Whoaaa. Last night's edition of American Song Death was sort of an intense one! There was religious controversy, sass-mouthing of the judges, and an all around weird, crackling energy that reminded us: we're almost done with this bitch.

Yes, we are almost done! There are only four monsters left. Next week are the home visits! Can you believe that? Isn't that bananas bonkers? You know what's more bananas bonkers? The minute they know who's going home tonight, a bunch of people have to get on the horn and start planning shit in the hometowns. Like someone is going to have be all "Well, great, I live in Los Angeles and now I have to plan a series of events in Garner, North Carolina at the last minute. Terrific." What a weird job that would be! I wouldn't want that job, I don't think. I don't think I would.

But anyway, the point is that the impending finality of all this tinged last night's episode with a curious feeling. It was both tighter and looser than usual. "Can this Idol be saved?" the whole episode seemed to ask, nay implore, with big, watery, needy eyes. I don't know! I don't know if it can.

Lauren Alaina

Let's start with the most boring person. (Good blog strategy, Richard.) What a cheery little fart Lauren Alaina is. What a dimbulb diamond. The theme last night was Leiber & Stoller music — music like "Yakety Yak" and "Jailhouse Rock" and other old things — but it was also "Songs That Inspire Me." They sang two songs, is what I'm saying. For her first song, her Inspirational jam, Lauren Alaina came out in a dress looking like she was doing a concert version of Phantom of the Opera with the Pittsburgh CLO and she sang a Martina McBride song that was, really, only inspirational in that it was a tuneful country song heavy on strings and the "whooooOOOOUHHHH" vocal upswings that Lauren's such a bland fan of. Whatever, who cares. The judges were all "Farfegnugen," because what can you really say to Lauren Alaina. It was dull.

Next up was her Lerner and Loeb song or whoever, and guess who wassss the guessst mentorrrrrr. No, not the old man that wrote the song, no of course not. It was Lady Giggles!! Haha, yeah, she was there dressed like an idiot as always, wearing high-heeled shoes that were so precarious she couldn't even stand up to hug the singtestants. I mean, I'm pretty sure the train has left the station on the whole "Lady Gaga is revolutionary!!" thing, right? To which I mean to say that we've all figured out at this point that all of her nonsense is just, in fact, deflective nonsense and not actual art. But that's fine! Whatever, who cares. She's Lady Giggles she can do what she wants. She's still a pretty good Idol mentor! No foolin', mister! She was funny and apt and gave everyone good notes on making their performances seem more exciting. So good for her. She's still completely over-saturated silliness, but good for her.

So anyway! The point is that Lauren Alaina, giggling fatted wood tick that she is, chose to sing a song called "Trouble" or some hooha and then freaked out because the lyrics required her to say "I'm evil." Like, in a song. In song form! That's all. But Lauren was all giggly and farty and like "I dun wanna say I'm evil, hyuk hyuk hyuk." Because, I guess, Lauren was worried that if she says she's evil in a song on American Singmurder that that will make her actually innately evil like the snake in her old story book. Oh for good grief in heaven's sake, Lauren. Who let the baby in? Alert alert, baby on the loose. Baby's Day Out 2: Lauren Alaina Boogaloo. Lady Giggles basically put her head in her hands and did all she could to not simply say "Just sing the fucking word." She eventually coached her into it though, by talking about performance and character and whatnot. So Lauren shakily agreed to still do it and then, haha, when she came out to sing the song she had to say "I'm evil" like so many hilarious times. See, I'd thought that it was just one time, just one little lyric, but no, it was even better. It was basically the whole song, Lauren saying she's evil over and over again. And sorry, oops, yeah, if you say it that many times, Lauren? You are absolutely the devil. Sorry. Too bad. :( What can you do though. In truth L'Alaina sang it well and wore her pointy-shouldered sparkleshirt well. Still, she's as boring as country dirt and I think this was her last dance at Ryan Seacrest's prom.

Jimbo Durbin

Ick. I mean, is he not just one big steaming pot of Ick Sauce at this point? Oh he is so gross. I feel really bad for his thighs. What do you think it's like to not breathe for five months? Only his thighs know. His questionable sartorial choices aside (is "sartorial" officially the most overly used word in all of blogdom? I say yes), he's just such a nincompoop. But is he a brilliant nincompoop? He might be! I was watching the show last night with my esteemed recapping colleague @EWAnnieBarrett (that's actually her name, "at" symbol and all) and we were talking about how the judges and Ryan are all just so bored and tired and oddly desperate that they're just playing versions of themselves at this point, and I'd say that of all the four kids who remain, James Durbin is the best at playing into that. Because he is so fake too! He is like the Rocker animatronic doll they'll have at the inevitable "Idol Experience" ride at the Fox Studios amusement park that Rupert Murdoch will build in the crater of what used to be Arizona after they nuke themselves to death in their impending civil holy war. "And this, folks, is what a Rocker Idol looked like," and it's just James Durbin, actual James Durbin pretending to be a soulless machine, doing his hokey bullshit for the delight of all the hazmat-clad park guests. It's just so stupid.

His first song, his "inspirational" song, was Journey's "Don't Stop Singing This At Shitty Bars And Annoying Everyone Forever." Which, on its own, is a delightful soar of a song. But now that it's been co-opted by the Gleetards (sorry) and everyone else, it is just so dumb. So dumb! But the Idol audience lurves it so, and James knows that, so it was a total gimme of a song and yet the judges still jizzed all over him like he had just invented music, as if he'd come down from Mt. Olympus itself with the first-ever lyre in his hand, toga tight around his thighs, and said "I call it... 'music.'" What is their boner for him? Do they really want him to win? Is this what you want, Jimmy Iodine and the rest of you faceless ghouls at 19 Entertainment? This? I just don't get it.

James's second song was, hilariously, "Love Potion Number 9" (there's a reference to that movie in this recap, have you spotted it yet?), a song that is as dopey as they come. And yet James decided to sing it in crazed rock fashion, jiggling all around the stage like some sort of death-funk religious revivalist. I don't even remember particulars of it. All I remember is couple-minutes-long blare of music and light and jiggles that is artless and atonal in its shrieky monotony. And yet, of course of course of course, the judges unzipped their flies and gooed all over him, humping their Aeron chairs and moaning. OK, fine, judges. Fine. Have at it. What can we do about it? Nothing. We are powerless to stop it. Powerless. If James is your crown prince, then he is your crown prince. Enjoy your rotten kingdom.

The best thing about James singing last night was when Ryan, after James had finished singing, said "Thank you for that activity." Hahaha. What does that even mean? "Thank you for that activity." That is what people in the post-Arizona future will say to each other after sex. Thank you for that activity. Was Ryan subtly criticizing all of James's turgid nonsense? I hope he was. There's still a glimmer of humanity left in you, Ryan! Feed it! Feeeed it!

Haley Reinhart

Poor Haley! Sort of? I know a lot of you really don't like Haley, because... Well, I guess I'm not really sure why. And that's OK! Different strokes for different stroke victims, I always say. I for one like Haley. I mean, I like Haley in the context of this competition, in the way that she is the only person who remains that is actually befitting of winning a national singing competition. And yet the judges are so hard on her. Last week I theorized that there is maybe a bit of strategy in their hard-on-her-ness, that they maybe criticize the first round just to praise the second, and that may again have been the case this week.

Haley's inspirational jam was "Earth Song" by the late J.J. Jesusjuice, not the most popular of his songs and certainly not the most uplifting. It's all about bad things happening in the world, capped off with a dim glimmer of hope. I would say that Haley sang it well for the first three quarters? After that it fell into a strange series of yelps and growls that would have been noticeably awkward had the Benetton Choir not been behind her, drowning her out. But it was overall good. It really was. And yet! And yet the judges, well Randy and J.Lopes, were all hard on her. Are they trying to get her sympathy? Is that what they're trying to do? If so, I'd say it worked, until Haley started with the sassmouth. Yup, she started sassmouthing the judges and, oof. Haley, you gotta can it with the attitude. I know it's frustrating and I'm sure it sucks to have J.Lo constantly and needlessly criticize you about "song choice" and not your actual singing, but maybe she's just not clued you into the conspiracy and you need to just go with it, baby girl, just go with it. Don't talk back! Especially don't talk back to Randy, because you will then be assailed with a series of hoots and nonsense words for the next five minutes and it's just not worth it. Nothing is worse than engaging Randy and therefore somehow validating his guttural balderdash as actual legitimate criticism. Just nod and smile, Haley. Nod and smile.

Which is exactly what she did after she sang her second song, the Jordin Sparks tune "I (Who Have Nothing." Whoa it was so good! I don't care what you say, I loved it very much. She had her hair up again and was wearing a dark dress and she just thunder-fucked that thing right into the stratosphere. It were good. And the judges were so happy with her! They were so happy. Everyone was so happy. Haley, yes, nodded and smiled and everything was great, until weird old Ryan walked over and was like "Haley go kiss the judges and make up, you go hug them and make up," pushing her toward the judges' table. So Haley begrudgingly walked down there and gave Randy the most Judy Attitudey hug ever, without even the hint of a linger, and then just awkwardly touched hands with J.Lo. That's it. They just touched each other's hands. ("Thank you for that activity.") Then she sidled over to her one constant supporter, the old Tyler witch, but she was asleep under her flop-hat and it isn't worth touching her, unless you want a case of Skin Scales, and no one wants that. So yeah. Haley has attitude, but so do the judges. It's a strained relationship. Can it last? I, for one, hope it can.

Scotty McCreery

Hi! Have you been reading these recaps for this whole morbid season? If so, you'll know that I've had a soft spot in my gooey, smoke-filled heart for one Scotty "Baby Lockthemdoors" McCreery. He's been a sweet kid with a cute little baseball story and a surprising amount of performing chops. It's been nice. Well, that all ends here. The soft spot has hardened over and there is no love for Scotty left. There is maybe only hate. Why hate? Well, because. Because for his first song he chose Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," which is all about the 9/11. And, as esteemed Idol viewer @pareene (again, real name) pointed out last night, where Scotty was was far away and a child. And that aside, it was just such pandering. Worse than Jumbo Durbin's "Don't Stop Believin'" pandering. Oh, good, 9/11 music. My favorite genre. Thanks, Scotty. The only good thing to come out of his first segment was in his pre-performance interview with Ryan. Ryan introduced him once again as "Scotty the Body," and then, by means of explaining the joke I guess, said "I hear the girls screaming all day long." Which... ???? Thank you for that activity? I don't know if I thank Ryan for that activity. I know what he meant, sort of, but... Ryan can you hear the girls screaming from your basement? Is that where they are? Or are they in your head? Is that what happens when you host American Crap Stand for ten years, you just hear teen girls screaming, always, in your head? You still wake up sometimes, don't you Ryan? You wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the girls. Terrifying! Terrifying and wonderful. The only good thing about that segment.

There was little, if any, good in Scotty's second round. As mentioned, Lady Giggles was the mentor and she immediately took him to task for the weird way he side-sings into the microphone. She was like "Imagine that microphone is your girlfriend and she wants you to stick your tongue in her mouth," urging him to come right at it or something. (Well, first she told him to eat it like a delicious hotdog and Ryan fainted, so she decided to rephrase.) It didn't make that much sense, but that's not the point. The point is that Scotty was all ruffled and weird and got out his cross and kissed it because he felt like Lady Giggles was corrupting him or something. And it wasn't in a cutesy "Mama, she's makin' me a sinner!" kind of way. It was in a judgmental, Giggles-shaming way. Which... fucking lame, Scotty. Really fucking lame. It was a weird juxtaposition to the fact that they showed the full, tear-inducing "It Gets Better" Google Chrome ad (@EWAnnieBarrett had never seen it, and boy did we blub) during a commercial break. And yet there was Scotty, a shitty little sixteen-year-old, kissing his cross and passing moral judgment on the dangerous sexual revolutionary that is... Lady Gaga. A costumed pop act. That's all. The patchwork quilt that is America! Isn't it great? I don't know. I don't know how great it is sometimes.

Anyway, Scotty's second song was "Young Blood," a song all about a roving young man who... well, who implicitly is fucking all the ladies. So, OK! OK when Scotty the Body does it, because he's a boy, it's OK. But it's wicked and cross-kissing when Lady Giggles barely implies it. Terrific. That aside, Scotty did the song very arrogantly and with a weird eye thing that suggested a lot. It suggested that his head has gotten too big for the room. It suggested that he's taken this thing too far in that ever-growing ego of his.

And it suggested that, really, this season needs to wrap it up. We've had enough, huh? We've been limping along here since January, and it's time. Crown your deity, Idolfreaks. Get the coronation over with. Will it be Scotty? Will it be James? I'm guessing that's the choice we're going to have to make. But who knows. Maybe the strange Haley strategy will work and she'll rasp into the top two. Maybe. Who knows. All I do know is that when it's over, when it's all said and done, there's only one thing I'll say:

Thank you for that activity.

Except I won't really mean it.