The Top 11 results show started with "Expect the Unexpected." Stop, producers! I'm already nervous. Even if you expected the unexpected, you still would have been in for a few surprises tonight. In the spirit of Motown week, the show sure had me asking Marvin Gaye's question, "What's Goin' On?"
The judges entered the set and Steven Tyler wore a leopard print shirt once again. Wild thing!
Ryan Seacrest introduced the show by saying over 30 million votes were cast and the outcome might shock you. The last time he said that, Michael Lynche landed in ninth place and was saved. My prediction? Someone shocking will be eliminated and then saved for the first-ever Top 11 tour. I wonder if that's allowed? This would be the most brutal cut. It's never fun to have the tour be within reach and then taken away.
The Idol finalists took the stage and they looked great in black and white. Everyone looked so sleek and sophisticated. We saw footage of Jennifer Lopez's husband, Marc Anthony, mentoring the finalists on how to use the custom inner-ears designed for the contestants. It seemed to have work since Randy Jackson didn't use the adjective "pitchy" once last night!
In honor of Motown Week, the Top 11 performed together for one last time to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." I knew it! It's like an unwritten rule that this song has to be performed on American Idol's Motown Week. Just when I thought I could predict the results show happenings, the stage doors parted and Stevie Wonder was brought out on a motorized platform. WHAT?! Stevie was just waiting in the wings unbeknownst to the audience, and no one looked more shocked than Steven Tyler, who was overcome with sheer delight. How cool for the Idol finalists, three of whom performed a Stevie Wonder song last night, to perform "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" with the legend! The judges were up out of their seats as Stevie sang "Happy Birthday" to Steven and some of the Season 10 Idols walked out with a cake and a portrait of Steven. I think that birthday present might be hard to top!
It was time to get down to business, and Lauren Alaina, Pia Toscano, and Scotty McCreery were called down to the stage next to Ryan. These were the first three to be revealed to the Top 13...and now these three were the first to find out they're going on tour! They jumped in celebration. This show has been nothing but a party so far tonight.
Country duo Sugarland took the stage to perform their up-beat hit "Stuck Like Glue." I loved the performance and the hints of reggae-infused country during one part of the song. Jennifer Nettles' outfit was as eclectic and vibrant as her performance.
We saw a clips package of the contestants talking about James Durbin's wrestling obsession, which included footage of James "beating up" Paul McDonald in his spare time. Pia challenged them all, and in a football hoodie and black under-eye makeup, she showed that she's more than just a balladeer. Naima, who revealed in her interview that wrestling is fake, announced the match-ups with a gold sparkly American Idol mic that apparently was just lying around the Idol house. I guess once you're on the show you don't need to use a hairbrush for at-home rehearsals any more. Back at the live show, Ryan called the two fighters, pals James and Paul, to the stage. Pop Quiz: Whose teeth are whiter, Randy Jackson's or Paul's? Ryan announced, "Both of you guys aren't safe tonight." Wow, this show was a shocker! But wait...the doors pop open and James' idol, Hulk Hogan flexed his muscles on stage and said that the good news is that James and Paul are safe and going on tour, but Ryan is not safe. Hulk delivered some fake punches, confirming Naima's comments about the validity of wrestling.
So far we were five for five in the contestants who were going on tour, so that meant 50% of the remaining finalists would be in the bottom 3. I'm a mathlete. Jacob Lusk, Thia Megia, and Stefano Langone were ready to find out their fate. Ryan told Jacob that he was safe and going on tour, and his mom and nana seemed much less enthusiastic hearing this life-changing news than they were after his performance last night. A shock to many people, Thia and Stefano were both in the bottom for their first time in the finals round of the competition.
Either Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, or Naima Adedapo would be in the bottom. Ryan drew out the results and said the first person safe is [long pause, and Naima floats her hand to point in the direction of Casey and Haley] Naima! She was shocked and emotional. And in another shock to many people (unless you were expecting to be shocked like Ryan and Nigel tried to prepare us), Casey Abrams was in the bottom with Thia and Stefano.
Time for the third Jennifer of the night...Jennifer Hudson! American Idol's third place finalist showed yet again that coming in seventh place is nothing to be sad about. She continues to be one of the most successful Idol finalists and the only one with an Oscar and Golden Globe! As Jennifer sang her latest single, "Where You At," I wondered what was more impressive, her voice or her physical transformation. At the end of her performance she said, "It feels good to be home," and Ryan pointed out that Jennifer's Season 3 pal, George Huff, sang back-ups just now during her performance. He made it farther in the competition than she did, and he's singing back-up for her.
Uh oh, it was results time and I wasn't sure if I was ready to see any one leave. Thia was sent back to safety, followed by Stefano. Casey Abrams received the fewest votes. He needs to go on tour because he would be fun to watch with all of his unique instruments and crazy energy. Casey sang "I Don't Need No Doctor" for the save, which is ironic because the poor guy has needed a doctor a few times throughout his Idol journey. Haley looked especially distraught and emotional as Casey performed. The judges cut him off and said they don't need to see him perform; they already know how good he is. With that, the b-day boy announced that they are keeping Casey in the competition. The color drained from Casey's face and he shook the judges' hands. As the crowd chanted Casey's name, he practically fell down on Ryan and the steps. He hugged his super cute, proud, and emotional parents. Casey figured only 10 could go on tour and that he'd be eliminated and he said the judges "scared the stuff out of me." The judges gave Casey some advice to stray away from crazy Casey and just pull back and perform.
Then, Ryan revealed what might be the biggest surprise of the night--all 11 are going on tour! WOOHOO! The contestants broke into celebrations on stage. Two will go home next week. Who will it be?