Paula Abdul straight-up takes back that judge's seat. Did one of the Top 5 women get the Save of the Season?

By Annie Barrett
Updated April 19, 2013 at 01:30 AM EDT
American Idol
Credit: Fox

Straight up now tell me: Is anyone else weeping right now? The last 10 minutes of that results show was an emotional roller coaster compared to the moving walkway of “meh” that’s defined most of our Thursday nights. The judges did NOT use their one save of season 12, so all-American honeypie Janelle Arthur has been eliminated.

After Wednesday’s performance show, on which the judges basically discarded the little marshmallow as a contender, Janelle seemed to have no expectation of survival tonight. When she and Kree Harrison landed in the bottom two, Kree was the only one who looked freaked out. Janelle had to keep patting everyone on the back and murmuring “It’s okay.”

Still — that ‘save me’ song! Am I just in a mood where I feel like crying, or was “You Keep Me Hanging On” charged with more emotion than even her first performance of the Supremes hit? For someone who knew she was going home, Janelle really sold that. What perfect lyrics, too, for the moment. Set her free, judges. You know you want to! Don’t keep her hanging on. Is it gonna be Janelle and you forever, or are you just having “fun”?

At least the judges appeared to actually deliberate the save mid-song this time!

In previous years, the judges’ last chance to use the Save has been for the Top 6. Clearly it’s still in play, so my guess is they’ll go ahead and use it next week (or just declare a non-elimination week).

I’m loving all the camaraderie among the girls, and how often they keep saying “I love you.” That’s such a lady thing. I think Ryan Seacrest feels left out. Proclaim your love for people and things, Ryan! Just not in that ill-advised Southern accent.

NEXT: Go, ‘Tasia! Surprise! Paula Abdul showed up to congratulate Candice Glover on being a “remarkable young lady” and give Nicki Minaj a chance to expose her thong as she turned around to give Forever Idol‘s Girl a hug. Candice looked genuinely shocked, but any viewer would have known Paula was waiting in the wings as soon as Randy, who just has the worst poker face ever, started rambling about not being able to reach Paula all day — because yeah, right. “Come on, P.A.!” he yelled. And there she was.

Fantasia Barrino remains the most captivating American Idol winner to me. After a hearty intro from another of the season 3 Sangin’ Sisters, Latoya London, Fantasia delivered the best Thursday night performance of the season so far — “Lose to Win,” complete with hilarious claps to herself, the illusion that she was waving away flies (during “If it makes you cry,”) and quick cuts to Keith Urban, who was lovin’ it. Such a distinct voice! I might just have Dolly on the mind from Janelle last night, but the childlike affect to ‘Tasia’s tone was reminding me a bit of Ms. Parton. Crazy?

Oh, and that long white goddess gown was certainly a fashion redemption from the mind-boggling (yet amazing in its way) black sequined bodysuit with slits up the sides. Never forget.

Clay Aiken has focused more on saving the world with UNICEF than his singing career, but this way everybody wins because we got to hear his memorable rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” again. Top-notch guy, that Clay. “I miss Ruben right now!” exclaimed Ryan — maybe the closest we’ll get to an “I love you” this season. Hey, I’ll take it.

Janelle Arthur spoke to EW after the show about the kind of music she wants to make: “It’s definitely gonna be on the traditional side. I wanna stay with my roots,” she said. “There’s enough pop country out there.”

Should the judges have saved her? Was Kree’s bottom-two spot a surprise? Discuss!

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American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

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