It continues after the ads, as Keith has relinquished his seat at the judges' table so Drake can sit next to Nicki, who apparently arranged all this. Then Ryan runs some more clips from Season 10, which marks the first time I've ever laid eyes on Lee DeWyze. He catches us up on how he's been on tour, in the recording studio, down the aisle for his wedding to some chick who was in his music video, and now he's back to play "Silver Lining." Timely! It also apparently takes a dozen people to help him perform this soft, limp country ballad that abruptly goes all Mumford & Sons after the first verse before going back to what it was at the start. You guys, how bad was Season 10? The judges don't even bother getting up this time.
Angie may be the only one Jimmy leaves unscathed for the week, not that she seems to realize it. Or maybe she's just pretending not to for the cameras. Sure enough, his clip about her says she easily won the night with two great songs and two great performances, although he prefers her behind the piano like everyone else does. Ryan reads Angie a supportive Tweet from Jessie J and then asks Mariah for some reason what she thinks Angie needs to stay in the competition. Mariah tells her to stick with the piano and keep being herself, which is going to sound a little silly if Angie goes home tonight.
Ryan now puts the finalists into two pairs, with Kree and Angie at stage left and Amber and Candice at stage right. "Take a look at this," Ryan says. Racial segregation? That's not actually a proud moment, Ryan.
After a suspenseful ad break and an even more suspenseful pause, Ryan announces that Candice and Amber are in the bottom two, meaning safety for Angie and Kree. Ryan stretches out the moment, announces next week's theme ("now and then") in a throwaway line, and finally reveals that the person in danger of leaving tonight is "...no one." Well, that must be the twist. Angie and Kree run over to celebrate with Candice and Amber at center stage while the judges look completely flummoxed. Ryan explains that the judges never used the save this season, so we ended up with an extra week before the finale and the save went off all by itself. Ryan assures us that this week's 34 million votes will be added to next week's totals, so don't worry; nobody who voted last night was wasting their time. Well, not any more than usual.
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.