Coming back, we get a pre-credits sequence-style clip of previous winners at their first auditions, combined with titles about making dreams come true and so on. But this is just a plug for next year's auditions, so I guess it fits. They'll be in San Francisco, Detroit, Atlanta, Boston, Austin, and Omaha. And God only knows who the judges will be.
Time for the clips of last night's second round. Jimmy tweaks the judges for loving their own picks and says that Kree won that round, in large part because of her homecoming video. I didn't know that was one of the criteria.
We get to watch a clip of the top three visiting Mariah at her bunker-like studio. She makes them stand while she sits and shows them her new video. She introduced it with a whole empowering speech about how image doesn't matter as much as who you are, and then the video is mostly about some dude singing and Mariah's legs. Think she'll still look that good when she's Lauren Alaina's age?
We now check in with Adam Lambert, season eight's runner-up, as Ryan reminds us of how "memorable" he is in barely coded language. And in case you're wondering if this show can do a whole sequence on Adam Lambert without abandoning its ironclad policy of never admitting any past or present contestant is gay, you are underestimating this show's resolve.
Alicia Keys shows up to perform her single, "Tears Always Win," which I'm sorry to say is nowhere near as easy to make fun of as "Girl on Fire" was. It might have more legs, though; I can already picture hearing it at my dentists' office. She also performs the whole song at the piano, which should please Angie's fans.
Finally, the recap of the third and final round from last night. Jimmy says Angie did "well, but not extraordinary." He thought Kree brought the attitude she needed for her third song, but as we already heard him say last night, he thought Candice's "Somewhere" was the best of the night. "If she goes home, I'm going with her," Jimmy vows, to cheers from the production staff behind the camera.
So I guess it's results time. Ryan has all three of the finalists with him at center stage, and he gives them a chance to say what they want to each other before proceeding. Which is all "I love you," all around. The lights go down, and the first one to make it to the finale is...Candice. She's totally pumped, and the judges all give her a standing ovation, along with most of the house. As for whether her final opponent will be Angie or Kree, that's going to have to wait until after the ads.