The show began with a montage of the Top 12 and their journeys so far. Host Ryan Seacrest wished everyone happy St. Patrick's Day, and on cue, the lighting director lit the stage up with green lights.
After introducing the judges, Ryan asked for clarification of the judges' save, and Simon reminded viewers that it can only be used once a season and had to be unanimous.
Season 7 winner David Cook kicked off the show with a Rolling Stones cover, "Jumping Jack Flash," backed by a full rock band. He showed everyone how it's done: giving a blistering, solid rock performance (a performance which is being made available for purchase on iTunes). [VIDEO OF DAVID]
Afterwards, in an interview with Ryan, he mentioned that he's working on his second album. Also, he's taking a trip to Africa for Idol Gives Back, trying to do his part to help the needy people there.
In their first Ford commercial, the finalists had a moving paint fight, while all wearing white. Somehow, this managed to produce incredibly impressive detailed cars. Casey, unfortunately, was not able to participate, because he'd been too sick. This was followed by a video package where they all tried out Ford's program which allows people to custom-design paint patterns. [FORD COMMERCIAL]
Then, it was time for the results, with the bottom three headed for the uncomfortable tulip chairs. Paige Miles stood up first and was unceremoniously dumped in the first of the three stools.
Up next was Lee Dewyze. Ryan asked him what he'd do to have a "moment" on stage, and Lee said to just be himself. We'll see how he does next week. Siobhan Magnus. Ryan asked Ellen DeGeneres if she thought Siobhan has the same potential as Adam Lambert, to break out and be unique. She said yes. Siobhan, of course, was safe.
Aaron Kelly looked ready to cry as he waited for his results. He needn't have worried: his was safe. Andrew and Tim were asked to stand up together. After Kara DioGuardi got a chance to tell them last night made her say, "Yikes," Tim was notified he was in the bottom three. [VIDEO OF PAIGE AND TIM]
Orianthi performed her song, "According to You." Like David Cook, she was a rocker. Smoking guitar solo! In the interview with Ryan afterwards, she revealed that she'd almost toured with Michael Jackson on, presumably, his final tour. [VIDEO OF ORIANTHI]
Didi Benami was declared safe, along with Crystal Bowersox (who said she's never felt she had it in the bag, that it's anyone's competition), Katie Stevens, and Michael Lynche. This left us with Lacey Brown and Casey James. Asked what he'd do to improve if he stayed, Casey joked that he could throw his guitar around his back. I doubt he will Lacey was put in the bottom three.
The person who immediately got sent back to safety, who would get to stick around, was Tim. [VIDEO OF TIM]
The save is in play again this season. When asked if there was someone worth saving up there, Ellen hesitated and finally said, "Yes?" Simon said, with more confidence, there was one person who was.
Performance from Ke$ha, featuring 303. performing " Blah Blah Blah," which is really more talking than singing. Why do they pick acts like this to perform? I HATE those voice modulators that are all the rage now. I'm looking forward to the day it sounds as dated as '80s synth drums sound now. Dancers with TVs for heads perform with her. She just looks ridiculous, in a sequined top and black short-shots with silver makeup over one eye, like a Lady Gaga wannabe. [VIDEO OF KE$HA]
Finally, it was down to Paige and Lacey. Ryan announced that Lacey Brown was "in danger" of leaving. She sang one last time, wearing a gray dress with a lace "bib," black tights, a big cloth flower in hair and a big golden leaf necklace. As she performed, the judges conferred, their faces grim afterwards.
Simon delivered the news: "It was unanimous, and unfortunately, no, we won't be using it." While Lacey was watching her montage, a tearful Katie and Paige hugged her. [VIDEO OF LACEY]
Thoughts on Lacey leaving: On paper, Lacey looked great: she had a distinct look, a pleasant personality, and many Idol viewers remembered her from having been cut at the last minute from last year's Top 24. Lacey handled criticism well, did not talk back to the judges, and seemed to be trying to take their advice.
However, consistency troubled Lacey. In her case, this was not just consistency from week to week but consistency within the same song. She suffered from a lot of pitch problems, and her interpretation of songs often changed things up just for the sake of altering them melody, rather than for any purpose. In Lacey's case, she couldn't live up to her own potential.
Next week's theme: Teen idols.
Live up to your potential.