The "American Idol" Top 3 results show Thursday night delivered one of the few surprises of the season: After several weeks of half-hour results shows, the finale reveal was extended to an hour. Okay, it wasn't much of a surprise, but with the ratings slide this season, it is a minor miracle the network let them have the extra half-hour (canceling "Surviving Jack" must have freed up the time). Unfortunately, the show itself didn't provide any surprises, either. But on the brighter side, the episode did feature a cameo by Georgia the black Labrador (take that, Grumpy Cat!), three new singles from the Top 3 finalists, the artists the Top 3 will duet with on the season finale were revealed, and Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery performed his latest single.
But something was missing from the episode, the show's 501st. In what is usually a highly emotional, tear-flooded look at the Top 3's trips home, Season 13 was approximately two-thirds lacking. As was pointed out by Michael Slezak at TVLine (via Yahoo TV) in his May 15 recap, Jena Irene's family delivered on the waterworks but Alex and Caleb's did not. And besides Caleb's brother, Houston, did we even see Caleb's family?
Thursday's results show was also loaded with homecoming footage from the Top 3 as they visited their hometowns in Michigan (Jena Irene), North Carolina (Caleb), and New Hampshire (Alex Preston). Jena laughed and rocked and cried. Caleb rocked and ate a lot. And Alex rocked (in his laid back way) and you got the feeling his trip home wasn't as momentous as the other two (and could go a long way in explaining why the Northeast has not produced a single "American Idol" winner -- or runner-up -- in thirteen seasons), which might be the reason why we saw an awful lot of Judge Jennifer Lopez in split-screen shots.
While viewers had to sit through yet another yawner of a Ford commercial, it did serve a purpose on the show (finally, something besides sponsorship). The Top 3 sang their songs while riding around. Those songs -- “I Love This Feeling” by Alex Preston, “We Are One” by Jena Irene, and “As Long As You Love Me” by Caleb Johnson -- became available on iTunes following the show.
Each of the finalists were told who they would be paired up with on the finale, now an established tradition on the show. For Jena Irene, it is Paramore. For Caleb Johnson, it's KISS. And for Alex Preston -- Jason Mraz.
Scotty McCreery performed "Feelin' It," the second single from his third album, See You Tonight. The first single from the album became his first Top 10 song on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Judge Jennifer Lopez must have been feelin' it as well, because she stepped from behind the panel and gave Scotty a big kiss. As awkwardness ensued, Ryan Seacrest couldn't help himself, telling Scotty that J-Lo liked younger men (a playful dig at the "Idol" judge's current relationship with Casper Smart, a man half her age).
When it came time for the reveal, Ryan quickly told Jena Irene she was headed to the finale. Since she's almost been a given since the Top 10 episode (she's been the frontrunner since the Top 8, according to professional oddsmakers), there was no sense in denying that she had been voted into the finale.
So who would join her?
After the two rocked out for the past several weeks, receiving standing ovation after standing ovation from Judges J-Lo and Keith, the reveal was somewhat anticlimactic.
So Alex Preston was sent home. Well, sort of. Figuratively speaking. Perhaps "voted off the show" would be a more accurate description of his dismissal from the competition. (All other eliminations most likely actually resulted in the finalists going home.) He'll probably go home after next week, just like Jena and Caleb. Considering that he has to rehearse for the finale just like they do, he's most likely holed up somewhere in L. A. (at the expense of the show, of course).
To his credit, Judge Harry Connick Jr., the man who said he was a judge and could not in good conscious dole out standing ovations for individual performances, was the first judge to stand and applaud Alex after Caleb found out he would face Jena in the finale. You just know the musician/teacher in Harry was sad to see Alex and his unique pentatonic-scaling arrangements go.
"American Idol" will be seen on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. The performance finale will air at 8 p.m. (EST) on Fox Television on May 20 with the final reveal of the winner on Thursday. Guest appearances include KISS, Jason Mraz, Paramore (as mentioned before), Jennifer Nettles, John Legend, Darius Rucker, Demi Lovato, and "Idol" Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips.