Last chance for the Judges' Save -- will they use it? Plus: Kelly Clarkson and Scotty McCreery perform
American Idol Recap
Credit: Fox

We can all stop cringing! The judges chose not to use their one save of the season on bottom-vote-earner Lazaro Arbos. In the end, the Cuban-born ice cream scooper’s stutter was the least of his problems. He could barely stay on pitch, had memorized few words of songs he’d never heard before, and if I’m being honest, had emerged in the last few weeks as a bit of a brat.

Maybe the guy was just embarrassed and didn’t know how to handle himself otherwise. He’s so young and so generally out of it. I don’t wanna rag on him unnecessarily. I just think it’s worth pointing out his attitude towards the end made all of this a LOT worse than it needed to be. I’m glad he got to end on a high note musically, at least, with a decent delivery of the very last line of one of the songs he knew: Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.”

Jimmy was way too kind in his assessment of Lazaro’s Wednesday night performances, by the way. An Ambien milkshake? That sounds effing delicious compared to the garbage salad we had to wade through!

Amber Holcomb joined Lazaro in the official Bottom Two. Angie Miller and Janelle Arthur are the official Middles, while Candice Glover and Kree Harrison are the Tops!

A WOMAN WILL WIN ‘AMERICAN IDOL’ THIS YEAR. What are the chances?! (100%.)

Esteemed Colleage Email Interlude:

Now, since there’s no way in hell Idol will end a week earlier than planned, they’ll need to either do a non-elimination week or extend the Judges’ Save. I wouldn’t mind having the Save on the table right up until the final three, personally. But we’ll see.

How many drugs did you wonder if you were on during that Red vs. Green giant soccer ball game? That was certainly a Fiesta of crazy. Merry Christmas, by the way. #Ford

NEXT: Kelly Clarkson!Scotty McCreery’s singing voice isn’t as low as I remembered, though his speaking voice may have gotten even deeper. I suppose we all get deeper as we grow up. This child won Best New Artist at 18 and is working on his second album. How old are you and what have you accomplished? NOTHING.

Just kidding. Scotty’s cute, and it was cool to see him rock out (he’s not as “pure country” as I remember in this new all-black getup) with his band in a laid-back performance of “See You Tonight” — a perfect tune for girls to blast out of their cars while zooming around town to pick each other up. I liked how Scotty shrugged off Ryan’s introduction of him as “the big guns” — “I don’t know about that.”

Then we were treated to the original Idol, now glow-in-the-dark makeup model, Kelly Clarkson! I love seeing this footage from the early winners’ auditions — how hilarious was it that she told Seacrest she’d be referring to him as “the guy outside”?

I really think Kelly would have won any season of American Idol, simply due to the unparalleled energy she evokes while performing. Of all the judges, Keith Urban exhibited by far the most vigorous glow stick action during “People Like Us.” But it was Mariah Carey who landed herself in the spotlight after sauntering onstage (that’s two nights in a row!) to greet an awestruck Kelly.

“That was like the ‘Heartbreaker’ video, with the jeans,” Mimi suggested to Kelly re: the homemade denim structure she’d worn to audition back when it all began. “I was also very heartbroken and poor!” Kelly shot back. Ha!

Lasting image of the evening: Ryan’s blink-and-you’d-miss-it “Namaste”:

Peace be with you all. Are you relieved to see Lazaro go? Which lady will take it?

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Episode Recaps

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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  • ABC