When we come back, Steve still has more filler, in the form of a remote interview with Chris and Melanie backstage. They both thank their voters and supporters, because what else are they going to say? Finally Steve brings L.A., Marcus, Josh and Nicole (in her third outfit of the hour) out on the stage in their second overdramatic entrance of the night. Steve reminds us that there's still no particular order, so they're not necessarily the bottom two. He wishes both Marcus and Josh good luck (he must be lying to one of them), and pulls one more pause that goes on so long we almost forget whether the name he's about to announce is the one going home or the one staying. But in the end, it turns out that four knocks is what it takes to bring down Marcus Canty -- Josh is safe.
As the other judges join them onstage, Steve tries to commiserate with Marcus, who refuses to be sad no matter how much Steve tries to make him that way. L.A. gets the mic and tells Marcus that he's a major star and a great singer and we'll be seeing more of him. Well, not if the two years his mom gave him are up.
Marcus seems to have a great time watching his retrospective montage, and promises that it's not over yet. Steve sends him dancing off the stage, and welcomes the three finalists, who enter from the upstage entrance AGAIN: Chris, Melanie, and Josh. One of them will win the five million dollar contract next week, and judging by their faces, they all seem to think it's going to be themselves. Two of them are going to be abruptly disappointed next week, and the third one will be disappointed more slowly but much more harshly and comprehensively, over the course of the next several years.
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.