1. The opening Donna Summer medley? Kind of superfly! I love that Candice and Amber dominated it while Kree and Janelle, who have never been pushed into trying anything even remotely outside of their comfort zones, straggled a bit. But a big WTF to those male dancers. They were so… peppy? Finger-snappy? Bangable. That’s what they were.
2. The less said about that Ford-sponsored “celebrity scavenger hunt,” the better. Even guest star Matthew Morrison, who was forced to say the line, “You guys are on TV too!”, agrees.
3. Nicki Minaj on Jimmy Iovine’s criticisms of Angie Miller: “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” I disagree. But he is a turtle in a windbreaker, so I have to keep that in mind.
4. My prayer is that Jimmy Iovine is reading my recaps, because he echoed my thoughts about Candice’s phenomenal song choices last night. That girl knows herself better than we know her, and I can’t say that for any of the other contestants.
5. Paula. Abdul. She emerged in a surprise moment to tell Candice she loved her performance of “Straight Up,” adding, “I have to tell you, I was really moved that you shared your beautiful vocals on a song that’s been a best friend to me.” PAULA ABDUL, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Sweet as can be. I love Paula. Is this a safe moment to admit I’ve seen the video for “Blowing Kisses in the Wind” like 70 times?
6. Look at all the Idol alums in the house! LaToya London! Jordin Sparks! Fantasia! Clay Aiken! This show is a cheesy, maudlin pox on American culture, but it is an awesome one. Loving seeing these guys.
7. But I wasn’t crazy about Aiken’s technically great, but undersung version of “Bridge Under Troubled Water.” Hit me with “Solitaire” again, Clay. Make my gooey inner Neil Sedaka weep out in adoration and terror.
8. I love when Janelle is performing, tries to have a “fierce stare” moment, and is accidentally cross-eyed.
9. Amber’s supermodel glow is POPPIN’ tonight. Get this girl in a ferocious-ass Doublemint commercial where she plays her own twin, thanks.
10. Sorry, but yet again Jimmy was right when he declared that Kree’s song choices were the worst. Did I mention I could be a millionaire record executive in a baseball cap? I have it in me, girl.
11. I appreciated the update on the gorgeous and stately LaToya London, but did Seacrest’s narration have to include such condescending lines as, “But where is she now?” He may as well have added, “Not following in Jennifer Hudson’s footsteps to Academy history, I’ll tell you that much!”
12. Fantasia. SANGIN’. Her pupils jolting like vaudeville stars. I even dug her mid-song editorializing: “This is my favorite verse right here!” The emotionality bordered on unhinged, but that’s a Fantasia standard.
13. Loved Nicki’s snap-snap-snap response to that performance. I need Amber to achieve that level of stank and sasstronomical power next week.
14. Candice is declared the first member of the Top 4. She feigned shock. For the hell of it let’s picture her ending up in the bottom two and literally piledriving Seacrest upon hearing the news. I like it.
15. Angie Miller, I am ready for your fourth place finish. I bet you’ll beat my girl Amber anyway, but I think you’ve shown us everything you can do. I’m the done-est with her.
16. Amber’s rolling fist-pump upon being declared a safe member of the top three is pure ecstasy to me. Leggy, edgy, and ready. AMBER. REVLON.
17. Kree and Janelle are in the bottom two! Which would be shocking except, of course, they are totally who we expected in the bottom two. Kree needs to regain the power she had back when she wore oversize pink polo shirts on the Idol stage.
18. Lucky for her, Janelle is declared the bottom vote-getter. Despite a note from Dolly Parton endorsing Janelle’s performance of the not-too-smart “Dumb Blonde,” she’s worthy of this dishonor. What can I say? Talented group.
19. Janelle dredges up “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” and it’s sweet. Too bad she’s wearing a floor-length dress with an asymmetrical hem, because that makes it impossible to empathize with her. Tsk.
20. The judges opt not to save Janelle. I’m not that sad about it because I just realized that Kree, in her baggy white blouse and black slacks, looks like a pirate magician. Tsk.
Your turn. Are you Team Amber yet, fool? (Team Candice is also acceptable, of course.)