urx unit loader 'Idol' Results 04/04: 'Smile' through the tears

As usual, Wednesday (April 4) night’s American Idol results show begins with a recap of the previous evening’s standouts and several things bear repeating:

Melinda Doolittle? Brilliant, get over it all you "she’s a boring troll" haters. Phil Stacey? Nice voice at times, but creepy. Haley Scarnato? Hot, but beauty pageant hot and probably a local beauty pageant, not a national pageant. LaKisha Jones? One note, but what a great note. Blake Lewis? Amusing, but overrated. Chris Richardson? Fun, but do we want to be listening to that nasally voice for another two months? Jordin Sparks? She’s been called the dark horse by so many people that she’s probably the favorite. Sanjaya Malakar? Learn to stop worrying and love the Sanjaya, America. Gina Glocksen? I left her for last because I keep forgetting her.

The week’s Ford commercial is set to "One Love" and features our contestants going through a car wash/safari. The commercial isn’t memorable until the very end, when Kermit the Frog makes a surprise cameo, perhaps attempting to do damage control after the widespread circulation of his damning "Sad Kermit" recordings.

The contestants are divided into a trio of groups of three. One features Blake, Chris and Sanjaya. One features Jordin, Melinda and LaKisha. And the one in the middle has Haley, Phil and Gina. Gee. There’s lots of suspense here, isn’t there? Sigh. But Ryan has to spin his wheels for 30 minutes, so he sends the Jordin, Melinda and LaKisha group off to safety as the group of top votegetters. That’s not surprising. And then he says that Blake, the immortal Sanjaya and Chris are the middle group. Also not surprising.

Unfortunately, while Tony Bennett was featured last night as a mentor, he was too sick to appear tonight, but that doesn’t stop Ryan Seacrest from doing a plug for Bennett’s Duets album. Mission accomplished, Tony. Now if only any of the contestants had listened to a shred of your somewhat doddering advice last night. Fortunately, Ryan has always enjoyed talking to and about his buddy Michael Buble and he was able to call in a favor. Buble does a bluesy (and boozy?) rendition of "Call Me Irresponsible" and he also gets to plug for an album that won’t be released until May and he even makes a funny.

Completely dead-pan, he asks Ryan, "Am I wasting my votes by still voting for Antonella Barba?"

Our fearless host responds, without missing a beat, "Nah, I do the same thing."

Time to send one member of the Bottom Three to safety. The crowd wants Gina sent back, but Phil’s actually the man. I’m already getting unhappy about this. Can we mention one more time how admirable and impressive Haley’s legs are?

Randy is a bit surprised by both Haley and Gina facing elimination. Paula, teeth set on edge, says that it’s tough at this stage and that they should both be proud of themselves. Simon isn’t at all surprised.

After the season’s highest vote, 33 million votes, Gina is this week’s bootee. Haley is confused. The crowd is miserable. Jordin is in tears.

Bottom Line: We’d had a couple of rough weeks in Idol-land, a couple marginally premature eliminations that left some fans shaking their heads. In Stephanie Edwards, the season lost one of its best voices. In Chris Sligh, one of its most distinctive personalities got the boot.

While hardly a contender for the season’s big title, Gina is probably the third straight contestant to go home slightly early, but her problem was in presentation. She put herself out there as a rocker, which wasn’t where her vocal strength was. But even if she would have been swiftly eliminated on a real rock competition, the judges kept repeating she was supposed to rock. It didn’t matter that her rendition of "Smile" was better than several of her more highly praised songs. It wasn’t what fans were told they were supposed to want.

Given the time to make it through her entire exit song, Gina does herself proud with a touching and heartfelt encore.

Thoughts on this week’s results? Surprised? Sad? Pragmatic?