Tonight we say goodbye to a guy who never really had a chance. What’s his name again? I forgot it already! No I didn’t. For real now: The first goner from American Idol‘s top 10 to fade back into obscurity is Curtis Finch Jr., a singer of immense talent felled by a stale song choice.
"I definitely think Curtis should not be in the bottom two," declared Nicki Minaj, who arrived on time Thursday to watch Finch get the boot over Devin Velez. "Come on, America, are you kidding me? But Curtis, if you go home, I’m going home."
When Ryan Seacrest called his name, a pouty Minaj — sporting a lime green-ish blazer and shorts in a fashion-180 from Wednesday’s lateness-induced slacker ensemble — arose from her seat and walked away in mock-protest. About 10 seconds later, she returned to the judges’ table and pouted some more after the panel decided not to "save" Finch from elimination. "I think we really need an extra minute to discuss it," she argued. "I know it’s a live show, but."
But then! Seacrest cut off Minaj like one of Anne Hathaway‘s interminably long awards show speeches because he is a robo-host and must therefore end the show strictly on schedule rather than let people miss one riveting second of Glee (which nobody watches anymore, OK?).
STORY: ‘American Idol’ Recap: Where in the World Is Nicki Minaj?
While Finch and Velez wound up with the lowest number of votes, the top three were Angie Miller, Kree Harrison and Candice Glover. Fast-forwarding to the May finale, this all-female triumvirate could very well remain intact, resulting in the first girl winner since Jordin Sparks’ victory in season six. That was 2007, people! I was skeptical for weeks but I’m finally sold on Miller, who is this year’s Kelly Clarkson (they share a similar googly-eyed, girl-next-door likability) and is at her best when singing her own material. I’m also pulling for Glover, who sang my least favorite song of all time — "I Who Have Nothing" by Ben E. King — and stole it back from Sparks. The best part: I didn’t want to bang my head against my laptop. Meanwhile, to paraphrase one of Minaj’s highest compliments, I would actually pay to see a Kree Harrison concert. Am I the only secret country music lover who watches Nashville? Harrison has a cool, laid-back, unaffected Rayna James vibe although her face twin is the actress who played Drew Barrymore’s non-evil stepsister in Ever After: The Cinderella Story. (I’m not wrong, see?)
And in a BRAND-NEW TWIST, two previously eliminated male and female sing-testants returned to the stage for a sing-off with the winner receiving a spot on the American Idols Live! summer tour. The guy was Charlie Askew, who performed an original song called "Sky Blue Diamond" on the piano, and unlike last week’s near-meltdown, the ginger-locked teen tapped into the clear, haunting quality of his tenor singing voice and wore his hair down rather than in a creepy ponytail. Good for him! Bad for us? Then Nigel Lythgoe and co. revealed some extremely attractive competition from backstage: Aubrey Cleland, who crooned "Out Here on My Own." Let it be shouted from the roof of the Dolby Theatre: Aubrey Cleland was ROBBED of a spot in the finals, as was the swagger-ific Breena Steer. I’m still pouting like Minaj over that loss. The votes aren’t yet in but Askew has it in the bag. You simultaneously want to run from him and root for him, which is a rare quality, really.
So I took a three-minute nap when Phillip Phillips sang "Gone, Gone, Gone." I dreamt I was at a DMB cover band concert in 2002. When I woke up, I saw this tweet from Idol alum Melinda Doolittle: "Totally thought Phillip just sang ‘You’re my crotch when my legs stop moving,’ but I’m assuming he said crutch, right?!?!" Heh. Elsewhere in Dudes With Guitars: Bon Jovi performed "Because We Can," which is a little Springsteen-y and folksy and … I think Jon Bon Jovi and Keith Urban should have a hair-off, don’t you think?
Also: Did America get it wrong? Should the judges have rescued Curtis? Who deserves a spot on tour: Aubrey or Charlie? Plus: Is it me reading too much into his feedback, or is Jimmy Iovine nursing an inappropriate crush on Amber Holcomb?!