As far as useless episodes of American Idol go, and there is at least one a week, an elimination episode in which no one is eliminated ranks pretty high at the top of the list. Sometimes it's a dramatic ("dramatic") judges' save episode and so that has some heft or meaning to it, but sometimes you go through the entire episode and then at the very end, Ryan is like, "Nah I'm just playing, you're all in," and it's verrryyy annoying to have watched a whole hour of nincompoopery only to be, well, blue balled at the end. And that is just what happened last night. Oh, what a waste of literally everyone's time.

Though, of course, we kinda knew this was coming. Ryan had been giggling and winking for about twenty-four hours about the big TWIST and SURPRISE coming during the elimination episode, so we all had a pretty good intuition that the show was going to rescue all the girls so they could drag this wagon train into another week. Gotta get every last drop of glittery blood from the plastic stone, after all. So it wasn't shocking, no. But it was still pretty annoying! Because they willingly let us sit through all the preamble and garbage and then were just like "Ooooops!" at the very end. Why wasn't it just thirty seconds of Ryan Seacrest saying "Hey, guys, no one's going home, so please stay tuned for an all-new rerun of The Bones"? I wouldn't have watched The Bones, but at least I would have known that I could stop watching the program and go do something else with my life, like lie on my bed and watch Gregory Gorgeous videos on my computer. You know, something productive. But nope. There was none of that. There was no The Bones.

Instead, there were two performances by Idol contestants from days of yore, and holy guacamole were they duds. I mean, we have been served bowl after bowl of piping hot dud soup allllll season long, but last night they just dumped the whole goddamned vat on us, cackling and saying "Lap it up! Swim in it! This is your home now!" It was really mean. The first person they brought out to whine at us about nothing? Stefano Langone. Yeah, I'll wait for the doctors to revive you from your sudden coma. Take your time. OK. Are you back? Good. We're still talking about Stefano Langone. I'm sorry. He was brought back. Man, you flash Ryan Seacrest one time in a restroom at The Abbey and you've got Idol return gigs for life. ("Just let me look at it..." Ryan murmured. "I just want to look." Creepy, Ryan!) I mean, what on god's green earth was Stefano Langone doing back on this show? On any show?! Who even remembers Stefano Langone? That is ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. So, yeah, he sang some sad jam about god only knows what and everyone clapped and pretended to know who he was while Ryan had terrible flashbacks to standing in a bathroom stall crying and saying "It's so pretty, it's just what I wanted it to be." Not a good experience for anybody.

The other special guest for this heinously unspecial episode? You're not gonna believe this: Lee DeWyze. Yeah, your cousin Phil Dweezy came back and did a song. In'that great for him? You know, your cousin's had a tough go of it recently. I was talking to your Aunt Karen the other day and she told me he's not been doing much of anything for the past while. Oh, sure, he's got the job down at Books-A-Million, but that's not much of a thing. So he's really been sitting around — your aunt thinks he's probably smoking grass in his room all day and looking at the Internet, if you know what I mean. But when he got the call from the show? Oh he sprang right into action! He'd been listening to a lot of that one group, you know, Mumson and Friends, and so he wrote a little song that was just like theirs, with all the yelling and banjos and whatnot. You know I don't listen to that kinda music. But sure, there he was last night, your cousin Phil, doing another big TV show. Isn't that something? Good for him. You should send him a note, what do you do, an email or a text or whatever. Just say you saw him and that he played real well. It'd be nice. Anyway, dinner's in the freezer, I've got book group tonight. Dad'll be home by eight.

After that, all that was left were the results. And I guess one surprising thing did happen. They called the bottom two and CANDICE was in there. Candice and Amber! In the bottom two. Isn't that outrageous? Kree was safe. KREE. I wonder if they just threw Candice in the bottom because they knew nobody was going home and they wanted to shock everyone's systems and make her a little hungrier. Do you think that's possible? Do they play such mind games? They might! I wouldn't put it past them. But anyway, I guess that was surprising. I thought everyone loved Candice. I guess the top favorites often have little bobbles like that, scary moments, whatever. Fine. It didn't matter! Because everyone's safe. Everyone is safe as houses, safe as anything.

Safe as Stefano Langone, walking to the bus after the big performance, feeling good, feeling groovy, the last orange blare of the sun filling the sky. Stefano walking under palm trees, hearing the moan of cars everywhere, that Los Angeles symphony. Safe as that. Until there are footsteps and there is heavy breathing. And a tap on his shoulder. And when he turns around and sees Ryan standing there, looking small and desperate, he knows what he will say before he says it. "Please," Ryan whispers, eyes wild with want. "Just let me touch it."

That's how safe we all are.