American Idol Top 4 Results: Did the Right Contestant Get Sent Home Tonight?

American Idol held its Top 4 results show tonight, and in a most shocking turn of events, the Golden Stools of Advancement replaced the Silver Stools of Potential Doom. Okay, maybe “shocking” isn’t the right word for that development, but what’s a superlative or two when we’re talking about the nation’s biggest, most maddening, most buzzed-about television show?

Perhaps more surprising, however, was the fact that in a season that for a long time looked like it would be best known for the quick and merciless elimination of its female finalists — after all, the first five singers to go home from the Top 13 were all women — the Season 10 Top 3 will be comprised of (in order of Ryan’s announcement) Lauren Alaina, Haley Reinhart, and Scott McCreery.

Yes, that’s right, in keeping with Idol‘s history of fourth-place finishes for perceived front-runners (think Tamyra Gray, La Toya London, and Chris Daughtry), judges’ favorite James Durbin received the lowest number of votes this week and was eliminated from the competition. [Update: Check out our full episode recap here.]

“Man, I worked so damn hard to get here,” said James, as tears rolled down his cheeks. But before his emotional exit lap on “Maybe I’m Amazed,” the 22-year-old California rocker expressed happiness that he accomplished what he set out to do on the show. “Give metal a chance!”

And now, as the expression goes, there are three. Let’s break down the remaining facts of the telecast.

Musical Performances
Scotty McCreery & James Durbin: “Start a Band”
Haley Reinhart & Lauren Alaina: “Gunpowder and Lead”
Enrique Iglesias: “Dirty Dancer”/”I Like It”
Jordin Sparks: “I Am Woman”

Video Performances
Lady Gaga: “You and I (Live in Concert)”
Steven Tyler: Some Bacchanalia Situation That Had Ryan Making Jokes About Sexy Ladies

And now that you’ve got the scoop, I’m going to get working on my full episode recap — look for it to post overnight here at TVLine.com. [UPDATE: Full recap is liiive!] (And yes, I might get over my shock long enough to express some actual opinions in said article.) Until then, how are you feeling about James’ ouster? Did you see it coming? What kind of future do you see him having in the music biz? Can you imagine buying his post-Idol music? Sound off in our poll below, then hit the comments; and for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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