It seems like a foregone conclusion really, that all the ladies are safe on American Idol‘s elimination show Thursday. Janelle Arthur scored the pimp spot, and the judges would happily use a save on any of the other girls should something crazy happen. The only exception is maybe Amber Holcomb, who has back-to-back missteps of bad arrangement and bad song choice. Still, she is just too talented a singer to let go at this stage.

So that means it’s down to the guys, with Lazaro Arbos the obvious choice, thanks to his waning confidence, poor performances and glistening forehead. BUT, while his backstory might be getting a little old, it’s still inspiring enough to win him the sympathy vote and some of the vote-for-the-worst attention. Seeing as how he came in fourth in voting last week, I don’t think there’s any chance America got it right.

So that means it’s down to Paul Jolley, Devin Velez and Burnell Taylor. And while I predict the final three will be Paul, Devin and Amber, I reckon it’s the end of the line for Mr. Not-So-Jolley (I feel like even he knew it, once he made a pun about his own last name). He’s got a lot of talent and a great voice, but he’s struggled with finding an identity that the judges don’t think is right for him. Do you agree? Who do you think will be singing for their Idol lives?

‘American Idol’ Top 9 Predictions: Who is Going Home?

Last week, I wasn’t quite prepared for the new format of intermittently announcing who made the top 3 (in no specific order) around 50 minutes of filler before a rapid-fire ranking of the remaining singers. So this time, I’ll try to appreciate the system a bit more. And Jessica Sanchez (somehow performing a duet with Ne-Yo like it’s the AI finale or something) and Casey Abrams. In no specific order.

Don’t forget, this blog is live, so keep your comments coming throughout the show, and I’ll do my best to keep up during commercial breaks. Now let’s get some results!

Jimmy’s a Dick

We open with a quick little scene of Jimmy Iovine chewing out an audio assistant for not having a mic open during a rehearsal, and he threatens the man’s job while Godfather music plays and then declares “Put that in your [expletive] show!” Ask, and you shall receive, Mr. Iovine. Unless you’re asking that the soundcheck work. 

Ryan Seacrest welcomes us to our Thursday “American Idol fix,” like we’re junkies or something. Well you know what, Ryan? I learned it by watching you, alright! I learned it by watching you!

Jimmy’s Thoughts on Beatles Night

Jimmy Iovine is confused about Wednesday night, because he thought the performances were up and down, yet the judges were complimentary of everyone. Clearly he didn’t listen to Randy and Nicki rip Lazaro to shreds. He wants the judges to be honest, but not coddle.

Jimmy thinks Kree is a star and deserves praise, but he warns her against over-singing. He enjoyed Burnell’s tone and thought he recovered nicely from not knowing the song, but he’s put off by some of these kids not being familiar with the music of The Beatles. I mean, in Jimmy’s day, he had to listen to The Beatles every day on the walk to school, uphill BOTH WAYS! And he could go to the store with a nickel, get eggs, milk and bread AND LEAVE WITH CHANGE!

Other Jimmy thoughts: Lazaro was the worst of the night, and Amber did a wonderful job. Amber also chose her own song, it was not picked for her, and she deserves to be in the top three, absolutely. Candice is a natural and was easily the best of the night. Paul has a nice voice, but he’s not ready for prime time. He made simple mistakes, missing the plot of the song. 

Angie’s interpretation of “Yesterday” was overly-dramatic, and she needs a fixin’ (like a cat?). But if she corrects her problem, she could win. Devin has a great ear, but he has to learn how to consistently apply it. He was middle of the pack. Janelle picked a great song and wowed with her explosive restraint, and she’s the dark horse. Whew! Deep breath…

The First Results?

It won’t be exciting or climactic, if last week is any indication, but Amber is up first. In a blooper reel moment, we learn she had incredible difficulty dealing with the smoke machine and the stairs in rehearsal. It’s just a big fake-out though, because Ryan says he has nothing to report at this time. Like he’s a reporter or something. 

The Group Number: The Boys Sing The Beatles

The guys come out singing “Got to Get You Into My Life” with a massive brass band. If they keep up these gender-specific group numbers, it’s just going to be a lonely guy singing by himself in a couple of weeks. Still, the voices blend nicely, and Burnell’s and Paul’s solos stand out the most. Lazaro can’t have much time left.

More Results?

Ryan pulls aside Paul to tell him that a town in Tennessee town has named Saturday, March 16, “Paul Jolley Day.” Nice of them to backdate it, so they don’t actually have to host him or anything. He’ll have to go there every year now, though, I bet. Ryan has the framed proclamation, and he uses it to butter Paul up to the unpleasant and completely unsurprising news that he’s in the bottom 3. Way to sideswipe him, Ryan!

Paul Jolley is in the bottom 3.

Casey Abrams Hits the Stage

Everyone’s favorite little brother from The Hangover movies is back, only this time he’s rocking Jason Segal’s beard from The Five Year Engagement. He’s playing a standup bass and honoring The Beatles with a rendition of “When I Saw Her Standing There.” It’s funky and highly entertaining, scats and all. I realized I’ve never mentioned how much the guitarist looks like Tom Brady, even though I think it every time I see him, particularly when he rocks a winter hat on stage. Can you imagine if Lazaro tried that? The judges might drown. 

It’s kind of sad that we don’t have a Casey-Hejun type singer this year to keep things light and wacky. One of the reasons the show dragged so much last night is that nearly everyone slowed it down and got serious. It’s funny to think about the nerves problems Casey had during his season, compared with how relaxed he looked with the pressure off. I remember him shaking profusely when the judges saved him.

The Girls’ Group Number and More Results

It’s a gender-swapped version of “Here, There, Everywhere,” and no one really stands out because they’re all so good. It’s time for more results, and Ryan calls out Devin Velez. He’s proud of his performance, but America wasn’t as enthusiastic and put him in the bottom 3. Everyone screams “Say it!” during Ryan’s drawn-out moment of silence, like he was going to deliver good news or something. Didn’t they pick up that we’re bottom three instead of top three this week?

Devin Velez is in the bottom 3.

Ryan asks Lazaro to stand up, and then makes him talk on live TV. It’s heartbreaking, every time, and I’m not sure why they make us watch this. It’d be like if they let Charlie talk about his depression every week. Nicki says that Lazaro is only good when he’s passionate about what he’s singing, and then Ryan drops the news we’ve been expecting.

Lazaro Arbos is safe.

And apparently we’re just making up the results format as we go along, because this is totally different than last week. Is Amber safe? Why did he make her stand up and pass along zero information?

Jessica Sanchez and Ne-Yo Perform

Our tiny and unsuspecting diva runner up from last season of American Idol, Jessica Sanchez, has been busy with photo shoots, modeling, singing and an upcoming appearance on Glee. She’s just, like, so totally overwhelmed with how cool her whirlwind life is! She also recently finished her first album, which includes her first single, “Tonight,” featuring Ne-Yo. She’s ready to show us how much she’s grown, and having a three-time Grammy winner by her side helps. I wonder what his thoughts are on all this. 

She’s wearing a crop top shirt, wind pants and silver sneakers, a far cry from the Celine Dion-evening gowns she donned during her season. She’s like a tiny Jennifer Lopez, without any of the curves. Ne-Yo makes her look pedestrian in the open, but then she comes into her own once they walk down the stairs to the stage. This isn’t quite the artist I saw her being, and I’m not sure if it’s for me. “Hop up on this ride. Take it to the sky. Everything is fly.” Really? “Where dudes got money and they’re not afraid to spend it!” It’s nice to see her out of her shell, because she always seemed lacking a bit in the personality department, but it’s just odd to watch. 

Who Else is in the Bottom 3?

Are we not getting rankings this week? Ryan says the results are in no particular order. The next person moving forward in the competition is Kree Harrison, who tells Lazaro, “I look like” before getting bleeped out. After last night, the sensor guy is on his toes! You’re wearing microphones, people!

Candice Glover is also safe.

Angie Miller is safe.

Janelle Arthur is safe.

That means it’s either Burnell Taylor or Amber Holcomb who will round out the bottom three. 

Burnell Taylor is safe, and my predictions for the bottom three were dead on. Yet Randy is “really shocked.”

We’re skipping over which of the three is safe, presumably for time purposes, and getting right to the lowest vote total.

Paul Jolley is singing for his American Idol life.

Paul goes back to Heart’s “Alone,” but it doesn’t matter, because there’s no way he’s getting the save. It’s not his best, but the guy really has an amazing voice. It’s a shame, because it’s the perfect commercial pop tone, and I hope he finds his identity soon. I really think he’ll have some sort of future once he gets it together. He sounds like he should be in a boy band.

The save has to be unanimous, and Randy says that isn’t. Pretty sure it was, just not to bring him back. Paul’s journey is over, and Phillip Phillips’ “Gone, Gone, Gone” takes us to the end. It ranks up there with the best elimination songs for me, but that’s maybe because I love his voice (and all his songs kind of sound the same anyway). 

Ranking the American Idol Goodbye Songs

The only real surprise of the night was how quickly American Idol abandoned the practice of ranking the contestants. I enjoyed that aspect of it. I wonder what happened? 

Were you satisfied with the results? Did you think Paul deserved to stick around (obviously you can’t count Lazaro in that mix)? Which guy do you think is next? It has to be Devin, right? Do we even need performances next week?

Doesn’t matter either way, cause we’re getting them. The theme will be the Music of the Motor City, which I can only assume means a heavy dose of Kid Rock and Eminem. See you then!

You can watch American Idol every Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Compete in Fantasy TV: Make your picks on who you think will be going home. Hurry, you have until Thursday, March 28 at 12pm PST to decide.

Want to add American Idol to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone. 

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order