Wednesday night's "Music of the 21st Century" wasn't kind to most of the "American Idol" contestants, but even with a few missteps, host Ryan Seacrest revealed on Thursday's (April 21) results show that more than 52 million votes were cast for the top seven.
After an unrelenting march of early female departures, the remaining two ladies were safe for a second week, though Haley Reinhart did land in the bottom three again, if only for a moment before being ushered back to safety. That left often-on-the-brink wild card Stefano Langone and Jacob Lusk sweating out their fate by hour's end.
The fourth time, alas, was not a charm for Langone, as his luck finally ran out and Lusk lived to sing another day. Looking like his usual cocky self, Langone smiled and seemed happily resigned to his fate as he watched his highlights package. "It started my career and ... you can't put a price on that," he said in response to Seacrest's question about how the show had changed Stefano's life. He then happily sang Stevie Wonder's "Lately" one more time, giving the audience another taste of his cruise-ship talents as rocker James Durbin openly wept at the sight of his pal grabbing the mic for the last time. In fact, Durbin couldn't control his emotions and ran out to bear-hug and spin Langone around as he finished the song before the car-crash survivor was enveloped in a group hug.
Earlier in the night, the first two to get the results were Lusk and Casey Abrams, with Seacrest still talking about the spontaneous kiss Casey sprang on judge Jennifer Lopez the night before. Even after the return of his scary-face singing on Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe," Abrams was safe, while Lusk was back in the bottom three after failing to convince viewers with his cover of hero Luther Vandross' "Dance With my Father."
When Seacrest asked Lauren Alaina, Durbin and Langone to take the long walk, it was no surprise that Langone was back in the bottom three after his tepid take on Ne-Yo's "Closer," which meant Alaina and Durbin were safe.
And it seemed pretty obvious when Scotty McCreery and Reinhart were the last two to get the news that front-runner McCreery would likely be safe, and he was, meaning once again Reinhart was facing elimination after her good notices for Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." She wasn't down long, though, as Seacrest ushered her to safety just moments later.
Earlier in the night, Lauren, Haley, Stefano and Jacob sang a version of Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" to open the show that managed to make the fluffy pop confection even frothier. That was followed by Casey, Scotty and James singing a "Glee"-ky version of Coldplay's "Viva la Vida," during which a self-assured Durbin stole the show coming off like the seasoned showman next to a pair of flat amateurs with shaky stage presence.
The show also found season-seven winner David Cook coming home to sing his new single, the midtempo rocker "The Last Goodbye," and Katy Perry taking the stage in a glowing white space suit to sing her hit alien love song "E.T." with a surprise cameo from fur-decked collaborator Kanye West.
Next week, the top six take on the catalog of 1970s pop icon Carole King on Wednesday night and Bruno Mars drops in to perform on Thursday's elimination show.
Don't miss "Idol Party Live" every Thursday at noon on MTV.com for analysis, celebrity guests and even some karaoke — get in the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #idolparty! In the meantime, get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.