Everyone, breathe a sigh of relief. Lazaro Arbos' improbable, Sanjaya-like run on American Idol is over: after weeks of remaining in the competition despite being talentless and tone-deaf and unprepared, the sweaty ice cream scooper was finally voted out Thursday night in an unpredictable elimination round that could sent Amber Holcomb home instead.
The way things were divided up, Lazaro and Amber wound up in the bottom two with Angie Miller and Janelle Arthur in the middle and -- big shock -- Candice Glover and Kree Harrison on top with the most votes.
Even though Lazaro is THE WORST, a feeling of dread loomed throughout the episode: with his invisible but potent fan base (seriously, who are those people?), and his status as the only dude in the contest, and his sympathy-baiting back story, could he be stopped?!? After the result was announced, and justice served, Laz -- who surely knew the judges wouldn't waste their save on him -- performed a surprisingly non-sucky rendition of "Feeling Good" while the panel pretended to deliberate. The cameras caught Mariah Carey crying and Randy Jackson, who called Lazaro "horrible" on Wednesday's show, cackling with glee.
"We love you. You've been a treasure to the show," lied Randy, faking a serious demeanor (but clearly still laughing inside). "We've enjoyed you but we're not gonna use the save."
With that, the remaining five -- all girls! -- surrounded Lazaro to extend their condolences. Amber openly wept. Angie did not. Didn't you know? She passive-aggressively loathes Lazaro.
America got it right once more by bumping Candice up to frontrunner territory following her jaw-droppingly powerful performances of "Love Song" and "Don't Make Me Over." Mind you, she's still too damn good for the show. So is Kree. Those two are way far ahead of the others in terms of vocal prowess and professionalism and I predict one is going to take the Idol crown come May.
Don't rule out Angie though. The bright-eyed, likable singer and pianist is clearly going places -- perhaps she'll trail Colton Dixon into the Christian rock genre -- and likely has some neat (yes, I said neat) tricks up her sleeve. Amber, like Jimmy Iovine noted, is a major talent but lacks the kind of fan support that keeps an erratic but charismatic performer like Janelle in the game.
"Why America doesn't get her, I'm completely baffled," lamented Jimmy, who has harbored the most obvious crush on Amber this season. (Somewhere, Burnell is all, "Back off, old man.")
Jimmy also addressed something that bugs me about Kree: she can be really boring sometimes! As in, "Oh crap, I'm at a Norah Jones concert and there is not enough Franzia to get me through this." The otherwise outstanding Nashville upstart's cover of "What the World Needs Now Is Love" was painful. Just painful. "She's gonna have to give us a lot more personality in those vocals," he said, doling out the tough love.
In other news, I almost stabbed myself in the eye during that Burt Bacharach/Hal David medley. What the bleep, Nigel Lythgoe. No one wants to hear that garbage. If next week's theme is something equally awful, like Nickelback songs from the early aughts, I'm Seacrest out, OK?
Scotty "Baby Lock Them Doors" McCreery, meanwhile, graced the Idol stage to sing "See You Tonight" and Kelly Clarkson, my imaginary best friend, crooned "People Like Us" sporting day-glo makeup in the style of Nicki Minaj. Even though Kelly has a pile of awards and hits under her belt, she still geeked out over Mariah, declaring: "I'm so glad you're not mean!!!" (Kelly, can we please hang out? Please? I've got a box of Franzia at home. We can gossip and talk smack about Justin Guarini and Clive Davis.)
Kevin Bacon, picking up the Anthony Hopkins torch of weird celebrity cameos, sat in the audience, confessing he "would be terrified" to get on stage and sing. His appearance was far from random: his drama, The Killing, airs on Fox. What a coincidence!
Questions, Idol Worshippers: did you rejoice after Lazaro's elimination? Will season 12 become even more boring without him? Which girl is your pick to win the Idol title? Sound off in the comments!