All good things must come to an end, and Tuesday's "American Idol" episode saw the remaining 72 contestants settle the minibar bills and come downstairs to hear their fates. As is tradition on the show, the contestants were separated into four rooms, in order for them to mentally judge whether being in the room with the guy who forgot the lyrics twice on the same song was a good thing or a bad thing. And as occasionally happens on "Idol," sometimes the answer wasn't what was expected.
Jet-set society: Only three judges broke the news to the remaining competitors, as Simon Cowell ditched his teammates with the old "I have to catch a plane" excuse. One would think that someone who makes enough money to buy his own airline would have the pull to get his first-class seat switched to a later flight, but perhaps the penalty for the itinerary change was too much for him to swallow.
Can't fight this feeling: Host Ryan Seacrest said at the beginning of the show that the singers would perform and leave the stage without getting feedback from the judges, but that proved wildly inconsistent with the fearsome foursome's desire to ham it up. Paula Abdul often found herself unable to follow the rules, however, standing up and dancing when the spirit moved her, and Kara DioGuardi was animated as well. Simon couldn't resist holding up his hand to stop singers when he'd heard enough. Only Randy Jackson was able to be stoic most of the time, and he looked like he was zoning out and imagining he was watching Mariah Carey instead.
More drama Tatiana: Tatiana Del Toro is shaping up as the contestant viewers are going to love to hate, and the judges and editors both had fun messing with her mind. Del Toro was originally placed in Room 2 and then moved to Room 4, where the other singers did not look thrilled to see her. Most likely the thought of spending time locked in a room with season eight's queen of drama was a fate worse that being sent home, but as it turned out she'd have been safe either way; both rooms advanced.
That's why people learn to hum: If Joanna Pacitti thought she was a controversial contestant before, wait until she checks out the Internet tomorrow. The too-experienced-for-some-people contestant made it through despite forgetting her lyrics on her final solo. That was topped by Stephen Fowler, however, who drew blanks on the same song twice in a row and advanced anyway. Songwriters of the world, take note: "Idol" does not believe that remembering your lyrics is important.
It's all right to cry: Room three was the only room that got bad news. As a result, there won't be a second season in a row with a Castro, as former contestant Jason's brother, Michael, was tossed out. It also marked the end for one of the early heartwarming stories, as Louisville's homeless-to-Hollywood hopeful Leneshe Young saw her journey end earlier than expected.
Me and my shadow: Nick Mitchell? Norman Gentle? Even Mitchell doesn't seem to know which persona will be singing when he takes the stage, and the Room 4 contestants did not look overjoyed to be sharing space with him. But apparently his ability to make the judges laugh outweighs the inevitable "should be on a cruise line" criticisms, because he survived to strut onstage another day.
Craig Berman is a writer in Washington, D.C.