“American Idol” got down from 16 contestants to 12 last night, in effect reaching the “magical” Top 12 final round. From here on out, everyone will perform on one night and the results, with one person being eliminated each week, will be announced the following night. There were a few surprises last night, and probably two that America really got correct. As Seacrest would say, “dim the lights, here we go….”

The show opened with the Top 16 singing their ridiculous weekly group number, this week a Michael Buble song that I’m happy to report I’ve never heard before. Then Ryan announced that next week the contestants will be choosing songs by The Rolling Stones. I’m pretty excited about this….it doesn’t get any more legendary in rock than the Stones, and it should be fun trying to guess who will sing what.

Anyway, on to the results…..they had those 12 metal bucket stools set up, and Seacrest would be sending them there one by one as they learned their fate. Didi Benami, in. Siobhan Magnus, in. I hope Siobhan does “Gimme Shelter” next week, but there are probably 100 others I haven’t thought of yet. Next, Paige Miles and Katelyn Epperly to the front of the stage. One was going home, one was staying. Paige Miles, in, Katelyn, out. Then, since I missed Tuesday’s performances, I got to see just why Katelyn was booted off. Her version of Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” as she sang her way out was just awful.

On to the guys…..Seacrest brought out Tim Urban, Todrick Hall, Lee Dewyze, and Casey James to the front of the stage. He went through them, one by one, talking about what they sang the night before and what the judges thought. First one in, Casey. Second one in, Tim. Vote for the Worst contingent rejoices, but Tim was not horrible on Wednesday even if he chose a tired song. So down to Todrick and Lee. Lee in, Todrick out. Well, this one I saw coming, and while I also thought Todrick was super talented, he wasn’t gonna win this thing.

Then they brought back two contestants from last season–Matt Giraud and Scott McIntyre, and they did a cheesy “dueling piano” version of Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It.” It wasn’t that bad, especially when Matt sang and played, but Scott….geez, you can tell how bad he is when he’s trading vocal lines with Matt. Then Seacrest, while pimping both guys, calls McIntyre “Scotty the Body.” He calls everyone named Scott this, and it’s mildly disturbing.

Next, more results. Crystal Bowersox, in. Michael Lynche, in. Seacrest jokingly asks Michael if he will fit on the metal bucket stool, and Michael could care less if he breaks one right there on national TV. Lacey Brown, in. What??? Aaron Kelly, in. What????? Now I’m getting slightly annoyed. Really, America? Someone is going home that shouldn’t be.

Left on stage–Alex Lambert, Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens and Lilly Scott. First up, the guys. Alex and Andrew. Alex had the best voice among all the guys, and Andrew was the dude who turned dance pop into cool singer/songwriter material. Andrew, in. Alex, going home. He tries not to cry, but he’s clearly bummed, and so am I…I liked both of these guys, but I think Alex going home is premature. He has a great voice but lacks the performance skills, which ultimately hurt him. Andrew will keep bucking the ordinary and doing things his way. Meanwhile, Seacrest asks Ellen DeGeneres if she has advice for Alex, and she says, “You’re so good!” Thankfully no more banana references.

So the final spot is down to Katie and Lilly. Katie is the young chickadee who has a big voice for her age, and Lilly the already-established quirky singer/songwriter. Katie, in. Lilly, out. I really was surprised at this, and especially surprised that she was out instead of Lacey or Paige. Lilly was also surprised, saying, “Lots of talent is going home tonight” and “I don’t know what America wants to hear.” I’ll tell you what they want to hear, Lilly. Pitchy cheeseball faux country music by nerdy boys like Aaron Kelly, and awful renditions of anything by Lacey Brown. Kind of bums me out, but those two won’t last long here and neither will Paige.

So your finalists America, as you chose them–Didi Benami, Siobhan Magnus, Paige Miles, Tim Urban, Lee Dewyze, Casey James, Crystal Bowersox, Michael Lynche, Lacey Brown, Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens. I see this as a two-person race between Siobhan and Crystal, and maybe Michael if he keeps getting Ruben Studdard type love from the judges. Maybe even Andrew if he gets his mojo back.

We’re on to the next chapter, folks…..see you next week with Mick and the Stones!