There's a montage of Casey James from the ninth season, which makes this the first time I've ever seen him in my life. He takes the stage with his band to perform his own bland, middle-of-the-road country song, "The Good Life." I suspect I may now never see him again. After he finishes, Ryan comes out and chats with him about his history of shirtlessness on the show and invites him to give the top seven some gifts Casey picked up for them all. Unfortunately, he's going to have to be Santa during the commercials.
This week, we're messing with more ways to stretch out results, at which point we find out that Jimmy wasn't the only one pressed to name his top three from last night; the judges were, as well. Keith also picked Angie, Amber and Kree, as did Nicki, who thought she was revealing that information in confidence until it popped up on the giant projection screen. Randy has the same top three, though in a different order, and Mariah ends up being the outlier by having very reluctantly named Kree, Amber and Candice. But you know, this was really hard for all of the judges because everyone's so damn wonderful. Doesn't Ryan have to reveal his own top three? Oh, right... nobody cares.
With that padding behind us, Ryan gets started revealing the actual top three, in no particular order: Kree, Angie, and... Lazaro? What el fuck?
After the ads, the top three have returned to the bleacher-couches so they can all surround Ryan while he introduces Carrie Underwood. The editors don't have to spend a lot of time establishing her legitimacy like they did with that other guy whose name I've already forgotten, just showing her with her millions of Grammys and number one singles, and then Ryan introduces her to sing her new single, "See You Again," which is the kind of overblown country power ballad that's destined to inexorably become her million-and-first hit. Nice of her to keep coming back here, though, isn't it? Especially when it's only top-seven week. Not that she's done a lot with her hair for the occasion; she's rocking a mom-cut that looks like she was dragged through a hedge backwards. She gets a standing ovation from the contestants and three of the judges (guess which three), and then she and Ryan suck up to each other a bit before Ryan throws it to the ads. Seriously, though, Lazaro?
When we come back, the top three -- Kree, Angie and freaking Lazaro, lest you've forgotten -- are over at the winner-stools at stage right while the other four await further results. Candice is also safe, and Ryan gingerly guides her and her broken toe across the stage. Janelle, Amber and Burnell are still waiting, and it turns out Amber is safe as well, leaving a bottom two made up of Burnell and Janelle. This is the worst night the women have had since Zoanette left. Ryan calls them to center stage and asks for Nicki's reaction to the bottom two. She basically talks about Burnell in the past tense, but says no matter who goes home tonight it's still a win for them. Whereas we've already missed our shot at a win for us.