Well. Before we begin, please allow me to say categorically that American Idol Season 9 clearly had no business messing with my favorite musical genre. I’m gonna let these results finish, but R&B/Soul is some of the best music of all time! … Of all time! My sincere apologies for the old memery, but most of these contestants did not represent.

They did sing, though. And we are now to find out the consequences of that action. Ryan is here, the judges, are here, the Top 10 is here, and although you may not know all of their names/faces, you do know that you won’t find out which of these nebulous entities is eliminated until an hour from now.

In the meantime, Ruuuuuuuben Studdard is here to make sure today’s tweens get the chance to know he exists. The Velvet Teddy Bear has slimmed down quite noticeably since his Season 2 victory, and looks very dapper in his suit singing his silly song about how all girls are gross except the one he likes. “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like You No More.” What this signals to me, besides Ruben making a comeback, is that pickup lines are now officially welcome as lyrics. So, look out for my power-pop masterpiece, “Are Those Space Pants (Because Your Butt Is Out of This World),” coming soon to Top 40 formats nationwide.

Ryan and Ruben have a friendly little chat about how veganism has done everything for Ruben’s physique, and it’s been a million billion years since he won, and Ruben and Season 2 Loser Clay Aiken are embarking on a tour this summer in order to destroy the world. Ryan invites Mike Lynche onstage because it’s necessary, because both Mike and Ruben are big and black, and then he tries to be a down brotha in the midst of Ruben and Mike’s congeniality. Funny, when he’s kidding around naturally I almost kind of like Mike for a hot second. Maybe it’s just residual Ruben like.

Everybody Nobody Wants Rymon Fighting

After a pimpmercial, in which the Top 10 are Kung Fu masters (singing “Kung Fu Fighting,” naturally) who can’t defeat the power of Mighty Casey’s Mighty Ford, it’s time for the first contestant chat. We detour past Big Mike’s glued in weave track, and move on to Crystal, who admits she was nervous at the thought of playing the piano on stage, but still felt comfortable when performing. Andrew defends himself against the slander that he is boring (And he’s not! He’s just trite.), and says, “I don’t know guys, I’m pretty cool right?” to hilariously lukewarm response. We also revisit his mother, who says something that’s also pretty trite in response to Ryan’s question about her son’s personality, but gets a huge roar of laughter from the audience anyway. That Mama Garcia! She is so hilariously loco in la cabeza! Can’t wait for her primetime animated series.

And now for our annual movie cross promotion! So whatever you do, be sure you go out immediately to your local theater and see Dreamworks’ How to Tame Your Dragon. If it’s not playing in your local theater, find the next nearest one. You can handle a 50 mile drive, right?

When you get back, we’ll be beginning the results rigmarole. Lee Dewyze managed to come out of Soul Night smelling like a blues rock rose in comparison to almost everyone else, so he is first called to stand, and first safe. Casey James was similar and yet less good, so Ryan jerks him around a bit and makes him promise to be better before telling him he’s safe. Simon called Little Aaron Kelly a cupcake compared to Lee’s main course, and they go through some awkward teasing about him being a little kid who’s never been in love. Ryan and Simon blow that up into more of their classic Beatrice/Benedick sparring (you decide who’s who!). We talk about Oprah for some reason, and Aaron’s like, “So am I safe or what? Because I could be macking on Katie Stevens right now.” Turns out he is safe, but Katie is probably not, as she is next to stand, together with Siobhan. Ryan gets Siobhan to pretty much admit that her performance sucked, and she says some stuff about being “human” (instead of a zombie, I guess?). Katie tried to do Aretha but the judges are still uncomfortable with her seeming 30 years old, and they are still trying to push her into a million billion different boxes. Between the two of them, Katie lands in the bottom three, which is no surprise, and Kara tries in vain to steal attention from her, which is also no surprise.

But post-commercials, here’s this week’s mentor Usher. Surprise! His new-single-hawking performance though? I think the less said, the better. So all I will say is, I bet a hundred million dollars that no one will be reprising “OMG” for next season’s R&B theme. Probably because Idol will never shell out for the fire insurance.

Slow Business Like Show Business

I am amazed there are still fifteen minutes of show left. Why? Surely they can’t be trying to up the suspense, as the camera zooms in on Didi as we come back to the results, and that says it all. She’s the first called to stand, and Ryan rehashes her awkward but still kind of pretty performance of “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” but skips right over his weirdly aggressive attempts to get her to break down. Kara thinks Didi should stay in Guitarville forever and ever, but Didi says she is totally an artist, and will do what she wants, and Kara doesn’t own her just because she gives her an allowance. Didi is of course the second member of the bottom three. Big Mike sang a very soulful version of India.Arie’s “Ready to Love,” and Ellen was stoked to see the soft sweet middle in this big guy Twinkie. Ryan fakes Mike all the way out and has him walk over to the other side before telling him he’s safe, and Big Mike, being the big affable big nonthreatening big bear he is, responds by picking Ryan up off the ground. He really has to stop doing that. Mike, unless someone asks you? It’s assault.

Crystal, who wore high heels and did Gladys really well, is also safe, but declines picking Ryan up, because it’d be tacky. She definitely could though, because she’s a strong girl. And, as Ryan says, because he weighs 95 pounds. Kara is disgusting and outright calls Tim Urban an idiot as Ryan tries to get to the bottom of the whole perpetual goodtime smile business. She actually asks Tim if he understands the judges when they speak. Because it’s so hard to comprehend, “Yo, yo, yo, do country, do pop, you’re karaoke, I want Casey’s body.” Oh, I hate her so much. I like Tim (as a person, not a performer), but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive him for singing Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love” like a Peanuts character. Andrew stands with Tim and gets called boring again, before Ryan sends Tim to fill out the bottom three. Katie, Didi, and Tim. What will happen?! Well, Ryan will immediately send Katie back to safety, as always.

Tim and Didi sweat it out while we watch a shiny new performance by P. Puffy and something called Dirty Money. The song’s called “Hello Good Morning,” and consists entirely of the words “hello,” “good,” and “morning.” Okay, not really; it sounds like your average Bad Boy fare, and there’s a lot of dancing, and a strobe light dance break for some reason. As they strike their final pose I must out myself as a devoted follower of MTV’s Making the Band in order to ask why Dawn (aka Girl #1 of Dirty Money) would give up a career as star of a girl band, to effectively become Puff Diddy Pop’s background singer. I guess that’s just one of life’s many eternal mysteries.

Here’s one about to be solved though. Tim and Didi, Didi and Tim. One’s kind of batty, the other kind of dim. Ryan cuts right to the chase and reveals Didi as lowest vote-getter, and asks for no input from the judges before she launches her into her “save” song. That was kind of nice, Ryan. Be more like that, less like Early 2000s Seacrest, who ripped open people’s shirts on Live TV. You’ve come so far from that guy, haven’t you? Don’t regress now, okay?

Meanwhile, Didi wisely chooses to reprise “Rhiannon,” her most successful performance to date. It’s as lovely as it was back in the semifinals, but of course the save is not for Didi, and so Simon sends her off with as much politeness as he can muster, which is not much, but it will do.

Didi’s out! They play her restrospecticus, which is almost entirely made up of scenes of her crying, Didi cries, Siobhan cries for her, everybody crowds around and Crystal hugs her, and the curtain closes. Bye bye, Benami.

That’s all for now. Tune in next week when the Top 9 takes on the work of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. I can’t wait to see Tim Urban’s rendition of “Imagine.” And young Aaron shall do “Helter Skelter.” MsFroggy and I shall recount it all for you.

Or maybe Simon is Bottom and Ryan is Puck. I’m still working it out.