'American Idol': We're Glad You Came

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Another day, another Idol kid sent to the dustbin of pop culture history. Sorry, that's probably a little harsh, but let's be honest here. The person who was sent home last night probably will not be the next Kelly Underwood or anything. Facts is facts. That's why they call them facts.

We'll get to all that in a minute. The first thing that happened in the episode was that J.Lo premiered a snippet of her new video. Before it played she was like "I hope you enjoy the song, I really like the message of it, and I hope you do too." Oh, we thought, maybe this is some sort of slower seriouser ballad-y type of thing, y'know with a message that we could really get behind, a message that J.Lo herself really likes. But then the video played and it was La Lopes wriggling on a bed saying things like "I wanna make love" and then Pitbull showed up in a white suit and rapped a bit and then there was a title card that said "To be continued..." and that was it. What? I— Wait, what? What was the message? "It's a message I really like. I think we can all agree that I want to make love and that Pitbull likes to wear white suits. It's an important message." Maybe the part after "To be continued..." takes a big turn and Pitbull starts rapping about the Greek economy or something, but from what we saw last night, I don't know that a "message" is exactly what J.Lo thinks it is.

After that mess, it was time for the first of the celebrity performances, which was The Wanted, singing their hit winterspring jam "I'm Glad You Came." (Hee heeee.) The Wanted is a British boy band just like One Direction, except that they're older and they talk about booze and sex and stuff. They're like One Direction's cool, dangerous older brothers. They have stubble and other things that might threaten a fourteen-year-old girl. So it's strange, essentially, that they're a boy band catering to late adolescents, but it seems to be working for them. They came out last night and sang their song, which is all about paying rent and having jobs and feeling time slip away from them faster and faster which each passing year. Y'know, older stuff. Nooooo, just joshing. They sang about parties and sexy girls. "I think you look well on me," you know, sorta provocative things like that. Girls in the audience squeal-shrieked with delight while Ryan barely restrained himself and something happened with J.Lo? Did something happen with J.Lo? Because after they sang Ryan of course came running into the middle of the boy/man huddle and as they went to commercial Ryan's mic was still on and he said something to the main guy about "Getting to first base with Jennifer." Did you hear that? He said something along those lines and it was very mysterious. Oh to be a fly on that glitter wall! Oh well. Now The Wanted has spread its musical seed into the world of Idol and, I don't know, are we glad they came?

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Then, of course, it was time for Ryan to put on his dark cloak and begin his grim work. "Dim the lights!" he intoned deeply and then knelt and threw a pile of chicken bones onto the floor. He crouched there analyzing them and then finally stood and pointed a long single finger at Joshua and Jessica Sanchez. They came tromping over, and it seemed for a brief second like omigosh, could one of these people really be in the bottom three? Ryan started with Joshua and did his usual "I'm sorry... that you're winning... a losing game... if the object of the losing game is to not lose... because you are winning... in this game... not the losing game that's about not losing... I'm afraid you're leaving us... for the couches... Not the couches at the furniture store near your house... The couches over there... Because you're safe... from winning... an elimination contest... Joshua... I can't... Stop... Please... Just go... sit down." Always so miserable and labored and drawn-out this little game is! So, yes, Joshua was safe. Ryan then turned to Jessica and was like "You've been voted off... of the losers panel, you are safe, which is a relative term," and Jessica stood there blinking for a second, not really sure what had just happened and Ryan's face fell a little bit and he said "Just go sit down on the fucking couches." So yeah, Jessica is safe, of course of course.

After the rigamarole it was revealed that birch twig come to life Hollie Cavanaugh was in the bottom three, as were DeAndre Brackenkraken and Elise Testosteroni. So that kinda makes sense, right? We're now establishing who are firmly not the favorites, I guess. Elise had those two good weeks when she blew the box out or whatever, but she stumbled and now she's back in the ditch with the rest of the grubs. (Although, to be fair, DeAndre has not been in the bottom three of late.) So who would go home, or at least have to sing-plead to the judges? We had to wait a little longer to find out.

Oh, one funny thing that happened during all the figuring out who's in the bottom stuff was that when Phil Phillips, who's increasingly becoming the Real World London Lars of this situation, interesting but barely there, went up to talk to Ryan they showed Jimmy saying that Phil did a terrible job last night and for some reason Phil responded with something like, "Well I'm not gonna be like going over and touching people's hands, I would never do that, that's just not my style." At that, Ryan's smile hardened into a shellacked sort of rictus and through gritted teeth he was said, "Great, well, we love you and think you do good things here," or something, it was something a little more sarcastic than that. Clearly Ryan was thinking "Oh really, kid? That's how you want to play it?" but he wasn't going to say that. So Phil is getting a little Judy Attitudey, isn't he?? That's kind of fun. I never would have guessed that he'd be the haughty one this season. I figured it would be Elise (who, granted, has been a leeettle haughty here and there) or Colton. Colton of course has been an arrogant prick many times, but in more subtle ways, he's a bit more practiced at that particular dark art than ol' hayseed Phil Phillips over there. I'm sure that Phil Phillps has, y'know, at this point gotten with a couple groupies and is starting to think he's a rock star and so he's not gonna listen to Jimmy Iodine tell him bad things and he's also not gonna be all cheesy and touch people's hands and stuff. OK, Phil. Whatever you say. You just go and do what you gotta do. Meanwhile don't worry about touching the hands of the people that are voting for you to keep you on this show so you can act like a ponce about touching their hands. Someone keep this one away from the groupies for a while, huh? All that strange is going to his head. (All that head is going to his strange? I don't know.)

After that there was a twanggggggg that rang out in the theater, like a hillbilly production of The Cherry Orchard, and then everyone going "Ayahh ayahh" with their mouths, tasting something sour, and then we knew. They'd been pickled! By The Pickler! Yesss! It was Kellie Pickler time!! Whooo hooooo. The lovable dingbat from that bizarre Taylor Hicks season came street-strompin' out and just launched right into a tuneski about Tammy Wynette. Because gall darnit, these country kooks are always singing about actual people, y'know? Like Taylor Swift has a song called "Tim McGraw," and that dude is still very much alive! Strange, wonderful folk, these country singers. Anyway, Pickler looked and sounded great, a lot more cool and mature, which was fun to see. She's a delight. After her singsong she went over and hugged the contestants, which was nice, paying special attention to her sister in song Skylar Laine. It was fun. Hiya, Kellie! PICKL'D.

OK, let's get to it. Ryan moved his hand in a sweeping motion and all the lights dimmed ("He... He doesn't need us anymore," said the light board operator in the booth) and he grabbed a sorcerer's cane that he'd been keeping in a corner of the stage and brought the three to the middle of the stage. He immediately touched Hollie on the forehead with his cane and she floated back to the couches. Ryan then wheeled around to the other two and hissed a few words in a strange language and Elise too was sent flying back to safety. So it was DeAndre, so sad, so sad. He kinda knew that the judges weren't going to save him, as he used his singing time to say goodbye to his contestafriends and mouth to his sister or something in the audience that it was OK. He bopped his bop and flipped his flop (meaning his hair) and J.Lo looked at him all glittery eyed but in the end she could not save him. So it's goodbye fair hair, goodbye, goodbye. Who will your girl votes go to? Well, we wonder.

After the show was over and everyone had gone home Ryan walked back to his office, opened the door, and there was Colton, sitting stock-still behind Ryan's desk. Ryan hunched over a little bit at the sight of Colton, still remembering, as if some black dream, the night prior, when he'd seen his bedroom door knob turning and then Colton had entered the room like a silk plume of cold dark mist. There had been whispers and words and Ryan felt himself levitating off the bed and the next thing he knew he was in his suit on the Idol stage and it was time to do another show. He knew what he had to do, somehow, and so he did it. Now, here in the office, Colton looked up at Ryan. "You did well today," he said in a low voice. He stood up, walked over to Ryan. His eyes glowed like obsidian. "You seem to like your new powers. And you use them well. All went as it should. With DeAndre gone I ought to get some of his girl votes. His death will only make me stronger." Ryan gulped, swallowed, shivered a little. Something small inside of him was straining against this, he could hear a voice calling "No! Stop! Don't listen to him! Stop him! No!" but then the inner fog returned and all that was left were those eyes, those cold coal eyes. Ryan nodded his head. He looked at Colton. "Yes," he said. "Yes master, whatever you say." Colton smiled, leaned in, kissed Ryan on the cheek, and then strode out, disappearing down the hallway into the dark.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.