Idol Gives Back: You’ve gotta love it. How many other televised events allow you to spend your evening the same way you spend every other weeknight — curled up on the couch, remote in one hand, glass of wine precariously sloshing to the tipping point in the other — while actually doing some good in the world? But that’s what tonight’s telecast was all about. Well, that and the explosive holleration of Mary J. Blige and her all-star band jamming out to “Stairway to Heaven.” No sirree, she was not just plain old Mary tonight, and I say that as the highest possible praise.

We also had a gut wrenching Idol Gives Back story courtesy of Annie Lennox, some Idol-detonating humor from Wanda Sykes (who reveled in the inherent cruelty of results night…right in front of the at-risk contestants…um…), and yet another textbook study in vocal flawlessness from season 4 champ Carrie Underwood (plus much, much more). And yeah, we had results! [SPOILERS AHEAD, west-coast friends!]

When the A-list talent and the good vibes cleared, it was Tim Urban whose Idol “journey” came to an end. The Texas teen who went from Rolling Stones Week punch line (with enviable abs) to affably admirable trier left the competition the same way he came in: With a massive smile on his face and an aggressively positive attitude. And why not? With his seventh place finish, “Teflon Tim” managed to go as far in the competition as Jennifer Hudson did back in season 3.

While you chew on that bit of trivia, I’m gonna get working on my full TV Watch recap, which will post early tomorrow morning on [UPDATE: Here it is!] In the interim, if you want to donate to Idol Gives Back, visit or dial 877-Idol-Aid. After that, head down to the comments and share your thoughts on tonight’s show, check out my contro-ver-see-aaaal gallery — ‘American Idol’: The 20 Best Performances Ever — and sign up to follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.

Bottom Three

Casey James

Aaron Kelly

Tim Urban

Bottom Two

Casey James

Tim Urban


Tim Urban

Tonight’s Set List

Season 9 Top 12: “Keeping the Dream Alive” (lipsynched)

Black Eyed Peas: “Rock That Body”

Jeff Beck and Joss Stone with the Jubilation Choir: “I Put a Spell on You”

Alicia Keys: “Unthinkable’/”Empire State of Mind (pt 2)”

Carrie Underwood: “Change”

Annie Lennox: “Universal Child” (title is a best guess)

Mary J. Blige and her all-star band: “Stairway to Heaven”

Elton John: “Your Song”