Cat Deeley almost subbed for Ryan Seacrest on weird, Megan-losing Idol night

American Idol 8 results show seemed crazier than usual, but it wasn’t a series of April Fool’s Day jokes, from Megan Joy’s cawing to the bottom three, where she ultimately was eliminated, to Lady Gaga’s surreal-ass performance–she had a zipper on her eye!

Megan Joy seemed to be resigned to being eliminated from the beginning, and played to the cameras all night. If she was this fun every episode she might still be in the competition. Earlier, she said she didn’t care about Simon’s criticism, and when Ryan revealed that she received the fewest number of votes, Simon told her, “With the greatest respect, when you said that you don’t care, nor do we, so I’m not going to pretend that we’re even going to contemplate saving you.” Snap!

Ryan divided the nine into three groups to waste time and create artificial drama, and got some when he lied to Matt by reminding him that he was in the bottom three last week, and said, “and this week, you’re also going to have to take a seat.” Matt started moping his way to the bottom three seats, ignoring the happy Idol music until Ryan finally said, “Matt, over there.” Kris Allen was all, “April Fools, sucker.”

Ryan didn’t mention David Cook’s performance had been pre-taped, and I’d bet $1 that the judges weren’t there when he taped it and were instead replaced by stand-ins, because their silhouettes looked off.

At the start of the broadcast, Ryan reminded Kara DioGuardi that she got heckled–although he didn’t mention that it was by Megan Joy’s brother, which Us Weekly reported.

Kara said it “kind of feels like I’m part of the gang now, right, because I’ve been heckled. You know, I appreciate the audience and their passion,” and Simon jumped in and said, “No you don’t.” Kara said, “I do appreciate that. I think that’s a great thing that they love their Idols and want to fight for them. I’m here to do a job and help these kids and if that means I’m going to get booed, then boo me. Come on, boo!” Only a few people gave some half-assed boos, which could say something about the audience’s response to Kara, but then again, the studio audience has always been about the least reliable predictor of anything since they cheer everything.

There was other drama, but it took place off-camera before the show: Ryan Seacrest was so sick that he almost didn’t go on. Had he taken the night off, he would have been replaced by So You Think You Can Dance‘s Cat Deeley. Before the live results show, stage manager Debbie told Entertainment Weekly, “Our little Ry-Ry is sick. … We’ve got … Cat Deeley standing by.” Obviously, someone gave Ry-Ry a sucker and he felt better, as he showed up and turned in a flawless performance as usual.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.