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‘American Idol’ judges finally use their save

Oscar-winning "Idol" alum Jennifer Hudson and teen dreams Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron guested on a show that kept viewers guessing right until the end.
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

When Matt Giraud finally gets sent home from “American Idol,” he won’t be able to say he didn’t get every chance in the world to stick around.

Matt didn’t make it out of his semifinal heat, but was bailed out by being made a judges' wild-card choice. When he needed a break for a second time on April 15, the friendly foursome obliged by making him the recipient of the first-ever Judges’ Save.

That means that Matt gets to come back next week, and that two singers will be kicked off on April 22 instead of one. It also means that from here on out, the lowest vote-getters are out of luck, since the save is a one-time-only lifeline. Bet the producers are hoping favorites Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey don’t wind up on the chopping block next week

Questionable call: It looked bad for Matt when Simon asked him how many times he’d been in the bottom three, and then told him he didn’t think he had a chance of winning. But whether it was the crowd chanting “Save! Save! Save!” or the desire to just get the gimmick off the table for good, he relented. Perhaps the deciding factor was the squealing of Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi, both of whom spent the song moving to the music like they were 17 again.

With a Lil bit of luck: Lil Rounds heard the worst feedback of anyone on Tuesday night, with Simon telling her she’s done everything wrong over the past few weeks. It was a harsh judgment that caused her to snap back at him. But sometimes that kind of over-the-top negativity works in a finalist’s favor, making people vote out of sympathy. She escaped this week as the second-lowest vote-getter, but has to come up big on Disco Week to stick around any longer.

Dogging Anoop: Anoop Desai was in the bottom three for the third week in a row, and for the third week in a row he survived. He was the first singer to find out that he was in the bottom three, and Paula said that she was “a little surprised.” Simon, of course, was not, because he knows it’s a safe bet that Anoop will be in the bottom three every week from here on out until he’s finally voted off.

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Tweens buy tickets too: The Disney franchise had to be happy with Wednesday’s “Idol.” First, the remaining seven finalists spent last night at the premiere of the new Zac Efron film, “17 Again,” and Efron returned the favor by showing up to watch the results show. Then, Miley Cyrus came on the show to sing her new hit, “The Climb.” Apparently the Jonas Brothers had other plans and couldn’t join in the fun.

Let’s do the time warp again: Adam Lambert, unsurprisingly, was safe again this week despite getting some mixed feedback. Though Paula loved his performance, Simon likened it to the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” However, Adam said he didn’t view the comment as an insult. “I think it’s a great movie,” he told Ryan.

Craig Berman is a writer in Washington, D.C.