Let me just start by apologizing for everything I've ever said about the overdramatic entrances on this show. Because after the overdramatic opening --thousands auditioned, three now survive to fight to the death -- we've got Alex & Sierra, swooping in over the Hollywood Hills in a helicopter. Jeff Gutt (supposedly; that's a pretty dark helmet there) zooming down the winding road from Griffith Park on a zippy crotch-rocket. Carlito Olivero chilling in the back of a limousine down Santa Monica Boulevard. And then they all converge outside the studio and walk in together to the overdramatic strains of "We Will Rock You," like we've been hearing at the beginning of every episode all season. But this time it segues into a group sing of same from the top three on the X-shaped stage. So at least we got some payoff from that ongoing motif. Carlito and Jeff bound around the stage like the rock stars they so want to be, while Alex & Sierra just look embarrassed by the whole thing. Or at least by the helmeted backup dancers with a lit-up "X" on the chest of each one. I think that's what embarrasses me the most too.
Mario and his two tie clips finally turn up and he promises an epic battle. As usual, we've got live feeds to the final three's hometowns. Chicago and Detroit's viewing parties appear to be rather rinky-dink affairs in a gymnasium and a large sports bar respectively, but Daytona Beach has an outdoor amphitheater laid on for the occasion. I guess that's one advantage of being from Florida: the weather affords your hometown show of support more venue options.
Paulina starts off the night by introducing her own Carlito Olivero, not that she says both his names consecutively or anything. There's an intro reel about how badly Carlito wants this, also showing Carlito's last visit to Paulina's house for the last mentoring session. We already knew he was poor, but Paulina now tells us that he was also homeless for months. And Carlito talks about how hard he had to fight after being in the bottom two twice (only twice?), and there's the weepy parents, and weepy Carlito, and can we get on with it, please? Finally Carlito actually reaches the stage and does his trademark Spanglish thing for a performance of "Impossible." Except he's not even on the stage, but on a light platform dangling over it. Eventually it's lowered to earth, as his parents and Paulina both look pretty stressed out while watching. He sounds fine to me; maybe they were just worried he'd fall and break a femur.