'American Idol' recap: Lucky 13

american-idol-season-11.jpgBeing somewhat new to this gig, I've been wondering how they were going to fill two hours with a bunch of yeses and nos. I should have known that it would involve several minutes of emotional, over-edited montage footage of the very emotional, overexcited contestants before the titles even roll. The judges come out, with Randy in a zoot suit and tie with the shirt untucked, and then Ryan enters dressed like Steve Jones but with a holographic pocket square, stepping out between the couch-bleachers on the stage that are holding the thirteen guys and twelve girls who are still in this competition. Ryan tells us that there were more than 33 million votes last night, some of which might even have come from living human beings using their fingers. Ryan gets boos for breaking the "news" that half of the contestants on the stage will be leaving tonight. Yes, I feel bad for the twelve contestants who will be out of the competition, but since half of 25 is 12.5, most of my sympathy is reserved for whatever hapless semifinalist is destined to be bisected.

As Ryan and I have explained, the top five male vote-getters and the top five female vote-getters will move on, to be joined by one wild card singer to be chosen by each judge. And thus the lucky top 13 will be chosen. But not until after the break. So then what will they do after the next break?

Coming back. Ryan starts with the guys, calling Chase Likens, Phil Phillips, and Jeremy Rosado front and center. Chase calmly explains that he's barely keeping his composure, and Jeremy admits that his heart is outside his chest. Phil just gets to mumble a bit, but that's all he has to do to get cheers from the audience at this point. We get some clips from Tuesday night of their performances and the judges' comments, as well as some new ones from Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine, who is sitting in front of a monitor in a green room somewhere. Jimmy says Jeremy's probably the nicest guy, and has a good voice, but it's going to take more than that to win (translation: Jeremy is fat). Jimmy says Chase is a good-looking guy, but "you have to bring something fresh, original, and exciting, and I saw none of that." Wow, is there an actual judge in the house? As far as Phil Phillips, Jimmy says he'd sign him on the spot. So it sounds like it's win-win for Phil: he either stays in the competition tonight or he goes and gets an Interscope deal. The judges are given a chance to react to Jimmy's comments, and they take the chance to soften the blow. Ryan starts out by telling Jeremy that he hasn't made America's Top 10, so he has to sit down and await the unlikely possibility that the judges will bestow upon him one of the three wild card spots. Ryan tells Phil and Chase that one of them is in the Top 10 -- and it's not Chase. So Phil gets to claim the first stool on the row downstage left. He tries to tease Phil a bit, but Phil all but begs him, "Just keep going."

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