American Idol 2012 said farewell to yet another finalist on May 3 as the top 5 became the top 4. But before the surprising elimination of up and coming country star Skylar Laine, former Idol winner Carrie Underwood returned to her roots and Coldplay performed. Here's a full recap of the hour.
Host Ryan Seacrest opened the show by calling Joshua Ledet forward to hear his results. Mentor Jimmy Iovine called his performance of "To Love Somebody" the best routine of the season. Jimmy was extraordinarily impressed with Joshua's ability to learn and deliver an unfamiliar song with panache, and was convinced that he'd be declared safe. Joshua shared with Ryan that he hoped to produce music that "has a message" rather than standard radio fare. After Ryan teased him with a few moments of silence, no one was surprised when Joshua became the first member of the top 4.
Up next came the week's Ford Music Video, which featured the top 5 exploring fairy tale land and stealing a giant golden egg. Moments later, things turned more serious as Coldplay hit the Idol stage with "Paradise." They rocked it, plain and simple, with smooth vocals and great instrumentals.
Following a break, Ryan summoned Hollie Cavanagh and Phillip Phillips forward for the next batch of results. Jimmy called the week a "critical" one for Hollie and praised her approach to "River Deep, Mountain High" but criticized her version of "Bleeding Love." He predicted that she should be safe. Phillip, on the other hand, took a hit for choosing "bland" songs, and Jimmy felt that he should be in the bottom two but doubted that it would happen. Despite Jimmy's opinion, Hollie wound up in the bottom two while Phillip was declared safe to sing again.
Looking like what can only be described as a goddess, former Idol champ Carrie Underwood returned to sing the title track from her new album, "Blown Away." It was a good, almost warbling performance of a catchy tune, but there was some sort of audio issue that made it strangely hard to hear her at times. After the performance, she pimped her new tour, which begins this fall. Tickets go on sale on May 11.
After another break, Ryan called Skylar Laine and Jessica Sanchez to center stage for more results. Jimmy called Skylar a "fighter" and praised her "great energy" but deemed her second performance "very strange." He adored Jessica's version of "You are so Beautiful to Me" but really disliked the dress she wore during her rendition of "Proud Mary," calling it "too mature" and "too racy." But America apparently approved of her slinky white dress; Jessica advanced to the top 4, leaving Skylar in the bottom two with Hollie.
As the two roommates waited with baited breath for the final results, Coldplay broke the tension by once again hitting the stage to perform "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall." It was a glittering, confetti-spewing bonanza.
Before the final verdict was delivered, Ryan turned to the judges for their thoughts. Randy Jackson called the group "the best top five we've ever had," and Steven Tyler concurred. But all three judges stopped short of saying that America got it wrong.
After a brief pause, Skylar Laine was eliminated from the competition. Hollie and Skylar shared an extended embrace following the news, with Skylar assuring her friend that it was all right. Hollie didn't seem convinced. The rockin' country girl went out appropriately with the Miranda Lambert hit "Gunpowder and Lead" and kicked her amazing, high-energy performance skills into overdrive one last time. And then there were, officially, four.
So which finalist will get the boot next, just a few weeks shy of the finals? Watch the American Idol 2012 top 4 performance show on May 9 to see the hopefuls sing for their competition lives once again.