History was made once again! A record-breaking 95 million votes were cast. That's the most for a non-finale show, 15 million more than last year's finale, and 23 million more than last week's record-breaker. This accomplishment warranted a screensaver of fireworks behind our host, Ryan Seacrest.
Jimmy Iovine kicked off the show with his thoughts, and said that there will for sure be a guy in the finale. Actually, there will absolutely for sure be a girl in the finale, but there might not be a guy. It's either going to be a girl-girl or guy-girl showdown.
Hey, look! The Top 13 were in the audience. Well, I guess it's actually 13 minus 3. It's good to see them back, and I can't wait to see all 13 on Wednesday's 2 hour 7 minute finale.
The night was filled with emotional hometown visits, but the Idol variety hour wouldn't be complete without, well, variety! We saw footage of the finalists meeting Executive Producer JJ Abrams at his Bad Robot headquarters to screen his movie, "Super 8." Viewers with a keen eye might have noticed that this must've been happened last week because James Durbin was along for the ride. Hi James!
After a giggling session with Elle Fanning, we moved on to the first hometown visit: Haley Reinhart in Wheeling, IL. Haley accidentally walked past the limo intended for her, because she didn't realize she'd be getting in something that monstrous. The weather was cold, but that didn't stop Chicago's Haley fans from coming out to support her. We even got to see Haley perform with her dad and sister on guitar and her mom on back-up vocals. She even brought a big tear to security guard Aaron's eye.
A little girl--no more than 6--named Rihanna assisted Ryan in bringing the show back from commercial. She was there to promote the next season of Idol's new audition age limit. Just kidding!
Italian trio Il Volo made their American Idol debut with "O Sole Mio." I thought they were the Jonas Brothers at first, and I loved seeing the Top 3 finalists' reactions to these unassuming teens' voices.
Next, we were off to Garner, North Carolina to see how Scotty McCreery lives. He was swarmed by fans at the radio station. Then he went to his high school and threw a few pitches from the mound where he used to be just an ordinary 17-year-old. As Scotty left his high school, he was overcome with emotion by the outpouring of support. When he performed "Your Man" for the town, Josh Turner (the original singer of "Your Man") surprised Scotty for a duet of the popular hit song. Scotty summed up his visit by saying, "I've only lived about 17 years, but this might just be the best day of my life."
Nicole Scherzinger took the stage with some dancers to perform "Right There," and she was later joined by 50 Cent. The former Pussycat Doll looked hot and she moved and sang like she was in it to win it.
The final stop of the evening was Lauren Alaina's hometown, Rossville, GA. She went via police escort from the radio station to her high school, and she was having a great time. Then, Lauren took a trip to the neighboring high schools and witnessed the devastation from the recent tornadoes. She met with a little boy named Tyler who saved his baby brother from the wreckage. Lauren was obviously moved by the story and interacted well with the little hero. Fitting to the scene, Lauren reprised her performance of "Anyway." She threw a ball out at the Chattanooga game, and I think Scotty may have to help her with her form when they get back to the Idol playground.
With 12 minutes left in the show, Ryan said, "It's time for the results. I can tell you...after the break." The look of disappointment, relief, and laughter on the Idols' faces was amusing. Back from break it was time for the real thing. Jimmy was right, there's for sure a guy in the finale. Scotty McCreery is off to the Nokia! The top two girls have had an amazing run--the only females in the competition for six weeks, but only one was in the finale, and that one was Lauren Alaina!
Haley Reinhart took the microphone and rocked out to "Benny And The Jets" in the audience with her fellow eliminated finalists and parents. I'm sure somewhere, 6 and 3/4 feet off the ground, Aaron had another tear well up in his eye.
Are you ready for the youngest finale match-up in American Idol history? So long, Idol studio! Next stop, LA Live's Nokia Theatre!
CONGRATULATIONS LAUREN AND SCOTTY!!!
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