By Adam B. Vary
April 06, 2012 at 04:24 PM EDT

Minutes before he was kicked off of American Idol, DeAndre Brackensick was dancing with fellow bottom-two dweller Elise Testone as if he hadn’t a care in the world. Backstage after the show, he repeatedly told press that he had a feeling he might go home, and he chose to sing Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster” because he wanted to go out with an upbeat number that let him end things quite literally on a high note. (You can check out EW’s video exit Q&A with the golden-maned teenage crooner below.)

It was that kind of night at American Idol in general — breezy and untroubled and maybe a little rote. Even the “drama” of Joshua Ledet’s shaky health ended up being a nonstarter; the most exciting moment came before the show even started, when Joshua tried to sit next to Phillip Phillips on the lower bench of safety until a PA pulled him up to his designated spot next to Jessica Sanchez. Joshua disappeared off stage during the ad break before Kellie Pickler’s performance, and only came back out after she was done, but you can’t blame the guy for wanting a breather. (The odder disappearance during Pickler’s set? Elise Testone. Maybe she’s a big fan of calamari and escargot?)

Elsewhere inside the IdolLounge, Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend and fellow-black-sand-writhing-enthusiast Casper Smart won a standing ovation from the crowd in the ad break following the debut of Lopez’s music video for “Dance Again.” Nigel Lythgoe even yanked young Casper onto the judges’ platform for proper recognition. Lopez greeted him with a warm, enveloping hug, but for the rest of the show, whenever Casper would scurry up to her during an ad break, she steadfastly remained in her seat. J.Lo rarely likes to leave her chair at all, actually. My snark demon, Smirkelstiltskin, is muttering something about how he’d always keep his tush parked if it was that luxuriously appointed, but I can’t quite make out the details.

Speaking of the judges, if they huddled in heated deliberations upon learning they would be asked to save either DeAndre or Elise, I didn’t see it. DeAndre may have made the same observation, since his performance felt far more like a swan song than a defiant attempt to remain in the competition. After that cheeky cheekboned quintet The Wanted had nearly driven the Swaybots into a collective psychotic episode, DeAndre did at least manage to use his lush crown of curls to whip them up again into a tizzy while also delivering a cogent melody.

Intriguingly, when I asked DeAndre about his famous hair after the show, he was surprisingly ambivalent about it — especially when it comes to flipping it around the stage. Check out our Q&A — in which DeAndre sings Jimmy Iovine’s praises and explains why he so often sang in falsetto — below:


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