Botch your lyrics: Get presented with a deadly crown of liquified gold. Screw up your glory note: Be forced to eat a raw stallion’s heart (right down to the last morsel). Get voted out by America (or screw up his sound-booth engineering): Find your head on a spike outside the gates of the city.
Like it or not, though, Jimmy’s approach would never work in real life: I mean, for starters, if Jessica Sanchez hadn’t survived the Season 11 finale, we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of hearing her perform her dancey-dancey debut single “Tonight” (alongside Ne-Yo) in the midst of the Top 9 results telecast. Last year’s runner-up worked the stage like a boss, and proved that not every Billboard-bound diva needs an injection of Auto-Tune to deliver note perfection with a side of sass.
And while Jimmy began the episode boasting of how he’d fired 110 assistants back in the day — “put that on your f****** show!” he giggled — his Mentor Feedback Moment (aka “A Recap of Idol Recap Comments Sections That Also Falls in Line With Uncle Nigel’s Pre-Determined Story Arc”) was fairly spot-on. Kree and Candice and Amber were amahhhzzz. Janelle has dark-horse potential.
Amber Angie has potential but can’t be so high-school theater geek. Lazaro was the “bottom of the pile.” Oh, and also Jimmy said Lazaro was lying about having only one day to learn his song: ESCANDALO!
That last named contestant and his lustrous locks weren’t going anywhere, of course. I mean, his tears from Wednesday’s performance show — along with a season’s worth of good will — had to be enough for a Top 8 placing. We all knew it, even if it made us feel dismayed. And then when Ryan introduced the episode by declaring “we could be in store for a surprise,” it was clear one of Lazaro’s compadres would be catching a grenade for him (yeah, yeah, yeah).
Okay, okay let’s cut to the critical shenanigans.
SENT TO SAFETY (in no particular order)
Paul Jolley (as expected)
Amber Holcomb (ILLEGAL! but, yeah, I called it last night despite her being in my Top 3)
THE REMAINING CONTESTANT RANKINGS
Fooled ya! They didn’t reveal ‘em this week!
SINGING FOR HIS LIFE
Paul Jolley: “Alone” | Sorry, clear-voiced but passionless country dude, this rendition was as rocky as your Top 20 Results Night victory anthem. And a crumbling final note sealed the deal: No Judges’ Save for Jolley.
Good news: Ryan played a funny highlight reel from Amber’s dress rehearsal where she struggled to come down a set of stairs despite an insane amount of dry ice engulfing her tiny frame. Funny stuff, and a much needed dose of relatable screen time to make viewers fall in love with her.
Oh, and before I turn things over to you, a few more points of discussion:
* The Top 4 guys sang “Got to Get You Into My Life.” That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
* The Top 5 ladies sang “Here, There and Everywhere,” and if several (or all 5) didn’t have such promising solo careers in front of ‘em, I’d suggest the ladies of X Factor‘s Fifth Harmony get to work on the necessary voodoo dolls.
* Jessica Sanchez & Neo’s “Tonight” sounds like a hit to me — even though there’s no Ke$ha gargling bile in the background or anything.
* Casey Abrams sang “I Saw Her Standing There” complete with jazzy inflections, his upright bass, some scatting and a really manky beard. It was just ai’ight for me.
And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Season 12 Top 9 results night? Did the right person go home? How’d Lazaro survive? And did you dig Jessica Sanchez and Casey Abrams? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!