Kris, Adam in the shocking bottom three, but Matt Giraud still leaves

American Idol 8 almost had its first actually shocking elimination last night, as apparent frontrunner Adam Lambert ended up in the bottom two with Matt Giraud, while increasingly strong Kris Allen was in the bottom three. Kris and Adam may lead current iTunes downloads, but they didn’t lead with voters this week. But both were ultimately safe, so the outcome—Matt Giraud’s elimination—wasn’t the surprising part.

Ryan Seacrest revealed the actually shocking news by splitting the final five into two groups, Kris and Matt on one side, and Allison Iraheta and Danny Gokey on the other. He then asked Adam to choose which group he belonged in. Every year when Seacrest does this, I seriously want to punch him in his heavily made-up smug face. It’s stupid and manipulative, although I will grant that last night it gave way to some drama: Adam picked Allison and Danny, and then Seacrest dragged Adam to the other side and revealed the surprising news that the other group was the bottom three and Allison and Danny were safe, having received the most votes.

They looked shocked, but not as shocked as Kara DioGuardi, whose surprise led her to essentially suggest she wanted to perform oral sex on Adam. “My mouth went open again. That’s what happens with Adam,” she said, quickly catching herself quickly as Randy feigned horror at her double-entendre. “Ahem, I know. You know what I mean, Randy,” Kara said.

Ryan sent Kris back to safety first, leaving front-runner Adam with Matt as the bottom two, which Ryan Seacrest ultimately confirmed (“the bottom two here”) after being vague at first (“we are left with Matt and Adam”). So while they weren’t just using Adam to create some drama, Adam’s position will likely galvanize his fans to vote more in the remaining three weeks—and next week is rock ‘n’ roll with Guns N’ Roses’ Slash as mentor, so Adam should excel.

At the very least, the fact that Adam was in the bottom three after being heralded as the second coming of Kelly Clarkson for the last few months means that Idol voters are ultimately as predictable as ever: they assume their favorites are safe and don’t vote for them. Then again, as Simon Cowell noted at the start of the show, this week’s performances were part of “probably the best show at this stage I’ve ever seen. All five of them. This is the most open competition right now,” he said.

Before Matt was finally sent home, we had to wait through three performances: Taylor “didn’t we suffer enough three years ago?” Hicks, Jaime “he actually does have something to promote” Foxx, and Natalie “we needed to find someone who fit the theme to make this time-wasting seem relevant” Cole—never mind a car commercial, a group number, and a food fight scene at the mansion and Seacrest pretending to bill Danny Gokey $6,000 for the clean-up.

Remember when the show had 30-minute results shows, and when Fox lied and said they would cut the results shows back to a half-hour this season?

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