The big 12. Post-show podcast link now available at www.ohio.com. Live blog during the show, after the jump. ...
Group sing on "Stuck in the Middle With You." Am pondering the unfairness that is looming. Dialidol.com's analysis has ALL the guys in a virtual jump ball -- which says a lot about how unimpressive they've been. Among the women, only two seemed unquestionably safe -- LaKisha and Melinda -- but that's a sight better than what the guys have. Ryan hypes the big announcement, Carrie Underwood, whatever. Shows the uncomfortable-looking chairs for the final 12 and introduces the judges. Says close to 37 million votes received.
Vocal recaps. Ryan summons LaKisha and Blake to the center of the stage. Both safe and sent to sit on the pizza trays. Chris S next. Looks terrified. And he gets the "after the break" torture.
Then is told he is safe.
Jordin. Safe. Phil. Safe.
Jared becomes the first one out. Has to sing. Still isn't good, but I would have kept him over Sanjaya and Sundance.
Break. "American Idol Challenge." Another ridiculously easy question. Back to results.
Melinda and Brandon are summoned to centerstage, clustered because they're both backup singers. And both are safe.
Chris R and Gina. Both also safe.
Recap of Carrie Underwood's saga leads into her appearance onstage. She sounds better on the CD, but at least does not need a Pickler look. Occasional shots of the saved contestants clapping along. Shall we agree that their enthusiasm is muted? Break.
Antonella and Stephanie. Stephanie safe. ANTONELLA GOES HOME!!!!
YAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY. And she's still bad as she sings off.
Haley and Sabrina. Haley is safe. Sabrina is out. They cry and hug while Ryan dead-pans about this being one of the most intense episodes ever. Turns to the judges to twist the knife; Randy says Sabrina should be top 12. Decent farewell sing.
Break. We're down to Sundance and Sanjaya. After the break, Ryan says it's the show's 200th episode. "We want to give something back," Ryan says. It's called: "Idol Gives Back." Dealing with poverty in Africa and the U.S. Footage of Simon and Ryan in Africa. Ryan asks Simon what he got from the trip. "It was something I'll never ever forget," Simon says. "Mixed emotions, but I'm glad we can do something to help these guys." The three judges and Ryan will also travel to locations in the U.S.; Randy says he's taking Paula to Louisiana -- and the Mississippi basin.
Top 6 Tuesday will include inspirational songs, a new Quincy Jones composition and other stuff. "It is going to be a night to remember," Ryan promises.
Sundance and Sanjaya. And ... oh, after the break.
OK, now? Sundance is out. Sanjaya is safe. Paula looks poleaxed. "This is a singing competition," she says, "and Sundance, you were one of our finest." "Crazy, wild night," Randy adds.
"Somebody give me a job," Sundance says, taking the best advantage of his waning moments.