Before tonight's credits, we actually get some new content, if you can believe that. After M.K.'s ouster, Harry reminded the other judges that they're looking for a superstar, and then went on to encourage her that this is just the beginning for her. Let's hope so, for her sake.
Ryan comes out onto a stage crammed with musical equipment, which is something to with tonight's theme, "I'm With The Band." By comparison to how the stage usually looks, the judges almost appear to be negotiating the center aisle of a hoarder house when they make their entrance. Ryan chats up Keith about how tonight the finalists will be sharing the stage, and asks Jennifer whether she has any regrets about M.K.'s departure last week, which of course she does. Ryan also asks Harry whether he's given any advance thought to using the save on anyone in particular, and he claims that he hasn't because it's a spontaneous thing. I wonder if that means he'll never want to use it ever.
Also in keeping with the theme, the show brought a couple of members of Fall Out Boy to come chat with a monolithic block of the finalists in an awkwardly-staged sit-down this week. Then they got to go out and watch the rehearsal of this week's group sing, which is the next part of tonight's show. Alex, Sam and Majesty team up for a Coldplay tune and sing it as though there hasn't just been a very high-profile conscious uncoupling; Dexter, Jessica and C.J. do a song I can only hear as "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and then Caleb and Malaya and Jena do what I assume is a Fall Out Boy song because it's the only one I haven't heard. Which one doesn't belong? Then they all join in for the big pyrotechnical finish. Thanks for that reminder that Fall Out Boy still exists, American Idol.
The intro reels tonight are apparently about each finalist's humble beginnings, complete with at least one cheesy reenactment. Alex tells the story of how he used to write songs while working at a farm stand, and then dropped his notebook in a puddle. He was pretty broken up about it, but at least a notebook is cheaper to replace than an iPad. He's not used to sharing the stage with a band, but is looking forward to it. He's doing "Don't Speak" by No Doubt, though he's singing it as though it's more like a Jason Mraz song. Given the wide gulf between this song and Alex's usual style, there's a pretty delicate balance between making a song his own and totally ruining it. He starts it off just thumping his guitar as he sings, and then begins strumming during the first verse before the band kicks in for the chorus… though it doesn't "kick" so much as "nudge with its toe."