Congratulations, America. You have arrived at base camp two of your ascent to the top of Ryan Seacrest's Magic Mystery Mountain. Only one last big climb to go before you are standing at the top, gasping for air, many of your compatriots lying dead in frozen heaps beneath you. Yes, last night we crowned our Top 10 on American Idol, all of them beaming their telegenic smiles while the gore-soaked crowns dripped on their heads. It had been a long and brutal fight, but here they were. Arrived. Who made it? Who was unceremoniously sent home? Let's take a look.

The Surprises

Uh... Guys. I think Angie Mills maybe just won the whole enchilada last night. Hear me out! Obviously the guys are all, to a man, complete doofuses, so they will not win. And, most shockingly of the evening, pretty pretty Aubrey did not go through. Yes! That was, for me, the biggest surprise of the night. In my head I saw Aubrey sailing through and getting more and more fans and being pretty and singing just fine and ascending the Idol ziggurat to reign supreme as the new Carrie, the new Kelly. I of course realize that was a bit far-fetched; for one the ziggurat is still broken from when Kara DioGuardi threw a stool at it, but also of course nobody watches American Idol anymore so it would be near abouts impossible for anyone on the show to get as famous as Carrie or Kelly. It just ain't gonna happen. But, in a scaled-down sense, I really did see Aubrey doing some major dino damage on this thing and possibly winning the whole damn show. I really did. But now she's not even in the Top 10! Which means my conception of what teenage girls want must be really out of whack. Weird, considering in many ways I am a teenage girl. But anyway! Now I think that Angie Mills is the frontrunner. I mean, don't you? People really seem to like her. She's peppy and young but sings soulfully and she looks a little like Miley Cyrus. That's tough to beat. Sure her hair looks like a double-long version of Nancy McKeon's circa 1985, but that can be changed. It probably will change by next week. It has to change. The hair is really terrible, Angie. Still, I think she's the dog to beat in this funny farm. I've got a feeling. Which probably means she'll be voted out next week.

On the guys side there really weren't any surprises, were there? We all knew Chuck Askew wouldn't survive the American public, and he seemed to know it too. Actually all the guys who didn't make it seemed pretty resigned to their fate, didn't they? Nick Boddington or whatever that behatted fellow's name is was slumped pretty low in his chair after the third or so name was called, as if he knew that his Idol days were basically over. I mean, ol Lorna Doone over there, Lazaro they call him, he hadn't been called yet and of course he was going to go through. So yeah, Nick and company all kinda sat there glumly waiting for the inevitable news. Except they're all such nonentities that nothing really registered for us emotionally. It was just a "Ho hum, OK" and then moving on. Ryan even reacted that way, calling the defeated men out and chopping their heads off and putting them on pikes telling them to wave goodbye. After a few awkward seconds he said "OK, you can file off the stage that way," and pointed to a dark corner and there they went. How awful. Why bother bringing them out like that? Just leave them in that little soundless room, where time will forget them, probably already has forgotten them. Don't make them slouch out onto the brightly lit stage, to see the dudes who are going through beaming and creaming over on the risers of relief. Only then to make them shuffle off into the dark and out the door, where a lawyer waits by a van to hand them airplane tickets and to inform them that Fox and 19 Entertainment own the rights to their images for the next twelve years. It's just mean. It really is.

The No-Duhs

Like I said, most of the guys were total no-duhs. Lorna Doone, duh. Burnell, ah no duh. Curtis Finch, yeah obviously come on. I guess one might say that Devin was something of a surprise? But then you remember that he sang in Spanish which was novel and will get him Spanish-speaking votes (take note, Mitt!), and that there was really no one left in that room better than him, and it begins to make sense. Was Paul Jolley obvious? I think he was. I mean, look at Paul Jolley. He's like if a Volkswagen Jetta was turned into a human by a wish. He is peppy and efficient and a little trendy in a plastic-y way and he's run by rich girls. He's a human Jetta. So it's really no shock that he went through. Plus there's the whole Ryan factor. Oh man was Seacrest a riot of giggles when he read Paul's name. Grinning like the cat that caught the twink-shaped canary. Ryan immediately grabbed onto Paul's shoulder and rubbed and smiled and led him backstage to the stage entrance. From there it was all encouraging whispers and more rubbing. I actually really liked all of the backstage stuff. They should do that more often, it was really interesting. I mean that! Maybe make half the show a backstage peek. I mean, we don't need to watch the guys actually perform this season, do we? But it would be fun to see more of Ryan doing his slow seduction of Paul Jolley, to catch that crucial moment when Ryan says, "Paul why don't you come to my office for a second," and then the door shuts and we hear rattling and then an "Oh my..." Let's have that this season. Please producers?

Because yeah, the real no-duh last night was that the guys stink. Watching the kids perform their victory songs — the victory songs conceit was useless and annoying and should have been cut to make the episode 30 minutes, but oh well — was a real study in contrasts. I mean the girls were just objectively better, weren't they? There is really no two ways about it. The girls are way better singers this season, and I have to assume that's the hand of the producers. There's no way that, in this crucial season of "a girl must win," the complete duddery of the male half of the competition is an accident. No sir, I do not believe that. But it was still somewhat astounding last night. I mean Candice or Kree or whoever else could blast those boys through the wall with but one flimsy note. It's no contest, my friends. The producers may have done their job too well. Of course that remains to be seen. But you heard it here first: Angie Mills is going all the way. (Meaning goodbye Angie Mills really soon, sorry girl.)

In the meantime, we wait and watch. The snowy faraway peak invisible behind the clouds and fog. But it's there. We know it's there. So we must climb. And climb and climb and climb and climb. Through pain, through exhaustion, through hunger and thirst and mortal desperation, we must keep climbing toward that promised Idol summit. And when we are truly weary, when we feel we cannot go on, when our souls feel sick and dying, our hearts cry out for sweet stoppage, we must listen carefully on the wind. If we are still enough and quiet enough and believe enough, we will hear it: Zoanette. There somehow, on the wind, singing us along. Zoanette singing "PRESS ON, MUTHAF-CKAZ! CLIMB THAT BEAUTIFUL PEAK!" And we will heed her. Because she is Zoanette. And she told us to.