Allison Iraheta’s exit gives American Idol its first-ever male final three

No Doubt performing “Just a Girl”? MC Skat Kat? Paula Abdul dancing? What decade is this? I thought I’d accidentally DVRed Lost and its time travel nonsense instead of American Idol 8. There was even a surprise twist as Allison Iraheta was eliminated, leaving the competition with its first-ever all-male final three, so next week it’s an epic sword fight for a place in the finale.

When, after the first 35 minutes of filler, Ryan Seacrest started to reveal the results, he was careful to point out that the final three were introduced in “random order,” meaning we don’t know who received the most votes. Kris Allen was the first to be in the top three, which seemed to surprise him the most, and 15 minutes of filler later, Adam joined him.

That left Danny and Allison, but Simon Cowell was wrong when he said Allison’s duet with Adam Lambert would save her; she was voted off despite Danny’s horrific scream and Kris’ rock music fumble. Clearly, people are no longer voting based upon performance, because if they are, Danny Gokey would be on his way to Wisconsin without cameras following him. At least he’s self-aware and self-deprecating. He told Ryan that after watching his performance, “I have to say, I laughed the whole night,” and said that “my own aunt muted my TV. … I think it’s my funniest moment on American Idol, that note.” Funniest, and most damaging to viewers.

At least Allison is in good company: Seacrest introduced Daughtry’s performance by pointing out that three years ago he “was in that exact position in season five,” and he’s gone on to great success, although not just because he came in fourth place. And Allison went out on a high note with a performance that proved she will sell records, never mind that she deserved to stick around.

Meanwhile, Paula Abdul danced rather well but clearly lip-synced her way through an over-produced, Auto-Tuned version of her new song “I’m Just Here for the Music”–although since she lied for more than three years before finally confessing to being addicted to pills, don’t expect her to acknowlege that any time soon. At least now she can perform again during a future season, and Ryan can plausibly say that Paula will be singing on the show’s stage for the first time.

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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.