Host Ryan Seacrest says that 24 million votes were cast last night, "10 million more than this time last season," but is that even a fair comparison? They didn't do a Top 36 last season -- not to mention, I just looked up my entry from this week last season, and he said then that 28 million votes had been cast. Who knows.
Ryan introduces the judges, then asks them how it went last night. Randy Jackson says some people stepped up to the plate and some faltered. Kara DioGuardi says a few people disappointed her, and Ryan asks her to name names. She shouldn't, but she does: "Stevie, Casey, Stephen." Paula Abdul says Simon disappointed her. Simon Cowell is asked to judge Kara's performance last night, and he doesn't really answer.
Montage of last-night-ness, set to "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough." Then it's time for a group sing, Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." It starts out a little rough, but as they get into it, it gets better. Also, Stevie Wright gets to redeem herself with a long solo note (though it's a little too late).
After the break, Ryan says it was "a very raw show," at which point we relive it yet again. After the montage, Ryan talks with the contestants. Jackie Tohn rates her performance a 90-91 percent. Anoop Desai claims that he isn't nervous until Ryan gets in his face, pretending he is about to give the results. Then he talks to Tatiana del Toro, who says she hopes people kept her dream alive, as she plays with her hair. Stevie Wright says last night was tough, but she's proud she's gotten this far.
It's time for some results. Casey Carlson comes forward. She says very cogently that she probably picked the wrong song, but she has been having the most fun of her life. She finds out she is not the top vote-getter.
Then Stephen Fowler is up, who agrees that he probably picked the wrong song, but as long as they don't think he sounded bad, he's OK. He is "not in the Top 12."
Alexis Grace is next, and she says she doesn't even like watching this part on TV. She is in the Top 12, and she is so excited. So are her parents. I'm relieved! She has to come forward and sing one more time.
Ricky Braddy and Jackie Tohn are called forward together. Ricky is not through, and neither is Jackie.
Then it's Anoop Desai and Michael Sarver. Of these two, going through to the Top 12 is Michael. Huh. He must have a lot of fans out there because last night was not his most shining moment. He is thrilled and says he has been beating himself up all day. Maybe he will do better with the re-sing. Going into commercial, Ryan says that only 20,000 votes separated Michael and Anoop. Ow.
Then there is a commercial for the American Idol Experience attraction. Oh, wait. It's during the show, but it's totally a commercial. (Big shock on this show, right? Pass me a Coca-Cola, please, judges!)
Then, weirdly, Michael Johns and Carly Smithson come out, pretending that they are getting their results. But they keep talking about the Disney attraction. However, Michael Johns notes that his album is coming out soon. The two then sing "The Letter."
Ann Marie Boskovich, Brent Keith and Stevie Wright all stand up and are reminded of what happened last night. None of them are in the Top 12.
That leaves us with Danny Gokey and Tatiana del Toro. Tatiana looks like she is about to pass out, and she tells Ryan she can't talk about how she feels right now. And through to the Top 12 is Danny. Not much of a surprise.
Tatiana freaks out, reservedly. Danny sings "Hero" again. Tatiana cries in the background.
Dear remaining contestants performing in the next two weeks: Please pick better songs. For the love of Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow and Jennifer Lopez.
So, to recap: Danny Gokey, Michael Sarver and Alexis Grace are headed to the Top 12. Interesting. I wouldn't have predicted Michael, but here we are. What do you think? Who do you think has a shot at being a wildcard finalist?