Well, it appears we are back to stretching 10 minutes worth of content into a full hour of fluff. Tonight's episode was exactly what we've seen in past seasons, from the redundant recaps of last night's performances to the horribly overused (and transparent) misdirection.
Things started off with a quick summary of the season so far. In case you haven't been paying attention, you can get my detailed rundown as well. After a lot of yammering from the judges, it was finally (finally!) time to kick somebody off the show.
First up: the women, seated on stage in two rows. In the back, Aloha Mischeaux, Jessica Sierra, Vonzell Solomon, Amanda Avilia, Sarah Mather, and Celena Rae all fluttered nervously, but they were quickly assured that they were safe--for now. That brought up the front row. Carrie Underwood was declared safe, as was Mikalah Gordon, neither one particularly surprising. Equally unsurprising was the fact that Lindsay Cardinale and Nadia Turner were also both safe.
That left Janay Castine and Melinda Lira, who both took center stage. And, just like that, Melinda was the first contestant eliminated by America. She was absolutely, positively stunned. The look on her face read a combination of anger, fear, and complete surprise. For a moment, it seemed as if she might break down, or maybe even just run off stage, but she recovered enough to deliver a performance that was actually better than last night's.
After a recap of Monday night's performances, it was time to eliminate the first male contestant. The drill was the same as for the women. The back row, with Anwar Robinson, Joseph Murena, David Brown, Bo Bice, Mario Vasquez, and Scott Savol was spared for the time being. The entire front row was called to center stage, where the first of the night's shenanigans began.
First, Anthony Fedorov was declared safe and allowed to return to the holding pen. Constantine Maroulis, who was next in line, had to wait on stage while both Judd Harris and Nikko Smith were also told to return to their seats. Only then could the snarky rocker return to his seat, also safe for the moment. It's clear that Constantine has already developed a bit of a reputation, so the producers felt more than justified in messing with him a little bit here. Not sure if it added anything, though.