This all managed to get heartbeats up to the requisite levels before the elimination that saw the sweet curls of Deandre Brackensick waft straight out the door.
Because only eight remained, the harsh news was delivered in pairs. This, naturally, was prefaced with at least a couple of wise words from mentor Jimmy Iovine.
His verdict on the tender Ledet: "He looked like a real pro." Of the tiny Jessica Sanchez: "That wasn't enough." She needs bigger songs, more powerful songs, thought Iovine. Sanchez's excuse was that there weren't many songs in the '80s that fit her voice. Which might come as a slight surprise to anyone who lived through those 10 short years.
Sanchez and Ledet were both told they were safe. So three of the last six would be stoolbound.
British boy-child band The Wanted offered an interlude, during which their lips moved, but the sounds seemed sometimes to be coming from elsewhere.
Next into the judging booth were two of the more wanted: Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine. Iovine believed that Laine had proved she was a power singer. Ergo, "she can win the whole thing." Dixon, however, was "good, not great."
Just when these two hoped to get their verdict, Hollie Cavanagh and Deandre Brackensick were invited to join the turmoil.
"Hollie's problem is that she's approaching this like a high school performer," intoned Iovine. "And last night wasn't even a good high school performance." He suggested it would be either her or Brackensick to go home. "Deandre was not great," said Iovine. "He was the weakest of the boys last night."
Iovine then predicted that Jennifer Lopez might have to save the falsettist.
Lopez was offended. She was right, she declared. She had watched the show again. Deandre was good. No, wait, he was great. But not great enough to avoid the bottom three. Cavanagh joined him there.
In another pause for breath and contemplation, an "Idol" contestant from the past, Kellie PIckler, came to the stage. She proved not only that you don't have to win in order to have a successful career, but also that, if you persevere, you can sing a lot better than you did on the show.
We still had to hear Iovine's judgments of Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone. "This was Phillip's worst performance of the show," was his verdict. It was, though, "good." Iovine accused Testone of "an old-fashioned choke." She had, apparently, sung "I Want to Know What Love Is" beautifully in rehearsals. However, when she hit the stage, she didn't know what singing was.
"She didn't even sing the tune," whined Iovine.
Phillips offered a heartfelt counterpoint to any potential criticism. "I'm just being myself," he said. He said he simply isn't interested in walking around the stage and touching people's hands. No, it's not a hygiene thing. "I'm just trying to play music," he explained. How quaint. Didn't he know that's what you're supposed to do on "Idol"?
When the lights were dimmed, so were Testone's hopes.
Immediately, though, Ryan Seacrest sent Cavanagh back to the softness of the couches. Brackensick looked like the "bracken" part of his name had disappeared. It was between him and Testone.
"Did America get this right?" asked Seacrest of the judges. No, they said. Lopez and Randy Jackson conceded that America had been "half-right." If only we could all be even half right in our lives.
To Testone's amazement, it was Brackensick who had to sing for his life. He walked around. He touched hands. He did everything Phillips would refuse. In his jam, he sang "Jammin'."
Would the judges save him? They only have one save before the top five. Lopez kept looking down, as if she had some notes prepared.
"I only have one vote," she said, before telling Brackensick his locks would be locked out. Seacrest pressed her. Was it all the fault of Tyler and Jackson? Had they taken the shears out and snipped a boy in his prime? "Yes, that's what I'm saying," replied Lopez.
Brackensick wasn't eliminated for his performance the previous night. It hadn't been the worst. His falsetto, though, is something upon which he relied far too much. It made too many nerves feel uncomfortable. When he dropped it, his singing became both more interesting and more palatable. Surely someone might have told him that men with high voices don't often move the girls. And let no one be under any illusion that the majority of the voters are not female.
As, for once, are the majority of the Magnificent Seven.