Tonight's pre-credit sequence is all about how nervous the finalists are, now that there are no more saves and no second chances. But the onscreen graphics promise that "ANOTHER SHOCK ROCKS IDOL." It's about time something did.
The judges enter, to the usual audience welcome. There's Taylor Hicks in the audience, possibly angling for one of those weekly alumni shots, or hoping Kris Allen gets hit with a stomach bug. Ryan comes out and announces that there were 53 million votes counted last night, a record for the season. Like that's a high bar. Then the finalists come out to sing "Dancing in the Streets." You'd think it be tough to do this song worse than David Bowie and Mick Jagger in the '80s, but you shouldn't underestimate your top seven. A deluge of balloons rains down on the stage at the end of the song, and it's a sign of how into this performance I am that my first thought is, "How are they going to get all those cleared away before we come back from the commercial break?"
Somehow they manage it, though. I guess everyone pitched in, because now the top seven are back on the couches. And I'm glad that I haven't completely lost my ability to be mortified by these Ford "music videos," because this one, in which they go out at night to look at themselves as overly made-up constellations in the sky actually makes me blush. Remember when the most embarrassing moments on television were on The Office?
Ryan then turns his attention to the top seven, asking if things have changed for them now that the judges have blown their wad, save-wise. Hollie points out that none of them were ever counting on it anyway. Well, not until last week, when the bottom three were named and Steven announced they'd be using it no matter what. Ryan then asks if they're all tight, and after some mushily affirmative murmuring, Ryan calls Hollie and Joshua front and center. In revisiting the performances they gave last night and the comments they got from the judges, Jimmy (wearing headphones around his neck) says Joshua helped himself out by staying in his sweet spot, and that Hollie was less nervous than she usually is, but will probably still be in the bottom three. He doesn't think much of Hollie's chances to make it to the finale, but he seems more confident in Joshua. Back onstage, Ryan mentions how Joshua almost didn't stay on the plane to come to Hollywood, due to his claustrophobia. It'll be fun to send him on tour, then.
Ryan dims the lights and tells Joshua, "I'm afraid you didn't get the right number of votes...to put you in the bottom three!" Yep, Joshua is safe. He and Hollie hug before he heads back over to the couches, and then Ryan doesn't waste much time telling Hollie that she's in the bottom three. Over to the stools she goes. Again. I'm glad to see they're skipping last week's top-seven charade with the groups and the "guess which side you're on" exercise, though. That must have been tough to resist.