In-progress posting during the show, with spoiler, after the jump.
(Michael Johns is out. Bottom three was MJ, Carly, Syesha.)
"We return to business as usual," says Seacrest. Credits. Introduction of the judges. Paula has the chihuahuas covered.
Recap of "Idol Gives Back." Ryan says total "so far" has passed $60 million. (Isn't that less than last year?) Touts the songs for sale on iTunes.
Group sing of "Shout to the Lord." Not dressed in white tonight. Heavy lifting being done by a huge choir. Jason Castro looks even less engaged than usual, which is something. Idols walk through the crowd to stand behind the judges and sing. Closeups of Carly Smithson, but it's still the choir that's doing most of the work.
More "Idol Gives Back" promotion. This one with Zack & Cody. Then video of more celebs lip-synching to "I'm a Believer." Not as good as the goofy celeb video last year.
Results. 31 million votes, highest this season, says the Seacrest.
Brooke White summoned first. Safe.
David Cook next. Ryan tries to get DC to fight with Simon. DC avoids it, sort of. Ryan throws an insult toward Simon instead. DC is safe.
David Archuleta. And the girls shriek. And shriek. Ryan says we only have an hour. Safe.
More "IGB" promo. Forest Whitaker footage. Not sure if it's the same stuff as last night, since I fast-forwarded through the Whitaker piece on Wednesday. (I think it's great that "Idol" raises money for good causes. I just wasn't going to sit through the requests for money last night.)
Jordin Sparks performs with Chris Brown. This is a decent song, possibly even iTunes-worthy.
Yup, went for iTunes on it.
Presentation of gold CD and platinum-download awards to JS.
More "IGB" promo. Michael Chiklis. Car video: "I Just Want To Celebrate."
You know, with all this "Idol Gives Back" stuff tonight, I keep thinking they might not kick off anyone tonight -- like last year -- and this is just a way of using another hour to raise money. We shall see.
Jason Castro. Discussion of the cost of a ukelele ensues. He's safe.
Kristy Lee Cook. Safe.
Michael Johns, Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson are the bottom three.
"IGB" promo with Jim Carrey. Bono on video for www.one.org. Leads into the videos by, in order, Hillary Clinton, John McCain (who gets in a dig about the Michigan and Florida debacle, and does a Simon joke) and Barack Obama. Ah, alphabetical order.
Ryan asks Randy's reaction to bottom three. He calls it "pretty surprising." Ryan asks Paula if America got it right; she says "partly." Simon is asked if America is listening to him. He says yes. Ryan promises a "very emotional" moment.
Syesha and Carly are declared safe. Michael has lowest number of votes -- but Ryan hasn't said he's out yet. Recalls that no one was voted off a year ago. But MJ is definitely out. First big shocker of the season. When he was the last one, I was certain that he would be declared safe. I wasn't always a fan, but thought he was good on Tuesday night.
"Celebrate Me Home" video. "A lot of shock right now," says Ryan. Comforting from the judges, although Simon said he picked the wrong song. (Was "Dream On" just not what the inspiration-hungry audience wanted?) MJ sing-off, and he's working it even harder than he did on Tuesday. At least he goes out well.
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