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This was the penultimate week of American Idol (Fox, Wed and Thurs, 8 p.m. ET), the high-stakes, closing episodes when the judges brush back tears and pull out the superlatives. "We love all of you," declared Randy Jackson during Thursday's results show. "I think this is one of the best Top 3's we've ever had on Idol. In the 12 year history. Ever."
Ah, but someone had to go, and in the end it was Angie Miller. For some critics, this was an unexpected turn. (Erin Carlson of The Hollywood Reporter called it "an upset that few saw coming.")
Actually, you could rewind your DVR just 10 minutes, and you'd get a hint of what was coming. "Angie did well, but not extraordinary," Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine said, describing the 18-year-old's final performance the previous night. "She did a good, competent job."
Still, her sendoff was genuinely emotional, especially when she had to fight tears and a cracking voice to deliver her final performance. (Why do they make them do that?!) When Mariah Carey waved her hand at her, it was like a helpless attempt at a hug. Of course, Carey had to stay where she was, and Miller had to get through the song -- a rare moment of humanity amidst the smoke and spotlights.
It's not surprising that Kree Harrison is among the two left standing. She was an early frontrunner, and there's no denying her vocal power and polished delivery. She's been shining it up since early childhood, appearing on The Rosie O'Donnell Show three times in the last decade. Her first appearance came when she was just 8!
The only truly shocking turn that Thursday's results show could have taken? Eliminating Candice Glover. Already the frontrunner at this stage in the competition, Glover had a spectacular series of performances during Wednesday night's show. For her final song, the producers handed her a Broadway number built to bring down the house ("Somewhere") -- and that she did. "She did a job that every Idol, in ever, has wanted to do," sputtered Iovine. "She had that moment, a moment you've seen Mariah have, Whitney have, the great Mary J Blige, where they come in and just shut it down. If she goes home, I'm going with her."
Speaking of leaving the show, Ryan Seacrest hinted at Jackson's imminent departure at the beginning of the episode. "A little later on, we'll be revealing who's leaving our show," he cracked, as Jackson pointed to himself. Then he looked down at Jackson and said, "Maybe a heads up?" So … apparently, Jackson didn't give much warning about his resignation -- which he'd tendered in a statement Thursday morning. "To put all of the speculation to the rest, after 12 years of judging on American Idol, I have decided to leave after this season," he said.
Speculation? Hmmm. What speculation? Oh, right. That.
We'll miss you, dawg!