What are the editors to do without a dramatic elimination from last week to make ten times more dramatic? Well, there’s always the unexpected electoral faceplant of Jessica Sanchez, and her summary removal from the chopping block, accompanied by the flashing of Zen koans on the screen about beginnings and endings and endings and beginnings and does this mean it’s already over?
The judges enter, with Jennifer wearing the pelt of a robot she killed and skinned on the way over. Ryan’s usual ****-eating grin for his entry is absent, presumably due to the loss of his mentor Dick Clark just hours ago. Indeed, that sad event is the first thing Ryan refers to, but then he says Dick is somewhere telling them to get on with the show, so that’s all they can do. I actually do feel bad for Ryan right now, especially because he looks a bit bloated from having just consumed Dick Clark’s still-warm vital organs in order to absorb his power.
Then it’s time for the entrance of the top seven, of which there are still seven. Ryan says these two hours will have the “most music ever,” because each finalist will sing not one but two songs. Or halves of songs, as we well know. Yes, they’ve been doing that since there was a top nine and they started with the trios and duets, but tonight they get two solos: a number-one song from 2000 or later, and then an older soul song. Hollie’s starting things off with “Rolling in the Deep,” because it’s been hours since anybody sang Adele on a televised singing competition. Hollie admits to Jimmy that she’s generally a lot more nervous onstage than in rehearsal. Basically she needs to stop thinking, is Jimmy’s input. Hey, no mentor this week! I assume this is American Idol‘s version of the “missing man” formation in honor of Dick Clark.
Anyway, Hollie kicks off the sing by singing the chorus a capella, then the band kicks in and we see she’s flanked by drummers. Perhaps they’ll be able to pound into her head the idea that she needs to relax already. And she actually manages to pull it off, for once. There’s a huge reaction from the audience, and Steven says he can’t even judge it, which is what he usually says to Jessica, so that’s high praise from him. Jennifer says this is what they’ve been waiting for from Hollie, and Randy says it was “close to perfect” aside from a few “pitchy” notes, which doesn’t even count because she finally had some feeling tonight. Hollie tells Ryan she’s been singing this song for “so long.” I guess it has been in existence for almost a tenth of her life.