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March 09, 2012 at 04:17 AM EST

Last night’s “guys vs. girls” elimination was up to the judges, not the voters — Steven, J. Lo, and Pinhead determined in the end whether the least-voted guy or least-voted girl would go home. It made sense to eliminate Jeremy Rosado to even out the genders, so now six guys and six girls remain. Jeremy was such a sweet kid — a peach, really — but he wasn’t up to the challenge of this competition. He’d even become overshadowed by Heejun Han in his area of expertise, hugging, Wednesday night. Jer-Bear had nothing left to offer.

Elise Testone — the frowning one who wears all the hats — was the bottom girl. “We’re gonna save Elise,” J. Lo quietly announced in a not-too-riveting JUDGES’ CHOICE moment. Great, thanks, guys! Glad you hyped this up so much. And Steven Tyler had even foreshadowed Jeremy’s demise earlier in the show — Seacrest had asked which Bottom 4 guy would be in trouble and Steven dully and dutifully delivered the answer, “Jeremy,” as if he was a machine spitting out the mathematical results of a survey. A fabulous machine swathed in feathers and silkyscarves galore, of course. But come on, judges — Ryan needs a playmate! He’s having way too much fun toying with the contestants on his own and is going to burn out early without proper peer stimulation.

Ryan, absolutely giddy because the live results are finally his time to shine, needs to work out some kinks in his fake letdowns and surprise life-changers. His “America did not like what they saw. They LOVED it!” to Colton Dixon was harmless enough (and reminded me of the G.O.B. Bluth/Steve Holt exchange about whether Steve Holt liked magic on Arrested Development), but here was Ryan’s attempt to toy with DeAndre Brackensick: “DeAndre, you didn’t make it into America’s Top 10 last week, and I’m sorry to say…you’re gonna hafta…..endure the stress of the competition some more because you. are. SAFE!” That kid had no idea what was going on! He looked almost as baffled as when Steven had complimented his Jamaican patois the night before.

The pinnacle of Ryan’s sneaky delight, though, was when he nestled his way into a Joshua Ledet and Erika Van Pelt sandwich, gripped each of their thighs, and announced that they were being so silly for perching themselves on the stools of doom — because these two members of the bottom six were actually safe! “GET TO THE COUCHES!” he bellowed. “On this show, anything can happen, and it will!”

In that spirit, how the heck did Shannon “I cracked on only one note” Magrane get more votes than Elise anyway? Do you think Elise’s week-long stinkface hurt her chances with viewers? Will America think her post-performance reaction from Wednesday — “So the judges gave me some s— tonight…” — is totally stank instead of reasonable and frank? (I do.) It may just be that Elise and Erika are doomed to be bottom-dwellers because they’re “the two old ladies,” as Ms. Van Pelt joked.

NEXT: Colton Dixon emerges from an underpass; Lauren Alaina flips her hair

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