American Idol 2012 continued on March 29 with the top 9 results show. Following performances by Nicki Minaj and Scotty McCreery, reformed goofball finalist Heejun Han's luck ran out as he was booted from the competition. Read on for a full recap.
Host Ryan Seacrest kicked off the hour by teasing what he termed "big Aerosmith news": Steven Tyler and the band will be going on tour this summer. Steven joined Ryan on stage and joked that he looked forward to "dressing up like a lion tamer with a whip and whipping the front row into submission." The Global Warming Tour starts June 16 in Minneapolis.
With that tidbit out of the way, Ryan read tweets from the music idols who inspired last night's performances. He then shocked finalist DeAndre Brackensick by bringing his personal idol, Eric Benet, out on stage to greet the teen. Eric called DeAndre's rendition of "Sometimes I Cry" "amazing, amazing," and DeAndre looked faint.
Immediately thereafter, the week's Ford Music Video aired, and then the contestants were shown as they transitioned to life in the Idol Mansion in the Hollywood Hills. Phillip Phillips called the new house "flippin' huge," and Colton Dixon dubbed it "the nicest, biggest place I've seen in my entire life." Heejun Han planned to sleep in a bathtub, and Elise Testone was jealous of DeAndre's huge room.
With the introductory mumbo jumbo out of the way, Ryan called forward three contestants—Elise, Hollie Cavanagh and Phillip—for the first batch of results. As usual, mentor Jimmy Iovine gave his impressions of each performer's work. He praised Elise for taking "charge of that stage" and called the experience of listening to her sing Led Zeppelin "transporting." He called her a dark horse who's no longer a dark horse and predicted that she'd certainly be safe. Jimmy validated Stevie Nicks' high praise of Phillip, and called his performance "flawless." But it wasn't all good news for the trio on stage; he called Hollie "emotionally behind the pack" and worried about a lack of "soul" in her execution.
True to Jimmy's concerns, Hollie was quickly sent to the bottom three despite praise from her personal idol, Carrie Underwood. Phillip and Elise were both saved to sing again.
The first musical guest performance of the evening followed as the always colorful Nicki Minaj hit the Idol stage with her single, "Starships." Post-performance, Ryan called parts of the routine "a little high risk," and Nicki said she's been "having an amazing time." She said she hoped to come back and be a guest judge, joking that Jennifer Lopez would need to move over and give her a seat at the table.
Following a break, the elimination action continued with Colton, Joshua Ledet, and Heejun. Jimmy called Colton "good, but not good enough" and knocked him for being openly emotional during his performance. But Colton wasn't alone in attracting criticism for showing emotion: Joshua earned the same response from Jimmy. Finally, he called Heejun the show's weakest remaining singer.
Colton was first to be sent to safety, followed by Joshua, who sweetly gave Hollie a hug before joining his fellow confirmed members of the top 8. Heejun joined Hollie in the bottom three.
Screaming commenced next as American Idol 2011 winner Scotty McCreery returned to perform his new single, "Water Tower Town." The teen started off strong, but faded a little toward the end of the song. Still, he was all about charisma and fun. Post-song, Ryan congratulated him on his "tremendous success" and brought Jimmy out on stage for a surprise. The oft-blunt mentor presented Scotty with a memento commemorating the "Herculean" accomplishment of selling a million copies of his album.
After a break, the last three finalists—Skylar Laine, DeAndre, and Jessica Sanchez—joined Ryan to learn their fates. Jimmy decried Skylar's song choice, but still predicted that she'd wind up in the middle of the pack for the week. Of DeAndre, Jimmy said "there's still something missing" and "he needs more experience," and he called his falsetto great but potentially polarizing. Finally, he cited Jessica's ability to work her vocals like an experienced professional.
Jessica joined the top 8, followed by DeAndre, which sent Skylar to the bottom three with Heejun and Hollie. But the rockin' country girl didn't have to suffer long: Ryan quickly sent her to safety with the others.
Moments later, the smiling Heejun learned that he'd earned the fewest votes of the week. He opted to sing for his life using "A Song for You," the same tune he sang during the week's performance show. It was a strong performance for the pleasant Heejun.
But it wasn't meant to be for the funny guy, as the judges opted against using their single save of the season to breathe life into his campaign. Steven gave him the bad news, saying, "we're gonna have to let you go, man." Heejun's farewell clip appropriately ended with his own words: "Something crazier is coming." And indeed it probably is, Heejun. It probably is.
American Idol 2012 continues April 4 as the top 8 take on tunes from the 1980s.