after Tuesday's show. Who will take their place on the Ignominious Stools and who will ride out the hour in the plush comfort of the Sofa of Love? America's Nanny Brooke White is out first and Ryan lets her read her own card, guaranteeing that she's both safe and that she'll miss her sister's wedding. How about David "The Leader" Cook? After one of the best three or four episode streaks in recent memories, David has been less convincing the past two weeks. After a discussion of David's pompousness, the rocker's sent to join Brooke.
8:19 p.m. Presumptive American Idol Winner David Archuleta isn't going anywhere. That leaves three empty Ignominious Stools and five contenders waiting backstage.
8:25 p.m. On his trip to Africa, Forest Whitaker shot a lot of footage. We saw some of it last night and we get more tonight. I get it. He's a great actor and he's got a lot of atoning to do for Battlefield Earth.
8:29 p.m. Where's Melinda Doolittle at? Just curious. I have no quarrel with last season's Idol winner Jordin Sparks, who wasn't important enough for last night's show, but who pops up singing a heavily synthesized single with former O.C. guest star Chris Brown.
8:33 p.m. Four fans bring out a pair of platinum records for downloads of two singles, plus a gold album for her debut CD. This is a direct retaliation against the naysayers who have questioned the success of recent winners. I know this because Seacrest ends the segment with the very imperative pronouncement, "Idol works!" Now stop talking about all of those recent favorites without record deals!
8:37 p.m. The week's Ford commercial gets arty, as the Top Eight throw pain at each other in the Los Angeles River to the tune of "I Just Want to Celebrate" They make the Earth at the end. Groovy.
8:39 p.m. After a brief and fruitless discussion of the high cost of ukuleles in today's ukulele-hostile marketplace, Jason Castro is through to the Top Seven, taking the news with the same goofy smile he reserves for, well, everything. How about Kristy Lee Cook? She was one of the surprise stars of Tuesday's subpar show. Looking lovely in blue and professing nervousness at every turn, Kristy is spun off to the couch. That means Syesha Mercado, Michael Johns and Carly Smithson are the Bottom Three.
8:41 p.m. I guess I'd have preferred somebody other than Michael to be there, but the other two were no-brainer picks for the Ignominious Stools.
8:45 p.m. It's former American Idol Audience Elephant Jim Carrey. He urges us to give more money. You know why? Because Bono isn't satisfied yet. I admire Bono, but who made him the arbiter of when Americans have been sufficiently generous? And as an Irishman, he's also the only guy properly suited to introduce by-the-numbers messages from Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. Since Obama and Clinton aren't allowed to show vulnerability until the Democratic nomination is settled, the only candidate capable of making a joke is McCain, whose crack about Florida and Michigan voters is actually funny.
8:49 p.m. Randy thinks the Bottom Three is pretty surprising. In what way, Randall? Paula agrees that the Bottom Three is "partly right, partly wrong." As always, Simon insists that America is listening to him.
8:53 p.m. Elimination time! Syesha and Carly... are safe. We were due for a big surprise in the voting and tonight we get one. Michael Johns is done.
8:54 p.m. Ryan gives Michael a few seconds of hope by reminding viewers that nobody went home in last year's Idol Gives Back week. This year? No such luck. Simon and Randy are stern and disapproving. Paula is aghast. After several weeks of singers who were resigned to their fates, Michael admits to being surprised.
8:57 p.m. I didn't think Michael was at his best on Tuesday, but this was nowhere close to his time to go. Randy urges him to keep on rocking. Paula's such a big fan and she tells him to get on with his career. Even Simon says he'll miss him.
8:58 p.m. Michael goes into the audience to sing his good-bye song. By my count, at least one of the remaining men and three or four of the women should have been gone first.
Agree? Disagree? What do you think went wrong with Michael?
And, as always, check out Zap2it's Guide to American Idol.