'American Idol': A Late-Season Surprise

Everyone was pretty certain that Thursday night's Final 3 results would play out a certain way. But no! A real humdinger of a shocker came bouncing through the Idoldome, briefly reinvigorating a tiresome season. Well played, American Idol

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Well well well! The old girl's still got some life left in her. Things had clunked and dragged along for the past several weeks in predictable fashion, and I was certain that last night's Final 3 results would play out a certain way. But no! A surprise! A real humdinger of a shocker came bouncing through the Idoldome last night, briefly reinvigorating a tiresome season. Well played, American Idol.

Before we get to the big surprise, let's cover all the other stuff, shall we? The show continued its sad little sojourn through seasons past, getting us up to date on two second-place finishers, one from season 10 and one from season 8. If you know your Idolology you'll know that that means Lauren Alaina and none other than Adam Lambert. Yes, our beloved Gay Frankenstein made an appearance on the show last night, though not the kind I would have liked. Meaning, he didn't perform! There was a whole video package about how Adam is huge these days, going on world tours and everything (he's big in Asia, shockingly), and though I knew it wouldn't, it did feel like the whole thing was leading to a performance. But nope. It was just a little video catch-up, a way for Idol to get Adam to say what an important experience the show was, how much it's done for his career, etc. This is all PR, y'know. I mean, the whole goddarned show is PR for itself, but these old contestant look-backs are especially sad and obvious, the grim urgency involved, all the "We matter! We matter!" ringing in the air. Poor Idol. Someone just needs to strangle it and pet it and say "Shh, shh," as it goes down. Sad thing, doesn't know when its time is over. And Adam? Yeah, well, good for him. I'm glad someone likes his screech-lurching. It was funny to see him doing some choreographed dancing in some new music video. Is dancing really his thing? I mean, I know he was a flying monkey in Wicked or whatever, but dancing doesn't really seem like something that would be his forte. But what do I know! I'm sure the Glamberts will descend and show me the error of my ways.

Lauren Alaina did actually perform. She has a new album comin' out, her second, and she's real, real excited about all them new songs what got writ for her. Well, actually, Lauren said that she did some writing on the album too. So, good for her. Anyway, the song she sang was called "High Heels and Hootenannies" or something. You know, one of those country songs. "Lipstick and Lassos" or "Wearin' My Jeans to Ricky's Funeral" or whatever. Mixing something soft and maybe feminine with something tough and gritty and country. "Daisy Dukes and David Duke." Well, no, OK, not that bad, but you get my meaning. Anyway, it was a kicky little thing and she sang it cute and fine, as she always does, but once again there was a sort of blankness about her that has always, well, defined her. She is strangely defined by a lack of definition, that Lauren Alaina, as smooth and featureless as a display platform at a shopping mall, all her insides air conditioned. Oh Lauren. Oh well.

What else, what else. Oh, Mariah debuted her new jam with Miguel. She didn't perform, they just showed the video, which involved her and Miguel taking a very dangerous-looking motorcycle ride (are you supposed to writhe all over someone who's driving the motorcycle you're on like that?) down a sun-splashed country road. Then they sang to each other in a barn or something? It was sort of a strange setting for the song, but whatever. What are music videos anymore, really. Nobody cares about music videos. It's not the old days when you'd watch the same popular videos week after week with Idalis or Daisy Fuentes, or every day with Carson and friends. Those days have past. I'm sure little girls and gay boys watch One Direction videos and whatnot, but that's about it. Mariah need not writhe on Miguel's motorbike, the trip to the country was not necessary. Everyone can stay home, and stay safe.

OK! Results! Only three people here, so it was pretty quick. Candice was safe, obviously. So we will have a Candice finale. And then it was down to Kree and Angie Mills, for me the obvious conclusion being that Kree, never that exciting or engaging, would be sent home and we'd get the Angie/Candie finale we'd long assumed we would have. But, Idol had a little moxie left in her, she did, and Ryan said "The person joining Candice in the finale is... Kree Harrison!" and you could feel the shock in the room, rippling across the audience, vibrating, rattling teeth, making hairs stand up on people's arms. Kree?? Angie Mills is going home? What is this? How can this be? I guess the country vote is strong. Never underestimate the country vote. The judges looked stunned, Ryan looked pleased with the surprise, and Kree... Well, Kree just about kreed herself. Candice gave Angie some consoling words and then it was time for her to sing her goodbye song — Angie, defeated! Angie, singing her last song! Mind-boggling — which she could barely do, blubbering with sobs as she was. Everyone was emotional but Angie got through it, cheered on by the crowd, all of them saying "We can't believe it! But goodbye anyway! Goodbye!" And then it was over. Just like that.

So we've got our two left and Angie's got to figure out what to do now that she's just placed third. That's it, only third. Who remembers third place? I guess some people do, but not many. Who would have guessed that it would end this way for Angie, who once gleamed behind the piano, looking like our one true star. But that is the mystery of this show. This long, long show. Which is almost over! Yes, but one more week. One more week. That's what Ryan kept telling himself all night last night, weary from this season, wearier than ever before. Probably because of age and time, but also because of home, because of Tim, or whatever shred of Colton's old demon soul was taking up residence within him. Tim had gotten restless, was making more banging and howling sounds in the night. And scarier still, he'd begun eying Ryan the way he'd looked at his other prey, Lazaro and Paul Jolley and all the others. That unsettled Ryan deeply, kept him awake at night, often sitting at the edge of his bed, trying to hear Tim, to gauge where he was in the house. Once, only once, but recently, Ryan heard Tim's heavy breathing right on the other side of his bedroom door, and he sat frozen in terror as he watched the doorknob turn slightly back and forth, Tim trying to get in or testing the lock. It terrified Ryan, and he sat stock-still all night. Eventually Tim padded off down the hallway but Ryan couldn't move. Something had to be done. But not now. Just one more week. One more week and then he could devote his full attention to getting his Tim back to him. That's all he has to wait. One week. It's so easy. Just like that.

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