By Lynette Rice
Updated April 09, 2009 at 09:33 AM EDT
Frank Micelotta/Fox

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All together now: “Awwwwwwwww.” Yep, I know you’re disappointed — and notjust because the good-natured Scott got a (not-so-surprising) boot tonight.You’re sad to discover that Auntie Whitterz and The Beav (you know that’s what we callhim here in the EW offices, right?) are not here to blog the behind-the-scenes action from tonight’s show! Restassured, my newfound friends, the kids’ll be back next week. It’s just that The Beav (aka AdamB. Vary) was catching a flight back from New York today and the Whitterz wasresting up from days and days of maddening, post-Academy of Country Music Awardscoverage (dang you, Toby Keith!) so they just couldn’t be with you.

Now, if you revel in the notion that a fresh pair of eyes can only improve these weekly blog posts, then holy mackerel, you’re in luck: I’ve never been to live show! And I can honestly say that after spending two glorious hours at CBS Television City, it’s a damn shame that it’s taken me this long to get my arse into one of those exclusive seats. Who knew the judges spent less than 60 percent of the show actually sitting at their desk? And why didn’t someone tell me that half-nude hotties were greeting customers at the nearby Abercrombie & Fitch?

But I digress…let’s start from the beginning. Mindful of how many people (a good bazillion?) didn’t catch the judges’ comments for Adam’s showstopping performance on Tuesday, Idol’s warm-up guy told the crowd that Flo Rida (pictured) would be taping his segment before the live show began so we won’t miss diddly tonight. Now you’re talking, dude! Waiting in those seats a good 45 minutes before the show was set to begin became mind-numbingly dull fast, and the grade schooler sitting next to me was hacking up some nasty grunge that was sure to infect me by the time Kellie Pickler howled her tune. Bring on Flo, I say! Or maybe it’s Rida, or Flo Ride — however the kids are mangling the name that used to be associated with the southeastern region of the United States (seriously, what would Juan Ponce De Leon have to say about this?).

addCredit(“Frank Micelotta/Fox”)

I should mention here that our own Michael Slezak hadn’t been sokeen on Flo Rida’s appearance; he whined in a recent Facebook post tome that the rapper, after all, had absolutely no ties to Idol. ButI suspect his frustration had more to do how Melinda Freakin’ Doolittlestill hasn’t appeared on the show but Michael Johns, Carly Smithson,Pickler and now, well, Flo, have been given the chance, instead. Butwith sincere apologies to Slezak, Flo Rida’s performance brought downthe house! The walls literally shook with his exhilarating update ofthe 1985 tune “You Spin Me Round,” as did the booties of his bitchenbackup dancers. In fact, I now hold a special place in my heart for the”company he keeps,” as Ryan so humorously said. Two of Flo Rida’shoofers had some serious thunder thighs, which made me love the guythat much more. The only downside to Flo Rida’s performance was thatsilly spray of confetti, which not only coated the ripped rapper butended up being a headache for the crew guys because they had to spendthe downtime fishing it off the overhead rigging.

The judges weren’t around for this part of the preshow; instead, theeight finalists were brought in to clap along and give Ryan (dang, he’sone spindly dude in person!) a chance to talk behind the judge’s backs.”Danny,” says Ryan while gesturing to Daniel Gokey’s position in frontof the stage, “we’ll bring the judges out one by one and you cancritique them.” Meanwhile, all those homemade signs started to surfacein the audience, from somebody’s “Arkansas loves Kris” placard tosomething about a Leukemia Lymphoma Society giving a shout-out toAllison (anyone know the meaning there?).

(One last word about Flo Rida; while talking up his performance withRyan, Flo Rida mentioned a website address where fans can conceivablytrack his upcoming concert, but it was mysteriously deleted from thetelecast. Mean people at Freemantle are mean!)

Finally, we’re ready to begin. Three of the judges begin to file inthrough the side door (my, that Kara is even prettier in person! Whatup with the elbow-length gloves, Paula?) but Simon is nowhere to befound. Minutes later, he makes his fashionably late entrance and theriff on his birthday begins. Gee, Mr. Cowell, weren’t you born when Venus became a hit, asksRyan? I gotta say this ageist stuff, not to mention the ridiculousamount of time spent on such trivial matters as goofy old babypictures, seemed equally as tiresome to Simon as it did to me, thoughthe big guy seemed genuinely pleased once Frankie Avalon took thestage. Or maybe he was just tickled to see how Avalon looked shockinglylike Ryan’s older doppelganger. Either way, the exchange played welland Avalon’s still the same beaut.

The finalists’ performance of Can’t Get You Out of My Head waslargely forgettable, except for what it revealed to me about Scott.I’ve never really paid attention to how this legally blind performerhas gotten around stage (is someone guiding him or is he’s holding onto someone else?) Tonight, however, the question was answered: Anoopwas serving as Scott’s sight buddy, and my heart cracked a bit when Isaw him gently and patiently assisting Scott around the floor like hewas a beloved older brother. Sorry if it reads corny but I was moved,man, just moved. So it was with even heavier heart that I watched poorAnoop slide into one of those bar seats when Ryan broke the bottomthree news. Though he seemed relatively unaffected on camera, Anooplooked almost despondent at the break and never once cracked a smile.By the time Lil Rounds and Scott joined him on the stools, the mood waspositively glum: Lil held her hands between her legs and kept her headdown, while Anoop stared into space with that sad and empty look. Yetawkwardly, happy-shiny-Idol-life continued to operate on the other sideof the stage, as Danny and the others laughed it up while a 6-year-oldfan named Sarah got her brand new iPhone autographed by Adam (she gottwo hugs out of him, too). Man, these commercial breaks have gotta be abitch for the losers.

(This is the part where I should talk about Pickler but I really hadno interest in her performance other than how she managed to stand inthose frightening, four-inch heels and how Simon only seemed interestedin staring at her bum).

And now, down to the final moments. Once Lil Rounds returned to herseat, the show went to the commercial and Scott did the most amazingthing: he turned his back to the audience and started pretending likehe was holding a microphone. Was this adorable man actually rehearsing his goodbye speech? Meanwhile,Anoop was rounding the perimeter and mouthing something unintelligible.No one seemed aware of what the two were doing, until the stage managercalled places and announced, “these are the only two guys who evervocalized in this time” (translation: those two sweet kids werepracticing for what could be their final performance!)

Sadly, it was Scott, and I have to say the judges seemed genuinely conflicted about using their power of veto on him (little Big Brotherreference for all you Chenbot fans out there! Only three! More!Months!). Or maybe it was just Paula and Kara who wanted to keep himaround; Kara in particular was doing a heckuva lot of gesturing, whichsuggests she either wanted Scott to stay or else she was desperate forthe night to end so she can dash to the potty. Alas, Simon had thefinal vote and Scott was on his way home. It didn’t look like he shed atear, but then again I was too high up in the cheap seats to notice anyprecipitation and Paula practically enveloped his face with a mammoth,post-show hug, anyway.

What did you think? Were Scott’s tears unnecessary because you were already bawling for him? What did I miss that you caught?