At the Phillips residence, Phil gets a similar package from Jimmy, with a similarly ricockulous pantomime, and the news that he's singing "We've Got Tonight" by Bob Seeger. Back in the auditorium, Ryan and Jimmy "amusingly" jockey for the high ground on the aisle steps before Jimmy says the song has a melody so great that Phil might actually sing it. Phil does his own version of it in front of a single piano, nervously wiping his sweaty hand on his pants. He manages to actually hit the high notes, but it's pretty thin for him up there. And he did go with the tune, which is enough to get him a standing ovation from the judges.
Randy calls it "the perfect song at the perfect time and your best performance on the show ever." Randy's out of his tiny little mind. That wasn't even Phil's best performance of the night. Basically Randy's just satisfied that Phil's demonstrated an ability to sing an actual melody of a song, any song. Jennifer says it was sweet. Steven gets bleeped for saying Phil sang like he didn't give a shit. So there you go: make everyone think you can't do something that should seem to basic to this entire concept that it should go without saying, and then do it, and that's how you get to the American Idol finale. Ryan sits down with Phillip on the stage and tells him to give the camera the look while he does the voting numbers (Phil obliges by squinting comically).
Recap of tonight's nine judged performances, and each finalist's three phone numbers, and Ryan comes back for the last-minute vote-grubbing before his audio cuts out. I'm sure it was just a technical glitch, but leave me my dream in which Ryan Seacrest vomits out a torrent of verbal filth that would embarrass Tom Cruise's character in Tropic Thunder.
M. Giant is a Minneapolis-based writer with a wife, a son, and a number of cats that seems to have settled at around two. Learn waaaay too much about him at Velcrometer, follow him on Twitter, or just e-mail him at m.giant[at]gmail.com.