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'Idol' sets final two on results night

Note: Lisa de Moraes is in New York covering the broadcast network upfronts, and will return next week. In the meantime, WaPo Team TV's Emily Yahr recaps the Top 3 Results Night.

After a performance night in which the Judge's Choice tunes gave Casey James a dreary John Mayer song, Crystal Bowersox a so-so Paul McCartney song, and Lee DeWyze the hauntingly beautiful "Hallelujah" with a background choir, smoke machine, and light show, it's awfully hard to build suspense on results night.

But it's 'Idol,' so they sure do try! Only 55 minutes to kill before Ryan Seacrest tells us who's making it to next week's finale.

Ryan tells us first that OMG, JUSTIN BIEBER, will be performing, and then to calm the audience down and possibly put them to sleep, conducts an Oprah-type chat as he gathers the final three contestants on a couch, asking them about their 'Idol' journey.

"Is it -- surreal?" Seacrest poses his question thoughtfully, tilting his head to the side for effect.

"Yeah," sighs Casey.

It's going to be a very long hour.

Seacrest grills Crystal on just how hard it is to be an 'Idol' contestant, and Crystal and Lee patiently explain that even though the rest of the country only sees them performing once a week, no one realizes quite how time-consuming it is, what with the pesky members of the media asking all kinds of questions, not to mention rehearsals, Ford commercial music videos, and shilling for the fill-in-the-blank corporate sponsor of the week.

We learn many other facts during the seemingly endless discussion. Crystal would prefer winning the competition. Lee also thinks winning would be lovely. Casey seems to have his blue shirt unbuttoned to dangerously low Simon Cowell levels. You could hear a pin drop in the theater during most of this chat.

It starts to get interesting when Lee and Crystal heap praise on the judges for all their super-helpful comments -- but Casey shakes his head. "Not everything you've said has been helpful," he smirks, probably flashing back to the time Kara DioGuardi told him that he was not only eye candy, but ear candy. And wouldn't you know it? The show cuts to commercial.

After the Ford music video of the week (creepier than usual, as the contestants morph into spray-painted pictures of themselves), we see footage of Casey's trip home to Cool, Tex., where he signs everything from a small dog to someone's chest. But things take a somber turn when he goes to a hospital to visit the doctors who saved him after a bad accident. After shots of Casey in a full body cast and his mom crying, Ryan tries to goad him into shedding a few tears on stage -- but it doesn't work.

And for no reason whatsoever, blogger Perez Hilton appears to plug a singer named Travis Garland who's about to perform his single "Believe" on the 'Idol' stage -- and if you rely on Perez Hilton for trend-spotting, is apparently the Next Big Thing. Suddenly, Travis Garland descends a staircase and does a seductive dance across the stage surrounded by writhing backup dancers. We cannot for the life of us understand a word he's singing, but a screen suddenly appears on stage that helpfully reminds everyone his name is "TRAVIS GARLAND" and the song was called "BELIEVE," as if trying to burn it into the audience's brains.

Back to the Idolettes, Crystal heads home to Toledo, Ohio, where the mayor grants her a key to the city, she sees her adorable baby son, and sings an original song called "Holy Toledo." She breaks down in tears after seeing the video. Lee also gets teary-eyed during his visit home to Chicago, as he throws out the first pitch at a Cubs game and visits his old paint store. Naturally Ryan tries to make the tears flow -- "What does it feel like to make your father so proud?" he probes, as Dad's eyes water in the audience.

But enough tears -- it's Justin Bieber time! Tim Urban's pettable hair is a distant memory as teen hair/singing sensation Bieber takes the stage, singing "U Smile" and "Baby," and basks in the shrieking tween girls everywhere.

Finally, finally, it's time for the results. Ryan recaps comments from the judges (who have been strangely silent this whole episode) before telling Lee that he's safe. And the person joining him is...Crystal. People start screaming and music starts playing but Crystal's confused. "I'm safe? Am I safe?" she asks.

Yes, Crystal's safe. Casey's out. She joins Lee in a hug as Casey launches into a performance of John Mayer's "Daughters," the song that got him eliminated from the competition. But such is the cruel world of "American Idol."

Never miss another "American Idol" after-show analysis. Text "IDOL" to 98999 to have a link to Lisa de Moraes's blog post sent directly to your phone.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  May 20, 2010; 6:58 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Comments

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Posted by: bazemore13 | May 20, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

did anyone else notice Big Mike look at his watch as soon as Casey was done singing? classic Big Mike...no respect for anyone else

Posted by: MasonNation | May 20, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The producers DEFINITELY want Lee to win. They're giving him the same "light show, big production number" treatment they gave Daughtry and Lambert.

Of course, neither of them won, either.

Dewyze is another vanilla singer with a decent voice. Crystal is an artist who apparently has a huge portfolio of original songs. She can be huge. Dewyze can be the next Kris Allen.

Posted by: kemp13 | May 20, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

No mention of Casey's apparent child abduction during his closing number? The final two was so predictable that Seacrest didn't even bother to build the suspense and even the contestants were confused. I hope the new format will prevent the endings from being so hurried. Lee will probably win because he can better fit the commercial mold, but I bet Targon will have a more successful career.

Posted by: ozpunk | May 20, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Yawn.

Posted by: buffybot | May 20, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I also noticed Big Mike's watch check. Bad form, dude.

And when I close my eyes, I'm still seeing

TRAVIS GARLAND
BELIEVE

Casey is a talented guy. If he writes some songs, he could have a career. He just isn't a belter for this kind of forum. But he can play a mean guitar, has authentic musicality, a cool vibe, and a very good voice. And he looks mighty good in them jeans. :)

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | May 20, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

This week's broadcast of American Idol had the stench of a fixed boxing match.

In an amusing Freudian slip, Randy Jackson let everyone know it was Casey's last night before the show had ended!

Posted by: honestjd | May 20, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

kemp13 I basically agree with your point, but Lee doesn't even seem to me to be as talented, charismatic, articulate or hey, let's face it, good-looking as Kris Allen. The career I expect for him is more along the lines of Bo Bice. Remember him? He came in 2nd to Carrie Underwood. Granted, even Bo was a far better performer than Lee. Even when Lee was shown singing to his fans in Chicago he went off key. None of this should bother me, but somehow it does -- maybe because it makes the show's producers seem even more cynical and manipulative than I thought they were.

What's their problem with Crystal? What Randy called the "indie artist" look and style? The fact that she seems more secure and adult, and harder to push around?

Oh well, at least there's the finale next week and we'll get to see Siobhan again.

Posted by: owingsmills | May 20, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

FISHY FISHY .LEE ALREADY GOT A CONTRACT AND 2 CD OUT .DOES ANY ONE ELSE THINK MAYBE AMERICAN IDOL GETTING A CUT FROM LEE CD.THATS WHY THEY ARE PIMPING HIM?THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THERE SELFS VERY DISAPPOINTED .THEY ALL WORKED VERY HARD .AMERICAN IDOL GIVES THE WINNER A 1M.CONTRACT LEE SHOULD STEP DOWN HE ALREADY HAS ONE.

Posted by: swwenner | May 20, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I usually roll my eyes at accusations that American Idol is trying to help a contestant win the contest, but I can't help but smell something fishy with the way Lee DeWyse is being over hyped. The guy can not sing in tune, and even when he does, his voice is not all that great. His first song "Simple Man" was not very good, and "Hallelujah" was just ok.Jason Castro's version of "Hallelujah" was far superior, but you wouldn't know it from listening to the judges reviews. Compare for yourself (Jason Castro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2nRxKC-OyA, Lee DeWyse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP6O3ipSd8k). Also notice the difference in Randy's reviews.

Lee's increased confidence is having negative effects. He is more willing to talk and giving longer interviews. Unfortunately, he has nothing interesting to say. He is a boring person, like most of us. He is a puppet of Idol and is not smart enough to realize it. I liked him better when he was shy.

Fame and celebrity is slowly starting to poison Crystal Bowersox. She was going toe to toe with Lee Dewyse in the sucking up to Idol department. She is also getting a bit more full of herself and losing her indie edge.

I have grown to like Casey James as a person. He has always acted with grace, even when the judges went hard on him. He seems like he would be able to handle fame and fortune better than the other two.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | May 20, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

OK ALL YOU CASEY JAMES FANS ( I AM TOO) AND I'M ALSO A CRYSTAL FAN AND THINK THAT SHE SHOULD ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY WIN THIS THING - EVEN WITH THE JUDGES SHAMELESS PIMPING OF LEE DEWYSE. LEE IS AN OK SINGER, BUT THE JUDGES HAVE CONVINCED THE VIEWERS THAT HE IS THE NEXT COMING OF DAVID COOK - OR SOMETHING. HE CANNOT HOLD A CANDLE TO D.C. OR DAUGHTRY. SO OFFKEY ALL SEASON. NICE KID, BUT PLEASE, CASEY FANS PUT YOUR SUPPORT BEHIND CRYSTAL. SHE IS A TRUE ARTIST (AS CASEY IS) AND DESERVES TO WIN THIS. IF ALL CASEY FANS, THROW THEIR SUPPORT TO CRYSTAL - SHE WILL WIN BIG. I REALLY THINK THAT SHE WILL WIN ANYWAY -BUT I WANT TO BE SURE - SO CASEY FANS AND BELIEVERS -VOTE FOR BOWERSOX!!!!

Posted by: POGANNY | May 21, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

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