Tonight's pre-credits sequence is, of course, all about the hometown visits that the top three get, with flashbacks of visits from past seasons and the caption, "All four are going home, but only three are coming back." This... is American Thunderdome!"
Ryan comes out after the judges to tell us that the top three will be named tonight, plus will.i.am is here to perform, as well as David Cook and Harry Connick, Jr. But the first performance of the night is the top four being forced to struggle through a jitterbuggy version of "Crazy in Love" that is apparently on the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby. I was on the fence about seeing that, but after hearing this number, I've decided that I definitely won't.
The Fiesta Mission for the week teams the top four up with an artist named Tristan Eaton, in his cavernous studio. He lets them paste a bunch of music-themed Colorforms onto big outlines of cars, scans them into his computer and invites them back three days later to show off the two Fiestas wrapped in the car-condoms that resulted. Congratulations girls -- you've created two giant Easter eggs that look like they were dipped in vomit. They can't wait to get into them and take a ride, probably because when they're inside the cars they don't have to look at them.
The recap of last night starts rolling, as usual including clips of the performances and judges' comments plus the value-add of Jimmy Iovine's post-mortem. Jimmy says Angie could have blown everyone away last night, but "Diamonds" was the wrong current song and she wasn't great on her standard, "Someone to Watch Over Me" either. He thinks Amber came off too karaoke on her P!nk song without enough time to learn it, but says her "My Funny Valentine" was magnificent. He loved Candice on both her songs, saying Bruno Mars needs to write another one for her right now. Jimmy says Kree gave two "good" performances without weighing in on the Harry vs. Randy debate from last night, which we just got to see all over again. Or else he did talk about it and the editors cut it out because it nails everything that's wrong with the whole show.
Season 7 winner David Cook is back, with an intro reel that covers his post-show record sales and his involvement in raising funds for brain cancer research through something called "Race for Hope." Seems to me like whoever wins that race would probably be the least in need of it. He also warns the top four that whichever of them ends up getting the homecoming visit, they're going to cry like he did. He and his band do his new single, "Laying Me Low" a mid-tempo roadhouse number that, I'm sorry, I've already forgotten. Afterwards, Ryan reminisces with David about Mariah being his mentor during his season, which she may or may not remember herself.