For half of this year's Top 24, their first American Idol performance was also their last.
The Fox hit did away with several weeks of "eh" this season by cutting the remaining competition down to a baker's dozen Thursday, all in one fell swoop.
And there were certainly more than 13 impressive performances over the last two days, don't you think?
For what seemed like forever in Idol time, Scotty McCreery was all alone in what was teased as a Top 12 but turned out to be a Top 13, with Ryan Seacrest informing him early on that he was among the 10 highest vote-getters and therefore being fast-tracked into the next round.
Ryan next made mincemeat out of the nerves of Robbie Rosen, Clint Gamboa, Jordan Dorsey and Jovany Barreto, none of whom were among the chosen 10 (or five, considering five of those seats were saved for ladies), as their only hope remained getting a wild-care reprieve from the judges.
The punims on Clint, Jordan and Jovany were priceless as they heard they weren't favorites just yet. No fake graciousness and understanding there.
But that was the case more often than not tonight because it sure seemed as if Ryan was handing out way more disappointment than good news.
Scotty stood alone for the men while Ryan faced down the ladies, including Lauren Alaina and Pia Toscano--both of whom made it right off the bat.
Jacob Lusk, whose tears and shouts of joy have made as many highlight reels as his voice, didn't disappoint when it counted, letting out a crazy-happy shout when he found out he'd made it.
And the bad news came twice tonight for some, with the judges only selecting a few guys and gals--Jovany, Robbie, Kendra Chantelle, Stefano Langone, Naima Adedapo and Ashthon Jones--to sing for their lives for a chance at one of three wild card spots.
That meant immediate goodbyes for Jordan, Clint, Rachel Zevita, Lauren Turner, Tim Halperin, Brett Loewenstern, Ta-Tynisa Wilson and Julie Zorrilla.
As for the wild cards, Ashthon once again sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," and so she didn't.
And neither did Stefano nor Naima, who were also saved by Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.
We did not envy their job tonight.
All together now, here's the American Idol Top 13:
- Casey Abrams - Naima Adedapo- Lauren Alaina- James Durbin- Ashthon Jones- Stefano Langone- Jacob Lusk- Scotty McCreery- Paul McDonald- Thia Megia- Haley Reinhart- Karen Rodriguez- Pia Toscana
What did you think of the new Idol elimination process? Was it a quick, no-nonsense way to trim the fat or totally unfair to 11 untapped talents?
(Originally published March 3, 2011, at 7:20 p.m. PT)