American Idol: Were tears enough to save Lazaro Arbos from elimination?

After delivering easily the worst performance of the night, Lazaro Arbos struggled to keep his emotions in check on Wednesday. Did his display of emotions influence the voters?

Frank Micelotta/AP Photo/Fox
Lazaro Arbos performs on American Idol Wednesday night.

On Thursday's results show, American Idol aired more content in the first few minutes than in the past month combined. First, Jimmy Iovine slammed the judges for coddling the contestants and then went on to give constructive, pointed critiques of each of the remaining nine contestants. Now, Jimmy and yours truly are typically simpatico and while tonight was no different, for the most part, the statement about the judges was surprising. After two seasons of working with the previous panel of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, one would think that Jimmy would have developed a tolerance for insipid judging and while Mariah Carey certainly forays dangerously close to that territory, as a whole, the judging this year is more direct than it's been in years. Let's not forget that just last night, Nicki Minaj called Paul Jolley "safe, bland and forgettable," feedback that certainly did not sound like sweet nothings to Jolley.

Iovine went on to say that Angie Miller is too dramatic and one might also add earnest to that assessment. Sometimes it just feels like she is trying too hard to make us like her. Don't fence me in, Miller. Jimmy then threw a few barbs in Lazaro's direction, stating that he didn't understand why Lazaro said on Wednesday that he just learned his song the night before, when Jimmy had worked with him on that song five days prior. Ouch. But he wasn't done there, he also put Minaj in her place for her comments on Wednesday, which suggested that Idol had assigned Amber the song she sang. Not so, Iovine stated; Idol picks the genre, the contestants pick the songs. Apparently producer Nigel Lythgoe forgot to include the song selection rules in Nicki's orientation packet.

As you can tell from two whole paragraphs of juicy goodness above, Idol was on fire tonight! A few other things added to that blaze of good television. First and foremost was the return of Casey Abrams. It's easy to forget how much you really enjoy a particular artist when you are bombarded with a gazillion new ones each day, but Abrams's return was like a pleasant walk down memory lane on a sunny spring day, with birds chirping and Abrams growling. Jessica Sanchez also returned to talk about how wonderful her life is and to promote her upcoming album, "You, Me and the Music." Sanchez also performed her single, "Tonight," featuring Ne-Yo. Eh. While it was refreshing to see her acting a bit closer to her age, it seems like Sanchez has overcorrected and rather than focusing so much on big noted ballads, she's now more concerned with baring her midriff and swiveling her hips. 

And if we're discussing things that made the show great, Ryan's tie, Candice Glover's purple highlights and Angie's eyebrows all deserve an honorable mention.

The results can often help to make the show even better - remember last week? Thursday's results were not especially shocking; in yesterday's article the sympathy vote was predicted to save Lazaro but the fact that it saved him from the bottom three was a surprise. So while Lazaro's lesson this week was to never sing a song he didn't love, this writer's lesson is to never underestimate the power of Lazaro's tears. Tears that ultimately sent Amber Holcomb to the bottom three along with Devin Velez and Paul Jolley.

As expected, Jolley departed Idol Thursday night but he did receive an official 'Paul Jolley Day' from the town of Dresden, Tennessee, as a parting gift. 

Join us next week as we watch the girls continue to pick the men off one by one.

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