Ah, our first elimination episode here in the finals, and it was a satisfying one. It wasn't terribly surprising, perhaps, but it still needed to happen. Well done, Idol jerks. But before we get to all that! There's a whole episode to be discussed.

The best thing about results shows is, of course, the group number. Ohhhh those stumbly, bumbly, horrid things! Oh that honking and yelping and squelching and squalor. What a mess the group numbers are, what wonderful glorious messes. Last night's first-ever group number (well, wait, did they do one last week? I was away — they might have done one, who knows) came in at about mid-mess, with tons of wonky vocals paired with minimal choreography. The song was Stevie Wonder's "As," a big soupy ballad-type song with lots of levels and nooks and crannies and stuff. All this diversity meant that the kids all just caterwauled off in different directions, Shannon Migraine horking up a few notes over in one corner, Heejun Han birthing a few awkward runs in another, Colton Dixon pulsating with dark music at the front of the stage. It was a scattered circus, 13 different concerts all happening at the same time, all the girls stricken with looks of muffled terror as they wobbled around on precarious heels, all the guys trying to swallow the stupidness they felt, the band clanging away, the crowd whooping and swooning, somewhere the bright young jack-o-lantern grin of Ryan Seacrest boring a hole in the dark. Oh man who doesn't love a group number? What human folly! What jumbles of error we all are! Terrific, just terrific. Funk on, kids. Funk on forever.

Speaking of the complete opposite of funk, the return Idol guest star last night was none other than mayonaise and potatah chips' favorite daughter, Lauren Alaina. Haha, yeah, her. Just her. Just that cheap souvenir. What a snooze that girl is, huh? Sure she's got pipes, but man if all that she uses 'em for isn't just mushed up graham cracker songs that no one wants to listen to. Last night she sang a tune called "Georgia Peaches" which I'm pretty sure was written by committee at the American Peach Council's semi-annual meeting. "We need something that gets Americans talking about peaches again." "I've got it! Lauren Alaina." "You're fired." It was a dopey song that was performed dopily by Ms. Alaina, someone with exactly zero stage presence — all she does is schlump around the stage and occasionally shimmy her hips awkwardly. Not good. The most exciting thing that happened during her performance was that she sat down on the couch with the current Idol kids and tried to make flirty with Phil Phillips (back off, bitch) and some other dude and when she stood up something had happened with her mic pack or something because she had to turn around to fiddle with something and then the camera cut away and when it was back Lauren was shuffling across stage with mic detritus hanging out the back of her damn dress. Ooops. Oh well. When she was done, she didn't even get the post-song intuhview with Ryan. They just ushered her off stage and back into the van and it was off to the next shopping mall parking lot, where she'll set up her little stage and throw music at all the shoppers. Just the little life of Lauren Alaina.

After that poorly done paint-by-numbers it was time for a real performer to... uh... perform. That person was this week's guest mentor Jimmy Iodine Mary J. Blige. Oh Mary J.! I love her and her storysongs. She's always so sad about somebody or so mad at somebody or something. It's great. The only problem with her performance was that, as my viewing partner pointed out last night, she was wearing Rue McClanahan's old wig. Yup! She had distinct old lady hair going on last night and it was a slight problem, but other than that she was terrific as always. I mean, she's Mary Jane Blige for rhythm and blues' sake. No arguing that.

OK! It's time to get one of these little f-ckers off this show. There were three people in the bottom for each gender. For the boys: Jeremy Rosado (duhhhh), Jermaine Jones (yup), and Joshua Ledet (nooooo!). For the girls: Elise Totino's Pizza Rolls ([nods head]), Shannon Migraine (please go please go please go), and Erika von Pelt (aww). Not surprising, right? Except for Joshua, at least. Why you guys no like Joshua? He's the best! I think he maybe reads too gay for the idiot voting bloc of America, frankly. One too many 'Tasia Bobos or something. Oh well.

The best thing about the whole "You're a top, you're a bottom" Seacrest shtick this week was that before each singtestant was fitted with the sorting hat, a little video of Jimmy Iodine criticizing them, oftentimes quite bluntly, would play on the screen behind them. Ha! It was like the producers were like "We need a way for the contestants to feel more nervous and awful about themselves." ("I've got it! Lauren Alaina!" "You're fired.") It just seemed like hilariously unnecessary piling on and I love it. Keep it coming, Iodine. Lay it on all sharp and stingy, please. I hope he starts calling people ugly and shows embarrassing photos of them and writes cruel limericks about them and stuff. He should just get as mean as possible, because lord knows the actual judges aren't saying anything bad. Well, that's not entirely true. Last night Seacrest turned to the Tyler witch and asked "Who up here should go home" and after a long pause (for spell-making, I'd have to assume) the witch croaked a single "Jeremy" and offered no explanation. The Tyler witch hath spake! 'Tis done, no more is to be said. Well done, Steven. More stuff like that, please.

Ryan then sent Joshua and Erika back to the Couches of Relief, so that was good. Good choice, everyone. Then he relieved Jermaine and Shannon Migraine, sending them squealing back to the Success Sofas, both acting like awfully poor winners. And so we were left with the be-hatted Elise Totino's and Jeremy Blahsado (just came up with that! Raise please, Atlantic). Oh golly gippers who would go home??? Ugh, both of them please? Please lord both of them. But no, in the end J.Lo delivered the news that the dude they just saved last week, Mr. Blahsado, would be leaving. Domo arigato Mr. Blahsado. You're done. You're clipped. You are the weakest link, you're fired. Oh well. He does seem like a nice guy and all, and he can definitely sing, but really who was he for? What demo was Jeremy Rosado appealing to exactly? No demographic, is the problem. Not a one. So that's that. What can you do.

And then the show was over! No more. Of course there was the post-show pizza party, the goodbye jamboree for the fallen contestant, as there always is, and then it was home to bed. The kids going back to their chilly, barebones barracks, Ryan of course silkily zooming back up to his sky mansion in the Hollywood Hills, all the orange light of the city laid out before him like a sad and yawning quilt. Ryan driving fast, music loud, only looking ahead. Not noticing, then, the tuft of hair, the white streak, the sharp points, peeking up from the backseat, not noticing his pompadoured stowaway until, surely, it will be too late.