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American Idol recap: Texas Toast

After emotional visits to the contestants’ hometowns, the season 9 race finally gets whittled down to two singers

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Idol Top 2
Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup

American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

Last night’s American Idol results-show telecast was an hour-long affair, but shockingly enough, everything you needed to know was telegraphed in the first seven words that flashed across the screen: ”Sometimes it’s good to go home. Casey.”

The message couldn’t have been clearer if Kara DioGuardi had ridden in on her broom and written the words ”Surrender, Blondie!” in a plume of black smoke. Idol was finished with the shaggy-haired guitar player from Cool, TX, and quite frankly, I think the feeling might’ve been mutual.

Asked by Ryan Seacrest at the top of the show if he’d ever visualized taking home the season 9 crown, Casey said no, and added that the difference between first and third place was akin to holding a $10 million lottery ticket versus one worth $100 million. ”When reality has outpaced even your wildest dreams, why get greedy?” Casey seemed to be asking, clearly relaxed in the knowledge that his low-key, one-two punch of Eric Hutchinson’s ”OK, It’s Alright With Me” and John Mayer’s ”Daughters” was not nearly engaging enough to score him more votes than season-long front-runners Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze.

Do I wish Casey had at least tried to make a race of it by selecting something current and unexpected — and rearranging it to suit his bluesy style — for the ”Contestant’s Choice” part of this week’s program? Do I wish he’d latched on to the competitive aspect of Idol with the jaws of a pitbull and the spirit of a Kris Allen reinventing ”Heartless”? Well, yeah, sure — if only to infuse tonight’s telecast with a little suspense.

At the very least, though, the dude brought some brutal honesty to the stage when the subject turned to the performance of the season 9 judges’ panel. As Crystal and Lee waxed a little too enthusiastically about the importance of feedback from Randy, Ellen, Kara, and Simon — and how it’s helped them grow as artists — an incredulous Casey piped up with the line of the night: ”Not every single comment was useable.” Considering the number of times the judges failed to critique dude’s vocals in favor of making inappropriate cougar-bait jokes, I’d say they had it comin’.

Of course, it’s not just the folks at the Table Formerly Occupied by Paula Abdul who wind up in shallow waters when it comes to Casey. The show’s producers failed to include even a tiny snippet of music from his Richardson, TX, concert — choosing instead to show gratuitous limo heavage and footage of female fans while piping in the sounds of The Big Pink’s ”Dominos” (Sample lyric: ”These girls fall like dominos, dominos, dominos.”) Folks in Casey’s hometown of Cool, TX couldn’t be bothered to focus their get-out-the-vote campaign on his singing and guitar-playing abilities, either, instead printing hundreds of orange-and-white signs emblazoned with the words ”CASEY is HOT.” Even my own mother got in on the act, sending me a text earlier today that read: ”Crystal rules, but Casey is HOT.” Apparently my mom would fit in very nicely down in Cool.

NEXT: Holy Toledo indeed