The American Idol judges get one save per season.
On Thursday night, they decided to use that save to prevent America from voting a contestant off the show. More on that later.
Ironically, or perhaps emblematically, the performing guest star on the show was Chris Daughtry, a former American Idol contestant who's elimination "shocked" America in Season 5. Daughtry came in fourth. (Do you remember who won Idol that year?)
At any rate, Daughtry returned to American Idol Thursday night to sing "Waiting for Superman," from his fourth, and latest, album, "Baptized." Daughtry has sold more than half a million copies of this single, his best seller since his 2010 single,"September," which has sold more than 1 million copies.
Afterwards, Ryan Seacrest asked Daughtry if he remembered what his face looked like on that fateful elimination night in 2006, and Daughtry obliged with a quick reenactment.
With no other performances, the show moved quickly to establish that this week's Bottom Three were Malaya Watson, C.J. Harris, and Sam Woolf.
This writer missed two out of three, only getting the selection of C.J. Harris right. Why Malaya was in the Bottom Three is unfathomable, especially based on her Wednesday night performance. Maybe America is biased against energetic girls with braces and amazing pipes.
Without further ado, Ryan announced that the 17-year-old crooner Sam Woolf would be "singing for the save."
So much for the theory that the most powerful American Idol voting block is Tweener girls who blithely vote for the cutest boys.
On Wednesday night, Sam sang "Lego House" by Ed Sheeran. It was a good performance and Sam is definitely coming out of his shell, showing more poise and confidence.
Harry Connick Jr. told Sam Wednesday that maybe the judges have been giving him the wrong advice about needing to display more confidence. The right word, said Harry, is "connection." He told Sam to pick one person in the audience and sing to them, not to the entire audience.
On Thursday night, while Sam sang David Gray's "Babylon" to adoring female audience members, the judges debated off mike. When he finished, Jennifer Lopez announced with a somber expression: "We are unanimous. We're going to use the save tonight."
Pandemonium ensued. The rest of the American Idol contestants dashed onto the stage, hugging and mugging Sam as if he were John Lackey, the winning Red Sox pitcher in the final game of the 2013 World Series.
Confetti rained down on the stage to celebrate this momentous event.
And so, there are still eight contestants left. If past American Idol rules still hold, that means that two contestants will be voted off next week.
Who do you think those two will be?