(CBS News) The most hideous word ever uttered on "American Idol" by Simon Cowell was "karaoke." When a contestant heard it, they melted into a depression from which some never emerged.
So how did "Idol" start Thursday night's results show? Why, with a tribute band, the ultimate karaoke homage. And yet this was an improvement from the usual group number that plagues this tradition.
Still, when the results finally happened, one of the less karaoke performers, Elise Testone, discovered that she was the one who couldn't find enough somebodies to love her on Queen night.
First, though, everybody visited TMZ, where they got a little preparation for the stardom that surely awaits them. One TMZ staffer declared that he had been in their house and had seen food in their bathroom. Who eats in the bathroom? It seems that Skylar Laine might eat her cereal there.
Worse, another TMZ-er asked Jessica Sanchez how many videos of herself she had posted to YouTube. The answer was around 200. Please pause. TWO HUNDRED. If you ever wondered what had happened to the younger generation, this is what happened. They spent their lives making videos of themselves and posting them to YouTube.
Sanchez and Testone were the first to be told whether they would be headed to safety or to the dreaded cruel stools.
Thankfully, Jimmy Iovine was back to spray a little vinegar on the sweetness parade.
"Jessica singing Bohemian Rhapsody was a plain ole' big mistake," were his first words. He called it "less Queen and more Stephen King." I feel he might have rehearsed that.
Testone waved a hand of dismissiveness at Iovine's opinions. Yet again, though, she was in the bottom three.
Ryan Seacrest was still looking a little peaky, as if the IVs he had reportedly endured before Wednesday's show hadn't quite worked their magic. He can't have been as sick as Casey Abrams last year. Abrams made a brief appearance, during which Seacrest wished him continued success. Abrams was talented, but has he been successful at all yet?
To remind us all of the true meaning of stardom, along came Stefano. You must remember Stefano from last year. He was then known as Stefano Langone. Now here he was as plain ole' Stefano. And, instead of singing the ballads for which he was beloved by Jennifer Lopez, Stefano was suddenly hip-hopping it as if those ballads had never happened. He sported very fetching red shoes.
Soon we had Iovine discussing Hollie Cavanagh. He, like me, had wondered whether singing "Save Me" was a subconscious plea to the public for mercy. He gave her a B+, though he feared it might be too little, too late. When it came to Joshua Ledet, Iovine admired the intelligence with which he switched genres and was still able to take the audience with him.
Cavanagh was sent to join Testone. Straight after, we were graced with a Burger King commercial featuring Steven Tyler. It was some of his most impactful work to date on "Idol." Sadly, Iovine wasn't allowed to offer a critique.
Next was "Pop Princess" Katy Perry. This was the true definition of stardom for all the contestants to see close up. She arrived from the sky. She was wearing camouflage shorts, with a belt that was curiously not around her shorts, but just beneath her chest. She had purple hair. She spent a lot of time on her knees. I am not sure she was actually singing much.
You see, this being a star thing is so much about choice of song and image. No one said anything about actual singing. Being able to dance helps, though.
The last pair in the dungeon were Skylar Laine and Phillip Phillips. One had to be in the bottom three. On the strength of their performances, it ought to have been Phillips.
Iovine worried that Laine's personal song, "Tattoos on This Town," had been self-indulgent. Indeed, he worried that song turned America off so much that she was in danger of being tattooed out of Hollywood. He explained that Phillips' recent lackluster performances are down to his lack of health (he is said to have endured kidney stones). He also felt that the quite bizarre choice of a Dave Matthews song left Phillips even more vulnerable. And yet it was Laine in the bottom three.
Yes, the little girl voters still think Phillips is pretty. They seem to think that the all-girl bottom three is perhaps not so pretty.
Immediately, Laine was told she was safe. Immediately, Testone began to look even more unwell. The sort of unwell look that belies anger. There had been 58 million votes. Not enough of them had, apparently, been cast for Testone.
Her elimination was unjust. Her performances on Wednesday had been, in their way, excellent. It's just that her personality - and her type of music - doesn't appeal to the voters.
And so the north had lost its last hope.
Testone went out singing "Whole Lotta Love." She's a very fine singer. What she didn't master was the trick of getting a whole lotta love. Perhaps she should try purple hair and camouflage shorts.